Adult weight concerns
Focus on health, not weight!
Body weight is the result of a complicated set of factors, including genes, the environment, economy, society and personal behaviours.
When we focus on weight, instead of healthy habits, we tend to change the focus of the discussion from health and wellness to thinness. This often leads to the adoption of unhealthy habits, such as restrictive eating, excessive exercise and negative coping mechanisms with the goal of achieving an “ideal” (and often unattainable) body weight.
Measuring your height and weight
Take the focus off the number on the scale and work toward healthier habits. Rate yourself on how balanced your life is in terms of being active, eating well, getting enough good quality sleep, and feeling good about yourself. Don’t measure your success by how much you weigh or by how much weight you lose.
There are many tools to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). Keep in mind that the BMI: 1,2
- is a number calculated from your weight and height
- does not take into account your age, gender, ethnicity, muscle mass and bone mass
- should be used as part of a more in-depth assessment by a health care provider to screen for potential health problems — even if a person has a high BMI, more tests and assessments would need to be done to see if excess weight is a health risk
Finding your best weight
Healthy bodies come in many shapes and sizes. There is no specific weight that is right, or “ideal”, for everyone.
Instead of aiming for an “ideal” body weight, we encourage people to reach for their “best weight”. Your best weight is the weight your body is naturally when you regularly enjoy a healthy lifestyle which includes eating well, being active, getting enough good quality sleep and feeling good about yourself.3 Weight is only one marker of health and a healthy weight is different for every person.
Benefits of healthy lifestyle practices include:4
- more energy
- lower risk of various health problems
- reduced risk of high blood pressure and blood cholesterol
- improved self-image and mental health
- reduced risk of depression
You can experience these benefits when you practice healthy habits, whether you lose weight or not. Focus on health, well-being and fun instead of body weight or measurements. Think of changes you can make to behaviours and environments that will help you to eat well, get moving, get enough sleep, and feel good about yourself. Get more ideas on how you can reach for your best!
Be a positive role model
Kids learn how they feel about themselves and their bodies from the people around them. When children and youth see adults in their lives eating well, being active, sleeping well, feeling good about themselves and accepting their body shape and size, they learn from this and follow these positive behaviours. Learn some practical tips to help kids to reach for their best!
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (July 2014). About Adult BMI. Retrieved fromhttp://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/index.html on August 13, 2014.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d.). Body Mass Index: Considerations for Practitioners. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/downloads/bmiforpactitioners.pdf on August 13, 2014.
- Freedhoff, Y. & Sharma, A. (2010). Best Weight. A Practical Guide to Office-Based Obesity Management. Retrieved from http://www.obesitynetwork.ca/files/ObesityBook.pdf on August 13, 2014.
- Public Health Agency of Canada (2012). Healthy Living and Healthy Weight in Healthy Settings for Young People in Canada. Retrieved from http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/dca-dea/publications/yjc/ch3_51_54-eng.php on August 8, 2014.
This item was last modified on August 9, 2017