Weight Loss Support - I don't believe in "BMI"!!!!




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Beach Patrol
11-16-2011, 01:11 PM
BMI is so not worth a second glance! :snooty: BMI doesn't tell you how much of your "weight" is muscle, fat, bodily fluids, etc. I think BMI is generally an unreliable tool to gauge your success ! - so who's with me?

I DON'T BELIEVE IN BMI!!!! :cheer:

I DON'T BELIEVE IN BMI!!!! :cheer:

I DON'T BELIEVE IN BMI!!!! :cheer:


joyc21
11-16-2011, 01:17 PM
I don't use BMI as a measure of my success either. I go by body fat %, which is a more important measure in my mind. The good thing about weight/bmi though is that it's more easily measured.

amandie
11-16-2011, 01:22 PM
I'm with you! Though I do look at BMI for some personal milestones like getting out of the obese category and into the overweight category. After I get to 165ish, I'm just gonna focus on my body fat % and how I feel overall.


NEMom
11-16-2011, 01:25 PM
I did NOT set my goal weight by BMI standards. I am really close to my personal goal, I feel GREAT, I like the way I look (yes, I have body areas I want to improve) however, by BMI standards I am still considered overweight at my goal. I have not weight this for over 16 years and I feel like I can maintain this weight with exercise and healthy eating but if I lost to a 'healthy' BMI standard, I do not feel like I could maintain it without feeling like I can live without counting every little bite I eat.

InsideMe
11-16-2011, 01:58 PM
I'm TOTALLY 1000000000% with you! BMI has NEVER worked for me. When I was fit, toned, muscular with hardly any fat on me, I was in a size 4/5 I weighed.....get this between 160/165lbs!!!!! YUP! I remember stepping on the scale when I hit my size goal and was MORTIFIED of my weight! It's what triggered me back up, believing I will never weigh 110lbs......but now, forget it. It's just how my body is, I have a med-large frame and killer muscles and kickass power (my trainer is so impressed with my power) I'm deadlifting 50lbs now he believes with my muscles and frame I will get to 220lbs once I hit my size goal! I'm 200lbs and my size 12's are starting to fall off! People are shocked I'm 200lbs, and in a size 12....cause you know what, IT'S MUSCLE, yes I still have fat galore, but it has a lot to do with body composition........so I'm with ya. BMI does not WORK FOR EVERYONE!!!!!!!

ShanIAm
11-16-2011, 02:04 PM
I'm with you! Though I do look at BMI for some personal milestones like getting out of the obese category and into the overweight category. After I get to 165ish, I'm just gonna focus on my body fat % and how I feel overall.

Ditto this for me too!

runningfromfat
11-16-2011, 03:01 PM
Am I allowed to be ambivalent about it? :)

On one hand, it has it's place. It's certainly the easiest tool to measure a population as a whole. If you're obese, you could have health problems. Sure, there's the rare athlete in the obese category and, of course, many on 3FC are working their way down through clean eating and exercise but I'd guess they are the exception rather than the rule. As a population we're getting larger and it's an easy way to measure someone's health. Problem is, that it only works well on the extreme ends of the spectrum.

I definitely agree that body fat % is a MUCH better way to go. I really wish doctors were trained in measuring body fat at least with calipers. It seems like it would actually help a lot because there are also "skinny fat" people running around who might think they're healthy but due to poor eating habits and lack of exercise really might not be. Checking one's body fat percentage could be a huge help there.

I definitely DO think BMI can be abused. It's a pretty sloppy way of looking at an individual's health in the medium range, actually. Today I went into for a doc's appointment and heard a lecture on how I was overweight and it was the end of the world. :o I tried explaining to the doctor that I've lost over 50lbs in the last year, I lift, and swim. I'm also already seeing an nutritionist. I definitely need to lose the rest of the weight, there's no doubt about it, but I have a hard time believing that I'm infinitely unhealthier than someone who is just a measly 17lbs lighter than me (especially someone who isn't eating as cleanly as I am or exercising as much as me either). BMI doesn't show my history, it doesn't show my eating or exercise habits, it doesn't show that I've never smoked a day in my life or rarely drink, it doesn't show my frame size or my muscle mass either.

