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How much emphasis on BMI?

179 replies

nbvkfnh · 08/10/2018 12:12

I am currently losing weight through healthy eating and exercise (admittedly I am not able to exercise that hard yet due to my size but I am hoping to increase this as I lose more weight.

So far I have lost just over 2st since July. I have gone from squeezing into a size 20 to a comfortable size 18.

At my lightest in recent years (when I was a size 12-14) I weighed 13st 9. I was thinking originally I'd like to get back to that weight (I am currently 16st). However having looked at BMI, I see that even at 13.9 I would still be in the obese category, not even overweight. And that to be 'normal' I'd have to lose another 2.5 stone.

Now I'm not saying that I was super skinny at 13.9, not at all, I didn't have abs and a flat stomach but I certainly didnt feel obese, and if I had lost another 2.5st I feel that would have left me very slim indeed, not at the uppermost end of 'normal'.

So should my goal be to get to normal BMI?

OP posts:
Bowties · 08/10/2018 12:20

This is a very difficult one.. As you know muscle weighs heavier than fat and personally I don't believe we should be using the bmi system. It's damaging.. For example before I got pregnant I was size10 5''5 and nine stone. 12 weeks pregnant I had put two stone on and size 12/14 yet classed as obese?? Wtf?? My daughter is taller than me....only 13, wears size 6/8 clothes ( uk) yet is over nine stone. For her category as still being a child she'd be classed as obese too. It's pathetic. Go with your clothes size and ignore the bmi. It's only for government stats anyway and for the dangerously overweight as a guide. Good luck!!

ChodeofChodeHall · 08/10/2018 12:23

When I had my over-40 check-up, I mentioned my BMI and the practitioner said they weren't too worried about that, what mattered most was the waist measurement and she seemed happy with that even though my BMI is fairly high (I'm heavy but fit and medium-sized).

araiwa · 08/10/2018 12:40

It just highlights how far we have come from what a proper weight is.

Nearly 14 stone and size 14 isnt what should be considered healthy.

My brother is 6'3 and is quite muscular / well built and he weighs less than your target weight. What does that tell you?

Scottishgirl85 · 08/10/2018 12:47

BMI doesn't work for me at all. I'm 5 foot and a size 8 and it counts me as borderline overweight.

THEsonofaBITCH · 08/10/2018 12:51

BMI is a guide post only not something to put a great deal of weight in (Grin) The weight my BMI has to be for "normal" I once weighed and looked pathetically skinny - no muscle/muscle tone at all. Stallone is morbidly obese according to BMI. So use it as a guide post but not as an absolute. Great job so far BTW.

nbvkfnh · 08/10/2018 12:56

chode that's interesting that even HCPs aren't following BMI now. I've not been medically weighed for a long time so wasn't aware of that.

araiwa what that tells me is that different people weigh different amounts. My teen DS has a schoolfriend who is a pro rugby player, is 6ft and weighs nearly 20st. His weight is no more relevant to my situation than your brothers.

What size is healthy if a 12-14 isn't? a 10? 8?

I don't know if 13.9 is the right weight for me, but equally I don't want to push towards an artificial goal of 11st if it's not achievable, sustainable or something HCPs are going to recommend either.

OP posts:
araiwa · 08/10/2018 13:01

Unless youre all muscle, then 14st at 5'6 is quite overweight and you shouldnt need bmi to tell you that really

THEsonofaBITCH · 08/10/2018 13:03

The best goal is the one you feel comfortable in, IMO and the rest can sod right off. Go for comfortable (and healthy) and carry on. You are taking a good approach don't get derailed by artificial measures or silly posters on MN.

hidinginthenightgarden · 08/10/2018 13:07

I know a guy who is a personal trainer. Not an ounce of fat on him and all muscle. He was told he is obese using BMI and sent to hospital for guidance Hmm.
I personally would try to get towards the top end of normal but would be guided more by how I felt.

BendydickCuminsnatch · 08/10/2018 13:10

Sounds exactly like me. I weigh way more than it looks like I do, and if i was to be in a ‘healthy’ BMI range i look emaciated but still a size 14. My frame is just wide. Absolutely no way in the world my hips would ever allow me to be less than a 12 id say.

