Independent medical expert answers
on psychiatry and psychology

What is my Ideal Weight; How to Rate my Body

Written by: Fabio Piccini, doctor and Jungian psychotherapist, in charge of the "Centre for Eating Disorders Therapy" at "Malatesta Novello" nursing home in Cesena. Works privately in Rimini and Chiavari. E-mail:
First version: 22 Jul 2008. Latest version: 17 Sep 2008.


Discussion of reasonable and unreasonable weight goals, and of risks with unreasonable ideal weight and on how to rate your body.


What body weight should I strive to achieve? What is my ideal weight? How shall I rate my body?


Before dashing off in pursuit of an ideal body you should ask yourself what kind of figure you want.

For many women the most important thing may be to look like the figures of models on the glossy pages of the fashion magazines.

And yet the majority of models have a weight and a BMI from 15 to 23% below the average of women of the same age.

In the last 30 years, models have become 23% slimmer; while the average woman of the same age in Western countries has become 15% fatter. This is valid also for male models.

The result of this trend is that this gap between models and reality has been increasing. Men and women like their bodies less and less, and eating disorders have begun to spread like an epidemic.

A survey published in 1995 in an American psychology journal stated that after having leafed through a high-circulation fashion magazine, 70% of readers felt depressed, guilt for their weakness, or were ashamed of their weight and body image.

Aesthetic weight, that is the weight considered desirable by the beauty industry, represents, for a lot of people, an unreachable goal, because it is absolutely out of reach of their genes (their bodies cannot reach or maintain that weight. But this does not render it less desirable.

A concept that deserves more attention is the individual psychological weight definition. With this term nutritionists usually identify the weight that a person reaches upon maturity, when he/she is almost 25 years old, always bearing in mind the variation limits of reference values provided by the growth table.

Weight is, under the same conditions a function of the constitution and body morphology that at the same time depend on height and bone dimensions.

On the basis of these parameters, the constitution of each person can be classified as belonging to one of these three groups: slight, normal or strong.

Therefore it is clear that the weight a person can reasonably aspire to is the weight reached after the end of puberty (the period of maximum expression of the constitution) which has been more or less steadily for at least two years.

This weight could be further decreased (in a reasonable way), at the most by 12%, and maintained without excessive effort by correct nourishment and a regular and measured body activity program.

It would be frankly unreasonable to expect more than this.

For some of us, it may be a bitter pill to swallow, but we can assure ourselves that things are so.

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