JohnP
11-16-2011, 03:25 PM
Take a look at BMI figures for someone who is 6'9"

ange82much
11-16-2011, 03:29 PM
i'm the annoying one that disagrees!! :D (in relation to myself at least)

Actually i'd agree that it can't be a measure of 'healthiness' and it's very possible to be healthy and outside the recommended range, however purely on appearance, the BMI scale describes me perfectly! If i was higher than the normal range i'd definitely feel too big, and if i was under the normal range i think i would be too small. Middle of the normal range is perfectly ok, but i'm hoping to stay halfway between mid-bottom of range because that's where i look GOOD - and even that small portion of the BMI range still covers a fair range of weight and so is a reasonable range to stay in for me.

carter
11-16-2011, 03:59 PM
I tend to agree with runningfromfat ... it's one tool, one metric, and it's useful as far as it goes. It shouldn't be given more value than it has, though. It's not a be-all, end-all metric of health for every person.

Averaged over populations, though, it has a lot of value. And for most people - people who fall under the big part of the bell curves for height, musculature, etc., it probably gives a pretty good indication of ballpark ranges of weights that are healthy versus ballpark ranges that are not.

And I suspect that a lot of people probably fall under the big part of the bell curves who believe, for whatever reason, that they do not.

I will use myself as an example. The BMI guideline puts the top of the "healthy" weight range for a 5'5" woman at 150 pounds. For the longest time, I thought, that doesn't apply to me; I could never, ever be healthy at 150 pounds. After all, I am built like an ox, with strong muscles and a very powerful core, and I have very large breasts. So I must be one of those people who falls outside the average range that the BMI charts cover.

Well, guess what? I now weigh 164 pounds, less than I've weighed in 23 years. And I have to tell you that looking at my body now, 150 pounds seems totally reasonable and doable to me. Looking at my body fat percentage (still around 28%), looking at my saddlebags and my belly, I can readily stand to lose another 15 or 20 pounds, putting me well within the "healthy" range for those BMI standards, despite all my muscle and boobs.

Now that I'm not fat anymore, I can see that I'm not as much of an outlier as I thought I was. While it's still true that the low end of the healthy range is not realistic or healthy for someone of my build, the high end most certainly is - that's why the healthy range is a range.

So, I'm less down on BMI as a guideline than I used to be. Applied to averages over populations, it's still a pretty useful measure of overall health. And applied to individuals, I more people fit within the guidelines than you might think.

runningfromfat
11-16-2011, 04:15 PM
I will use myself as an example. The BMI guideline puts the top of the "healthy" weight range for a 5'5" woman at 150 pounds. For the longest time, I thought, that doesn't apply to me; I could never, ever be healthy at 150 pounds. After all, I am built like an ox, with strong muscles and a very powerful core, and I have very large breasts. So I must be one of those people who falls outside the average range that the BMI charts cover.

Well, guess what? I now weigh 164 pounds, less than I've weighed in 23 years. And I have to tell you that looking at my body now, 150 pounds seems totally reasonable and doable to me. Looking at my body fat percentage (still around 28%), looking at my saddlebags and my belly, I can readily stand to lose another 15 or 20 pounds, putting me well within the "healthy" range for those BMI standards, despite all my muscle and boobs.

Basically yes to all of this. In order for it to be impossible to get to the healthy range of BMI, you really do need to be an extreme outlier (assuming you're an avergish height, obviously John's case of being 6'9", well, there probably just aren't that many stats out there on that). Now someone might choose not to get to a healthy BMI for whatever reason. That is certainly their choice and with clean eating and exercise they might be 100% healthy. I'm not one to judge.

But like carter, I have a large frame, lift heavy, have large breasts etc but I know I can definitely reach 155lbs or under because I've already been their once in my life. ;) Now, I'm pretty sure the low end of my BMI would not be a good idea for me. I might choose to stop before reaching 140lbs even, but I definitely have 17lbs left of fat on my body that I would happily do away with! On the other hand, I'm pretty sure with my current regime I'm healthier than a number of people already at a healthy BMI. On the other, other hand, my current regime will lead me right into a healthy BMI too. ;)

sontaikle
11-16-2011, 04:26 PM
I agree with carter and runningfromfat. It's a tool. Should it be used as the end-all measure of health? No, of course not. One could be "skinny-fat" while someone else could be "overweight" but healthy. For the majority of us, it's a guideline that we can use to determine a range of healthy weights.