BeautifulBlue · 08/10/2018 13:10

OP you have done amazingly to lose 2 stone well done! People who have never struggled with their weight have no idea how hard it really is. My OH done his BMI the other day & it put him in the over weight category - no one who met him would say he was over weight!! So it really depends on the person, just aim for a goal weight that is realistic & comfortable for you!

araiwa · 08/10/2018 13:10


Bmi does work if you are very muscular.

Thats not news

BeautifulBlue · 08/10/2018 13:15

@araiwa stop being a passive aggressive arse. 👍🏼 Your advice is hardly ground breaking - did you just come here to make the OP feel like shit?

IsTheRainEverComingBack · 08/10/2018 13:16

BMI is useless for athletes with a large amount of muscle mass - the personal trainers and rugby players mentioned here illustrate that.

For the vast majority of us, particularly women, who don’t have this muscle mass, BMI really IS useful and should be considered along with your waist measurement and general health.

As a PP said, we have got used to people being much bigger than they should be. We think overweight is normal now, and normal is ‘skinny’ when it’s not. Nearly 14st and a size 14 is of course still overweight. I’m short, currently a size 12/14 and a BMI of 28. Yes I’m overweight and working on losing 2st. We see pictures of women in the 50s and go ‘oh they were so slim’. Nope, they had normal healthy human bodies at size 6/8/10.

nbvkfnh · 08/10/2018 13:16

I think as well as not working for those who are muscular, I'm not convinced BMI fits with being broadly built/ large busted. Like bendy I am fairly wide hipped. I also at my lowest weight still had 34g boobs.

Plus a legacy of walking 3-5 miles a day every day for several years is that I still have sizeable calf muscles.

OP posts:
leafgrass · 08/10/2018 13:18

Why not just start losing weight and have a moveable goal? You'll be able to see for yourself whether you need to lose more or not.

IsTheRainEverComingBack · 08/10/2018 13:18

I have a friend who works in research for cancer research and talks about this a lot - we should all be aiming for BMIs if 18-25 because time and time again the research shows that being in this category reduces our risks for basically all cancers and other non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease. It’s just fact.

nbvkfnh · 08/10/2018 13:19

When I was my lowest recent weight my waist was 31 inches.

OP posts:
nbvkfnh · 08/10/2018 13:20

Leaf I am losing weight and have been since July as mentioned in my OP. I have lost a little over 2st so far.

OP posts:
Autumnrocks · 08/10/2018 13:21

I'm amused at the way people rush to say how inaccurate BMI is while quoting dress sizes which are hardly consistent or accurate themselves. Vanity sizing has a lot to answer for.

Most of us are not muscly fitness experts or athletes so the BMI s gives a reasonable indication of whether or not we are overweight.

Or, as already mentioned, go by waist size.

Sethis · 08/10/2018 13:23

I'm of the opinion of "screw this arbitrary numbering system".

Lose as much weight as you want.

Once you're down to a size you're comfortable with, try to maintain that size.

Your reason for being happy with your size could be due to ego, health concerns, self esteem, your partner, your job, whatever. When you reach your happy spot, don't worry about getting smaller, but do maintain it as best you can.

Numbers just give you yet another way to feel panicked about your body. I weigh 14.5st and have a goal of 13.5 but I don't freak out if I gain a couple of pounds in a given week. Just get to the point where you look in the mirror and think 'Yeah, I'm cool with this".

IsTheRainEverComingBack · 08/10/2018 13:25

I'm of the opinion of "screw this arbitrary numbering system".

BMI isn’t an arbitrary numbering system, it’s a scientifically researched formula

THEsonofaBITCH · 08/10/2018 13:27

We think overweight is normal now

I loved the news headline that shouted "80% of UK overweight - and think its normal" By definition, normal is the usual or expected state so if 80% can be described that way it is normal. I'm not defending being overweight but to argue its not normal is silly!

leafgrass · 08/10/2018 13:30

Leaf I am losing weight and have been since July as mentioned in my OP. I have lost a little over 2st so far.

That's great going,Smile. You also said you still want to get down to where you were at size 14. So that is your next goal. Once you achieve that you might look at getting your body fat measured. There are scales that do this or you can get it done at the gym. Then you can look at making this a desirable level.

Biologifemini · 08/10/2018 13:31

Unless you are muscular then BMI is a reasonable guide. As is waist measurement. Put both together and you will have an idea. Obesity isn’t really an opinion but you can get an idea based on average height weight charts too.

Perhaps you were sporty before?

It sounds like you are on the right track.

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