The Ideal Body Weight Pisses Me Off

Weight ScaleFeel like losing weight?  What a surprise, me too!  Like every other knucklehead, I went to workout on New Year’s day to lose some weight I gained during the holidays.  I got a sweaty two hour tennis match in and then hit again with my buddy for another 1.5 hours the very next day.  I’m not delusional to think that after two days I would lose any amount of weight, but I stubbornly got on the scale before and after anyway.

Hoping to see a loss of a at least a pound due to less water weight, the damn scale betrayed me.  In two days, I had gained 5 pounds from 164 lbs to 169 lbs!  How the hell does someone gain 3% more body weight in just 48 hours.  I didn’t gorge myself during this period, so I’m at a loss for words.  I could blame the flashing “battery” signal on the scale, but that’s just an excuse.  I suck.

At slightly over 5 feet 10 inches tall, 169 lbs is a lot to carry on the tennis court.  Allen Iverson of the 76ers was my height (listed as 6 feet), but could easily dunk and weighed only 155 pounds for example.  Ever since that trip to India 11 years ago, my weight hasn’t fluctuated more than 4-7 pounds (162-169lbs).  But, now I’m dangerously close to breaking this 11 year record with all the crap I’ve been eating.  I feel guilty because in high school, I was a trim 150-155 lbs.  I also feel guilty because I’m disrespecting the poverty I witnessed in India and all around me.

I don’t accept mediocrity in my work, so why the hell do I accept being overweight and mediocre in my health?  Makes no sense at all.


I don’t want to be another big blogger.  My field has a disproportionate amount of folks who can’t run 3 consecutive miles even if an angry three-legged bear was roaring after them.  As a result, I am swearing to myself and to all of you today that I will get in ideal shape in 2012.

So what is the ideal body weight for someone of my height with a mid-sized frame?  There are numerous amounts of calculators which determine what you should weigh.  Based on an average of four sites I checked out (,,,,’s estimates look to be the most accurate and reasonable.  One site had a lower range of 129 lbs as a healthy weight for someone my height.  Maybe the starvation look is in?

As you can tell from the chart, at 169 lbs I’m about 6-18 lbs overweight for my medium size frame.  I’d like to think that because I have large quads due to tennis, I’m not that much overweight.  However, that’s just another stupid excuse!  It annoys me that for 11 years I thought that weighing 162-169 was a good weight.

After checking out all these sites, I now realize I’m just wrong and my doctor lied to me when he said I’m fine.  15% body fat is double where I was 20 years ago and is also at the high-end of the 8%-18% “acceptable” range.  Don’t coddle me like a western parent, doc!  I can handle the truth.


Height in Feet&InchesSmall FrameMedium FrameLarge Frame


Height in Feet&InchesSmall FrameMedium FrameLarge Frame

Definition of medium-frame: Your middle finger and thumb just touch when you hold your wrist.  You are large-framed if your fingers do not touch.  You are small-framed if your fingers overlap.


From today forward, my mission for 2012 is to get under 160 lbs and be firmly in the band of “ideal weight”.  I was ideal weight in high school, and almost 20 years later, I plan to be back there again.  For 11 years, I’ve been complacent in staying the same weight.  Well I am stupid and lazy for being so complacent.

Why the hell should I be proud of staying overweight for the past 11 years?  That is not an accomplishment at all!  That’s 11 years of mediocrity!  I haven’t pushed myself, except for being mindful of the starvation of others.  I need to do better and here’s how:

* For every two hours I spend online writing, I will spend 30 minutes exercising.  So long as I keep this 4:1 mental-to-physical ratio, I will at least not blow out.  I regularly am online 20 hours a week, therefore I will exercise 5 hours a week.  Simple as apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top.

* I will do 60 push-ups and 150 sit-ups for every basketball and football game I watch.  Watching sports is the worst for an athlete, because it’s a double negative.  Instead of playing sports ourselves, we’re rotting away our bodies and our minds.  It’s bad that I’m a college sports fanatic.

* I will eat more slowly to give my body time to know that I have eaten.  It takes 15-20 minutes for the body to know one is full.  Hence, that 15-20 minutes is a crucial period where one can overeat and gain a lot of weight.  The solution is to eat slowly and be mindful of everything I put in my mouth.

* I will eat vegetarian 40% of the time.  The system will either be 2 out of 5 meals a day vegetarian, or eat vegetarian 3 days a week.    With this mindset, I hope to then average 40% of the time eating vegetarian and more raw foods.  Eating vegetarian feels great, is good for digestion, and could very well be cheaper.  I will also consciously reduce dairy and sugar from my diet.

* I will stop gorging myself when I go out with clients for lunch and dinner!  When things are “free”, it’s easy to order the most expensive and highest caloric item on the menu!  This is partly why you don’t want to pay more taxes to the government, because they will spend your money unwisely.  Instead of thinking about the most delicious thing on the menu, I’ll consider the most delicious and healthiest items.  Perhaps items such as beet salad, mussels in white wine sauce, skinless chicken breasts, lamb chops instead of massive prime ribs, and so forth.

