Mumsnet Logo
My feed

to access all these features


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:

Sallygoroundthemoon · 08/10/2018 14:24

BMI is pretty good for anyone who is not an athlete or body builder so we should all be aiming for a healthy BMI. Keep going with your weight loss and well done so far.


PlinkPlink · 08/10/2018 14:25

BMI is a good guide. But as above it really isn't the be all and end all.

Post pregnancy, I now weigh 10st 4. I'm 5'7". I'm in the healthy range.
As a rugby player doing weights, I was a little overweight but damn I was fit! 😂 I weighed about 12 st and made a good prop/hooker.

Clothes sizes don't matter. What matters is your health and happiness.

If you look on the NHS BMI calculator the healthy area is quite big though! It does leave some scope for variety. The green bit is the biggest. Mine gives me between 8st6 and 11st6! 3 stone!


Areyoufree · 08/10/2018 14:26

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.



Autumnrocks · 08/10/2018 14:28

Contrary to a pp, my impression is that BMI is a good guide for the majority of the population.
As to sizes, yes, a size bigger or smaller at the same weight and height wouldn't be surprising, depending on frame and weight distribution, but 3 stone of a difference taking the same size must be unusual.


user1471459936 · 08/10/2018 14:28

But with the majority of women being overweight most people have lost track of what a healthy weight looks like.


DC18 · 08/10/2018 14:29

I wouldn't worry too much about BMI and go by inches around your waist, thigh etc.
I joined a gym last year. I was 5ft5, 12 stone and size 14 and classed as obese according to my BMI. I was in tears as I acknowledged that I had put on weight and had 'love handles' but certainly not really fat. Anyway I changed my eating habits and have been going to the gym once a week since and am now a size 12 but still 12 stone! I have visibly lost weight but not weight. Guessing the fat is now muscle as I'm far more psychically fit now x


nbvkfnh · 08/10/2018 17:22

DC18, I will be honest if I can get to a level where I can run for 30 mins without stopping I will be happy with that (at present I can only brisk walk for that long, even a slow jog has me puffing after a couple of mins) irrespective of my weight, but that said I'm keeping an open mind.

Mistigri 'don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good' I really like that. And completely agree. I've lost and then regained weight in the past by dieting...that whole deprivation and reward cycle is one I know well. What I'm trying to do now is change my lifestyle permanently. I'm not thinking of this as a diet but the way I now live. I'm going to keep on with it and see where I end up. I eat huge plates of veg now and love it and never get bloated like I did with starchy carbs. I definitely feel better.

OP posts:

lalaroo · 08/10/2018 17:29

This reply has been withdrawn

This has been withdrawn by MNHQ for breaking our Talk Guidelines.

HavelockVetinari · 08/10/2018 17:35

FFS, all these posters saying to ignore BMI are idiots (and almost certainly overweight themselves).

BMI works for almost everyone, except for professional athletes (which OP has indicated she is not).

Dress size is a red herring because people have different size frames. The only measurements worth doing are BMI and waist/height ratio.


redsummershoes · 08/10/2018 17:35

if you have breathing problems when exercising it might be a good idea to see the gp to rule out sthma or cardiac issues.


JohnMcCainsDeathStare · 08/10/2018 17:41

BMI on its own has its limits but the difference between overweight and obese is that you can still be fit and healthy between a BMI 25-30 depending on build and activity level - overweight means caution but it doesn't necessarily mean you are stressing your body. BMI 30+ is the start of the danger zone even for the fittest people because you are stressing your body whether you are fat or a ripped mass monster. So if you have a high BMI but its less than 30, you're not gaining weight and have a waist less than half your height you're probably OK.

As for clothes sizes - I had two blazers a size 10 and an 18. I only got rid of the size 10 since my biceps got too big but the 18 is actually snugger on the shoulders. I take a tape measure shopping.


Pinkblanket · 08/10/2018 19:03

I'm 5'6" and currently weigh 9st7lbs, my waist is 27inches and my body fat usually around 18-20%. I used to weigh 12st 7lbs many years ago and definitely looked fat!
Just keep going and see how you get on.


Sashkin · 08/10/2018 19:14

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

Me too, but at 5 foot in a modern-day size 8 I AM overweight - I weigh two stones more than I did in 1997 (aged 18), but am a dress size smaller. A modern size 8 is an old-style 12, and that is overweight if you are 5 foot.


TheOrigFV45 · 08/10/2018 20:40

@Scottishgirl85 but what weight are you? I can quite easily see that at 5 foot a person fitting into current size 8 sizing could be overweight.


