Let's Get Macro

All right! So now let's get into the key idea of creating a Weekly Meal Plan.

As a former high school English teacher, I def can swear by the maxim, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail:"

Kind of harsh language, but when it comes to leading a class of super bright high school students & having enough content prepared--all too true! 🙂

The same is true with making a Weekly Meal Plan and thinking about your food & energizing nutrients in a week-long span of time.

Planning in week-long chunks is essential.

Planning in week-long chunks is essential

And I want to add this planning strategy...to the other core tenets that comprise the idea of Eating for Energy:

  • You want to plan your food/meals in week-long chunks
  • When you get the Macro- & Micro-Nutrients you need…you can eliminate hunger between meals & set the stage to burn fat & have the ENERGY you need to get into a pleasurable FLOW with working out
  • And besides focusing on the Macros & Micros you DO want to eat—you also want to focus on TRADING UP foods that your body treats as a TOXINS (heat-processed vegetable oils, added sugars, cereal grains that block micronutrient absorption & may hurt your gut lining, improperly prepared beans)
  • Plus, daily “cycling” of safe carbs, protein & good fats to support your adrenals & a solid daily cortisol rhythm

So that you can sleep deeply, improve your body composition & have solid energy to get into a consistent FLOW with movement!


So let’s start exploring some fascinating ways to craft a Weekly Meal Plan...going for a specific amount of each Macronutrient (protein, carbs & fat) in way that gives you good mental & physical energia. Plus, you can create your own personal shopping list--with food & meal ideas that you like--as we go! 🙂

And ideally, you would choose Macro foods (protein, safe carbs & good fats)…based on getting the most Micronutrients from them as you can.

First, I just want to share how I'm using these terms, so that we can be on the same page with these key words:

The human diet is composed of both MACROnutrient & MICROnutrient needs…

MACROnutrients are the big molecules that we need on a daily basis: protein, carbohydrates & fats

MICROnutrients are the smaller nutrients that we need on a daily basis: vitamins & minerals like magnesium, potassium, vitamins D & C, B12, selenium, iodine and more...

Also, most micronutrients are found within Macronutrient foods.

Set the natural *snowball effect* in motion

The idea again that The Perfect Health Diet presents is that when your body has a near “perfect” amount of each Macro & Micro nutrient (without a large burden of food TOXINS (and good SLEEP))…your body can “right the ship” with with many unbalanced situations, have good energy, burn fat & build muscle, feel GOOD & thrive! 🙂

I was absolutely thrilled to find real research behind this idea: that there's a way to determine how much our bodies' need of each of these nutrients. And that when you have them--while reducing a toxic burden--you can indeed get this fabulous *snowball effect.*

So with that enthusiasm, let’s dig in first with how to plan your Macros (protein, carbs & fat):

The basic building blocks of your meals....and the things you want to aim to plan on a daily & weekly basis, for best results.

Macros = Protein, Safe Carbs & Good Fats

So planning your Meals on a Weekly Basis—has a lot to do with choosing foods that help your body feel energized & burn fat.

We're going to explore these High Quality Food Choices…and how to plan them on a Weekly Basis…in the upcoming Protein, Safe Carbs & Good Fat modules.

So get ready—it’s empowering & exciting!! 🙂

For people who want more details—understanding calories & DAILY Planning Strategies, too!

Daily Macro Calorie Planning is interesting to understand, too (with cats!)

Ok—so that’s the main take-away from this page. I’m going to invite you to plan your Macros for the best Micronutrients on a *Weekly Basis.*

I’m also going to share how to “cycle” DAILY your Safe Carbs for optimal cortisol rhythm, adrenal health & fat-burning power.

And…what follows are a few nitty-gritty details for people who're interested in the idea of “calories.” Feel free to move on to Section 4 with Protein if this isn’t you.

If you do want to get more technical with understanding calorie math…keep reading…

One caveat too I’ll share is that I've observed that many women DON’T EAT ENOUGH FOOD. I’m recommending a “calorie maintenance” model for burning fat & building muscle with this program. 

