Fitness Articles

Find Your Perfect Weight - Part 2

Your Body Type: What You Can & Can't Change

81SHARES
You know that you want to lose weight. But how do you pick a goal weight that’s right for you? Do you find a celebrity, or even a friend, whose body you like and try to reach the same weight as him? Do you aim for a previous weight of your own, like what you weighed when you wore that junior prom dress 25 years ago?

Unfortunately, neither of these are good ways to set a weight loss goal. Finding your best weight isn't as simple as plugging your height, age, and gender into a formula and getting a number spit back at you. Your body is unique to you, and so is your ideal weight. Because it involves factors that are both objective (like your health risks) and subjective (like your personal satisfaction with your appearance), your ideal body weight is much more than a number on the scale: it’s more like a state of being.

You’re at your ideal body weight when:
  • Your weight isn’t causing (or putting you at risk for) any health problems
  • Your weight doesn't limit you from living the life you want
  • You can accept your body as it is, without feeling uncomfortably self-conscious
  • You can enjoy being in your own skin, without worrying too much about how you compare to others (or cultural ideals)
In Part 1 of this series, we looked at several of the methods experts use to determine when your weight puts you at risk of having health problems, and how you can use those methods to set a realistic goal weight for yourself.
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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

Member Comments

  • I'm probably a mesomorph. I put on muscle very easily and tend to look like I weigh less than I do because of muscle mass. I also look horrible anywhere below the top end of my BMI range...way too thin. I am definitely overweight now but even at lower weights I'm a bigger person...in that I'm muscular and fairly large framed. Even being obese I can see a lot of muscle definition and my arms and legs are fairly thin looking. - 1/18/2014 6:45:08 PM
  • I am an endomorph, typical pear shape. I am cool with that. I have always had a larger bottom than my top. I also benefit from that as my waist size is smaller (I carry less fat around the waist) and so I am have a lower risk of heart disease. Sure I might have to work a little harder to keep that bottom half toned and trim but I still love my girly figure! - 4/28/2013 8:54:28 PM
  • NEWLISALUCAS
    I became very frustrated and angry when you said that if you're an apple or pear shape, you will always be an apple or pear shape. That is a straight out LIE!!! I was once an apple shape, but not anymore. Working out and eating right turned me into a pear and I've only lost 10 pounds, 15 pounds away from my goal. This may be true for some people, but most definitely not true for all. - 5/31/2012 4:17:27 PM
  • "Often, you’ll have to wait until your body lets you know you’re at the best weight for you by resisting further weight loss despite your best efforts."

    This is scary - I actually went a little under my original goal weight - (which was to get back into my size 2's and 4's) but I DO want to lose a little more so I can take a chance on quitting smoking. Now, despite exercising every day, and following ALL of my weight loss diet, I am no longer losing weight. Nearly everyone says women are more likely than men to gain weight when they quit smoking, and I am SO afraid of getting back to where I was horribly unhappy, hiding in long, flowy clothes, refusing to go to the places I loved most (islands and crowded beaches and pools) because I SO hated what I looked like. I am a "natural pear" - but it took a LOT of work to get shapely again. (I used to model petites, and I could, again.)

    But the major cause of my weight gain was STRESS and eating the wrong cheap foods. The stress (always financial) is worse than ever, I am deep in debt due to buying healthy foods, and I do see Ramen noodles coming back in my future. That is why I am SO determined to get at least a little underweight...and the scale is not moving anymore. - 4/25/2012 11:33:47 AM
  • My goal weight is a combination of a target weight wich is roghly based on an estimated muscle mass and then based on reaching an very lean body fat percentage so long as I find I'm not losing strength or energy if I get too lean. I can gauge this by my performances during training. I think I'm at 9-10% now, and want to reach 7-8% if possible. I'll admit, using the mirror is my #1 tool. I think there's about 2-3lbs I can lose still I plan ot take my time and shave off on average around 0.5lb per week. Why get so lean??? Well, 2 seconds per mile pace running to be gained with each lb lost.... lose 3 lbs and I drop around 30 seconds off my time.

    Part of it is the challenge. I'm already as fast as I was in high school. But I didn't pay any attention to my diet, my technique wasn't as good and my trianing volume was actually quite a bit lower overall (other than during swim season). Quite frankly, I can place in the top 3 or even win a few local races that I was only in the top 10 or 2nd or 3rd years back. Winning races is just fun, especially the larger they are. - 4/22/2011 5:02:35 PM
  • The body type theory is under debate in the field, as I understand it.

    I've also noticed that my own shape has changed dramatically depending on the kind of exercise I do. So I'm starting to think it's bunk, just from my own experience, as well... - 2/16/2011 2:56:26 PM
  • ALWAYSANGIE
    Interesting. Thanks for the article. My husband is definitely of the ectomorph variety. He's slim, never gains weight and sleeping next to him at night is like sleeping next to a furnace that's in overdrive. I can cuddle with him for five minutes of I grit my teeth and bare it but I end up sweating because he's that hot.

    I fall into the mesomorph/endomor
    ph category. As a child I was always short and curvy but still slender except for the booty and thighs and could eat whatever I wanted without gaining weight. After a whole milk addiction during my first pregnancy, I gained 80 lbs. Although I could eat as much junk as I wanted and never gain weight, I also could eat healthy, starve, or exercise 'til I was purple and never lose. My weight always stayed within a five pound range. Part of this, I believe, was due to an undiagnosed (at the time) thyroid problem. That taken care of (*years* later, ugh!) and getting put on Metformin for my "borderline/predi
    abetic" blood labs, I'm finally making slow but steady strides in losing weight and feel like I can actually succeed. - 2/11/2011 2:54:00 AM
  • An OK piece, but since almost no one is a pure type (and these terms have been around for decades--there must be something more informative by now), it doesn't really help very much to decribe the types and their implications for people trying to lose weight. However, the concept of things you can control and thing you cannot is always a helpful one. - 10/19/2010 8:06:11 PM
  • Lucky me - I'm definitely a mesomorph by this description, and that's fine by me. I don't envy or lust after other body types either. What I value is strong, agile, capable. I love what my body can DO. - 8/5/2010 4:01:09 PM
  • BRENNA_A
    this is most definitely on queue. I'm probably a meso-endo. makes sense why I began to lose weight after starting to eat 5-6 small meals a day. I ate all the time and was moving, not all th etime. makes a lot of sense now. thanx. - 7/12/2010 6:56:32 PM
  • Nice article and helps clarify things a bit when trying to honestly figure out a goal weight and realistic expectations on what can be changed. I will save this one so when the frustration hits I have something to read to let me know what's what. - 4/30/2010 11:44:21 AM
  • I have burned 7000 more calories than I have eaten over the last two weeks and have gained a pound. What does that mean? Very frustrated. - 4/12/2010 6:49:21 AM
  • Just the kind of therapy i needed!!!! i am endomorph without a doubt...!! restricted my eating lost 19lbs and after a while i stalled...got even more restrictive and it worsened felt tired, sick, headache, nausea etc...plus no weight loss. started eating more and i was back to normal maintaining what my body has called ideal weight.....i now brisk walk 5 days a wk, concentrate on cardio 30mins and strength sessions..and NO large calorie deficits. i have maintained my weight for 2 years well without the knowledge that i was an endomorph!!! thanks a heap for this article...i can sleep peacefully tonite.....:-)) - 2/15/2010 7:07:51 PM
  • awesome article! I think I'm a combination of these types. - 1/27/2010 12:00:01 AM
  • What great information! I never knew that I, as a ectomorph would have a very different need and type of exercise to do to be successful. - 11/11/2009 8:50:12 AM
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