3

votes

BMI sucks, how do I find out what an appropriate weight for me is?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 16, 2012 at 11:23 PM

And yes, I know, you shouldn't even bother looking at a scale and just judge by what you see in the mirror. But like everything else, the more you look at something (like on a daily basis), the less change you'll see.

My issue is I was just on the cusp of rolling into obesity based on the BMI scale, but I've also got a large frame compared to other people my age and height and weight (25 y/o, 6'1", 210lbs [from 240lbs, earlier this year thanks to Paleo]).

I'm not very good at observing my own self and recognizing changes good or bad in my health, fitness, etc... Quantifiable data is key for motivation and goal-setting for me, I've never been anywhere near an appropriate weight so I don't know where I should set my sights.

Basically, I just want to know when I start buying clothes again because these pants are getting mighty baggy, I look like a hobo.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 22, 2012
at 02:23 PM

That's what I'm personally working on now. I've got a "normal" weight, but my BF% leaves something to be desired.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 22, 2012
at 02:23 PM

Didn't mean to sound harsh, but when folks start dismissing BMI, it usually means they want to justify their higher than normal weights. And the thing is, once you get to a normal BMI, there's more work involved, as you'll probably have a poorer BF% than somebody who started at such a BMI.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 22, 2012
at 02:19 PM

BMI moves directly with bodyweight, don't know what's so hard about that. BF% now, is more complex, weight loss can come from lean mass or fat mass, so you're not guaranteed a lower BF% at a lower weight (though most of the time you are). Gaining lean mass is probably more effective in changing BF%, but that's a tall order. It's easy to lose 20 pounds of fat, but you can probably only gain 4 pounds of lean mass at best in the same amount of time.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 22, 2012
at 01:34 PM

Another thing that irritates people is that actuaries like BMI...

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 22, 2012
at 01:32 PM

BMI is a hard number to change, and percentage-wise the changes are small. What looks simple isn't that simple, which may be the reason for the denial. I had to constantly add exercise to move 30 to 25 and it took 6 months of focus to get it done. There are better ways to look at your obesity, starting with the mirror, which gives you an idea what everyone else sees.

977d98d9ee4a3edba0141c0b3aa018a7

(243)

on November 21, 2012
at 10:09 PM

It's not an argument or a red herring, it's just a fact. I know I have a long way to go, what I'm looking for is a good target to work towards. 170-190 is a difference of 20 lbs, so I'll probably aim for 170, because, why not?

26e2364f7966432bbf8acfe930583674

(460)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:32 PM

I, being blessed with a large frame too, use waist-to-hips ratio as my body composition standard. Shoot to keep it under 0.9 and closer to 0.8 as this is considered the healthier range.

26e2364f7966432bbf8acfe930583674

(460)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:31 PM

I go with the waist-to-hip ratio as my body composition standard, being blessed with a similarly large frame. A waist-to-hip ratio under 0.9 is generally considered healthy, closer to 0.8 being considered more healthy than 0.9.

26e2364f7966432bbf8acfe930583674

(460)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:28 PM

Waist-to-hip ratio is a fairly reliable metric with respect to health risk, under 0.9 is typically considered the better place to be. If you have that locked down, let your scale weight fall where it will, within reason.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:15 PM

That's the level of lean mass and frame that "breaks" BMI.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:15 PM

If you had the same lean mass as he does, 210 pounds would be 13% BF, which would be acceptable. But I doubt you really do have that level of lean mass.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:13 PM

Putting him at a BMI of 25.7, just a bit into the overweight range.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:09 PM

BF is a better indicator, yes, but BMI is hardly terrible.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:08 PM

Disagree. Unless he's a bodybuilder, it's very unlikely that he's fit and overweight by BMI.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:06 PM

Reference point: Martin Berkhan is 6'1, 195 pounds, and 6% BF.

