weight, BMI, & health

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How do you choose what your weight SHOULD be?

I am the largest I have ever been but I am still in the healthy range for my height and BMI. Some of my friends and family think I need to lose it. I think I look decent, actually pretty good, curvy and healthy.

I would love to lose my belly pooch but even 10-15 pounds lighter, I still had the pooch; I've pretty much always had it since giving birth the first time.

I am not sedentary. I lift weights, cycle (for my bum knee), and do some aerobic stuff like walking, rollerskating or boxing.

How do you choose your ideal weight?
It's difficult. You have to figure out where you feel comfortable and what you can reasonably maintain.

I'm in a position where my BMI is just over the healthy range so I have to lose weight. I would really like to be in the 120s again, but I don't think I can maintain that anymore without a struggle. I used to be able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted and maintain my weight without being very active, but that is no longer that case.

It depends on your body type, too. Some people have no problem staying at the bottom range of a healthy BMI, and then there are very muscular people who can't maintain in a "healthy" BMI range. For that reason BMI isn't a perfect measure... it doesn't take into account how much of your weight is muscle versus fat.

For myself I know it isn't remotely reasonable to get down to the bottom of my healthy BMI range.
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my BMI is just over the healthy range so I have to lose weight.
Originally Posted by wonderdiana - shopaholic takes a nap
why?

remember, BMI tables were arbitrarily changed with the stroke of pen back in 1998 after much pressure from the diet industry. the old tables used to take into account the fact that women's bodies have different fat to muscle ratios from men's. the new ones don't.

you're probably not outside a healthy range at all...
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There is no such thing as a healthy weight. There is such a thing a a weight that APPEARS healthy, but doesn't necessarily mean the person even meets the bare standards of cardiovascular performance. Obviously at a certain point, weight become a burden on a body's system. The bmi MAY be helpful in making that vague guideline, as long as you're not muscular. Idk, I'm not an expert. I personally measure my health by my physical performance - how do I feel, how much can I run, how much can I lift, etc.
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My doctor doesn't pay much attention to BMI charts and told me to take them with a grain of salt. She's more concerned with the waist to hip ratio (how much belly fat someone has) and how healthy someone is--cholesterol levels, triglycerides, whether someone has a fatty liver, blood pressure or sugar issues, etc. I currently weigh 172 pounds and I have never been told to lose weight, though I have a BMI of 28 or 29. My waist is bigger than I would like at 31 inches, but my hips are 45 inches and my thighs are 33 inches. I can run for 4 miles without a break. At 140 pounds, when I got married, I had a 24 or 25 inch waist and 40 inch hips with largish thighs. I feel like I should lose weight for vanity reasons, but my doctor says that since I carry most of my weight below my waist I am perfectly healthy this way.
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I don't trust BMI. A government site said I was obese, then I lost 3 lbs and suddenly I'm halfway in the healthy range. And when I was "obese" according to BMI charts, I had people say to me "your dieting???? why???"

I am at the point with my weight right now where I'd be happier if I could just redistribute my fat, which I probably couldn't do without surgery. So this is where I decided to stay.
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I don't worry about it too much either way.. plus health information is always changing. One day coffee, butter, and eggs are the devil, and the next they're the best thing ever. I just go by how I feel. If I feel healthy I must be doing something right.
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I don't trust BMI. A government site said I was obese, then I lost 3 lbs and suddenly I'm halfway in the healthy range. And when I was "obese" according to BMI charts, I had people say to me "your dieting???? why???"

I am at the point with my weight right now where I'd be happier if I could just redistribute my fat, which I probably couldn't do without surgery. So this is where I decided to stay.
Originally Posted by cympreni

Actually I think I'm wrong. I think the 3 lbs was with waist to hip measurements.

But to show how messed up BMI is I will show a picture of me at a weight where I was considered to be overweight by BMI charts. So what I guess I'm saying, don't trust any generic calculator.

Sorry I mixed up my pictures. The first is where I am overweight, the second one I am obese, all according to BMI

Last edited by cympreni; 08-11-2013 at 06:11 PM.
I don't really trust bmi but I used to have a bmi of 21-22 and now it's 26. So to me that's enough to say I need to do something about it. Also, my clothes are getting tight and I know I've got to lose at least 8kg to feel better about myself.

