Is there any ideal scale of healthy weight for female? Actually your body shape and weight are to a large extent directed by genetic inheritance. If, for example, your parents are both tall and slim, there is a good chance that you will be also. If, on the other hand, neither parent is 5 ft. 6 in (1.68 m), it is unlikely that you will grow to Amazonian proportions. Nevertheless, our genetic inheritance is complicated and it is not simply our parents, but their forebears also, who are responsible for our shape and size. It is not uncommon to hear someone referred to as a ‘throwback’, meaning that they are unlike their parents or siblings but resemble an aunt or grandparent. Also, in the West, people are growing slightly taller and heavier with each decade: nutritionists believe this is largely due to the fact that people are eating more of the essential body-building foods than ever before. Our body shape will depend too, on whether we are naturally endomorphs, ectomorphs, mesomorphs, or a combination of these body types. Endomorphs are basically rounded, heavily built with quite a lot of fat; ectomorphs are thin and angular, with less muscle; and mesomorphs are muscular and rather athletic. Your general attitude to food and eating and your BMR (basal metabolic rate), the rate at which you burn the calories which you consume, will also have an important influence on your size.
Healthy Weight for Female: Your Natural Weight
Living in an almost obsessively weight-conscious society, with photographs of slender model girls smiling out of every magazine and down from every hoarding, it is easy to lose sight of the scale of natural healthy weight for female, and to imagine you are over-weight simply because you do not look like them. If you look on the chart below, you will see the range of weights according to height and bone structure that insurance companies, for whom lists were originally prepared, accept as ‘normal’, that is to say healthy. These figures, however, are only guidelines. You may see that a weight of 140 lb. (63.5 kg) is considered acceptable for a woman of medium frame who is 5 ft. 6 in (1.68m) tall and yet if you are that weight and height you may know that you are slightly over-weight, that for your 133 lb. (60.33 kg) is better. There is no rule of thumb by which to gauge your individual natural weight, perhaps to say that it is one at which you are the most comfortable, at which you feel healthy and look good, and which keeps more or less constant on a normal healthy diet. A slightly rounded tummy and chubby legs do not necessarily mean that you are not at your natural weight, but rolls of fat bulging over your waistline do.
Women put on weight for many reasons, and although occasionally the reason may be beyond our control – for example, a glandular malfunction, a side-effect of taking certain drugs, such as steroids, or the Pill – we usually become heavier quite simply because we are eating more food than we need. Gaining weight can be a slow process, at first almost imperceptible. A woman of thirty who weighs 126 lb. (57.15 kg), who is happy fairly active and eats reasonably, may not give her weight a thought. Five years later, when she cannot understand why she can no longer wear the same size dress, she gets on the scales and sees that she now weighs 135 lb. (61.24 kg) and wonders how it happened. It could be quite simply that her food intake in calorific terms has remained constant but the amount of exercise she takes has diminished, or that she is on the Pill when she previously wasn’t; or that she has given up smoking and to rid her of one habit has adopted another, eating sweets or even apples as a substitute. Another factor to be taken into account is that as we get older we need less food and a small surplus each day over several years can result in a slight though continuing weight-gain. There are also certain times in a woman’s life when her weight is likely to fluctuate and when, if she is not careful, a temporary weight-gain may become a permanent one.
Healthy Weight for Female: Baby
Although the effects of over-feeding can be corrected later, a fat baby is likely to become a fat adult, so don’t over-feed. In order to determine healthy weight for female, a tests carried out with infants old enough to feed themselves, in which one group was fed a regular, well-balanced diet and the other was allowed to choose from a wide range of foods, ranging from beetroot to milk, the results showed that the babies who fed themselves were just as healthy as those whose diet was prescribed. Amongst other thing, this has been interpreted to mean that even at an early age, given a choice of foods, we know not only what we want but also what is good for us; that we can ‘listen’ to our bodies even before we can talk. As the baby becomes a toddler, resist emphatically the temptation to offer her ice-cream or chocolate bars as a cure for grazed knees or as treats, rewards or just to keep quiet. Our attitudes to food are learned from babyhood and eating for solace can develop into a compulsive eating habit later.
Healthy Weight for Female: Young Girl
Try as we might, it is difficult to stop our daughters eating at least a certain amount of sweets, cakes and ice-creams. It is also difficult to make them aware of healthy weight for female. Even if they do not have them at home, grandparents or parents of other children inevitably offer them. The danger in over-consumption of sweet things is not only damage which we inflict on our teeth, and in later life perhaps the risk of heart disease or diabetes, but also the harm we do to the taste buds and appetite which come to demand and depend on larger intakes of sugar. Try to counter advertisements for sweets, colas and chocolate bars with your own campaign: without nagging, tell your daughter that all these increase her chances of bad teeth, and lots of fillings; show her pictures of really fat girls and then of slim ones, and ask which she would prefer to be. To use a cliché, a lesson well-learned when she is young will be better remembered when she grows up. Quietly keep an eye on her weight and without making a fuss, adjust your family diet if you think she is getting too fat. Make sure that the healthy food you offer her at home is at least as exciting as the ice-cream and chocolate cake that she is offered elsewhere. A carefully planned packed lunch of whole-meal bread, salad, cheese or a cooked chicken leg, fruit and yoghurt is often better than stodgy school meals if she is allowed the alternative.