* I will play tennis 3 times a week on average for 2 hours each session.  This is automatic, as I’ve had this routine for 3 years.  I would play more, but I injured my elbow and shoulder.  Hence, a solution is to fix my injury so I can play 4 times a week.


I used to tell myself that I have more muscles now.  Bullshit.  I used to blame a slower metabolism on being heavier than normal.  Another lame excuse.  I used to tell myself that I’m healthier now.  Do do brown.  I am no longer delusional and am saying NO to weight creep.

157 pounds by 12/1/12 here I come.  That’s 11-12 pounds and roughly 7% of my current body weight I plan to lose this year.  The ideal body weight pisses me off because it’s so low.  In actuality, I’m just pissed off at myself for letting myself go.  Being overweight puts a burden on society, who ultimately pays for my extra health care costs through longer wait times and more expensive premiums.  But then again, maybe I will die earlier since I’m less healthy, thereby paying less in medical bills!  Optimist for life!

Who’s with me in no longer making excuses and getting down to the middle of the ideal body weight for 2012?

Photo: Me at 167.8 lbs after finishing up this post and eating lunch after tennis.  Lost 1.2 lbs, thanks to ferocious finger exercises, go figure!  But of course, am 170 lbs after coming home last night.  Stupid scale.


I encourage everyone to shop around for health insurance, especially with the Affordable Care Act debacle that is not proving to be cheaper for many people. The internet has really helped lower the cost of insuring yourself and your family. eHealthInsurance has some of the lowest rates and best coverage due to its largest network online. They are based right here in the Bay Area, and I have met a number of their representatives.



Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship. Sam focuses on helping readers build more income in real estate, investing, entrepreneurship, and alternative investments in order to achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.

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  1. says

    Great post and I think it’s always great to have motivation to be healthier but I’m worried you are being too hard on yourself.

    Maybe I’m just making excuses- but using the middle finger and thumb test I have a small frame and I have NEVER been in the weight range listed above. Even in high school when people always said I was ‘too skinny’. After having baby #2 recently I need to lose about the same amount as you at this point, although I’ve moved myself into the medium frame category :-)

    I really like using BMI to calculate healthy weight. I’m sure you looked into that but I thought I’d mention it.

    Thanks for the motivation to get myself moving. But am I the only one who thinks these charts seem a little unrealistic?

    • says

      I thought these charts were a little unrealistic too until I saw several other charts which had weights about 5-10lbs LOWER for the ideal weight ie 140-153 for a man 5’10”! I spent several hours researching online, in the bookstore and talking to a trainer. The above chart, although difficult for those not in the range to accept, is ideal based on nutritionists and doctor recommendations.

      I’ve been way too soft on myself for too long!

      • HMI says

        Agreed – the American, ahem, excuse me – the North American population has become too complacent with weight in general. It’s costing hundreds of millions of dollars because we refuse to take care of ourselves. Good for you for identifying that you’ve begun to slip and now it’s time to do something about it! Best of luck with the journey

  2. says

    I’m right in the middle of the medium frame weights for my height. I have help, though, in a prescription that greatly regulates my appetite and thus my weight. I shed my freshman 15 very quickly after taking it – no amount of keg stands and mixed drinks could keep my weight up.

    I highly recommend the prescription route. It’s the easiest way ever to keep in shape; it just costs an arm and a leg! I’m sure it works just as well for the 25+ crowd too. ;)

    I do need to pay less attention to my weight and more attention to my shape, though. I was definitely in the best shape of my life in high school when I worked out 3 times a week and played soccer. I’m not sure I’ll ever get back to the same shape, but it’d be nice.

  3. says

    Good luck to you in 2012. It seems like a reasonable goal.

    I lost a great deal of weight, 50+ lbs., about five years ago. I have always been really active but I had three kids and got older and I was still eating like a teenager, constantly and too excess. I started counting calories and boosted my exercise routine. I was really never on a diet, I ate what I wanted I just worked with portion control. It took me about eight months but I am at comfortable weight. I could probably lose some more pounds but I am really happy with where I am.

    • says

      50lbs is great!

      I guess so long as you are happy where you are, that’s the most important thing. I’m always amazed when women can get back into pre pregnancy weight.

      I’m not happy with my weight creep, hence this post.

  4. Money Beagle says

    I’m 5’8″. At my peak, I hit 170. Last year I got down to 155 which I was cool with. With the holidays, I’m around 160. I have set a couple of incremental goals: Get back to 155 first. Then, I’d like to get down to around 152 and stay in that range.

  5. says

    I don’t put too much value in charts like these, and I try not to obsess over weight myself. The charts are made for an “average” person, so not everyone will fit into them. They also don’t work for those that are muscular. A better way to judge what kind of shape you’re in is body fat percentage, which you can find out through various tests.

    I really like your strategies above, especially the 40% vegetarian and other eating ones. I think eating properly is much more important than people in general realize.

    I’m midway through Insanity right now. I’ve definitely gained muscle in the first 4 weeks, but my gut wasn’t helped by the holiday eating. Good luck, Sam!

    • says

      I worried little about my weight up to about 25, but now that I’m older and go out non stop for work and workout 50% less, I worry now.

      It’s harder to stay fit the older we get, but again, that’s just another BAD excuse!!