Truly, to get the best energy & fitness results—you need to eat real food & enough of it. I’ll break down how to visually “guesstimate” these amounts (so you absolutely don’t need to count calories) and also my fave tool for getting exact (cronometer.com) too.

So—if you’re interested in understanding calories…keep reading…but again, I want to encourage my readers to make sure you’re eating enough food in general. A “calorie maintenance” strategy is *best* for the least body stress...and best for burning fat & building muscle with a “getting in your nutrients” strategy, too.

Is "counting calories" necessary??

I highly recommend the Daily & Weekly practice of Planning your Macros & Micros…

You want to make sure you're getting all of the nutrients you need...


And I do recommend understanding your daily Calorie needs too (because it's important not to flood your cells with *too much energy* in the form of too many calories--or potentially hobble your energy by not eating enough calories as well):

I'll share more below why I highly recommend going with a *Calorie Maintenance* approach with Lifting Weights & daily Brisk Walking...rather than the often recommended calorie-reduction model. I'm going to share a safe way to reduce calories though, if that's something you feel you're in a good place in your life to experiment with too.

The main reason I'm sharing that *counting calories* is important is because calorie energy does matter...You don't want to too much or too little for your cells...


AND at the same time--the idea of reducing & resolving inflammation...and considering the QUALITY of your food—is even more important to our overall health, energy and being able to build muscle & burn fat.

And again why "daily moderation" of processed foods is NOT the best strategy for most people. Plus, you may be relieved to hear that...


Eating Less & Moving More...was proven to be a HUGE failure

Dr. Paul Jaminet details why on the Perfect Health Diet blog, a major study that tried—very unsuccessfully—to prove that “eating less & moving more,” without taking into consideration the QUALITY of your food choices, was such a horrifying failure:

"The basic flaw in the Look AHEAD study [eat less & move more] was that it was designed to bring about weight loss, and hoped that weight loss would improve health.

A better intervention would seek to improve health through a more PHD-like diet and through circadian rhythm therapies. Successful health improvement would, more than likely, lead to weight loss.

For the overweight and for diabetics, the focus should not be on weight, but on health. Improve health, and weight loss will follow. Focus on weight with a simple-minded “eat less, move more” intervention without tending to the quality of your diet and lifestyle, and you might be doing yourself more harm than good."

So QUALITY is going to trump QUANTITY, any day of the week.

But let’s talk about quantity for a second (keeping in mind that the quality of your food choices is super, duper important)…

And creating a Daily Macro Calorie plan, that addresses the quantity—how much—with both:

  • total daily calories…
  • and how much Protein, Safe Carbs & Good Fats based on your goals, activity level & current body weight…

that would potentially work best for YOU!

It’s worth putting in a little extra time in the beginning though to see if you’re actually getting ENOUGH of each of these macronutrients (or too much of them too). Put the effort in up front—get paid back in spades as you continue to rock it 🙂

Key Questions to Plan your Macros on the Daily:

1. To plan how much PROTEIN...what are your GOALS?

Ok, so you want to consider your GOALS when it comes to planning How Much Protein you need each day:

I'm going to share Daily Protein amount recommendations from researcher Alex Leaf...so that you can get specific...plus, an easy general recommendation, too.


Alex Leaf explains that:

How much daily protein you need depends on your current body weight, your fitness goals…plus your current level of physical activity:

from 1.2 g/kg if you’re sedentary all the way up to 2.4 g/kg for beginning/intermediate strength trainers if you’re wanting to minimize fat gain while building muscle.


Here's a fabulous chart to do the math for yourself & get YOUR best amount of daily Protein:

Here's how to do the MATH to determine what this looks like in POUNDS too (or just do the math with your weight in KILOS, using the numbers as-is in the chart above)

  • Step 1: Take your *current weight* (NOT ideal weight--but current weight) in POUNDS and divide it by 2.2
  • Step 2: Then, find which category YOU would best fit in the chart above, based on your goals, current situation & activity level
  • Step 3: Multiple the total you got from Step 1 (your current bodyweight divided by 2.2) with each of the numbers to see the range of GRAMS of Protein you would want to go for each day

OR--use this single recommendation:

I really appreciate Alex Leaf's Protein chart to show how to determine the best amount of daily Protein (in grams)…and his online calculator is pretty fabulous, too!

