Upon carrying out some online research for a recent project, I noticed that when typing ‘weight’ into the search engine, the top recommended sites were entitled ‘Height to Weight Chart’ and ‘BMI Weight Calculator’. This got me thinking, what does constitute as the perfect weight, or weight to height ratio.
To put it simply, there isn’t one!
My first instance of realisation was when I was 16, competing for my local athletics club. In the age range above me was a girl who despite being about 5 foot nothing, she was a complete powerhouse, championing all events she entered. At 16 years old this girl was my absolute idol.
Then, it came to the weighing. It is within the interest of the coach to measure and weigh their athletes to ensure that they are receiving adequate nutrition and are training safely. Nonetheless, as a teenage girl you can probably understand what a daunting process this is, to have someone measure you up, take your weight, and actually critique you for it.
It was at this moment that this older girl went from being my idol to my hero. Seeing how embarrassed I looked as I stood there comparing myself, a sprinter, to the tall long distance girls from my club. She explained how as a long-term competitive athlete she has had all sorts of body composition and weight tests done to her. When she was 16 she was made to take two different weight tests: BMI and Fat Calibre. As a relatively ‘short’ girl with incredibly powerful legs, the BMI calculations came back telling her she was obese, where the latter test insinuated she was underweight. From then on, my understanding and reaction to these tests changed forever. For the better.
The point I am trying to make here is that you cannot let some online test tell you about your own health. It is an internal judgement, something only you can decide. Each body will have a different composition. An ectomorph (taller with a petite and lean frame) should not be made to feel ashamed because a test has decided they’re under weight. Equally, a mesomorph (a more compact and muscular build) should not feel overweight because of the rate their body can build muscle at.
Whilst it is easy to judge your body and it’s health by how much you weigh, or what you look like in comparison to others, it isn’t the correct method of judgement. At all. Far from it.
The World Health Organisation defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Nowhere here does it mention weight or body composition. So, next time you want to assess your health by analysing your body, ask yourself- does your body give you the ability and energy to carry out your daily tasks, and allow you to feel good whilst doing it? Yes? Then tell yourself you’ve got a slammin’ bod.
So, whilst the BMI is a good indication of what the average person should weigh, just remember you’re no average woman! You’re unique, and so is your body. So scrap the scales and judge your ‘perfect body’ by what is safe and achievable for you, and how you feel on the inside and out!
Love and Passion,