Healthy Weight for Female: Teenage Girl
At the onset of and during puberty, a girl’s body undergoes many changes. As she grows from child to woman her body will reflect the process: lean hips will become broader, breasts will develop, and she will put on weight in other places, too – arms, legs, tummy and face. Some lucky girls make the transition easily, no spots or puppy fat, while others experience both. This is a time when a mother should be at her most understanding. You should tell them about healthy weight for female. If your daughter suffers from puppy fat and is worried about it, help her by planning a diet which will assist in keeping her weight under control – and if necessary follow it with her. If she refuses to eat a meal with you because she thinks it is fattening, don’t laugh at her or insist. Set aside a tray with fresh orange juice, a salad and some whole-meal bread and stick a piece of paper on the tray showing the calories counted in her meal and those in yours (with any luck, there shouldn’t be too great a discrepancy!). Give her books to read which explain why she is plump at this stage, so that she can both accept and cope with the fact. If she shows signs of anorexia nervosa you must seek professional help from your doctor immediately. On the other hand, if she is feeling a bit miserable and self-conscious with spots or puppy fat, or because of the changes that she is experiencing, she may well take to sitting around and eating chocolates, cream cakes or crisps for solace. If this is the case, do your utmost to make her feel prettier: a new hairstyle, something nice to wear, or help with her skin may be the answer. Make sure also that she is busy doing something interesting, and see that the ‘nibbles’ available is the house are of the healthy variety and not those which will exacerbate weight and skin problems.
Healthy Weight for Female: Single Working Girl or Student
Not all single girls move away from home once they start a job or embark upon a further education course, but many do. The single girls who continues to live with her family will probably eat proper meals because her mother will continue to prepare them for her along with the rest of the family, so even if breakfast is skipped and lunch inadequate there will be a ‘square meal’ for her in the evening. If her family eats healthy foods, she is unlikely to put on weight at this time, but danger lies in the situation where her mother insists on her having a cooked breakfast, she eats a stodgy canteen lunch, and then has to face three courses with the family at night. Many mothers are over-zealous in insisting on plying the working members of a family with substantial meals, ‘to keep their strength up’.
The girl living away from home, either alone or sharing a flat with friends, has different problems. She has to rely largely on herself for shopping, preparing and cooking her own meals. Having flat-mates is probably an advantage, in that there will often be someone else around with whom to share the work and the meals. If she is quite alone she is less likely to eat well, since few people really enjoy cooking or preparing a meal which only they will consume, and the temptation is to rely on convenience foods or take-away meals which are often high in calories and low in nutritional value. A busy social life will more or less guarantee that she eats something, but if she spends much of her spare time alone, it is all too easy either not to bother to eat or, if she is lonely, to eat far too much of the wrong things for comfort.
The single working girl may neither lose nor gain weight, but if any one of the circumstances above applies, and here weight has changed for the worse, she should look for ways to resolve the problem: tell her mother kindly but firmly that though she loves her cooking she is getting fat because she is eating too much of it; collaborate with flat-mates in planning nutritious, healthy menus for the week; if alone, perhaps put in a cooking session once a week to prepare her own supply of ready-to-eat nutritious meals.
Healthy Weight for Female: Young Married Woman
Living with and cooking for another person can be exciting, exasperating and time-consuming, particularly if you have married a man who loves nothing better than mother’s steak-and-kidney pudding or apple turnovers. If you are really strong-minded, and are prepared for marital battle, you can try to re-educate him in his eating habits, but it takes a tough newly-wed to do this. It is more likely that you will try to give him the food he likes, and if it happens to be of the rich, high-protein, fat and carbohydrate variety, you certainly risk putting on weight, and you will forget your lesson on healthy weight for female. The danger of this happening will be even greater if you have given up work and are more sedentary than you used to be. If you then have a child, and have the extra task of feeding him or her as well, you may feel that a large part of your day is taken up with preparing food. In this situation it is easy to eat too much. You may not think that finishing the baby’s rusks or stewed prunes will matter, or that in eating similar quantities of the beef stew and blackberry pie as your husband you are doing anything more than enjoying the fruits of your well-earned labors, but those extra calories will gradually contribute to a spreading waistline.
Healthy Weight for Female: Pregnant Woman
There was a time, not so long ago when the whims of pregnancy – wanting strawberries and cream or chocolate gateau in the middle of the night – and an increased appetite were put down to the fact that you were ‘eating for two’. The theory seemed logical enough – after all, there were two of you to feed. But now it is accepted that over-eating in pregnancy is not a good idea. Provided that the expectant mother eats well and wisely, a diet high in protein and vitamins and low in carbohydrate is considered desirable, both she and the baby will be healthy. Gaining too much weight in pregnancy can put the health of both mother and bay at risk. Ideally, the extra weight that a pregnant woman is carrying at term, when the baby is fully matured and ready to be born should amount to the actual weight of the unborn child, the weight of the placenta from which it feeds, the weight of the amniotic fluid in the uterus, plus the weight of the increased volume of breasts and blood. A few extra pounds may not prove serious, but a gain of more than 28 lb. (12.6 kg) implies that the pregnant woman has put on more than she should have. It is also a fact that, if you do gain weight during pregnancy, it will be harder and take longer than usual to lose.
Healthy Weight for Female: Middle-aged Woman
We need less food as we grow older. But what will be the nature of healthy weight for female in middle ages? The lifestyle of a young mother with several children and a husband becomes less strenuous as her children grow up and become largely self-sufficient, though for a working woman coping with the demands of a home and a job life may not change very much. Middle age is a difficult term to define: it means literally half way through your life span, but it is also associated with patterns of behavior, the menopause and other factors. Biologically speaking, during and after the menopause the female reproductive system undergoes changes as drastic as those experienced at puberty, except in reverse. If she has come to terms with her own personality, and environment, a woman will find the inevitable changes in her body and in her way of life easier to cope with. There is no reason to suppose that because you are forty or fifty years old you have to adopt the attitudes of a ‘middle-aged’ woman. But do remember that, in nutritional terms at least, your calorific requirements will be less; there will be a tendency to over-weight if you do not bear this fact in mind when planning meals.