How to Calculate Your Weight

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Your weight is a measure of the mass of your body. It is usually measured in pounds and then categorized into underweight, normal, overweight, and obese. It can be calculated in several different ways. The optimum weight for your body can be determined by using your height or these three key components: body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and your risk factors for disease and other conditions associated with obesity. Your body weight is connected to your food choices, eating behaviors, and effects of disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Digital or spring bathroom scale
  • Optimum weight calculator
  • BMI calculator or table
  • Tape measure
  • Table of risks of obesity-associated diseases by BMI and waist circumference
  • Family medical history
  • Personal medical history

Weigh yourself. For a quick and simple weight determination, your bathroom scale will give a measure of your body mass. Before stepping onto the scale, check to make sure the scale is “zeroed.” On a spring scale, move the needle until it rests over the zero. A digital scale should automatically display “0” once it has completed its start-up process. Once it is “zeroed,” step up onto the scale with both feet flat on the surface. To obtain an accurate reading, stand still and do not lean or rest on anything near you. After a few seconds of calculating, the scale's display should read your weight measurement.

Compare your weight to an online weight calculator that makes a mathematical calculation using your height to compute an optimum body weight for you. A simple search for "weight calculator" will result in many options to use. Many sites will include directions for typing in the correct information, but the main piece of information to provide is your height in feet and inches. Once you have provided the necessary information, press the "submit" or "calculate" button to produce your calculated optimum weight.

Calculate your BMI. A more complete weight calculation includes three key components: BMI, waist circumference, and a disease risk assessment. To find out your BMI, perform an Internet search for "body mass index" to find a calculator that will ask you for your height and weight. It will then calculate a number that you can use to determine which category you fit in, ranging from underweight to obese.

Measure your waist size. After calculating your BMI, you can determine your waist circumference using a tape measure. Place the tape measure around your abdomen until it is firm. The measurement will tell you how much abdominal fat you are carrying, which is one indicator of potential risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Compare your BMI and waist measurement to the Risks of Obesity-Associated Diseases by BMI and Waist Circumference table. This table (which you will find at the National Institutes of Health website) will help to determine your disease risk based on your calculations.

Know your medical history. It is also important to keep family and personal medical history in mind when calculating a healthy weight for yourself. If there is a history of high blood pressure, cholesterol, and/or diabetes in your family history, it will become very important to maintain a healthy weight and create a healthy diet and exercise regime to keep these medical conditions from becoming worse, or take additional preventive steps to reduce these conditions.

Manage your weight. If you need to reach an optimum weight, then monitoring your weight and weight loss program should be done with the guidance and supervision of your doctor or nutritionist. They will be able to help you create safe and manageable goals for your weight, diet, and exercise.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pick the same time each day to weigh yourself because your weight can fluctuate throughout the day based on food and water intake. Limit checking your weight to a couple times a week. Frequent scale stepping can become discouraging when normal fluctuations occur. Do not drink or eat a lot before weighing yourself because it will skew your true body mass. Keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat, so your body mass may appear heavier than you are comfortable with.
  • Stress, lack of sleep, and illness can affect your weight, so these factors should be taken into account when designing a healthy diet and exercise schedule. Do not make major changes to your weight or routine without consulting a trained professional, to reduce your risk of injury or unhealthy reductions in weight. Inform your doctor of any personal and family medical history that may impact your weight.

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