Scottishgirl85 · 08/10/2018 20:49

Oh this is interesting thanks. I was 9 stone but reweighed myself today following this thread and now 8 stone 7. I've been cutting out sugar since having a baby to try to lose baby weight and amazed the difference it has made.
I agree sizing of clothes has definitely changed! I shopped in topshop as a teenager and still have some size 6 jeans, I can barely get my foot into them now Grin


IsTheRainEverComingBack · 08/10/2018 23:01

Dress sizes are completely useless as a measure of anything, they’re not standardised for a start and have been inflating continuously for decades. BMI and waist measurements are much more accurate.


Poshjock · 09/10/2018 00:21

BMI was designed as a population measurement tool and was not really designed for individual use, however, it was a simple and reasonably effective tool for most people which is why it was adopted and used in the way it is. It become less accurate for people who are very tall, very short and those with 'non-typical' build - such as body builders or athletes. Note - "less accurate" not "completely useless".

Waist measurement is currently being pushed as an easy to use and useful tool due to the documented links with "belly fat" and poor health outcomes.

VO2 Max and body fat percentage are viewed as the most accurate predictor of future health outcomes but are difficult to measure without expensive equipment and testing techniques.

Hence, BMI and waist measurement are useful and relevant. A good healthcare professional will be mindful of their shortcomings and advise accordingly.

That all said, 13st 9 is better than 16 stone, representing over 20% weight loss which which lead to better future health. As you have correctly surmised, dieting is not the answer - small positive and permanent changes to your eating and exercising habits are and this alone will make a huge positive difference. Goals can be adjusted as you go along. I am 5ft 6 and adjusted my habits when I reached 13st 9 and was BMI Obese. It has taken me 7 years to fully embrace the eating habits I have now and I am healthier than I have ever been in my life. I am now working toward my second goal - I was 11 stone for 6 years and now I am aiming to get under 10 stone and BMI of 21 as I am small framed and believe this is the weight I want to be.

Well done on your weight loss so far and all the very best wishes on your journey from here.


nbvkfnh · 09/10/2018 00:26

Waist measurement is interesting. I have a small waist (compared to the rest of me!) Currently my waist is just under 34 inches - obviously too big but then I know I am several stones overweight atm.

OP posts:

MarcieBluebell · 09/10/2018 00:47

I think bmi is a load of rubbish because I think the range is too wide. If I was bmi 18.5 or bmi 25 I'd have a completely different diet and body shape. For me I'd be size 20 at bmi 25.

I think it should be done by body fat percentage but obviously we're not at the stage of accurate readings yet.

Op just eat healthily and tbh your body will do what it wants.


kmc1111 · 09/10/2018 01:09

I don’t know why people bring up athletes and bodybuilders and muscle weighing more than fat in threads where it so obviously doesn’t apply. If OP was in the obese category because she’s an elite athlete or bodybuilder, she wouldn’t be posting this.

It takes years of very dedicated work to build up the kind of muscle that can throw BMI calculations out. It doesn’t apply to people who just work out normally and get pretty toned, it applies to people specifically training to be big. It definitely doesn’t apply to overweight/obese people who are only just getting into exercise.


Placebogirl · 09/10/2018 01:15


Sashkin · 09/10/2018 05:02

I was 9 stone but reweighed myself today following this thread and now 8 stone 7

Sadly I’m probably closer to 10st! Blush

However I went shopping in Banana Republic this weekend and I’m apparently a US 2, which gives you some idea of the extreme vanity sizing over here (I’m in Canada). I shudder to think what size I would be in 1990s Topshop terms Grin


Chouetted · 09/10/2018 05:17

As a rule of thumb, if you're unusually tall, knock a point off your BMI. If you're unusually petite, add one on.

For everyone else, it sort of mostly works.

I will add that I am freakishly broad and tall and will never achieve better than "overweight", because there's just too much of me. I can (and have in the past) dieted away the flab, but the rest of me stubbornly remained. I didn't even like being that thin, I mostly remember feeling very very cold most of the time.


AgentJohnson · 09/10/2018 05:30

Autumnrocks exactly, people BMI bashing yet quoting a completely arbitrary measuring system (dress size) that varies wildly between retailers, as some kind of scientific truth says a lot about where we are and why clothing manufacturers perpetuate vanity sizing.

You have done well OP keep going.


Sodavod · 09/10/2018 07:11

BMI BASHING!!!?? Grin my doc bmi bashes so what am I supposed to believe if a professional in that field is not convinced ?

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?