What’s a healthy body weight?

A patient said to me: “I want to be a healthy weight.”

Me to patient: “What makes you think you aren’t already?”

👭A healthy weight will vary for each person and for each of us, at different times of our lives. A lot of us get fixated on a certain number, but the truth of it is, there are a huge variety of numbers we could be and still be healthy.

Case in point:

Pictured: On the left is me, aged 18, with a BMI* of 24.5 and on the right is a picture of me when I was 23, with a BMI at 18.8.

Despite the difference in weight (over 15 kilos and 4 dress sizes difference)…

…. I was HEALTHY at both these weights.

Despite being healthy at these weights I got many comments about my weight and how I looked and what I should or should not be eating.

👭 When I had a BMI of 24.5 I got bombarded with comments ranging from “You’re a bit porky” to “I don’t think you should be eating those chips”

👭 When I had a BMI OF 18.8 I got told to “eat some pies” and “You’re so thin, are you anorexic?”

👭👭 Moral of the story?👭👭

👭 You can’t tell by looking at someone if they are a healthy weight or not.

👭 Healthy weights can range a lot and will be different for different people at different times of their lives.

👭 Don’t ever comment on someone else’s weight, shape or the food that they eat. Even well meaning “compliments” can be very hurtful.

*BMI or body mass index, is a very crude measure of ‘health’. It takes into account weight and height only and doesn’t consider how much muscle mass or fat mass you have. For example, someone who exercises heaps and has lots and lots of muscle (like an All black!) can have a BMI that classifies them as obese and they definitely aren’t!

*A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 25. Above 25 is over weight and above 30 is obese and below 18.5 is underweight. People of different ethnic groups are also healthier at lower or higher BMI ranges.