How important is BMI, really?

(14 Posts)
Mrsmaudwatts Mon 05-Jun-17 15:40:56

I've lost about 7 stone over the last year. I'm fitter and stronger than I've ever been. I was morbidly obese and could barely get up off the sofa without feeling breathless.

For the last year, I've been I doing high intensity workouts (strength and cardio) 6 times a week.

Walk around 15k steps per days (dog and school run help with this)

Run as well at the weekend.

My diet is v healthy (generally low carb with plenty of veg, healthy fats and protein) and I've really cut back on booze.

According to my fitness thingy, my resting heart rate is 55bpm. Cholesterol etc are all well within healthy range. But I'm still in the "overweight" category for bmi and I'd need to lose a good stone to be in "normal".

I have built up a lot of muscle from powerlifting- I have muscly legs-thighs and calfs, and arms, traps etc (but I'm totally happy with this. And I have no sagging skin). I look way better than when I've been within "normal" weight before - because I'm so much more toned (I'm also at least a size smaller).

I'm pretty happy with where I am, but I have a nagging voice in my head telling me I'm still not free from obesity related illness risks because despite all my efforts over the year, I'm still overweight.

Should I care??? Or is should I take bmi with a pinch of salt now I'm so much healthier? I have definitely increased my muscle mass significantly but I doubt my new muscles weigh an extra stone!

I did all of this for health reasons, which is why I'm still a bit bothered by the scale. If it wasn't for that bloody bmi calculator I wouldn't care, I think I look pretty good and I'm happy to stay the size I am confused but all my efforts feel a bit wasted if I haven't really finished the job....

OP’s posts: |
ppeatfruit Mon 05-Jun-17 15:47:33

IMO it doesn't mean much. The medics think it does though (well they did 5 years ago) I think that health is the most important thing too. I wouldn't worry.

fishonabicycle Mon 05-Jun-17 15:55:13

BMI doesn't work if you are very muscly. It is a rough guideline - that's all.

Mrsmaudwatts Mon 05-Jun-17 16:04:04

Thanks for replying.

I guess I want to know how rough, a rough guide it is. Is a stone over just too much?

I've just measured my waist/hip ration at 0.79 which I think is ok but that also confuses me as different places say different things.

I'm not skinny by any means, maybe I think I'm smaller than I really am because of how much bigger I used to be? Wish I hadn't bloody checked it now!

OP’s posts: |
ppeatfruit Tue 06-Jun-17 08:50:39

No one needs to be skinny, ( unless it's a natural state of course). The case for 'thinness' is damaging some people IMO.

Wasn't there research that said a stone over is statistically healthier?

Mrsmaudwatts Tue 06-Jun-17 09:13:24

Really?? I need to find that paper!

I've just sort of naturally settled at this weight. The last stone was quite hard to lose so I know it will be a mammoth effort to get to 'normal' and I'm not convinced I could maintain it.

In a zombie apocalypse, I'd do pretty well wink

Right off to find that research!

OP’s posts: |
LetsSplashMummy Tue 06-Jun-17 09:20:50

You are talking like being marginally overweight carries exactly the same risks as being morbidly obese - of course it doesn't - you have made huge differences to your health and future risks. Post menopausal women who are overweight actually have better health outcomes, but that is largely because we don't understand fully why people die so soon after breaking bones in older age and being slightly overweight reduces your chances of osteoporosis.

I think you should be happy where you are and you will probably find yourself slipping slowly into normal if you keep up all the exercise.


satsoooma Tue 06-Jun-17 09:24:39

If it bothers you that much not knowing if you are 'healthy' yet, consider getting a body fat scan. They are a bit expensive but can tell you how much of you is fat vs muscle and if the fat is in dangerous places. Unlike BMI a body fat scan can give you an accurate picture of wether you need to lose weight.

Mrsmaudwatts Tue 06-Jun-17 09:35:15

I have thought about a body fat scan thing but not sure really, I might be horrified by the results!

You're so right about me equating slightly overweight with obesity risks though. 'Normal' on that bloody chart has been like a flashing beacon to me for so long, that I'm being a bit all or nothing.

Although I've kind of answered myself this morning as i don't think I could easily reach it OR maintain it. So it's a moot point really isn't it?

Hopefully I have done enough

OP’s posts: |
PersianCatLady Wed 14-Jun-17 12:44:07

I've just measured my waist/hip ration at 0.79 which I think is ok but that also confuses me as different places say different things
I don't see how waist / hip ratio is useful because at 0.8 you could have a waist measurement of 80 inches and a hip measurement of 100 inches, which clearly isn't good.

On the other side you can have a ratio of 0.8 with a 20 inch waist and 25 inch hips.

Makes no sense to me whatsoever.

Leax Wed 14-Jun-17 12:51:14

Waist to height ratio is considered a good indicator of health risk. Less than 0.5 is associated with better health outcomes.

PersianCatLady Wed 14-Jun-17 12:56:42

Waist to height ratio is considered a good indicator of health risk. Less than 0.5 is associated with better health outcomes
I was just about to say, how can you have hips that are twice the measurement of your waist and then I realised that you have said HEIGHT not HIPS.

Makes much more sense now!!

Miiaaoow Wed 14-Jun-17 13:16:01

Take it as a guideline.

I'm at the other end of the scale - I'm underweight according to my BMI but actually if you look at me I look fine. I have a small skeleton, very little muscle and plenty of body fat so i don't worry about it at all. No doctor has ever said anything.

Something I have noticed is that heavily overweight people who lose a lot of weight seem to weigh more than they look. I've seen that with several people in real life and in the news/online.

Maybe it is from the extra muscle you've gained. Plenty of athletes are considered overweight or even obese despite being in perfect health.

revolution909 Thu 15-Jun-17 17:12:47

I'm more or less same as you, however I'm within the "healthy" range. My BMI is of somewhere around 24 I think but I'm much smaller than that would imply (I'm a size 6). My GP told me to literally pay not attention to it as it's useless for people who train (like you and I smile)

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