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How do you know if you should lose weight?

To run fast, it helps to be light. It’s just a fact that less energy is needed to move less weight. I’m a joggler who weighs in at 195 lbs. That’s not bad at my height (6’1″) but it’s not good if I want to be the fastest marathon joggler in the world. But how do you know what you should weigh?This question was asked in a recent Runner’s World magazine and here’s what they said.jogging to lose weight

  1. BMI: This is the Body Mass Index and it calculates the weight that you should be based on your height. Runner’s World was kind enough to create an online calculator that makes your BMI easy to figure out. I put in my numbers and voila! I’M OVERWEIGHT! My BMI is 25.7 and according to them anything over 25 is overweight. So much for all this running. Guess I should cut down on the McDonalds ice cream cones.
    Of course they say BMIs of muscular people tend to be high and it will sometimes put them in the overweight category when they shouldn’t be. That must be it.
  2. Height-weight tables: Someone, somewhere put together these tables that list the population’s weight/height ratio and how it effects their lifespan. Here’s a resource I found that lists some. Looks like according to Met Life I’m overweight.
  3. Waist to hip ratio: If your waist is too wide relative to your hips then that increases your risk for all kinds of health problems (heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure). Your ratio should be less than 0.95 (for a man) or 0.80 for a woman. To figure yours out simply run a tape measure around your waist and then around your hips. Divide the waist number by the hip number to get the ratio.
    So I did it for mine and I clock in at 34″ waist and a 36.5″ hip. That’s a ratio of 0.93. Finally, something that tells me I’m not overweight.

I don’t really put too much stock in these measurements since I think only you know when you are overweight. I’d like to lose a few just because I want to run faster. But it’s a little known fact, training for a marathon will not necessarily lead to you losing any weight. There’s only one magic formula for that…Increase exercise, decrease food.

This Post Has 29 Comments
  1. I know what you mean…
    I’m only 5’5″ , but I currently weigh 147 lbs making my BMI 24.4
    That makes me overweight by at least 7 lbs. Of course, I eat like a pig too. But also, some of the meds I take for my breathing cause weight gain, mostly from fluid retention.
    My weight fluctuates constantly, but I definitely walk ( and breath ) better when my weight is down.
    Thanks for the handy calculators.

  2. Steve,

    I don’t have much faith in these “weight formulas”. Although, it does bug me that someone in the world considers me overweight. Yes, I eat pretty much anything I want but I run all the time.

    You can deny yourself that doughnut or brownie and you may even lose some weight. But there is no proof that losing weight leads to a longer life. In fact, being a little overweight in your 60s is an advantage because older people have a harder time keeping the weight on.

    But there is no denying it, in general skinny people run faster than bigger people. I guess I’ll have to get smaller to get faster.

  3. I’m 15 years old, about 5’4 in height, and I weight 115 pounds. Even though I weigh so little, I have an inch or so of fat on my tummy that covers a six pack (you can feel it if you poke my stomach). I exercise every day for at least 30 min (I don’t have much more time than that…) and eat pretty healthily, but my bone structure is so tiny, that I can hardly carry any weight. Would you say I’m overweight, and how can I lose my tummy?

  4. Hello Curvy,
    According to the BMI calculator your weight is on the low side of Normal. So you are absolutely NOT overweight. Here are the ranges. You scored a 19.7.

    BMI Weight Status
    Below 18.5 Under Weight
    18.5 – 24.9 Normal
    25.0 – 29.9 Overweight
    30.0 and above Obese

    There is very little you can do to target specific areas to lose weight. The human body doesn’t work that way. On some level you are just how you are. Having said that, you could try to make yourself fitter so the food that you eat is more efficiently burned. Look over at Runner’s for some tips. But basically, make sure you’re doing some anerobic exercises like sprints a couple of times a week. Good luck.

  5. I am a 14 year old girl. I am skinny but at the same time very strong for my age. I am 5’3. I weigh 130 pounds but I can do 35 push ups and I have beaten almost all the guys in my grade at arm wrestling. I excel in most of my fitness areas but I don’t think I am doing too hot with my sit ups. In gym class we had a sit up test and I could only do 128. Is that still heathy. What is the average number of sit ups for my age and what should I do to get a six pack?

  6. I am a 16 year old guy 5’8 and weigh 140.
    It says that my BMI is average but i have fata round my stomach!! yet everything else is small.
    What can i do to make my body equal out so that my stomach is small like everything else?

  7. Jim, since your BMI is right where it should be there is little you can do in the way of weight loss. You don’t want to get skinnier. What you should probably do is to try to make your arms and upper body bigger by starting a weight lifting program. If your topside is bigger, it will offset a bigger bottom side.

  8. Ahhh, well my BMI is where it should be, but my body says different. HAHA
    Is running an effective way to shed the body fat that i have?
    Or is weight training really what i need to be doing.

    my topsides isnt really bigger, it just has more fat

  9. k so im 16, im 5’7 and im 180.. i feel disgustingly overweight.. should i go to the doctors? get some pills? drink more water? like what do i do?!

  10. I im 14 and i feel that i could lose a couple of pounds and it wont hurt. i would like to have abs and strong arms! i am in shape with running and excercising.
    and i try to eat healthy! help me!

  11. Kayla, you are at an excellent weight for your height. Keep exercising and if you’re not, you should be getting at least 15 minutes a day. Juggling is a great way to do that.

  12. Ariela, at this point in your life you shouldn’t worry much about your weight unless you are obese. Your body will be changing soon and it won’t be until you’re in your 20s that you can start “shaping” yourself. Keep exercising. Running is a great thing to do, 5 days a week if you can. On the other days, you should juggle.

  13. Monica, don’t start taking pills. There’s nothing that works. I’d suggest you start keeping track of everything you eat and see if that motivates you to cut down on your calories. And also start exercising. You should do about 30 minutes a day. Start simply with walking (and juggling if you can). You’ll start to feel better and lose weight. If you don’t start losing then go see a doctor.

    There are no magic diet pills that work.

  14. i want to know if i am overweight. i think i’m just right, but i want to ask an expert so i know for sure. i am 6 feet, 11 inches, and i weigh about 90 pounds. am i overweight?

    i await your response,

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