Alternately, you could also keep it SUPER simple & go for Dr. Chris Masterjohn's recommendation for building muscle while burning fat--if you're going to be doing my Get Lifted strength training program:

Go for 1 gram of animal-based Protein per pound of bodyweight...and try to get at least 30 grams of animal-based protein in each meal.

Any plant protein can be eaten in addition to this base amount.^^

He also recommends this amount of daily Protein if you have--or are at risk of having--Fatty Liver Disease, as well.


Restricted Protein for Longevity?? Not so fast...

I also recommend using the above chart from Alex Leaf if you are older. The idea that eating less protein helps extend your life span has never been proven with humans, and only with mice. Alex Leaf goes into great detail as to why these mice studies are not a good recommendation for humans to increase longevity.

The main reason is that eating low protein puts you at risk of muscle and bone loss--making you at-risk for falls, as you get older. So don't skimp on the protein...and go for daily brisk walking & lifting weights a few times a week, too! 🙂


Kidney exceptions...

The main exceptions (although I am sure there are other health conditions that may apply too) to the above chart & this general Daily Protein recommendation have to do with people with Kidney challenges, specifically:

--Kidney disease: a Low-Protein diet is recommended for people with kidney disease. You would want to work with a renal dietician to determine the best amount of protein for this condition.

--At risk of Kidney Stones: Dr. Fredrick Coe, researcher at the University of Chicago, summarizes the latest findings about Protein amount & risk of kidney stones--looking at the research, he recommends 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight--essentially on the low end of the moderate RDA range. More info here.


Woot! Got it with a good amount of Daily Protein for YOU?

Take a moment and choose which Protein goal & current body fat situation + Activity level describes you best right now...and plan to go for that amount of Protein on the daily.

And then you would adjust the amount of daily Safe Carbs & Good Fats you eat, based on other factors, which I’ll share more about below! 🙂

2. What about Safe Carbs & Good Fats??:

Ok—so figuring out how much daily Protein you want go for is a pretty clear call (see Part 1 above)…

Now, when it comes to adjusting the amount of daily Safe Carbs & Good Fats you’re eating, based on YOUR personal goals/desires right now…

The main thing you want to consider is…

Body Fat percentage:

As human beings, we're able to thrive on a wide variety of Macronutrient ratios…and you can play with how many Safe Carbs & Good Fats you’re eating to make this both effective and *pleasurable/sustainable* for YOU!

More about this below…but specifically when it comes to your current Body Fat %, your current body fat level can dictate what Macro ratios would traditionally be most effective:

Moderate Carb:

Because of things like insulin resistance, people with higher a body fat % tend to do better on a moderate carb diet. 

Our bodies do have *very important uses* for nutrient-dense Carbohydrates (Safe Carbs) that allow you to fully absorb important micronutrients & not block them (nutrient-dense carbs vs. ones with phytic acid content...or processed carbs with too much omega-6 fats or added sugars)…

In fact, Dr. Chris Masterjohn explains that we have a structural use for about 250 grams of carbohydrate a day — and that’s without adding in high-intensity exercise needs yet!

How does our body use Carbs? He details that:

Your brain will consume 120 grams of carbohydrate every day. There's got to be another 30 grams or so that would be used no matter what...by red blood cells, certain cells in the testes, the kidney, and the lens of the eye. Then the rest of your body — if you're eating not a ketogenic diet, the rest of your body is not really trying to burn fat, so it's going to burn through carbohydrate.

Your liver stores about 90 grams of carbohydrate to be able to stabilize your blood sugar between meals, and overnight fasting is the time where it has to do that.