Like carter, I thought that the healthy weights for my height were really low and I could never get there. I exercised, weight-lifted and have a large frame. However, as I got closer I realized that I could get there and probably go a little bit lower.

So here I am now, just within the healthy BMI and yet I have a large frame, weight lift and exercise. I still have a bit of weight to lose, but I know I'll never get down to the lowest range of the BMI for my height (106lbs I believe?) because for me that wouldn't be healthy. For a small-framed person it might be completely healthy.

I think the most important thing is to just focus on health and how you feel. Change your habits, focus on a healthy lifestyle and see where you end up :)

berryblondeboys
11-16-2011, 07:57 PM
In my family - two parents, two kids - oldest to youngest

Hubby - his ideal weight is probably at the very lowest of the charts of the BMI and might be even lower than it.
Me - my ideal weight is probably at the very top of the charts of the BMI chart.
Son #1 - he is WAY under the BMI for height and while he is thin, he is very healthy and not too thin.
Son #2 - he is WAY OVER the BMI for height and the doctors say "ignore it as it doesn't fit him". He is built like his Mama - stocky build, but he is not fat - at all.

So, for my family as individuals it doesn't fit 'us'.... as a population we would be the outlyers, but most people aren't... most people fit within the weight frame given... but even if people are within that frame, that doesn't mean the top end is really their ideal - could be the lower end, but because of their small frame they can 'say' they have a healthy BMI while someone who has a larger frame wouldn't have that luxury.

sontaikle
11-16-2011, 08:54 PM
Son #2 - he is WAY OVER the BMI for height and the doctors say "ignore it as it doesn't fit him". He is built like his Mama - stocky build, but he is not fat - at all.


It's always refreshing to hear about a doctor that looks outside of the BMI chart and takes the individual into account!

My brother is like your son, he's technically obese according to his BMI, but the doctor told my mother he's perfectly fine and she shouldn't worry. Honestly I was completely shocked when she told me how much he weighed! He doesn't look it AT ALL.

He just seems to be naturally muscular and stocky. People always think he works out.

kaplods
11-16-2011, 09:47 PM
Personally I think we place way to much importance on weight. To the point that we can end up believing that weight is a measure of health, and it isn't.

I know that sounds a lot like the "Health at Every Size" movement which advocates focusing on healthy behaviors, rather than weight loss.

A lot of people get upset at that notion, because it seems to "give people an excuse" to ignore their weight (gasp of horror, isn't that just shockingly inappropriate - even if it works it's just not right!)

But, the thing is, I've found that focusing on the healthy changes, and not the weight does work.

When I started, I didn't think I could lose weight without eventually regaining it and then some more to spare. I had just learned that I had lost 20 lbs without trying as a result of sleep apnea treatment with a cpap machine and medication for rls and pmdd. My doctors had told me I could lose weight without trying as a result - and quite frankly I thought they were nuts. I'd never unintentionally lost a single ounce.

I was afraid to try to lose weight, because that always ended in wieght gain in the long run, so I didn't try to lose weight. I decided that I was going to make healthy changes I was willing to commit to forever, even if no weight loss resulted (I didn't have much to lose. I weighed nearly 400 lbs, and was virtually bed-ridden).

For two years, I didn't lose any weight (but I didn't gain any either - and mainained the 20 lb loss). But I regained a lot of function, and that was a better reward than any number on the scale could have ever been. Since it wasn't about weight loss, I didn't give up when I didn't see weight loss.

The more I was able to do, the more health and function I regained - and the weight started coming off too.

Making it "not about the weight at all" has been the smartest thing I've ever done in my life. If only I had learned this 30 years ago. I'm never tempted to give up, because I'm focused on what really matters. My goal isn't weight loss, it's making changes that will improve my quality of life - not only my weight, but also my strength, stamina, health, symptom relief....

When it was exclusively (or even primarily) about weight, it was very easy for me to give up. Because when the weight loss was slow, it would feel like the weight wasn't going to come off anyway, so why bother?

But when weight isn't the goal - it also can't be the obstacle. When the weight loss slows, it doesn't alter my commitment to the healthy behavior changes of watching and controlling the portions and foodst I eat, and exercising.

Weight loss, strength, stamina, pain control, health improvements - they're not the goals, they're the rewards.

