Skip to Content

What is “Overweight”?

Sometimes people will ask me what I think constitutes being “overweight”. Overweight can mean different things to different people. Somebody asked me that question online just a few days ago and it inspired me to write this article. I wrote back to them my answer with a football analogy which I will share here after a few paragraphs.

One definition of it, and the meaning that I buy into is this: Overweight is the point where you feel that your movement is becoming restricted and your motion is slowing down due to excess pounds of fat. Another result of this is that you look like you are carrying excess fat in the mirror and you begin to lose confidence in yourself. That meaning is more of an athletic definition for sure. I’m an athlete, so that is my perspective.

Then there is the beauty definition which can be a little more elusive and less concrete. As the old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I would suggest that the eye of the beholder of how you look and how you feel should be yourself and nobody else. It is you that sees you more than any other person. You look at yourself multiple times every day in the bathroom and at the gym, and anywhere else there is a mirror that you can’t avoid. Only you can determine what overweight looks like to you. Without a doubt, if someone makes a comment that you need to tone up it will have an impact on the way you look at yourself. At the end of the day, though, you have to determine where you are on the confidence meter when you look into the mirror.

So, when can you look at yourself in the mirror and feel a satisfactory sense of confidence? Sometimes you need a trainer to help you set the bar for yourself. None of us are perfect and we can always find ways to improve our health and our looks through the guidance of a fitness instructor and a good gym.

In the old days there was the BMI chart to tell us whether we were overweight. Those days are gone, thank goodness. The BMI chart is somewhat of a folly. It forces people into a height = perfect weight categorization and that is just not realistic. It was developed in the early 1800’s and it is not an accurate protocol for a modern fitness world.

People are born into and grow up to become all sizes, shapes, colors, thoughts, and preferences. There is no one size fits all as we have come to understand. There is only one size that is best for each individual based on who they are. The determination of what is a lean and efficient weight is your call, but you need to be honest with yourself and set the appropriate fitness goal!

And never forget this. Excessive amounts of body fat is detrimental to your health!

Consider an excerpt from the Harvard Medical School:

Excess body fat contributes to major causes of death and disability, including heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, fatty liver, and depression. Faced with these risks, it's no wonder that you want to know how much you should weigh. (1)

I was watching a Bloomberg biography and interview with Diane Fürstenberg, a Belgian fashion designer who makes New York her home and is best known for her wrap dress. She made this statement: “The more you can be you, the happier you will be!”

Of course, we know now that body fat% is a more precise measure of composition in stark contrast to the BMI (Body Mass Index) measure. This is why HOTWORX, the first 24 hour infrared fitness studio franchise, places more emphasis on the measure of body fat to determine an appropriate weight. When you are leaner you will have more muscle and less body fat, no matter what body type you have based on genetics.

I have an extensive background as a football player and as a football fan. I love that game! Therefore, life is like a football team to me. I see the world through the lens of a football game. I use football analogies every day to get my point across as a franchise company CEO. So here is a football analogy as it relates to the definition of what is “overweight”.

A football game requires 22 players to be on the field during play. Eleven on offense and eleven on defense. All 22 players on both sides of the football require different skill sets. These skills vary in requirements of speed, agility, strength, height and weight. No two positions on either side of the ball (meaning offense on one side and defense on the other) have the exact same requirement, and no two players are ever exactly the same, not even twins! Everybody is different in the way they move, look, feel and think! This diversity combined with competition is what makes the world go around!

The point is this. We are all different in shapes and sizes and every individual sees life from a unique perspective. A starting defensive tackle in the NFL is the right weight for that position and it might be 350 pounds. Whereas a starting wide receiver on offense is the right weight for his position too, or he wouldn’t be in the huddle. The receiver might weigh only 185 pounds though. Same team, same sport, same league, vastly different “perfect” weight for those individuals playing different roles. So goes life!

What is your “look good” to you? What is the weight that you move best with? When do you find your sense of confidence? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the beholder is you for you.

The mirror will tell you what looks good to you! Ultimately, you need to put in the work at the gym to get the result that you want, whatever that result might mean to you!


right arrow
stephen smith headshot
Stephen P. Smith, MA
CEO and Creator of HOTWORX, Author, Former National Collegiate Bodybuilding Champion and Arena Football Player, Certified Professional Trainer


Sign up to receive weekly emails:

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.