I also don't feel particularly healthy or fit at the moment.
Fat does not make you fat. It's actually pretty important.
my BMI is just over the healthy range so I have to lose weight.
Originally Posted by wonderdiana - shopaholic takes a nap
why?

remember, BMI tables were arbitrarily changed with the stroke of pen back in 1998 after much pressure from the diet industry. the old tables used to take into account the fact that women's bodies have different fat to muscle ratios from men's. the new ones don't.

you're probably not outside a healthy range at all...
Originally Posted by rouquinne
For one thing, my doctor told me to try to lose some weight. For another, this is fairly recent weight gain. I haven't been at this weight for the majority of my adult life. So I could be like, oh, my BMI is over 25 now, I don't give a care, la la la. But I know if I did my weight would continue to creep up to the point where it was really unhealthy.

Also I'd like to wear some of the clothes I own...
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BMI is a BS measurement, mainly because it doesn't take weight composition into account. Most professional athleths would be considered obese according to that scale, but they're usually very muscular with very little fat. Technically, I'm at the highest BMI that's considered healthy for my height and weight, but I can run 4 miles without a problem and I can do 30 pushups without a problem. I'm probably in better physical shape than some people with lower BMI's than I do. That's what I go by, not some arbitrary number on a chart.
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Well...I believe in BMI. Not for athletes of people who train constantly, but they even say that it's not accurate for them on the BMI chart. I also like curlylaura's point about not measuring BMI per se, but looking at your own numbers and weight gain. There is controversy in the medical/nutrition industry about almost everything, so I kind of feel like I can't go off of what someone's doctor says, or hell, even my doctor. There are several doctors who agree with BMI, and several who do not. The only information I can really go by is how I feel and look on my own. Now, for me? Comparing how I feel/look with my BMI is pretty in sync; for another person, it may be different.

There is also an ideal weight calculator that uses your wrist size (which is supposed to be a fairly accurate measurement of your frame) and height. I use this one - Ideal body weight. I'm not saying it's ridiculously accurate, but I did find it interesting that my ideal weight per this calculator is the weight I feel most comfortable/confident at (and felt that way before I learned it was my "ideal" weight).

Also, I work out, but consider myself sedentary. I work a desk job and am sitting for about 8 hours a day and do not think that 45 minutes to an hour of exercise 3-4 times a week makes me active. Usually when they say someone is active, they have a job where they are walking/standing a lot. Like today...I've been sitting around all day. I'm about to go run some errands but gosh, I've been pretty much sitting and working since 6am.

To the OP, you can of course use any guideline you want - there are certainly several resources if you just look up "ideal weight" via Google. But like I said, if you like how you look and feel, awesome.
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According to my BMI, I'm right on the line of healthy and overweight

However...

I read that to be in the 'overweight' scale isn't necessarily bad. Its probably within a 10 lb range and its there so your body has a little extra cushion, and it also keeps you healthy.

The BMI ranges are broad enough to fit in all body types. And if your very into fitness and body building, and working out, you're probably not caring too much about your BMI.

For me, I know by how I feel that I do or do not like where I'm at. The chart just told me what I already knew.

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Though I think BMI is a woefully inadequate determinant of health, honestly, for me personally it's pretty accurate.

The CDC website says that 133-179 lbs translates to a "normal" BMI for my height (5'11"). Right now, I weight 152, but about a year ago I weighed 162. At 133, I'd be nothing but skin and bones. At 179, I'd be uncomfortable with my weight - I know what I look like at 162, and adding 17 pounds to that, I'd agree that I was bordering on overweight.

On the other side of things, my 6'4" broad shouldered husband can barely get into the "normal" range for his height. 6'4" "normal" has a weight range of 152-205, and he weighs right around 205 and really can't lose much more if any.

Realistically, we both ran 7 miles this afternoon. So I think we're doing okay.
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Another reason I give a side eye to the BMI is because I think the ranges they give for a height are too broad. I can't picture any one body being able to be healthy at both extremes. For example, according to my BMI, I'm underweight. If I add 60 lbs to my current weight then it's at 26.6. Really? Shrug. 60 pounds is too much variability for me to take it seriously.

