The ideal weight - everyone has a different image when they hear the word ideal weight, but almost everyone wants to achieve it at some point. According to the Robert Koch Institute, 67% of men and half of women (53%) in Germany are overweight (1). Many of these men and women will have made at least one attempt to shed their excess pounds and reach their ideal weight.
Unfortunately, most people fail in their plan because they restrict themselves too much through dieting and the "agony" becomes too great in the end. If you want to lose weight successfully, you should therefore find the perfect solution for your body, but these approaches can vary greatly.
Since there is unfortunately no all-round carefree solution for everyone for the topic of losing weight to your ideal weight, we have put together a few tips for you in this article, as well as some background information on how to lose weight.
the essentials in brief
- The ideal weight cannot be calculated scientifically. An ideal weight always looks different and usually only corresponds to aesthetic aspects.
- If you not only want to lose weight, but also want to maintain your ideal weight permanently, you should avoid dieting. Only a lifestyle change leads to long-term success.
- Stress, pressure from friends, social media, or yourself can also prevent you from losing weight. Anyone who allows themselves to be forced to lose weight simply because of social pressure will not be successful in the long term.
Definition: What does ideal weight mean?
The ideal weight is a topic that cannot be answered so easily. Both in science and in everyday life, opinions on the ideal weight differ greatly. A "good" BMI value (Body Mass Index) (2.24) is often equated with the ideal weight.
However, as we should have learned in school, muscle is heavier than fat and, unfortunately, this proportion of muscle is not included in the body mass index. A competitive athlete in weight training would therefore be overweight with a BMI of 26 to 29, although it is very likely that he only has a very low fat content.
In the meantime, many have recognized this problem and have brought other measurement methods onto the market. Regardless of this, everyone should determine their own ideal weight. Because scientifically, there is no ideal weight.
The ideal weight is different for every person. (Image source: 123rf / anetlanda)
Everyone can define a different ideal weight for themselves. The ideal weight should not be confused with the "normal weight". The normal weight, in turn, indicates when the weight can be classified as healthy.
Your own well-being is important when it comes to your ideal weight, but so is the relationship between body fat and muscles in the body. Only when this ratio is in balance can the risk of cardiovascular disease, for example, be reduced (3). Nevertheless, if you want to achieve your ideal weight, your health should always be the priority.
Background: What you should know about losing weight to your ideal weight
Those who want to lose weight usually go through a rocky path with many obstacles. So that you may be able to avoid some of these obstacles, we have compiled and answered a few frequently asked questions on the subject of losing weight to your ideal weight in the following part of the article.
How do I calculate my ideal weight?
As explained in the top part of the article, there is no scientific ideal weight. This means that your ideal weight cannot be calculated, since you set your own standards.
BMI = body weight (kg) divided by height (m) squared.
However, you can use the BMI value as a small guide (2). This is not optimal, but considering your fitness level, it can definitely be a guide for you. However, if you are also concerned about your health when you lose weight, you should keep an eye on your body fat percentage.
The body fat percentage can now be determined with almost any good scale. To give you a rough overview of the optimal values for your age and gender, you will find two overview tables on the subject of body fat percentage below.
Body fat percentage in women:
The healthy percentage of body fat in women is between 21 - 36%. For biological reasons, women have a higher body fat percentage than men. A woman's body needs to store more fat to provide enough energy for pregnancy.
|20 - 39||less than 21.0%||21.0 - 32.9%||33.0 - 38.9%||greater than or equal to 39.0%|
|40 - 59||less than 23.0%||23.0 - 33.9%||34.0 - 39.9%||greater than or equal to 40.0%|
|60 - 79||less than 24.0%||24.0 - 35.9%||36.0 - 41.9%||greater than or equal to 42.0%|
Note: A high body fat percentage says nothing about whether you are "fat" or "thin". Fat can lie under the skin, but it can also be stored around the organs, which means that the fat is not visible from the outside.
Body fat percentage in men:
The healthy body fat percentage in men is between 12 - 25%. Athletes can also have a lower fat content. The body fat percentage in competitive athletes can sometimes be less than 10 percent (in men).
|20 - 39||less than 8.0%||8.0 - 19.9%||20.0 - 24.9%||greater than or equal to 25.0%|
|40 - 59||less than 11.0%||11.0 - 21.9%||22.0 - 27.9%||greater than or equal to 28.0%|
|60 - 79||less than 13.0%||13.0 - 24.9%||25.0 - 29.9%||greater than or equal to 30.0%|
Especially in old age, a more inactive lifestyle can quickly lead to muscle loss. Therefore, make sure that you exercise regularly to counteract the build-up of body fat.
How quickly can I reach my ideal weight?
Almost everyone knows the feeling when a wedding, a class reunion or just summer is just around the corner and you realize that a lot of excess pounds have accumulated over the months. And that's when everything has to go fast. But is that really possible?
Note that losing weight should never be about quick gains. Don't overwhelm your body and don't expect miracles, healthy weight loss takes time.