If you add that up, you're looking at like 250 grams of carbohydrate a day — and remember we haven't gotten to high-intensity exercise yet.

And when people are dealing with something like Insulin Resistance—that you can improve insulin resistance by focusing on not overwhelming your cells with “too much energy” or too many calories in general…and that energy could come from protein, fats or carbs…it doesn’t really matter which one you choose to eat less of (or rather eat a “perfect amount” of), when it comes to achieving better insulin management…some people find going lower carb to be an easy way to do this…

However, as far as optimizing deep sleep and having good energy—eating Moderate Carb calories and choosing Safe Carbs (while eating a little less Fat) can be a powerful plan.


And at the same time, people with a lower body fat percentage and/or people who are highly active...tend to do better with a carb-focused diet…

(And of course there are exceptions)…but something to keep in mind! 🙂

If you have a higher body fat percentage though—you don’t necessarily need to go “very low carb” if you’re choosing fabulous Safe Carbs!! As the micronutrients in Safe Carbs (fruit, safe starches & veggies) can do A LOT for your fat-burning & health goals too.

I would call the Daily Safe-Carb Cycling for fabulous cortisol rhythms, fat-burning support, happier feelings, gut & joint health...I would call this a "Moderate Carb" diet, for sure.

And this amount of daily Safe Carbs can additionally be a great way to help you feel more energized, FULL & less dominated by food cravings, too.

So excited to "spill the beans" about this Daily Safe Carb Cycling strategy soon!


For now...what's your Safe Carb amount call?

Take a moment and choose which Safe Carb goal & current body fat situation describes you best right now...and plan to go for that amount of Safe Carbs on the daily.

And finally...what about Good Fats??

When it comes to Good Fats—they’re the most flexible macronutrient and you can adjust them up or down to eliminate hunger between meals and/or create a slight caloric deficit to lose weight.

More details about the best types of Good Fats & why Good Fats are so flexible coming up soon.

For now though:

  • You want to make sure that you’re getting at least 0.4 grams x your current bodyweight of Good Fats in your food choices every day.

For me, I tend to not add a lot of additional fat to my food, and try to avoid heating added fats as much as possible…but I also don’t “fear the fat” & try to go super low or avoid all fat, either.

As far as the other extreme—the Drs Jaminet recommend that the Keto diet (very high fat diet) is best used to treat certain, mainly neurological, health conditions (more deets here).

So we’ll talk about the flexibility of Good Fats…what makes a fat “good” :)…and for now, just make sure you are at least getting 0.4 grams x your current bodyweight in your food choices every day.

And there’s lots of Fat found in animal Protein—so this isn’t terribly hard to do…however, at the same time, if you’re a Vegetarian—I do recommend tracking & double checking your Good Fat intake with a tool like cronometer.com to make sure you’re getting enough each day for good hormonal health.

How to Plan your Macro Calories on the Daily, Part 3


Is the “Calorie Model” of Losing Weight…all it’s cracked up to be?

I think that understanding the model of Calorie Requirements is quite important—you want to make sure that you aren’t *flooding your cells* with too much energy…

And you want to make sure that you’re eating enough food to sustain crucial bodily processes and having solid ENERGY.

Again, JUST counting calories alone though will not get you long-term results—you absolutely need all of your Micronutrients in place in order to be able to function optimally (food QUALITY is so, so important).

I'm going to share in each Macro Module (Protein, Safe Carbs, Good Fats)...how you can visually "count macros" in place of solely counting calories...so it takes a lot of precise worrying out of this meal planning guide.

I do think it’s great to use a tool like cronometer.com to track your Calories for at least 3 days, so that you can se if you’re eating a big flood of them or too little, as well.

And when it comes to "Counting Calories"--there are 3 ideas that are generally discussed. I'm going to share why I'm voting for the *calorie maintenance* model, based on my own experience & the idea of making this pleasurable and sustainable.

And you can check out all 3 different ideas to plan calories & choose the one that best fits your situation…and your ability to stick to a diet/way of eating and actually enjoy it too :).

