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It's called the Devine formula, and it is DEAD WRONG for women, particularly shorter women.


The average ideal weight generated by this formula for women is 20.8, which is very low in the normal BMI range (of course, you should also read the sections on that site about BMI--lots of problems there too for clinical purposes, especially for men).

So, you're not crazy, the suggested weights from that formula are too low.

Here is that site's calculator page to give you various approaches to give you perspective on ideal weight.



Rob - appreciated the link very much - very interesting.

Nicole - really good post and very timely - lots of talk about "what am I really doing?" and "where am I really going" happening in blogland these days.


~ "Many of us talk about this whole weight loss thing being a journey. How do you know when you're there?"~

Please tell me when you figure it out because I'm with you - I have NO IDEA!!


I've heard of that formula but in my wildest dreams know I'd never be able to achieve it. Thanks from me too, Rob, for the link. An older woman friend of mine says the rule of thumb when she was a teen was "108 – ladies' weight." I realize they did more physical labor back then, but still!

I'm shorter than you, small-boned, and will be thrilled to reach 135, which was my previous sustainable lowest weight as an adult. I got down to 128 for about five minutes once. Heh.


My lean mass is higher than my goal generated by that formula!!!

If there is any sort of "gold standard" it would be body fat% - which opens another can of worms. However, a good caliper and decent trainer can figure it pretty well. My doctor has one of those thingies that measures electrical impedence between the foot & hand, which also gives a pretty decent read.

I think you've hit a lot of the criteria when you talk about how you feel and what your doctor says about your health. If you had no idea what you weighed, would you be happy where you are now? If the answer is yes, then I would say you're "there".


That seems way off from what I have been told and set as a goal for a healthy weight. Only you can decide what you need to do. I can say what I might do if faced with this. I think I would try maintenance for a little while or least just making sure to not gain and work on activities. Doing as much fun and active things as I could and truly just set out to enjoy the warmer time of year. It's all about being healthy and if one works on that, a lot of time the scale does nice things.


I agree that body fat percentage is a more suitable measurement than weight to know how you're doing, but that's full of problems as well. Scientists don't agree on an ideal body fat percentage for women (Ranging from 25% - 33%--a huge swing!). For men, it's a little more straightforward, but still there's no perfect "This is what you're supposed to be."

I think it is "you'll know it when you get there." Every one is different. We all carry fat differently; we all have different musculature and different bone density/structure. There is no formula that can tell you: "This is the perfect Nicole."

So, the best you can do is use the various info out there to get an idea of typical ranges to set broad targets when you start.

I'm 6'5" and started at 316 pounds (37.5 BMI, BF% over 35%), and set a broad target of 216--losing 100 pounds (210 would be a BMI of 25). A year later, I'm at 235 (BMI of 27.9, BF% at 20%) and my goals have changed as I got closer.

My target now, as I can look in the mirror is to get to 225, but with 10 pounds more muscle (It still will be 26+ BMI or something like that, but 12% BF).

It's actually a more challenging target than before, but it's also just one of my considerations. It's also still very much flexible. I'm to the point where the mirror is a better measurement. I just keep the numbers around because I love them and they keep me from going too far astray.

I think you're on the right track to say: "Well, I want to take into account what medical science says I should weigh, but I've also got to just look at myself and decide what's right for me."

The most important thing, and I think it's one of the themes of your blog is that you change your lifestyle first and the weight and body will follow. It's not like you're going to change ANYTHING when you get to some magical number. You'll keep moving and eating healthy.

So, your question is almost "When can I be happy?" The answer to that one is the day you make a healthy lifestyle a part of your life. :)


I took a break for about 6 weeks midway through my weight loss and tried out "maintenance" for awhile ... mostly because I had hit a plateau and wasn't sure any more what I wanted.

I discovered after awhile that I wasn't through - and I also discovered that maintenance is just as fretsome as weightloss.

I don't think there's anything wrong with taking a break from making the scale move down to check in with yourself about what you want. Fwiw, I've stopped caring about the number on the scale and care more about how I look in my pants. And after I decided enough was enough and hit my arbitrary "goal weight number," 6 months later I'm a size smaller and 10 lbs lighter than then.

Go figure.

If I think of something deep later, I'll try to blog about it. Thought-provoking as always - thanks for being the thought provoker ;)


is it possible to be both happy where you are AND wishing you could lose just 10 more pounds? that's where i am - thinking i can just eat better and train for my 5K and yet, the scale is not budging... i also stopped WW after my foot surgery and think, if i want to see progress again, its back to counting points... i guess when i've finally had enough, i'll know when i'm there... :o)


If you're happy with where you are and if your doctor doesn't have a problem with it (i.e., doesn't think you're putting yourself at risk for high blood pressure or some other health condition), then maybe you're there. But only the two of you can really make that decision.


I think you're "there" when you can maintain your weight without being hungry a lot, without obsessing about food or exercise, without working out more than any conceivable normal person, and without avoiding restaurants or eating at places where you can't control what's being served.


My "ideal" weight is supposed to be 118, a number that is, IMO, way too thin. Really I don't think any of the methods are useful - there is too much variation per individual for a simple formula, and most of the calculations are based on outdated or inadequate science. Sounds to me that you know where you are and where you want to be, and that's the best measurement. Maybe you've lost all the pounds necessary to feel right; maybe now it's about maintaining physical fitness and healthy eating. Yeah baby, throw the scale away!


I'm 5'9" (if I stand up straight) so by that formula I should be 145lbs. I did weigh that once in my twenties, when I smoked and didn't eat! I would like to lose 10-20lbs now. I give a 10 lb range, because I no longer need to weigh 150lbs. Which I also did weigh once, but also in my twenties, when I was into this uber-athlete thing (ran 5x/wk, swam 3/wk, biked almost every day, and weight trained). Although I'm active now, I can't sustain that level of activity and neither can my knees:)
It's taken me a long time to be happy with my
new goal. And with the idea that if I don't get there, as long as I am active, it's ok. Thanks for this post.
p.s. At 145lbs, and even at 150, everyone said I was too skinny. These weight formulas don't take into account muscle mass, etc. But they do haunt one. As a tallish woman, I also still remember all the girls in high school talking about needing to lose weight and they weighed ~120lbs. I felt obese. I was 140lbs then.

lose 10 pounds in 3 days

I believe if your body is healthy and you are healthy both physically and spiritually, the rest will take care of itself.

Stay fit and healthy.

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