Of course you can lose a lot of pounds in a very short time, but this is definitely not a healthy way to lose weight. After such a crash diet, many people often fall victim to the yo-yo effect (4) and usually complain about even more pounds on their ribs afterwards.
When it comes to losing weight, it is important to take your time. The goal should be to change your lifestyle and want to achieve long-term success. Because only those who adapt their habits in the long term can maintain their ideal weight.
So never put yourself under time pressure, because you may achieve short-term success, but you will not be able to maintain your weight in the long run.
How useful is a diet when losing weight to your ideal weight?
Of course, diets can help you reach your personal weight loss goal, but you should approach them with caution. Because that's exactly the keyword - enjoy. A diet very often restricts you, especially when doing without complete food groups such as carbohydrates, it can even lead to long-term health damage. (5.6)
A radical diet is usually not useful, since the weight should be maintained in the long term. (Image source: pixabay / pexels)
Diets are only suitable for giving the starting signal for a long-term change in eating habits. Because only a long-term, nutrient-rich and conscious diet not only leads to weight loss success, but also to a healthier lifestyle (5,6).
Can I reach my ideal weight without exercising?
Reaching the ideal weight can also be possible without exercise. If you eat a balanced and healthy diet, with a bit of luck you will eventually reach your ideal weight. But why wait so long when muscles could help you make everything go much faster?
Losing weight without exercising can lead to muscle breakdown.
Not only does losing weight without exercise take longer, it can also lead to you losing weight in the wrong places. We're not just talking about the wrong part of the body, but muscles, which means that you unintentionally lose more and more muscle instead of fat (7).
Muscle not only makes your body appear toned, but it also serves as a useful fat burner. The higher your muscle percentage, the higher your body's basal metabolic rate (7). Losing weight without exercise is therefore possible, but definitely not recommended.
What mistakes should I avoid when losing weight?
Losing weight is a topic that almost every German has dealt with at some point, but it is precisely with this topic that mistakes often creep in that you should better avoid. Below we have put together a small list of classic mistakes that will not happen to you again afterwards:
- Lose weight under time pressure: Get rid of the thought of wanting to lose weight quickly. Only a permanent change in your lifestyle will help you to be successful in the long term (8,25).
- High-calorie drinks: Avoid high-calorie and high-sugar drinks, because the food is not always to blame for being overweight. Excess calories are often absorbed through drinks such as beer, cola or coffee with cream and sugar and thus prevent you from losing weight successfully (10).
- Starvation: If you eat too little, you make a big mistake. Eating too little can cause your body to slow down its metabolism to protect you from an impending starvation period. This causes your body to burn fewer calories (11.25)!
- Light products: Light products can now be found everywhere, but these products usually contain added sugar or sweeteners. This means that the feeling of food cravings arises more frequently and you also do not stay full in the long term (10,25).
- Too little sleep: If you suffer from insomnia and you don't get enough sleep, you also lack energy. But your body needs this energy to break down fat. In addition, you then reach for greasy or sweet products more often, which are supposed to provide you with the missing energy (9.25).
Try to avoid these 5 classic weight loss mistakes. It is also important that you listen to your body and its signals and that you can interpret them correctly. If you're feeling bad about losing weight, then you've most likely chosen the wrong way to lose weight.
Losing weight to your ideal weight: The 7 best tips for achieving your ideal weight
Now that you know the most important questions about losing weight to your ideal weight, in the next section you will get our 7 best tips on how to achieve your ideal weight. Always remember that every body is different and our tips are not a panacea. However, if you follow these tips, you have a good chance of achieving your goal and being able to maintain your ideal weight afterwards.
Tip 1: Calculate your personal ideal weight
Although the concept of ideal weight is more of a concept that everyone defines for themselves, you should have your ideal weight "calculated". Many websites offer the possibility of calculating the ideal weight based on gender, age and size. But the BMI value can also be used as a rough guide.
It is important, however, that the numbers that come out at the end should only ever be rough guide values for you. Especially if you do a lot of sport, it can happen that you fall outside the framework of the ideal weight despite a slim figure.
Calculating your ideal weight can be helpful to roughly classify your current weight and to have a clear goal in mind for the weight loss phase. However, your personal feelings should also play a decisive role. (Image Source: Bill Oxford/Unsplash)
Therefore, always consider your muscle percentage in relation to your fat percentage. You are also welcome to use the fat percentage tables shown above to put your values in relation.
Once you have determined your personal ideal weight, you have a goal in mind that you can work towards. Don't let the information unsettle you, however, losing weight doesn't happen overnight and takes time.
Therefore, it is perfectly normal if the weight loss process stagnates for a while and the scale shows no changes. Especially when you are close to your ideal weight and just want to get rid of the last few pounds, it usually takes the longest.
Tip 2: Drink lots of water
You may have come across the secret recipe of drinking a lot of water at one time or another, or maybe it was just your parents who wanted to encourage you to drink a lot of water. Although there is no "high-quality" study on the subject of losing weight and drinking water, you should definitely make sure that you drink at least 2 liters of water a day.