Actually, that sounds scary. Don't worry, I'm just a few (5-10) lbs under my "recommended" minimum. I have a small frame though, so I feel like it's not that big of deal.
I use BMI to compare my 2012 self to my 2011 self. The ideal weight calculators always tell me that I should be 110 pounds. There would be too little for me. I'm comfortable at 124-126. How did I pick that? It's where I'm curvy and most of my clothes fit.
BMI is way off for me. If I were not doing anything athletic, the top of the range might not be too thin for me.

Despite my small wrists, I have a large frame. I'm 5'1", and I was a size 8/10 at 90 lbs. Meaning I was skin and bones, basically - some muscle but no fat. I wasn't healthy and was always trying to put on weight. I finally got up to 105 by the time I left for college and was finally almost healthy. It did affect my health negatively and I knew it, but force fed myself as often as I could to try to put on weight.

My ideal not fit weight is probably around 125 lbs, which I believe would be considered obese because I am 5'1". It's when I finally have enough fat reserves that a common cold doesn't take two weeks to recover from, and all the bones in my body aren't sticking out from lack of any body fat. It would at least be overweight, I think. I haven't checked in a long time since I know the calculators aren't accurate for me. My fit, strong ideal weight is somewhere from 130-140lbs, depending on just how strong I am. I have the body type which tends to have more muscle than most women, and since horsebackriding just increases muscle even more, it means I simply should never be as light as BMI says. My doctor has warned me to try to never get below 130lbs again, because it just isn't healthy for me while I'm this active. I would say right at 135 is when I typically feel strongest overall.
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I have mixed feelings about BMI. When I was in college, my weight was in the acceptable range for my height (near the upper limit). I wasn't particularly athletic. I've since gained and lost and regained a significant amount of weight, but became extremely physically active. (I can run circles around my skinny self. Literally) Looking back on pics of myself at a "healthy weight," I look too thin (a doctor that I speak to regularly agreed with this). Besides the muscle mass thing, my biggest issue is that BMI doesn't take bone size/mass into account, which at least the old charts did. I have extremely solid bones (my scale measures everything and my bone mass hovers at very high end normal to above normal). I'm not saying that I don't need to lose more weight (I do). But I tell my friends I have about 40 pounds to lose (which would still leave me overweight by BMI- would need to lose an additional 15 pounds to reach "healthy") and they look at me like I'm nuts.

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...Despite my small wrists, I have a large frame. ...
Originally Posted by NetG
See, I feel the same way. I don't know if my wrists are considered small, but I measured them for the online calculator CurlyElectra posted, and they were 6 inches. According to the site, my ideal weight is 120! I don't know if that's possible for me.

This might be a dumb question, but how can you tell if you have a large, small, or medium frame if you don't go by wrist measurement? I've always thought I had a large frame but I'm not sure now and think that on some level I may have told myself that as an excuse to stay overweight. Since you say that you were a size 8 at 90 pounds, I'm guessing some permutation involving weight and clothing size might be revealing, but I don't know.
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...Despite my small wrists, I have a large frame. ...
Originally Posted by NetG
See, I feel the same way. I don't know if my wrists are considered small, but I measured them for the online calculator CurlyElectra posted, and they were 6 inches. According to the site, my ideal weight is 120! I don't know if that's possible for me.

This might be a dumb question, but how can you tell if you have a large, small, or medium frame if you don't go by wrist measurement? I've always thought I had a large frame but I'm not sure now and think that on some level I may have told myself that as an excuse to stay overweight. Since you say that you were a size 8 at 90 pounds, I'm guessing some permutation involving weight and clothing size might be revealing, but I don't know.
Originally Posted by ursula
First, remember that clothes sizes are more dangerous to go by than BMI. I have bought a size 6 and size 12 on the same day. Last summer, I would have bought a size 4 skirt if it had come in the color I needed.

Second, wrist size is one of the best ways to judge frame size and it seems like it's one of the most consistent.

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