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-   -   Does BMI actually mean anything? (https://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/weight-loss-support/294060-does-bmi-actually-mean-anything.html)

kaybee1 03-23-2014 02:57 PM

Does BMI actually mean anything?
According to the upper limits for a "normal" BMI range, for my height I'm supposed to weigh 145. If I weigh 146 I'm overweight. Personally, i think 145 is too skinny for me and I can't even imagine myself at that weight.

What, if anything, should we think about BMI? Is it really a marker for good health? I template to work off of? Is it just general guidelines?

novangel 03-23-2014 03:37 PM

I tend to follow BMI charts..I'm teetering on the overweight category but I'm okay with it as long as I'm within normal range.

kaplods 03-23-2014 03:57 PM

If you're perfectly average, it's probably a decent guideline, but if you're very athletic with more muscle than the average, then the BMI guidelines are too low. If you're more sedentary and undermuscled than average, the BMI guidelines would be a bit high.

BMI guidelines are probably a bit generous for me right now because I'm not very active, but I'm working on that. One day I would love to be more muscular than average, so that my ideal BMI might eventually (in theory) fall in the mildly overweight category.

Also, BMI isn't designed to calculate ideals, just averages, so I think at best it's a ballpark starting point, and nothing more. Finding your own unique best weight and best activity/athletic level requires further tweaking/trial and error.

tancil 03-23-2014 04:42 PM

Absolutely not. A friend of mine who is in the Navy is very fit and quite muscular. According to his BMI, he should lose 30 lbs to be normal weight.

Marniadec 03-23-2014 05:11 PM

Like kaplods said, it doesn't work for muscular and not muscular people. It also doesn't work for too tall or too short people. So, basically, it's for average people just like kaplods said.

I used to think that 152 tops wasn't for me. I thought I'd be too thin and that it would be difficult to maintain. But now I'm here and I can definitely stand to lose more. I've chosen 130 as a goal for a completely ridiculous reason: years ago I saw in a Dior ad that 130 is the ideal weight for my height. I was a kid then and I decided that I'd get there some day. But I like to have a number to aim for. So, I'm going for 130, but I could stop before I get there or I may get there and then keep going. I have no idea.

I haven't weighed this low since elementary, so I don't know what I'll look like 20 pounds from now. I have a friend who used to weigh 160 pounds, she gained 53 pounds and she wanted to get back to 160. She did and now she wants to keep losing because she has more fat now, so she's bigger than she was.

So, I believe that you can't really know what you're aiming for. Just keep losing and stop when you think that you look good and that you will be able to maintain your weight.

kaybee1 03-23-2014 06:46 PM

That's a good point. I have 165 as my goal now, but who knows what it will be like when i'm actually there. It's hard to say what my "body makeup" is. I've always been strong, and I've played soccer all my life up until I was about 22 - so I know the potential is there for a muscular body and i think it still might be there under a few layers of fat lol.

I'm still going strong at the gym and I can see a noticeable increase in my strength already. My roommate was shocked yesterday when I told her my weight and said she would have pegged me for at least 20lbs less (she's someone of similar stature) so this leads me to believe that although I'm fat the BMI might not be a very good measure for me. Heh, i guess just wait and see until I get there!

BigChiefHoho 03-23-2014 07:16 PM

Exactly what kaplods said. BMI was developed to be an accurate measure of health in populations of people, and it's great for that. For individuals, though, it's just a ballpark figure, and it isn't necessarily accurate for everybody.

carter 03-24-2014 09:18 AM

I was remembering something I posted about this topic on another thread a few years ago, so went searching and found it:


Originally Posted by carter (Post 4110517)
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, more people fit within the guidelines than you might think.

Pattience 03-24-2014 09:29 AM

Trust me, you will not be skinny at 145pounds. I am only half an inch taller than you. I've been as skinny as about 115 or even less i can't remember what the lowest i ever was but it was very small, not anorexic but as close as i can get to that without being considered sick.

Just enjoy yourself and your new body as you go and don't worry so much about the future. Deal with it when you get there. You'll see.

RAther than worry too much about what you might look, think a little bit about how you are going to maintain it. Don't go relaxing too much. People with a history of bad eating habits can't really afford to relax too much about food. At least not for a very good while of maintaining.

I'm saying this to you but its something i'm telling myself more or less every day. Not in a deliberate way but just thoughts that come to mind and i'm aware of because of past experience.

Pattience 03-24-2014 09:37 AM

Oh sorry back to the question. In the absence of anything better, i think its an accurate guideline for the greater majority of people.

BMI is calculated on height and weight and takes into account how much muscle mass and fat a healthy person would be at their age.

There is also the healthy weight range which is given in pounds and kgs not in bmi. It is probably easier to understand than BMI.

Personally i think its good to aim for the middle of the range because if you take your foot of the break too soon, you might go back up too soon. If you aim for the bottom of the range, you might push the limits of what your body will allow before it tries to rebound. That happened to me last time. I am trying to avoid that this time. I know it can be done. I know i can reach the bottom end of the range and stay there but it should be done slowly and carefully and i don't think i need to be that skinny really. Its too much effort.

MauiKai 03-24-2014 09:41 AM


Originally Posted by kaybee1 (Post 4969185)
According to the upper limits for a "normal" BMI range, for my height I'm supposed to weigh 145. If I weigh 146 I'm overweight. Personally, i think 145 is too skinny for me and I can't even imagine myself at that weight.

What, if anything, should we think about BMI? Is it really a marker for good health? I template to work off of? Is it just general guidelines?

I am 6'1" and lived most of my life between 145 and 150lbs. I didn't look sick or too skinny. I think you'd be fine.

pixelllate 03-24-2014 09:43 AM

Another thing I wanted to throw out there is that frequently, few people keep that strong of a track of their weight, much less actually report it. So often because so many of us keep a tight eye and report our true weights, we surprise people because people (in the general population) in my experience are often surprised when they hear about anyone's real weight/where they fall in the BMI range.

MauiKai 03-24-2014 09:49 AM

I, myself, prefer this BMI calculator


and this is the weight chart I prefer:


Here is headless me at 6'1" tall (73 inches) and 150lbs exactly

CooCooCaChoo 03-24-2014 10:24 AM

I will probably be one of the few that goes against the grain. I don't base anything off of BMI charts. If I happen to fall into one at some point, so be it, if not, so be it. The goal I have set for myself will leave me in the over weight category on the BMI chart. However, it is also the weight I was as a senior in highschool, on 3 different sports teams, with a very muscular build. At that time, being a self conscious teenager, my doctors reassured me I was extremely healthy. Being healthy doesn't necessarily equate to where you land on a chart. If I get to my goal and more weight comes off, so be it. I've changed my lifestyle and am becoming who I want to be, regardless of what percentile I fall into. Good luck.

Mrs Snark 03-24-2014 10:58 AM

I've always found the BMI a useful guide.

I'm 5'9, currently 147, and I'm pretty muscular with broad shoulders -- though not very big-boned. My BMI, 21.7, is fairly in the middle of the normal range (18.5—24.9 is "Normal").

The CDC calculator I used said : "For your height, a normal weight range would be from 125 to 169 pounds."

That's a pretty big range.

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