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BMI is ‘normal’ yet I feel overweight?

(70 Posts)
Pinkginxx Sun 07-Apr-19 21:56:34

Summer is upon us and I feel... chubby.
I’m late 30’s, 5’0,and BMI is 23. I’ve always heard people scoff at BMI but usually the other way round eg rugby players who are 20 stone but perfectly fit.
I don’t feel fit, I feel wobbly and sausage armed.
Is BMI a bad calculation? I’m thinking maybe because I’m short?
Or am I indoctrinated into seeing teenage bodies on middle age women that I’m sad I don’t look that way??
Or am I making excuses? confused

SkinnyPete Sun 07-Apr-19 22:20:41

Bmi is a health indicator. It's based on a set of statistics (height vs. weight) and the health records of a massive sample.

Typically people within healthy BMI ranges look healthy. At the upper end of the healthy range, there's a percentage of skinny fat people, just as there's a percentage of muscular technically overweight people.

Use BMI as a guide. If you feel uncomfortable and it's not because of any underlying MH condition, then put the work in to feel better and happier. But also please drop comparing yourself to people who get paid to look good and keep expectations realistic.

Tealtights Sun 07-Apr-19 22:29:32

I'm quite chubby at the top end of my healthy bmi, I need to be in the middle or below to be what I'd class as slim (21-22 I'm happy).

Redorangeyellowgreen Sun 07-Apr-19 22:33:42

I'm the same OP, once I get to 23 or above I feel a bit chubby too. BMI does cover quite a wide spectrum so you can be at the heavier end of normal and still be healthy.

It depends on your frame too, some people carry weight better than others.

Iamblossom Sun 07-Apr-19 22:35:30

Maybe just try to tone up rather than lose weight?

Doje Sun 07-Apr-19 22:38:45

'Healthy' BMI covers quite a lot. I lost two stone and went from the top end of a healthy BMI to the middle. I think I was kidding myself a bit that because I was within the healthy range I was fine. I certainly feel better now.

Nectarines Sun 07-Apr-19 22:39:16

Bear in mind that lean muscle takes up less space than fat. So at the same weight, one person may appear slimmer because their body fat percentage is lower.

When you’re at a healthy weight, building lean muscle will dramatically change your appearance without necessarily making a big impact on the scales.

eurochick Sun 07-Apr-19 22:42:16

I'm happiest at a bmi in the middle of the healthy range - around 21. Above that I feel a bit chubby and below that a bit scrawny (my boobs disappear). As pp have said, healthy bmi is quite a broad range. For your body shape you might be chubby towards the top end. Or you might just need a bit of toning from exercise.

Fozzleyplum Sun 07-Apr-19 22:45:04

I would feel I was getting a bit chubby at a BMI of 23. I feel "right" at about 21.5. I am tall and have a frame that's between medum and large.

Haworthia Sun 07-Apr-19 22:46:03

As Doje says, the healthy BMI range is very wide. For my height it would be from 7st 6lb all the way up to 10st 1lb.

Pinkginxx Sun 07-Apr-19 22:48:53

. I think I was kidding myself a bit that because I was within the healthy range I was fine
I think this is me at the moment. I keep telling myself my BMI is ‘healthy’ yet half my wardrobe doesn’t fit and I certainly don’t feel good about my body.

bathorshower Sun 07-Apr-19 22:52:54

My bmi is (just) inside the healthy range, yet I'd definitely benefit from losing some weight. I've been told that your weight should be less than half your height - so as I'm 5'4, or 64" tall, my waist should be less than 32". It isn't, and I would be rather healthier if it were. Do you know your waist size (you clearly know your height!)?

prettyhibiscusflowers Sun 07-Apr-19 22:56:10

My feel good weight is still classed as obese but I don’t go by bmi, I just go with how I feel.

Chouetted Sun 07-Apr-19 22:57:46

BMI underestimates for short people and overestimates for tall people - it's best used as a population measure where we can talk about the mythical average height person with two and a half children.

I'm freakishly tall, and would feel underweight if I got very far into the healthy range, it's perfectly OK for you to feel overweight in the opposite situation.

I'd suggest you find a better measure of weight than BMI!

GregoryPeckingDuck Sun 07-Apr-19 23:01:20

It’s only a rougher indicator. Your weight will consist of different things (bones, muscle, fluid, fat etc). It’s the proportions that count. If you are feeling flabby then you probably need to tone up a bit.