  6. says

    Minor nitpick on determining frame size… I’ve heard the same thing over and over about putting your fingers around your wrist, but I don’t buy it b/c that test is influenced by two things (wrist size and hand size) and only the former really relates to frame size. A better test is to measure the distance around your wrist, as well as elbow breadth, and compare them to a chart based on your gender & height, or use a calculator like this one:

    I bring this up in part because the hand-around-the-wrist test would tell you that I’m amongst the smallest of the small boned, but it’s mainly because I have rather large hands w/long fingers. If you looked at me, you’d never say I’m “small boned”, and when I’ve done the measurements I come out right on the line b/t medium and large frame.

    Anyhoo… I’m still a bit higher than where I should be no matter how you slice it, though I have dropped around 25 lbs over the past two years. My goal for this year is 12 in ’12… That is, to lose another 12 pounds. Good luck!

  7. Charles says

    I once lost 15 lbs from all fruit diet. I just ate fruit for lunch and then a normal dinner for one month. I also went to the gym 4x a week for 4 weeks. I went from 183-168 lbs doing this. But as soon as I stopped I gained it all back in no time. Losing weight is possible short term but for long term it’s a out a archangel in lifestyle which is very hard for most of us.

  8. says

    Did your scale tell you 15% body fat? If it did, you’re well below the average American… not that that’s the benchmark you’re going for, but it’s a start, haha. On that note, you’ve got to watch body fat (or a mirror) and not so much the scale.

    I’m also 5’10″… and yes, 129 is either Heroin Chic or Emaciated – I don’t see how it’s even possible at our height. Bones and organs alone and you’re probably pushing it, haha.

      • says

        ~ 165. Hate to internet brag (if this was Wikipedia I’d toss up a ‘CITE SOURCES’ flag), but that’s less than I want to be – I’m down around 15 from where I was 18 months back. It’s a long story how it happened, but I’m getting better now… finally.

        So, my goal for the year is to gain weight back…

  9. Untemplater says

    I didn’t realize the variance between sources was so big for the weight tables. I don’t watch sports on TV but I like your tip on doing situps and pushups simultaneously. Thats the right way to multitask! I’m not aiming for a specific weight this year but I did write up a lot of specific fitness and health goals for 2012. Overall I’m trying to increase my cardio, flexibility, and in take of raw foods. Best of luck with your target weight, you sound determined so I bet you can do it!

  10. says

    5’8 here – I have a large frame…at my peak lifting days I was wearing a 48 suit jacket and maxed out on the bench at a pretty good amount. However, when you take away lifting seriously for 6 or 8 years but still eat that way you get me!

    I just started up martial arts again and I’d be PUMPED to get down to 195 (at 220ish now).

  11. says

    Been there and done that! As you get older, you have to work harder to keep your metabolism up. I am 5 ft. 9 ins. and 147 lbs. I have developed a routine that works for me. You may want to look at what throws you off. For example client lunches and dinners are probably biggies! Make small changes to seafood or salads or just smaller portions. Losing weight can be difficult because muscle is heavier than fat. Good luck.

  12. says

    You seem to be in a fine weight range to me but maybe I’m just delusional bc according to this chart–I’m super overweight (although I wear a size 8).

    Anyway, just wanted to tout my 10 pound challenge to you since you’re planning on losing weight anyway. lots of prizes, $75, $50, $25, an ipod shuffle and more!

  13. says

    I am a small frame according to this chart and I am within range which is good. However this is a new thing for me. I have worked hard at taking control of my health the last couple years and it is nice to see it pay off. I think you have some great goals and some great steps on how to reach them. I am a vegetarian and I can vouch for how much better you feel and how much lighter you can be when you cut out meat. I won’t ever go back to my carnivore ways.
    You can do it Sam. We are all rooting for you.

  14. says

    I’m small/medium frame and my weight is right in that range.
    You can also try eating smaller meals more often. This isn’t easy if you eat out a lot though.
    The restaurants’ portion size is way out of proportion.

  15. JR says

    Good on ya, Sam for having a goal w/clear statements to get there. Now then, I grow weary of hearing so many complain about “weight”, especially “ideal weight”. Not to mention “frame size” or “bone structure.” Consider the numbers in terms of mass, and actual physical abilities. If you have the endurance to play a solid hour or so, 5’10” and 165 isn’t shabby. A buddy of mine is like 6′ and 210-ish, but he runs 5-10k at least 3/wk plus his other work-out. (think Insanity or P90X-like) While clinically ‘overweight’, he is in shape.

    As you’ve probably discovered, the important considerations are weight, height and body-fat in this equation. After that what matters is the body’s metabolism. Diet (i.e. overall eating habits) have the greatest effect, not only on weight/ body fat, but metabolism as well.

    Reducing then eliminating refined/processed sugars, soda, and anything “diet” then replacing w/ quality foods- fruits, veggies, lean meats, etc. will be your best friend in this venture. As well as smaller snacks and meals more frequently throughout the day. This decreased quantity, increased frequency of more complex foods will make your metabolism work.

    Also, there are some who suggest that this kind of diet is more in line w/ how our ancestors ate; therefore it is how our own bodies evolved to digest foods. From the ancient hunter/gatherer societies forward to modern-day humans.

