Determining healthy body weight and caloric needs

Published:  10/06/2014

Body Mass Index (BMI) is an assessment generally used by physicians and health experts to determine if a person is underweight, overweight or within a healthy weight range. Note that the BMI does not take into consideration body type or muscle mass. If you are a very muscular person, your BMI may be in the overweight range, but your risk for health problems may be low.

A Body Mass Index between 19 and 25 is ideal. People with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are overweight and a BMI greater than 30 indicates obesity. A BMI less than 17.5 could indicate anorexia, and less than 19.1 is considered underweight. A 5'6, 120 pounds and 25 years old's BMI is 19.4. This is ideal.

For a 5'6, 120 pounds and 25 years old woman, 118-155 pounds in the recommendation for weight based on a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) range of 19-25.

For a woman 5'6, 120 pounds and 25 years old, 121 pounds is the average weight that other people of that age, height, weight and gender would describe as their ideal weight.

To tone anywhere on the body requires increasing the muscle tissue and decreasing the amount of body fat covering the muscles. This allows you to see the definition and shape of the muscles. To get rid of body fat, you have to burn more calories than you consume, and that means cardio. So that means determining your caloric requirements and tracking your food intact and activity level to create a deficit (if that is needed).

How much of a person's weight is actually body fat is one of the most significant factors in evaluating weight. I would suggest a body fat test to assess if body fat is in the desired goal range.

A person's total body weight is made up of lean body mass (LBM) and fat. LBM consists of bone and muscle while fat is stored all over the body and makes up some parts of vital organs. A body fat test is a useful tool because it distinguishes between the weight of fat and that of your lean body mass (muscle). At 5'6 115-120 pounds I wouldn't suspect that it is too high. However, a person can be at a normal weight but still carry too much body fat.(I call that skinny fat!)

Here are the total calorie require to MAINTAIN the weight of a 5'6 inches 115 pound 25 year old woman. (For a 45 year old, eat 100 calories less per day). A person's caloric requirements are dependent on activity level, gender, height, weight, and age.

Activity Level


Calories Burned Per Day


You get little to no exercise

1540 Calories/Day


You exercise lightly (1-3 days per week)

1765 Calories/Day


You exercise moderately (3-5 days per week)

1990 Calories/Day


You exercise heavily (6-7 days per week)

2215 Calories/Day

Very High

You exercise very heavily (i.e. 2x per day, extra heavy


2440 Calories/Day


Categories:   Active Healthy Aging  Weight Management 

Tags:   #weightloss

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