How Do I know If My Weight Is Too Low?

By September 2, 2012

I am 5’3 and 3/4 inches tall and weigh ** pounds. I am 25 years old. How do I know that this isn’t a healthy weight for me? What kind of caloric intake should I be getting? I exercise 30 min. 5-6 times a week. Thanks. – Seeker

(Note: We reserve the right to block out weight numbers when we feel they might contribute to unhealthy behavior in some of our readers. Thank you for understanding).

Dear Seeker,
I am so glad that you wrote in to find out if you are at a healthy weight. It sounds like you care about your body and want to eat the right amount and stay active. You seem to be doing a good job with the amount of exercise you are getting.

For your height, however, even if you have a small frame, your weight is too low to be considered healthy. At this level, your immune system is weakened, your bone health is compromised, and your muscles aren’t strong because your body is undernourished. You may not detect all this happening in your body right now, but the impact will be noticed over time.

Do you get lightheaded at times? Do you tend to feel cold a lot? Are you experiencing digestive problems? Do you tire easily? Have your menstrual periods stopped or become infrequent? Any of these symptoms can be more obvious signs of an underfed body.

Whether this is a sudden loss of weight for you or you have been maintaining at this level for a while, I strongly urge you to see a doctor or nurse practitioner for a medical evaluation. They can refer you to a registered dietitian to help you assess your nutritional needs, including the right amount of calories for you at this point. I am concerned for you, so please don’t delay.

I wish you well in your pursuit of good health.