Of course you want to meet your ideal weight to look and feel your best, but you need to know your frame size to figure out what that ideal weight is. That's where wrist measurements come in. With nothing but a tape measure and your own arm, you can determine whether your frame is small, medium or large. Your frame size can translate into a difference of up to 20 pounds in ideal weight, so don't judge what that scale says until you know.
Don't worry; you don't need to be a math whiz to figure out your body frame. Just measure your wrist with a cloth tape measure. If you are 5-foot-2 or shorter, a wrist size of 5.5 or fewer inches indicates a small frame, a wrist between 5.5 and 5.75 inches means a medium frame, and a wrist bigger than 5.75 inches equals a large frame. If you're 5-foot-2 to 5-foot-5, a wrist size of fewer than 6 inches is small, 6 to 6.25 inches is medium, and more than 6.25 is large. If you're taller than 5-foot-5, a wrist of 5.5 to 6.5 inches is small, 6.5 to 7.5 inches is medium, and more than 7.5 inches is large.
At 5-foot-2, the ideal body weight for a small frame is 108 to 121 pounds. For a medium frame, it's118 to 132 pounds; for a large frame, it's 128 to 143 pounds. If you're taller, simply add 3 pounds for every inch. For example, a small-framed woman who's 5-foot-3 should weigh 111 to 124 pounds, while a small-framed woman of 5-foot-4 should weigh 114 to 127 pounds. If you're shorter than 5-foot-2, you only get to subtract 2 pounds; a 5-foot-1 woman's ideal weight with a small frame is 106 to 118 pounds.
Why it Matters
Matching your ideal weight does more than make you smile at the mirror. A healthy weight means lower risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. You'll also have more energy and self-confidence, and be more capable of performing everyday activities. If you're overweight now, losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can make a difference.
Achieving the Ideal
If you need to lose weight, diet is your best ally. Cut back to 1,200 calories a day, getting your energy from whole food sources such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Exercise is also key, particularly for weight maintenance. Muscle takes more calories to maintain than fat, so the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism becomes.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.