    Those are just my thoughts on the whole diet/weight thing. I’ll put my soap box away now.

      • JR says

        Sorry, did not think about that. I’m around 5’9″, 145 w/ 14.5%. My fitness plan of choice is FfitDeck. Usually I have a decent enough diet; no soda, mostly water, some coffee ( ~2 mugs/ day) and a fair spread throughout the food groups.

        Good on ya! I don’t think I could play half a match anymore w/o a rest. My own 2-mile run time has doubled at best. Being tired afterward and being finished afterward are two distinct things, I think. You sound in good shape.

      • JR says

        14.5% is my body fat percantage according to my home scales. According to the CDC, my BMI is 21.4. While there is a relationship in the two, they are distinctly different numbers. BMI relates height/weight whereas my 14.5% is more of a ratio of fat:lean muscle mass.

        Just wanted to clarify those numbers a little better.

  16. says

    Sounds like a great goal sam, and I must say these charts make me mad as well. I’m not exactly sure how tall I am, but I’d guess 6′ or 6’1 – and with my weight of around 170, im sitting right at the top of the former, and towards the top of the latter. I dont really feel out of shape or unfit though, and nor do I constantly eat huge amounts.
    I’m about 10lbs off my all time high of 180, which was clinically overwieght, but I look the same as I do now – because muscle weighs more than fat, and i was spending 2 hours in the gym every day for about 8 months running.
    As a suggestion to lose some weight – try drinking more water.

  17. says

    Yo, Sammo. 2011 was my year to lose weight (42 pounds in 6 months). In previous failure plagued years, I thought running more would do the trick. Last year I quit all exercise and focused entirely on my diet. I was amazed at how much mindless snacking I had been participating in during the day, especially at work.

    I’m not saying working out won’t work. But you might want to experiment for 30 days with a diet only weight loss program. The issue I had with working out a lot is that I felt hungry…all the time. So, whether willfully, or subconsciously, I would sabatoge my efforts by eating whatever the heck I wanted thinking that working out would neutralize the bad food choices.

    So, maybe instead of on killing yourself with exercise, focus on cutting out sugar and other insulin spiking foods. And be sure to give yourself one day a week of pure gluttony :-)

    • says

      Jerret, I agree with you 100% that it’s more about less food intake and better food than exercising. Exercising just makes me hungry and risks me overreacting a lot of times!

      I once ate 25% less for 3 months and lost 8 pounds. I then worked out 3x more for 3 months and gained 1 pound!

  18. Brian D. says

    Hey Sam,

    For consistency sake, only weigh yourself in the morning when you first wake up before eating or drinking anything, but after you go to the bathroom. This will give you a good tracking baseline. I’m medium frame, 6’1″, 34 yrs old, and now at 184. I’m in the same boat, my plan is to get to 169 by the July 4th, but my stretch goal is to do it before I head to the Phillipines in late May. Weigh creep has definitely creeped in on me!

    • says

      Brian, you are spot on in telling me to be consistent in weighing myself the same time after the same function every year. I am a dumbass for not doing so!

      I know i couldnt have gained 5 pounds in 48 hrs, yet still beat myself up. Thank you for your encouragement.

  19. says

    I’m 35 years old, 6’4″ with a big frame, and I’m currently weighing in around 250. I think my ideal weight is closer to 200 lbs or so. Yup, I’ve got a ways to go.

    Last year I started in on the weight loss thing, mainly focusing on healthier eating. I lost 30 lbs (started at around 270), and then gained about 10 back after losing some momentum and falling into old habits.

    This year my goal is go lose those extra 50 lbs – and to do that I’m starting P90X this month – combining the healthier eating that I did for part of the year last year with more frequent exercise. So we’ll see how it goes!

    I used to be on that 2-3 hours of tennis every day program playing all through high school, and teaching it in college – but not sure how long I would last these days..

    • says

      Hi Peter – I hope you took advantage of your height for your serve! That must be fun pounding the serve flat and at a sharper trajectory!

      200lbs sounds great. Michael Jordan was 6’6 and played at 205-210.

  20. says

    I love your enthusiasm for the body change you are looking for. I have come to believe (through experience) in Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour Body guidelines – and that weight is a bad gauge of fitness.

    I think Body Fat and measurements are way more important… Tim actually stress’s measurements of body parts and BF as the best way to tell if what you are doing is having an affect.

    I’m 43 now, 220lbs with 16.5% BF – according to my handheld Omron. I think the BF sensors in the scales are off too much and ignore mine.

    I’m one of the recovering masses getting back on track after the Thanksgiving-New Years bing eating. I record every time I measure weight and BF, in late July, I was at 14% BF and 208. Felt good as I ran two half marathons over the summer.

    With the outline of what you are going to do for fitness above, I could see you getting stronger and not actually losing weight at all. Watch your measurements and the BF ’cause the muscle’s you will be adding will counteract any fat you release (you don’t lose fat, cause when you lose something, you go look for it!! Release it!)

    Anyway- great attitude, you certainly have your big why going for you!

    Best of luck and I hope you post updates on this subject!