We focus so much on the scale that it becomes the only reward. And really, how rewarding can a number be? It's just not tangible enough (at least it's never been for me). But being able to take a shower without needing a shower stool? Being able to tie my shoes without my husband's help? Reducing and eliminating medications I've been on for years and even decades? Being able to sleep comfortably for 3 or 4 hours (instead of waking in excrutiating pain ever 45 minutes and having to "flip" sides because my side was numb from the pressure of my body against the mattress)?



It seems absolutely ridiculous that we make health and weight loss about wearing a specific size, or seeing a magic number, or even looking a certain way in a specific outfit, or even a hazy concept of health. The goals are either too shallow or too intangible. Make them about something real and important to you, and now you've got something worth working for.

Expunge
11-16-2011, 10:03 PM
Well, BMI isn't really something you can believe in or not :P but I get what you're saying.

BMI was invented as a quick and dirty tool to be applied across populations for sociological studies... not as an indicator of individual health. While I do think it's good as a rough guideline for what's a 'normal' weight, it's completely irrelevant to individual health (what we eat and how much we move is FAR more important to health than what we weigh).

Unna
11-17-2011, 02:05 AM
As scales for the everyday home are becoming so much more detailed, accurate, and affordable (for example, the scales that can measure your body fat from muscles, etc), I think the BMI will be going out of style soon.

Of course, they are still slightly expensive, around $100-150.

Instead, the focus will be on our percentage of body fat in relation to our muscles, organs, skeletal frame, etc.

So, the future is looking up!

STARLETpearl
11-17-2011, 02:18 AM
Originally Posted by amandie View Post
I'm with you! Though I do look at BMI for some personal milestones like getting out of the obese category and into the overweight category. After I get to 165ish, I'm just gonna focus on my body fat % and how I feel overall.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I so agree with this!

Bethedee
11-17-2011, 11:07 AM
I use BMI to set my goal weight just because I know it's unrealistic lol. I know it seems counterintuitive, but I'm doing the "Reach for the sky, so if you fall you'll land among the stars" thing. I've always been curvy and according to the doctors, BMI has never been a really good indicator for me. I told our nurse my weight and she was like, "What????" I weigh much more than I am fat and BMI just doesn't take that into account.

tavvy
11-17-2011, 11:28 AM
I'm TOTALLY 1000000000% with you! BMI has NEVER worked for me. When I was fit, toned, muscular with hardly any fat on me, I was in a size 4/5 I weighed.....get this between 160/165lbs!!!!! YUP! I remember stepping on the scale when I hit my size goal and was MORTIFIED of my weight! It's what triggered me back up, believing I will never weigh 110lbs......but now, forget it. It's just how my body is, I have a med-large frame and killer muscles and kickass power (my trainer is so impressed with my power) I'm deadlifting 50lbs now he believes with my muscles and frame I will get to 220lbs once I hit my size goal! I'm 200lbs and my size 12's are starting to fall off! People are shocked I'm 200lbs, and in a size 12....cause you know what, IT'S MUSCLE, yes I still have fat galore, but it has a lot to do with body composition........so I'm with ya. BMI does not WORK FOR EVERYONE!!!!!!!

Thank you! I have the exact same thing. When I weighed 180 I was a size 10. At 265 I'm a size 22, one of my friends weighs 270 and is a size 28. It is all body comp! I measure by body fat % :) Your post made me feel like I wasn't the only one in this situation!

evilwomaniamshe
11-17-2011, 12:49 PM
The problem with BMI is that it doesn't take muscle mass into account, for instance look at Venus & Serena Williams, who are both ROCK HARD SOLID MUSCLE MASS, it's no doubt that they are both leaner & healthier than their BMI would give them credit for! And many other peeps, including myself. So yeah BMI is sorta like BM being it is really $hit for true accuracy! :lol:

InsideMe
11-17-2011, 02:21 PM
Thank you! I have the exact same thing. When I weighed 180 I was a size 10. At 265 I'm a size 22, one of my friends weighs 270 and is a size 28. It is all body comp! I measure by body fat % :) Your post made me feel like I wasn't the only one in this situation!

I'm SO glad! I don't know many women like us, its just hard to tell people your weight you know. Like when I was 240 I was in 16's, my friends were like "whatever you do not weigh 240lbs" Ahhhhh yeahhhhh I DOOOO. LOL It always made me feel so bad about myself, weighing so much. I always felt everyone thought I was lying! LOL Isn't that crazy?? It's a hard hump to get over especially when things like BMI tell you that for me I should be the higher end for my height at 130lbs....is it possible........I have no clue? All I know is that I'm going for a size 3 and stopping there. Smaller than I was at 160lbs at a size 4-5 so we'll see.