The usual options with how to plan daily Calories…usually focus on 3 different strategies:

• Losing weight…with a Slight Calorie reduction (can be effective…but can be very stressful for your body)

• Building muscle & burning fat OR just straight up feeling GOOD…with a “maintenance” level of Calories (effective AND satisfying)

• Building muscle if you’re already Very Lean


Ok—with that preview of three different daily calorie planning strategies…let’s look at each:

A. Lose body fat by using a slight Calorie reduction

So in addition to going through the process of replacing more “empty calories” or TOXIC foods…with micronutrient-dense ones…and making sure you’re getting all of the crucial Micronutrients (like choline and retinol Vitamin A)…

An often recommended way of reducing body fat involves THIS calorie math:

Calories IN, needs to be less than Calories going OUT, if you want to lose body fat.

Nutrition researcher Dr. Chris Masterjohn details how to Burn Fat, with a caloric deficit:

Rocking a slight caloric deficit:

"1. You don’t want to lose weight too rapidly…about 1 pound a week is great (but don’t stress on it…0.5 pounds or up to 2 pounds a week is good)

2. You need an exercise program that provides an anabolic stimulus to convince your body that it’s worth keeping your muscle mass. Because muscle mass is energetically expensive to maintain and if you’re losing weight, you’re losing your energy stores…and you’re not telling your body that muscle mass is really important…it’s going to say 'Hey, if I just cut out this muscle mass, I don’t need as much energy.'

3. You need to eat enough Protein. If you don’t eat enough Protein then it doesn’t matter if your body thinks that there is a reason to maintain the muscle mass…your body’s not going to have the resources needed to maintain that muscle mass."

However, as a caveat to this--losing weight with a slight caloric deficit can be stressful on your body...and Dr. Chris Mastrerjohn uses the analogy of having a "stress bucket." So, imagine this bucket...and it's filled with your daily stress:

If you have a lot of other things in your life that are filling up your stress bucket....like school or work stress, not getting enough sleep, having other health problems/conditions/challenges...then it's best to focus on *emptying out* this stress bucket FIRST (and go with calorie plan B below instead)...before you add Losing Weight with a slight caloric deficit to your stress bucket.

You have to be in a good place in your life to go for eating a calorie deficit to Burn Fat (and build muscle).

Yes, yes this planning method is effective...but it can also really set you back if the *timing* and the state of your stress bucket isn't right.

Does that make sense?

Also, eating a low-calorie diet has been shown to increase cortisol and disrupt good daily cortisol rhythm, which is key for being able to burn fat.

The easiest way to do this:

Get a solid amount of Protein at each meal...lift weights weekly...and

The Drs. Jaminet recommend reducing the amount of Good Fat “delicious decorations” that you add to your meals—as these are the calories you would want to focus on cutting out to achieve this slight calorie reduction.

Way more info on this in the Good Fats section.

My reflections on Option A:

So even though the calorie reduction module (while absolutely taking into account the QUALITY of your food) can work…so does option B below too, and it can be less stressful on your body. And personally I think that losing body fat while enjoying your food and movement and LIFE…all in one go...is the most sustainable way to keep it off, too.

So—calorie restriction for people who are in a place in their life to rock it (see more about how to do this in the Good Fats module)…and because optimizing your daily cortisol rhythm is so key for success--for most everyone, please check out another successful strategy with Option B, a “maintenance” level of calories, below.

B. Build Muscle & Burn Fat while going for *Maintenance* level of calories

I personally like this way of thinking about eating, because it involves less sacrifice & it helps support a good daily cortisol rhythm…however; it’s most effective with getting “results” with eating this way when you are in fact exercising/lifting weights (exercise causes a hormonal response that tells your body how to better use food).

And however again—it also depends on how “micronutrient-poor” your diet was in the first place though too…just the “simple act” of eating *better carbs* and following the Weekly Planning tips (choosing yummy foods to maximize their Micronutrient content while kicking to the cub as many “plant toxins” as possible)…that can do A LOT in supporting your body.