    • says

      Matt, how tall are you at 220lbs?

      The doctor says 8-18% is an acceptable body fat percentage, but me at 15% and you at 16.5% is pushing the high-end, even thought it’s OK. I mean, that’s 30+ pounds of fat on my body, and I just imagine how much quicker and leaner with just 15 pounds of fat essentials!

      I bet you really did feel great at 14% BF. Let’s get back down there together and more!


      • says

        I’m 6′ 4″ – and I agree that I’m pushing the high end. When I started tracking BF over a year ago, I was over 20%. I know how much better I feel when I’m closer to 15%. BTW – I ran two 1/2 marathons last summer (my body is NOT the typical marathoner!) and the lower the BF, the better I felt running.

        I plan on a marathon this year, so I need to get my diet and, therefore, BF down. Less Injuries that way and feeling much better.

        I’m trying to get my wife on board with a more Slow-Carb/Paleo diet – it can be tough to be the only one in a household on a ‘different’ eating plan!

        I agree, 14% is the next stop!

        • says

          Nice work Matt! That’s great you ran two 1/2 marathons! If the three-legged bear were chasing me as I mentioned in my article, I think he’d catch up to me by mile 7 FOR SURE!

          Let me know when you do that full marathon. That would be excellent.

  21. says

    According to the chart, looks like I am just five pounds from being within my range. Being sick for the last four days paid off! :).

    Jokes aside, I think it is the plight of people who work full-time sitting down. There are a few people at the agency I work that have set up makeshift standing stations for themselves so that they are standing more than sitting during the day. I am intrigued!

  22. says

    I’m fat. I know I’m fat. By BMI standards, I’m morbidly obese. By the charts above, I need to lose around 85lbs. Would I like to lose that 80lbs? Yes. In fact, this last year, I lost around 25lbs just by getting braces (an 8 week liquid diet at the start, and after every adjustment when it hurt to chew didn’t hurt.) But… and yes, there’s a but.
    I’ve found that I have to stop obsessing about my weight. Thinking about being fat just makes me depressed. I can eat nothing and still gain weight when I’m depressed. Instead, my goal for this year is simply to be healthier (includes exercising more, eating more vegetables, and stopping eating when I’m full instead of feeling like I need to clean my plate because people are starving in India). If weight loss comes with that, good. If not, that’s okay.
    Without getting on my soapbox, I think that our society also puts more emphasis on weight than health. People with ideal weights can be very unhealthy and people who are larger can be quite healthy. I’ve known a number of people who have gotten weight loss surgery. Their weight has dropped dramatically, but their health has gotten worse. And even those who got gastric bypass are starting to gain back about 5 years down the road, despite the fact they can still barely eat.
    Maybe it is because I’m fat, but I am very much a proponent of the Healthy at any Size movement.
    Still, if you’re unhappy with how you look and/or feel, it’s good to do something about, and I wish you the best of luck on your goals. Just make sure you don’t tie up too much self-worth with the numbers on the scale.

    • says

      Thanks for your thoughts. I haven’t let me weight get me down for the past 11 years b/c frankly, I thought I was doing OK! Now that I did several hours of research, spoke to a doctor and a trainer, I realize that I’m definitely on the higher end and beyond for ideal weight.

      Because I play competitive tennis, I’m more acutely aware of my weight b/c I depend on power and speed to win. I imagine carrying an extra 10 pound dumbbell on the court and that makes me mad b/c that weight bogs me down.

      I also used healthy at an size as an excuse. No longer for me today. Not today, never again!

      I do believe we will change when we get sufficiently annoyed about our state. The upside if we don’t is that we don’t have to work out, which is a pain, and we get to eat all the good food we want!

      • says

        Because I try to be honest about this subject, I’m not saying your thought about being sufficiently annoyed doesn’t apply to me. However, I decided years ago that it was healthier for me to be happy with who I am than to be depressed about my weight constantly. (Depression does not equal weight loss. Happiness, amazingly does, though not 80-85lbs worth)
        However, for some of the people I know, telling them that the reason they haven’t lost the weight/kept it off is because they don’t want it bad enough, isn’t helpful. In fact, it’s mean, cruel, and in some cases, outright false. These people are not fat because they don’t respect that starving kids in India. They aren’t fat because they haven’t tried to lose weight. Some of them are fat despite developing anorexia or bulimia. For some people, their weight is strongly effected by medical (often genetic) issues.
        Now, I’m not saying everyone should just be complacent about their weight. Weight is a factor in a healthy life, but it is not the only factor, nor is it the most important factor. It is simply the most visible factor. And I honestly believe the world would be a whole lot better if we stopped thinking we “knew” certain things about people based on their weight.

        • says

          Erin, good point about weight being the most visible factor.

          I want to be cruel to myself and admonish myself for not being more mindful about others. I’m way too complacent.
          I have lived and visited so many impoverished countries, and it is unacceptable to me to continue to be overweight. I understand that the majority of readers or Americans have not visited India, so I don’t expect them to feel the same way. Travel is very beneficial in providing perspective in this way.

          I do believe we have the power to change, which is why I’m challenging myself , SWEARING publicly that I will change or else.

