Many of us have a simple way to decide what weight is best for us. We know a weight that makes us feel good when we look in the mirror or when we move around. As we get older, it gets more complicated. Suddenly, the weight that makes us feel good is harder and harder to hold onto. We start to gain some weight, and want to get back to the weight where we felt good. The more we diet and the harder we try, the more elusive that weight becomes. In fact, for most people, the more diets they go on, the more weight they regain, and the more that ideal weight fades in the distance.

Truth is, our bodies are rarely designed to stay at that feel good weight. Unless you are one of those rare genetic instances, our bodies add weight as you grow older. This happens because your burn rate decreases with age, making it harder and harder to stay the weight when you were young. Weight control becomes harder and harder, and impossible if you continue to try to be a weight that was a moment in time.

Finding your healthiest weight is made more confusing by the definitions of ideal weight recommended by the medical community. Twenty years ago, doctors used the Metropolitan Life Insurance Tables, with body weights broken down into height and frame size, small, medium and large. The current system is the Body Mass Index (BMI) that is a straight height to weight ratio. There is no allowances for differences between males and females, old or young, small or large frame or any other individual variations. It seems that the proponents of the BMI have determined that we as human beings are all genetically designed to be the same size and shape, and to stay that way our whole lives. That seems as absurd as believing that all people have the same fingerprints, and denies the individuality that is the hallmark of being human.

There is a better way to determine what is the right weight for you. It is based on your burn rate that is unique to you and changes as you age. We are all genetically programmed to age in a certain fashion and to have our bodies change shape as we age. You can be at the top or the bottom of the range that is biologically set for you at a given age, but you can’t expect yourself to move outside this range and succeed by fighting your biology. It will wear you down and wait till you are not looking to return to your range.

I recommend that you find your ideal weight range by measuring your burn rate at your current weight. You can then predict the body weights at the top and bottom of your natural range by determining the body weights that are associated with burn rates of 1500 calories and 1900 calories per day for women, and 1800 calories and 2200 calories for men. Your best body weigh, your Burn Rate Weight, will fall within that range.

So what do you do if your Burn Rate Weight is not the same as the weight that makes you feel good? Examine your feelings about the weight you want to be. Is it a weight that is based on looking like the thin models in magazines, or a weight that makes you feel attractive? You may have fallen into the trap of pleasing others by being a body weight that conforms with other’s perceptions of you. The real you is formed by what your body determines, not by some socially imposed standard that may not fit your biology. If that is the case, then the weight that made you feel good may be the weight that made you most pleasing to others. Your best weight can only be determined by your body, and not the size and shape that others expect you to be.