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Gaining a few pounds? Find the right culprit to blame

Eating too much, and not exercising enough to burn off those calories, is the simple explanation for weight gain, but it’s really more complicated than that.

Many factors can play a role in determining if someone is going to gain weight, and possibly how hard he or she will have to work to drop the pounds.

  • Diet: The quantity and quality of food in your diet tops the list.
  • Genes: Some people are genetically predisposed to gain weight more easily than others. Genes even indicate if someone might be more predisposed to store fat around the midsection.
  • Physical inactivity: Exercising provides a range of benefits, including reducing the chances of heart disease, some types of cancer, and other chronic diseases.
  • Sleep: Research suggests a link between how much people sleep and how much they weigh. In general, children and adults who get too little sleep tend to weigh more than those who get enough sleep.

Source: Harvard School of Public Health—The Nutrition Source

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Don’t just lose weight, keep it off

Wondering if you’re overweight? Consider this rule of thumb: are you no more than 10 pounds over the weight you had at 21?

If so, congratulations. Just focus on maintaining that weight. Watch what you eat, and keep exercising.

But, typically, it’s not easy. Most people between the ages of 18 and 49 gain 1 or 2 pounds every year.

And as the pounds add up, so do the potential health risk, including heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Studies show that middle-aged women and men who gained 11 pounds to 22 pounds after age 20 were as much as three times more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and gallstones than those who gained 5 pounds or less.

Also, those who gained more than 22 pounds faced even larger risks.

If your weight is in the healthy range, and isn’t more than 10 pounds over what you weighed when you turned 21, focus on maintaining that weight by watching what you eat and exercising.

Often, maintaining a health weight can be as simple as starting with habits such as turning off the television and passing on sugary drinks. Little steps can make big differences.

Source: Harvard School of Public Health—The Nutrition Source

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