For years the medical community has used BMI as the primary measurement for determining a healthy weight. However, can I share a little secret? I don’t even bother to document BMI. It’s low enough on my priority list that it doesn’t even make the list and here’s why.
BMI doesn’t know your composition.
You’ve heard the term, big-boned. By density and design, you’re an individual. Bone, however, doesn’t weigh very much, not enough to make a large difference in your BMI, so well look at your muscle.
There are different forms of muscle tissue in both men and women which change how your musculature is designed, both in shape and how they function. To keep it simple we can say Type I and Type II, although if you look at current research, they’ve given terms to many of the muscle types in between. Type I muscle fibers, also known as slow-twitch, are endurance type muscles. Type II muscle fibers, also known as fast-twitch, are muscles built for power in short spurts. Each individual muscle fiber, down to the mitochondria are different in these two types. As a person, you can have these types of muscle as a blend, more to certain muscle groups than others. This is another example why it’s never in interest to look at a magazine cover and say “I want to look like that”, without taking into the account the photoshop that likely took place.
Type I body is a marathon runner, Type II is a football player. Both may be healthy and eat correctly but vary greatly in composition.
BMI doesn’t know your lifestyle.
A person can be skinny while in fact being very unhealthy. However, BMI is a calculation which only considers weight and height. Have you heard the term skinny-fat? Its not cute, and by no means the model or inspiration towards being fit or healthy. What you eat matters. How and how often you exercise, matters. How you handle stress both physically and mentally, matter; and mental stress and anxiety both have ways of letting themselves known physically.
Let’s use these 3 areas in a simplified form.
1) What you eat turns into fat or fuel.
2) Exercise determines the capability for your muscles to contract and work.
3) Stress shows itself physically by means of inflammation in the body, you’ll be prone to holding more water weight this way.
Did you know that according to BMI, a bodybuilder would be considered OBESE? However, they’re far from it.
So why does the medical community still use BMI as a measure?
Honestly, I have no idea, other than its lazy. It’s easily measurable and not reliant on hand or machine which can have faults. Just know for your personal use, never use BMI as your measure or goal.
What to look at instead as a measurement of health is Body Fat.
Body Fat takes into account what you eat, your level of exercise, and stress, all indirectly. When you measure body fat, you can do the math of what’s left for muscle, bone, and inflammation. Most likely your bones weigh 6-10lbs if that helps you! There are scales however which will measure your body fat, muscle mass, your bone mass, your intra-cellular vs. extra-cellular water, and your visceral fat(very important for determining how long you will live) -I mean that organs don’t function well when they’re squished and they are responsible for your whole functional being.
How much weight should I lose?
Women are often very surprised when I tell them how much of their weight is “fat-free bodyweight” because it means they can’t possibly be less than 10-15lbs above that. You need fat to function, in fact, your brain is mostly fat. Look at your body from an exterior view. Try using a tailor measuring tape to determine how much weight you have to lose. Obviously, you can’t lose more than what your bones support. Then look at the average 5lbs of muscle vs fat image to get an idea of what 5 lbs. of fat look like. Now, remember, you can’t target lose so realize that you need to allow some flexibility for that. You may notice you only see 2 lbs. worth of availability to be lost from your thighs. And always be flexible for muscle to show themselves. You’re really just trying to unveil those beautiful muscles have that have been hiding for a little while.