          I don’t judge people based on their weights anymore. I’m just judging myself for letting myself go and making so many excuses over these past 11 years. I wasn’t sufficiently agitated to change, which is why I didn’t. Now I am.

          This post was majority meant to motivate me to kick my own ass and provide some information to the readers. If readers find motivation in the info and in my self admonishment to lose weight, awesome! If not, no problem.

        • says

          I am sorry if I have come across as judgemental. I am not trying to be, though this is a soapbox issue for me, so sometimes I have a harder time reigning it in.
          I think your goals are great. I think they represent a healthy way for anyone to lose weight and get in shape.
          I am not trying to bash you for wanting to lose weight. I will admit to a jealously of how little overweight you are. But that’s my issue, not yours.
          On twitter, you expressed (or so it seemed to me) a little dismay at the response this article was getting on The Consumerist. I was simply trying to provide you with another perspective.
          You are right, I’ve never been to India. I still don’t think my weight issues are an insult to them.
          You (and it seemed most of the commenters before me) don’t appear to have ever been a seriously overweight person. That’s the perspective I’m trying to share. And no, I don’t think your weight issues are an insult to me.
          And just like you think it would be cool if others are inspired by you (and I agree), I think it would be cool if just one person who reads this might stop and think next time before they tell a fat person who has failed at losing weight that “they just don’t want it bad enough”.
          As you say, its all a matter of perspective. I’m never going to have yours. You are never going to have mine. And I say that’s what makes conversations like this valuable and wonderful.

          • says

            Yep, understood. No worries.

            I know I’m on the lower end of being overweight, but I’m still overweight and mad so I’m doing something about it.

            If you read my comments to others here who are also OW and mad, I am supportive of them and hope they succeed. You’re right in that we all have different perspectives, agitation points, and standards, which does make for good points and counter points.

            I don’t like to judge anybody, especially if I’ve never walked in their shoes.

  23. says

    Sam, Don’t forget that muscle weighs more than fat! I don’t trust those charts because they don’t accurately reflect athletes who are toned and muscular….they are more for average Joe’s. If you exercise as much as I think you do you must have some muscle weight, so don’t worry about it!

    I have a similar weight and at 5’8, I’m anything but fat and definitely not a “large frame”. Some might even call me a dynamo …. well….maybe ten years ago…

    • says

      I highlighted that bad excuse in my post. Is 10lbs of muscle heavier than 10 lbs of fat? Nope. They are both 10 pounds!

      If you’re happy with being 168-169 at 5’8, that’s cool. It’s just too much for me.

  24. Darwin's Money says

    I don’t buy random charts, BMI, etc. (like you said, they’re all over the place). I think % bodyfat and basically how you look is much more telling than a chart. I lift fairly often so have more muscle than the scrawny guy at the same height. How does the chart account for that? According to the chart, I’m a bit on the high end for med build, which I’ll buy – I’d like to lose another 5-10 pounds (I just put on 5 since Thanksgiving).

    For your situation, I’m more an 80/20 guy and law of diminishing returns guy. You could spend your whole life trying to have the “perfect” build, but for what? You will have forgone drinks with friends, many great meals, lots of time for perhaps very little benefit. The difference between being in “great shape” and “perfect shape” might be hundreds of hours a year but may not change the fact that you get cancer at 72 and die regardless, ya know? I’m not saying we should all be slobs, but pursuing perfection may not be the best use of time and resources.

    • says

      That’s a good point about how much effort it takes to get those final 5-10 pounds. However, to me, it’s worth it b/c it feels damn good to be in really good shape, and I want to be healthy.

      I can honestly say that I could lose 10 lbs with my frame.

  25. says

    LOL Mad at yourself, aren’t you? Join the club, Sam.
    According to the table I am between small and medium frame, and I am overweight. Not funny! I was in a such good shape in September. Then I went back home, ate all that food I was missing for years, and now I have very sad (fat) results. What helped me to lose weight in the past was: reducing red meat, controlling portions, running and lifting a lot. I lost ten pounds in about seven months. Older we get, slower our metabolism gets. So we need to eat less and move more. Good Luck! P.S. Men’s metabolism is still better than our’s. Lucky you!

  26. Mike Hunt says

    Good discussion. At 6’2″ and 200 lbs, I would like to lose 20 lbs, but in spite of working out 6 days a week (45 minutes on weekdays, 1.5 – 2 hours on weekends) that only maintains my weight.

    I do think eating foods with less calorie density would help. Actually, maybe it’s time to take a job hiatus and hike the Appalachian trail in a season- that would allow for the shedding of 25+ lbs!


      • Mike Hunt says

        I am re-reading this and smiling. After doing a juice fast some 3-4 months ago, my weight is still at 160 lbs, a full 40 lbs lighter than when I wrote this comment two years ago. I am still working out 6 days a week, have a body fat level around 5%, and can bench press as much as when I was 200 lbs…. I am maintaining a vegan diet (no dairy, no eggs, no meat) and am using nuts and seeds along with brewers yeast for protein- it’s amazing what a diet change can do for you. I’m now convinced diet makes 90% of our body makeup and exercise is the remaining 10%.