I’ve experienced great success with both building muscle & burning fat myself with this strategy of a “maintenance level” of daily calories…

And it’s a strategy that fitness coaches like Jason Ferruggia also teach, as well as nutrition/strength training researchers like Ned Kock…and essentially what The Perfect Health Diet teaches, as well.

It’s effective because it’s pleasurable and do-able. And because it doesn’t cause a lot of stress on your body, too. If you’re in a good place in your life (low “stress bucket”) then option A may be effective…but option B (with good food choices) works fabulous, too. 🙂


Optional: If you want to calculate a Maintenance level of calories to build muscle & burn fat:

Use this online calculator to determine the amount of Calories needed to sustain/maintain your current weight...and/or to burn fat & build muscle when you add in exercise/lifting weights with this "calorie maintenance" planning strategy.

I recommend not over-estimating your activity at all with this calculator to get the best results.


And planning calories this way—with a “maintenance level” is a fabulous way to simultaneously both burn fat AND build muscle…of course, with lifting weights/exercising.

Plus, I would also recommend using this calculator/strategy for pregnancy (unless directed by a doctor otherwise)…And additionally, if you’re pregnant…here’s a brief overview of how you would add more calories in the second and third trimesters, too.

And this is a good fertility strategy as well.

Plus, if you don't have a lot of energy to get into a flow with working out YET :)...like I mentioned before too—just improving the micronutrient QUALITY of your food choices (and making sure you’re getting all of the key Micronutrients you need)...

While ditching plant TOXINS (and the Drs. Jaminet explain that it’s plant TOXINS that make us fat, not different ratios of macronutrient calories)…can do A LOT to allow health and balance to happen…and Weightloss to happen from there.

As you burn more fat, you may consider slightly increasing your calories too to help build more muscle, as you progress (see option C below)…


Who's excited about Option B?

I will share an easy way to plan your daily Macros visually coming up, too...however, you can optionally use this Calculator link to do the calorie math and get specific.

Your total calories with this strategy: __________

C. Build Muscle if you’re already Very Lean:

If you're already super lean, and you're trying to add more muscle and NOT lose any more weight…then that’s when you could go for a calorie surplus model.

According to Dr. Chris Masterjohn, you would want to experiment and try adding 100 calories a day to the current maintenance baseline (in B above)…

And Jason Ferruggia suggests making sure you're optimizing protein first (until you max out at Alex Leaf's upper recommended amount (more info in the next module!! :))...and then add 2g to start, up to 3g, of Safe Carbs/per pound of bodyweight (some highly active people need around 400 calories of Carbs per day, Dr. Chris Masterjohn shares)...and then if you max that out, add additional Good Fats after that.


To calculate Calories for Option C:

Use the activity/calorie calculator used in Option B...and then plan to add 100 calories to start, following the guidelines above...experimenting & noticing how it affects you, and progressing from there. 🙂


Your total calories with this strategy: __________

Protein energy...up first!

So…I hope you're getting excited about making a Weekly Meal Plan that works for YOU!

Protein is the bedrock you want to plan all of your daily meals around…and, I'll share how Collagen/glycine can help you significantly reduce inflammation & support good digestion…and why planning your Protein on a weekly basis is just SO important to set the stage to burn fat and/or reduce/eliminate a major source of inflammation…plus, extinguish hunger between meals & feel energized.

Ok…let’s get started with Protein (the most satisfying macronutrient??) first…

Optional Take Action: Complete the optional Macro Goal worksheet

Check out this Worksheet...you can download it here...

And on the first page, complete your Protein & Safe Carb Goals (Parts 1 & 2)...and then I do recommend completing Part 3 about calories, to see an optimal amount of "cellular energy" you would want to go for on a daily basis.

Awesome, possum (I mean, cat).


The big take-away for everyone is that I'm going to invite you to plan your Macros on both a WEEKLY and DAILY basis, to get all of the Micronutrients you need and support adrenal health.

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