Siameasy Sun 07-Apr-19 23:05:00

Yanbu for saying it’s summer😂😂
My top weight is 10.6 but that’s not my ideal weight, my ideal is under ten. I’m flabby at 10.6.
I can tell when I’m a good weight and that’s when I fit properly into dress sizes - if I’m over 10st I end up between sizes 12 and 14
Another good indicator is the tape measure especially your waist.
Also I follow traditional sizing so eg around 36/30/38 would be a 12 so measure yourself against the size chart on ASOS and see how you fit in. I put weight on my middle so say I was 36/32/38 instead I’d think well you need to lose weight not go up a size.

Bringbackthestripes Sun 07-Apr-19 23:13:01

You can have normal BMI but still be fat. My BMI is 20 but I have a tummy like Buddha (working on it)

Nhs info on waist size is
To measure your waist:
find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips
wrap a tape measure around your waist, midway between these points
breathe out naturally before taking the measurement
Regardless of your height or BMI, you should try to lose weight if your waist is:
94cm (37ins) or more for men
80cm (31.5ins) or more for women
You are at very high risk and you should contact your GP if your waist is:
102cm (40ins) or more for men
88cm (34ins) or more for women

www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/lifestyle/why-is-my-waist-size-important/

Notcontent Sun 07-Apr-19 23:14:37

I am also short and would look/feel a bit overweight at 23.

trancepants Sun 07-Apr-19 23:18:21

When you’re at a healthy weight, building lean muscle will dramatically change your appearance without necessarily making a big impact on the scales.

This. A few months ago I had a BMI of 23 looked undefined and kind of dumpy. I naturally tend toward an hourglass shape which is very forgiving but realistically I just looked just ok. I took up skating this year which is great for muscle building as well as cardio and now I have a BMI of 22.7, so a tiny weightloss, but I actually look way better. My arms and legs have obvious muscle definition, my butt is heading steadily back to where it was in my early 20s and my core is in great shape.

ShastaBeast Sun 07-Apr-19 23:19:31

It’s definitely not an accurate indication, just a rough approximation. I’m around a bmi of 21 at 5ft 4.5in and still feel flabby. My tummy especially so and the kids have commented so it’s not just in my mind. I’m upping the exercise and diet after keeping to this weight since before Christmas, it was my target but I need to get off at least half a stone more. Annoyingly lots of diet products advise against using it your bmi is below 25, despite a much lower weight being better for many people.

ShastaBeast Sun 07-Apr-19 23:23:20

Even waist measurements aren’t that helpful. 27 inches but most of the excess weight is below the waist.

BlackPrism Mon 08-Apr-19 00:24:54

I would need to have a BMI right at the bottom of the average section to consider myself actually slim. I'm lumpy and bumpy... and a size 8

ImperfectPirouette Mon 08-Apr-19 00:34:55

Maybe worth (as well as the excellent advice from PPs re: measuring your waist & checking your height:waist ratio) checking out the New BMI Calculator. As the link explains, it adjusts the “healthy range” by height - essentially, short people should weigh less than traditional BMI says; & tall people are ok to weigh more.

However, having a wildly distorted view of yourself is entirely possible. I have no idea what I actually look like, because other than in brief moments, when caught unawares, I see my “seriously underweight” body as Fat (even though I know it’s not). Please take some time to think over how you are mentally-emotionally & if it could be having any kind of impact on your body image.

Pinkginxx Mon 08-Apr-19 01:10:32

My waist is I think OK at 25'. My Arse, Hips and thighs are another matter. They belong to a different person. I'm a 8 in tops, getting towards a 10/12 (realistically 12) in bottoms. Not great when you're knee high to a gnat sad

LiliesAndChocolate Mon 08-Apr-19 01:51:43

I believe a lot of people misunderstands what the BMI stands for .
BMI is a health indicator and this has nothing to do with how you look or feel at a certain weight. It has a healthy range and over that range you will be at risk for chronic disease such as diabetes or other risk factors for heart or cholesterol. If you don’t like the way you look at a BMI of 23, just go lower.
BMI is a health predictor. I like the way I look and look at a BMI of 19-20.
For the same person, there is a huge difference of weight between 18.5 and 25. Only you know which one is and feels right for you.

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