  27. Simple Rich Living says

    Based on your chart, I barely made it before. Over the holidays I probably have gained 5 ish lbs so now I am over. I think it’s fantastic idea with your plan (writing = exercise; football game = pushups; etc). I hope you don’t mind I think I am going to steal a few of those ideas.

  28. says

    I run, glad you checked out our calculator. I want to raise a big flag about your weight chart and the fiction of “frame size”. The difference on your 5’10” with a small frame and same height with a large frame is 26 pounds (154 lbs vs. 180 lbs) on the high end but only 14 pounds on the low end???? If bone structure is the issue then it should be the same on both. Many sources quote that skeletal weight is about 15-20% of body weight, so these tables “back in” to the numbers, taking a weight range, assigning an amount to the skeleton based on a % of the body weight. In reality, if you take a bunch of 5’10” male skeletons, you are only going to see a 7-10 pound deviation in total weight (not 14-26). So you don’t want the westernized version of your ideal weight, don’t include frame size in the calculation. Thanks again for using and mentioning us on your site.

    • says

      Howdy Greg,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on bone structure and deviation.

      Does have an Ideal Weight Table you’d like to highlight? I’m happy to check and and share too.



  29. says

    Read about your plan on Consumerist. Sorry to see that you are taking the non-evidence-based approach — but not surprised that you are because most people without a science background and who don’t know the evidence-based dietary science think as you do that exercise is the key to weight loss. Look up Gary Taubes’ piece on exercise in New York Magazine for the corrective science on this.

    Furthermore, per Taubes massive research into dietary science (vs. the “science” you’ve been led to believe is correct), it is carbohydrates — sugar, flour, starchy vegetables like potatoes, apple juice — that cause the insulin secretion that puts on fat.

    Here’s a woman who went by the science:

    Furthermore, I sit at a computer all day and I could never exercise again and be thin as a rail (which I am — now weigh what I did in high school at 47) because I eat bacon, eggs, steak, plenty of meat fat, buttered green beans, salad with a lot of dressing. What I don’t eat are carbs, save for the few that are in the salami and cheese I snack on. If you eat this way, you will not be hungry and pounds will drop off you like stones off a truck.

    To do this well, see Dr. Michael Eades “Starting or Restarting a low-carb diet” at

  30. says

    With as much tennis as you play, I should think a lot of your weight really is healthy weight such as muscle. Still, healthy living is always a positive thing. Good luck.

    As for me, I try to stay within the BMI chart for healthy weight (18.5-24.9). I’m within the range, but slowly creeping up to the top of it. Losing about 10 pounds would put me back in the 22 range, which is considered healthiest – according to my Wii Fit Plus :) . Therefore, that is my goal for this year.

  31. says

    Sounds good Hunter! 50-100 miles of riding is great. Another datapoint that suggests food intake is more important than exercise to lose weight.

    I’ll definitely shoot for my goal by September!

  32. says

    As other people have chimed in Sam, don’t put too much emphasis on weight loss. As a “former athlete” I like to motivate myself with athlete-specific challenges such as running farther/faster, lifting more, getting back to a high recreational level in a sport etc. This gives a much better indication of where your at in my opinion. BTW, 15% is not bad at all man! I do appreciate your dedication to getting back to ideal shape though. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting back to boxing (I’m about 45 pounds over my old fighting weight of 195, at 6’2 with a large frame). There’s no better motivator to get in shape than getting hit in the face!

    • says

      Those definitely are good suggestions. Were you the one who mentioned you played basketball in school? Sorry that I forgot if so.

      My motivation is to win my matches at my tennis level. I think i’ll have an easier time if I don’t have an extra 15 lbs dumb bell on me.

  33. says

    Great but very depressing post. I feel your pain; and my own. I am small frame and overweight. I knew this but seeing it in a table – I have to go down to 136 lb. Which only means that I am joining you in the ‘pledge’ – I’ll run Loch Ness marathon again in October and will be fit as a fiddle and lean as an elf.

    I don’t believe in metabolism and/or age. We get fat because we eat too much and don’t move enough. I’ll not only run – I’ll listen to Jai and go salsa dancing.

    • says

      Yeah, sorry to depress. I was SO agitated that I gained 5 lbs in two days that I just had to write this post. I know it was 5 lbs of fat or whatever, but still, I was pissed.

      Glad you’ve joined the pledge. I like the no excuses attitude!

  34. says

    Nice rally call Sam but I suspect you are in just fine shape if you can hold a tennis match for two hours. I also suspect you will lose the few pounds that are pissing you off very quickly :).

    I’m about 7lbs up from Christmas but have about 15-20lbs to lose. I’m a shadow of the man I was 1.5 years ago though so the slow shift down is working for me.

    I’m convinced the majority of weight loss is made with sensible food choices and that exercise is awesome and does contribute but it shouldn’t be used for that. Food for weight loss and exercise for fitness….

    ….. Oh, by the way I am totally with you. I’m currently doing the 100 push up challenge and have my running on hold until I reach New Zealand but am planning some epic country-side runs. Just before Christmas I pushed myself back up to half-marathon distance ( so I am sure I can achieve great things for me in that area in 2012.

    Good luck but I am sure you don’t need it.