Our body loses a large amount of water every day, which is why we have to make sure we are getting enough water back into our bodies. Because almost all vital and metabolic functions in our body depend on a regular supply of water (12). For example, did you know that the water in our body dissolves sugar, salt and some of the vitamins and minerals in our body?
Due to the good water quality in Germany, it is not always necessary to resort to bottled water from beverage stores. Still water from the tap is not only practical, but usually tastes even fresher and better than bottled water from the supermarket. (Image Source: Bluewater Globe / Unsplash)
A human body consists of about 65% water (13). So if you want to lose weight and also take care of your health, you should definitely reach for water regularly.
Even though many studies have not been able to establish a connection between drinking lots of water and losing weight with 100 percent certainty, you should still keep your body hydrated (12).
And if drinking too much water becomes too much for you, you can also use other unsweetened drinks such as tea. Because only when your body is fully functional can it perform at its best and help you lose weight.
Tip 3: Avoid carbohydrates from time to time
Carbohydrates are real energy boosters for our body, so why give them up? - Contrary to the widespread low-carb diets, which can be found in almost every women's magazine these days, we do not recommend you to completely avoid carbohydrates. Carbohydrates act not only as an energy supplier, but also serve, for example, as a component of anticoagulant substances (14,15).
But in order for your body to be able to access the carbohydrates, it has to produce insulin, which slows down the burning of fat. So we have arrived at the disadvantages of carbohydrates, which are therefore often considered the "enemy" of any weight loss process (14,15).
A reduction or an occasional waiver of carbohydrates can therefore promote weight loss to the ideal weight. You should avoid carbohydrates , especially in the evening, as your body's energy consumption decreases in the evening (16). Low energy consumption, combined with inhibited fat burning, can then lead to a direct build-up of fatty tissue and thus stand in the way of losing weight to your ideal weight (14,15).
Tip 4: Don't give up everything
It is important that you do not give up everything. The occasional chocolate or chip should definitely be allowed, but quantity matters. Because if you limit yourself frequently without enjoying it, you are more likely to sin and then usually buy twice as much.
The saying "You only live once" is also important when losing weight. Pleasure is an important part of a happy life. Because nobody should have to restrict themselves for the rest of their lives in order to maintain their ideal weight.
In addition to the quantity, intuitive eating also plays a role. Always try to listen to your body when eating and that doesn't mean your desire for chips in the evening in front of the TV. Only eat when you are really hungry and then only eat what tastes good and you can tolerate well.
While this sounds very simple in theory, it is not. Intuitive eating has to be trained, because here it is important not only to listen to your head, which is screaming for chips or chocolate, but to correctly interpret the signals from your body (17).
Tip 5: Build enough exercise into your everyday life
Even if you can't motivate yourself to exercise every day, you should definitely build enough exercise into your everyday life every day. Walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or walk the ten-minute walk to the bakery instead of driving.
Find a sport that you enjoy! The variety of different sports is immense, which is why there is sure to be a suitable sport for you. (Image Source: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels)
Every movement counts and is important for your body. Especially for people with a sedentary job, exercise should always be built into everyday life. Especially here you should try to get out of your chair once after every hour and move around a bit.
The more exercise there is in your everyday life, the better for fat burning. When standing alone, the body breaks down about 0.15 kcal/min more calories than when sitting (18).
Tip 6: Avoid finished products
Quickly after work, heat up a pizza in the oven or a pasta dish in the microwave. Everyone knows such finished products and has certainly used them before, but it should not become a habit to consume such products.
But in addition to pasta dishes or a greasy pizza, companies often deceive with seemingly healthy ready meals. Chemical preservation processes in particular, such as adding sugar, are a popular method of making products last longer. But fat is also usually found in large quantities in ready meals, since fat is a good flavor carrier and preserves it very well (19,20,21).
A large number of flavor enhancers, flavorings or colorings can be listed, which can be found in finished products. So it's best to stay away from finished products, as they contain a lot of additives that are unnecessary and harmful to your body.
Especially when it comes to losing weight to your ideal weight, you should only use fresh products, because this is the only way to know 100% what you are eating and not be surprised by hidden sugar or fats (19,20,21).
Tip 7: Don't put yourself under pressure
When it comes to losing weight, the inner bastard and stress is usually the biggest enemy we have. Above all, your own pressure should not stand in your way. Stress has been shown to prevent you from losing weight and is also bad for your health.
Always remember that you want to achieve your ideal weight for yourself and your health in the long term. Any pressure from social media, friends or yourself has no place here (22,23).
Losing weight to your ideal weight is a lengthy process and usually goes hand in hand with a complete lifestyle change. A healthy diet is just as important as sufficient exercise in everyday life. Especially if you want to keep your ideal weight in the long term, you should definitely not rely on diets. Diets usually only show great success for a short time and are then usually overshadowed by the yo-yo effect.
Above all, listen to what your body wants to tell you with the various signals and pay attention to the avoidable mistakes when losing weight. This paves the way for you to lose weight successfully, but whether you reach the goal in the end always depends on your personal will and perseverance.
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