And evilwomaniamshe I LOVE your quote: weights do make you look good naked!!! LOL

April Snow
11-18-2011, 06:05 PM
I will use myself as an example. The BMI guideline puts the top of the "healthy" weight range for a 5'5" woman at 150 pounds. For the longest time, I thought, that doesn't apply to me; I could never, ever be healthy at 150 pounds. After all, I am built like an ox, with strong muscles and a very powerful core, and I have very large breasts. So I must be one of those people who falls outside the average range that the BMI charts cover.

Well, guess what? I now weigh 164 pounds, less than I've weighed in 23 years. And I have to tell you that looking at my body now, 150 pounds seems totally reasonable and doable to me. Looking at my body fat percentage (still around 28%), looking at my saddlebags and my belly, I can readily stand to lose another 15 or 20 pounds, putting me well within the "healthy" range for those BMI standards, despite all my muscle and boobs.


The more I lose, the more I realize this is going to be true for me too. I've spent a few decades convincing myself of that. Well, I don't believe it any more! I do agree that BMI isn't the be all and end all. But I also think a healthy BMI is a far more achievable number than a lot of people give themselves credit for. I mean, sure, I understand that not everyone wants to get there and that's fine. But I think that more people are CAPABLE of getting there if they wanted to. And I'm not even sure that I will end up losing all the way down to officially put me at a healthy BMI - I may feel that I am good at a slightly higher number and want to put more of that energy into long term maintenance instead.

Now, whether not getting to a healthy BMI has an adverse impact on health is another story. Personally, I can't believe the changes I've felt in my body in the past 60 lbs, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the next 30, 40, or ?? (not sure where I'll stop) will bring. But I am not necessarily convinced that 166 is going to be THAT much different than 156, you know? But I am absolutely sure that 166 is a far cry from 261!!

kaplods
11-18-2011, 06:30 PM
Having a goal of a higher BMI, isn't necessarily "settling for less," because optimal fitness (not just "average" fitness) almost inevitably puts a person into the overweight category. Healthy BMI may not only be acheivable, it may be surpassable. Using only BMI, the "overweight" category doesn't distinguish between those who have extra fat (unhealthy) or those who have extra muscle (not necessarily unhealthy).

As a result, "healthy BMI" is a bit of a misnomer.

My husband has a friend who is in the "obese" category of BMI, despite being incredibly lean, because BMI assumes an "average" amount of muscle, not the "fittest" amount of muscle.

If you saw this man in shorts without his shirt, you would laugh at the idea that he could be considered "obese," or even "overweight."

Yes, he is capable of "achieving a healthy BMI" - but only by losing muscle (because he doesn't have fat to spare, the muscle definition on this guy is incredible). Reaching a healthy BMI for him would be possible only by reducing his health and fitness.

You can be "at a healthy BMI" and yet have more fat and less muscle than you should (sometimes people call this being "skinny fat").

If you have more muscle than "average" (which is a very good thing), you're very likely going to be "overweight" by BMI calculations.

Now, I have no illusions that I am currently at a healthy BMI. In fact, with my physicial limitations, the odds are that I will get into a "healthy BMI" weight category, long before I have a "healthy" ratio of fat to muscle.

Rosinante
11-18-2011, 07:21 PM
Well, BMI isn't really something you can believe in or not :P but I get what you're saying.

BMI was invented as a quick and dirty tool to be applied across populations for sociological studies... not as an indicator of individual health. While I do think it's good as a rough guideline for what's a 'normal' weight, it's completely irrelevant to individual health (what we eat and how much we move is FAR more important to health than what we weigh).

I'm with this!

BMI is One indicator. And actually, works pretty well for me - my top 'normal' is a very good weight for me. I suspect the nearer a good weight one gets, the less applicable BMI is as an indicator of health.

I've read people (Not in this thread!!) who are massively overweight - as I am at the moment - complaining that BMI is not a true indicator for them either; and I alternate between being sad for them and throwing bricks at the laptop - BMI may not be the be all and end all but if one is 50/60/70/100lbs overweight then there's no point pretending that it's all BMI's fault that we get a high reading on it.

I'll think about it again in another 50lbs!