    • says

      You are lucky to be the shadow of the man from 1.5 years ago. One of my old posts was about gaining weight to lose weight. Feels good gaining b/c the food is so yummy, and it feels good losing.

      100 pushups at one go? The most I’ve done is like 45, then i’m dead.

      • says

        Breakfast, 1 egg with one egg white. 1/2 can of black beans spiced with onions, garlic, cumin and salsa.

        Lunch: Homemade soup, usually beans and tons of veggies.

        Dinner: Mild lentil curry with something like shredded cauliflower or broccoli slaw to replace rice / pasta

        Snacks: a couple of almonds, a few olives, handful of beans, no more than 1 diet drink a day.

        Black coffee and water tend to be my drinks of choice.

  35. David says

    Well, I have a long way to go!! According to your charts almost 100 pounds. “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is what I keep hearing. They did something in a day, in a week I bet they built a house. After going to the gym for 4 weeks not much of a change but I am getting stronger, my stomach is going in a little bit more every day. I will get there. I just have to blog about it more, yeah that is what I will do!

    • says

      I used to take it slow, until I realized, shit, I’m going the wrong way. Before 11 years ago, I had an instance where I ballooned to 180. That kinda sucked. My buddy said I looked like Charles Barkley!

      I like the title of your site! What’s it about? Just kidding :)

  36. says

    Those that don’t believe that metabolism, age or menopause plays a role in weight gain – come back and talk to me when you are 65!

    When I decided to stop smoking (in my 40’s) I lost weight ahead of time because I knew I would gain when I stopped. I got back to my ‘ideal’ weight for my small frame and height – but to do that I ate about only 500 calories a day and rode my bike for 20 miles every night after exercising for at least 30 minutes each morning.

    I like to eat – but I do exercise and stay in shape.

    Good luck with your goal Sam.

    • says

      Thanks Marie. Women who are moms and past menopause get a hall pass!

      Nice job quitting smoking and planning ahead. I think i’d faint if I only ate 500 to even 1,000 calories a day AND rode 20 miles every night!

      Best, Sam

  37. says

    I feel your frustration, but I am in a different boat. I have to wait at least until the middle of May to attempt to do something about my weight–that will be six weeks after my delivery.

    I do not think I have ever gained more than 30 pounds during a pregnancy but you know you look incredibly large when you get up from eat dinner at a restaurant and you can hear someone say “Oh my G*D”…then again, my kiddo was 10 pounds.

  38. says

    Blogging has been terrible for my exercise regimen. Since I work as a computer programmer half the day and I spend some time writing, I sit way too much. Now that it is winter, it is harder to get outside and run around. Blah blah blah.

    I need to lose a few pounds probably. I have been focusing mostly now on making sure what I eat is actually beneficial to my body and not just satisfying some craving. Also, I am just trying to move more each day and not be sedentary. When this knee of mine is fixed though, look out!

  39. says

    I hate the charts too Sam! Ugh so frustrating. I’m working on getting my weight down 40 pounds, which will just get me to the end of the medium frame for my height. I don’t want to be as thin as I used to be, but I also don’t want to be as fat as I am now. I’m tracking my calories, working out, and incorporating juicing too. Good luck!

  40. Marissa @ Thirty Six Months says

    Im right at my ideal weight. I eat like a pig but I play soccer 2-3 times a weeks and am generally really active. I am scared that once my activity level dips, so will my metabolism.

  41. says

    I had never heard that about the “small” “Middle” and “big” frame distinction. Most BMI calculators give a number for ALL frames to follow. In any case, I’m skirting the border, but know that I’m not overweight. Thanks for sharing some info I had NOT heard before!

  42. Jeff Crews says

    I think I have just the thing that will help you obtain your body weight goal, connect socially with friends (so your Financial Samurai readers can follow your progress), and challenge other bloggers to become more fit. You ready for this????! :)

  43. says

    Business travel this past year or so has been murder on the waistline. From 34″ to 36″, and from 184 lbs to 193 today. I was at 198 right after the holidays, and feeling not so very good. I hit my high about 10 years ago at 225, which is a lot on a 5’6″ frame. It helps that I have wide shoulders, but as you said that’s a BS excuse. I’ve had a personal goal to get back to playing indoor soccer this year, but not before March. Still have a fair bit of phys therapy and conditioning to do.

    • says

      Yeah Andrew, “big bones”, “wide shoulders”, “big cajones”… all kinda excuses man! Just think back to how heavy you were in high school and college, that is if you were of normal health.

      How are the goals going?

  44. says

    Don’t rely too heavily on what the scale says. Your weight will vary from day to day. What you should focus on are measurements and pictures. You should take a picture of you now, only in your underwear, and then another picture every week or two. When you look at yourself everyday in the mirror, you won’t “see” any changes. But by having pictures, you can see the changes.

    Also, take measurements. Even if the scale says you are still at 1XX, if your waist measurement is going down, then you know you are losing fat (and probably gaining muscle).

    My girlfriend just started a weight loss program and was focusing on the scale weight. She was getting discouraged because the number wasn’t dropping. I told her to focus on her measurements and pictures and she is rejuvenated because she sees progress there.


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