Can You Calculate a Healthy Weight?


You may be familiar with the BMI or body mass index. It is that chart you may have seen that tells you if your weight matches your height as healthy. Different from simply stepping on your bathroom scale, which calculates only total weight, the BMI is supposed to give you an idea of how much fat you’re carrying around. It is found by multiplying weight by 700 and dividing the answer by height in inches then dividing that result, again,  by height in inches toreach a number which corresponds to a chart listing ranges telling you if you are underweight, overweight, or obese. The World Health Organization considers a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 to be a healthy reading.

Doctors have been known to use the BMI as a starting point for determining health, so you might assume it is the standard for fat measurement.  The formula was created by a Belgium statistician, Adolphe Quetelet, in the mid 1800s. His work, generally, focused on what characterized the average man. While considered groundbreaking, the BMI is really limited as it cannot differentiate lean weight from fat; a big problem. Since muscle weighs more than fat, when using the BMI a stocky athlete would probably be categorized as overweight or obese. If Jay Cutler (bodybuilding’s Mr Olymipa 2010) were to enter his height (5 feet 9 inches, or 175 cm) and weight (270 pounds, or 122 kg) into a BMI calculator, his BMI reading would be around 40 — seriously obese. But while Cutler typically eats about 6,500 calories of food a day, he is very lean and typically enters competition with low single-digit fat levels.

The body mass index also fails to calculate other imporatant factors, such as race, sex, and age. Since women need more body fat and muscle mass tends to decline with age many using only the BMI to determine health would be thinking themselves over or underweight when the opposite is the case. The Mayo Clinic points out another fatal flaw by stressing that a person carrying excess weight in the abdomen is at greater risk of disease than a person carrying excess weight in the hips. The body mass index can be a useful tool to begin the search for your ideal body weight, but it has serious flaws.



About leisatwatkins

In May 2011, I hit an all time low in my life and an all time high in my weight. I was 199 pounds and the idea of hitting 200 scared me. I had tried every known diet, HCG, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins, the grapefruit diet. I'd even tried Phen-phen when I was younger and Dexatrim before that. While I'd lose a little weight, I would always gain it back and then more. I knew the yo-yo dieting was not healthy for my body and it was definitely wreaking havoc on my mental wellness. I didn't know what to do and I was looking into taking drastic surgical measures to lose weight. That's when a friend of mine told me his story about losing over 200 pounds without pills, surgery, or starving himself. Not only did he lose the weight, but he kept it off. What did I have to lose? I asked him to share the secret with me. Now, only six short months later, I weigh 140 lbs and am working on losing 5 more. That will put me back to my weight that I was in HS, college, and before I had children. And I've done it with my friend's help as my Health Coach, without starving or even exercising, although I love to walk everyday. I haven't felt hungry at all in this process. How many "diets" can say that? I feel fantastic! I've felt great since the first week on this program. Let me be very clear about this. This is NOT a diet. This is not something you do for a little while, lose the weight, then go back to your old eating habits. This program is a life changing plan to help you eat healthier, make food choices that are tailored to your body, and bring you to a state of optimal physical health. If like me, you are tired of diets that don't work, then let me show you a life style plan that does.

2 responses »

  1. There has been a lot of hype about BMI but personally I have found it to have serious short comings also. Yes it is a starting point but it is better to work with a coach that knows more that your weight and BMI to get healthy.

    Thanks for good article Lisa.

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