E15c5c2d17c4a5d723ce7bb4437062e6

(789)

on November 17, 2012
at 10:56 PM

The testing I did was $50 for the first time and then $35 every time after that, optional on when, but I do it every 3 months

47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on November 17, 2012
at 06:40 AM

Strange it seems that people who start Paleo lose that 30 pounds and then what? Time to start transforming life!

977d98d9ee4a3edba0141c0b3aa018a7

(243)

on November 17, 2012
at 02:11 AM

I have enough visceral fat to share.

977d98d9ee4a3edba0141c0b3aa018a7

(243)

on November 17, 2012
at 02:03 AM

I don't want to obsessively count calories, but I'd rather have a baseline, then start to measure my caloric intake so at least I have an idea of how much I'm ingesting. How much does getting a body fat test cost (typically)?

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

8 Answers

best answer

1
E15c5c2d17c4a5d723ce7bb4437062e6

(789)

on November 16, 2012
at 11:39 PM

You should look into hydrostatic body fat testing - there may be a place in your area that has it, or a nearby service that makes appointments to stop by local gyms every few months or so. Hydrostatic BF testing is done underwater, which is the true weight of fat/muscle ratio and all that good stuff. The "body fat truck" that comes to my gym every 3 months provides a detailed analysis (including calories for your specific body, which of course should be proportioned to the amount of food you eat daily and not used for obsessive counting) and a range with percentages on where you are and etc etc. In the last 9 months I have had the test 3 times, which has been SO HELPFUL in knowing how much muscle I have gained, how much body fat I have lost, etc etc It is also very exciting to anticipate the results!

E15c5c2d17c4a5d723ce7bb4437062e6

(789)

on November 17, 2012
at 10:56 PM

The testing I did was $50 for the first time and then $35 every time after that, optional on when, but I do it every 3 months

977d98d9ee4a3edba0141c0b3aa018a7

(243)

on November 17, 2012
at 02:03 AM

I don't want to obsessively count calories, but I'd rather have a baseline, then start to measure my caloric intake so at least I have an idea of how much I'm ingesting. How much does getting a body fat test cost (typically)?

4
Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 17, 2012
at 02:01 AM

BMI is only something to index against, and is better than just scale weight because it takes height into consideration.

Another easy way to gauge health is waistline, which should be below 36" for men. Above that indicates significant visceral fat, which is a dangerous toxifier, impeding normal function of the internal organs.

977d98d9ee4a3edba0141c0b3aa018a7

(243)

on November 17, 2012
at 02:11 AM

I have enough visceral fat to share.

2
121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

on November 22, 2012
at 08:39 AM

For 99% of the population, the BMI is a perfectly acceptable indicator, especially if you have ever been obviously overweight.

I'm concerned that the rising incidence of obesity is causing a change in the "cultural set point". People go through real contortions to discredit the BMI. Wishing for something doesn't make it true, however.

Yes, BMI doesn't reflect muscle mass well, and yes, it can also miss visceral fat in skinny people, but these are edge cases, and the muscle mass argument is only really relevant at BMIs that are close to the upper threshold. If your BMI is 30 -- unless you're a competitive bodybuilder in the top weight class -- then you have a problem and you should, if you can, bring that number down.

A final point:

You should know that, although things didn't start out that way, the BMI thresholds are based on population statistics. Simply put: your disease and mortality risk increase measurably at BMIs beyond 25. Everybody likes to think, "yes, but I am so different, I am the statistical outlier!"... but is that something you want to gamble on? The truth is different. Very, very few people are that special.

Congratulations on losing the 30 lbs you've already dropped. Keep it up! It is doable!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 22, 2012
at 01:34 PM

Another thing that irritates people is that actuaries like BMI...

2
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 18, 2012
at 03:59 PM

Sorry dude, that "I have a large frame" argument is so bogus. Seriously... At 210# 6'1, you've still got some ways to go. Nobody wants to hear that, but it's 100% true.

Guys who fear weighing less than 200 pounds because they'll look scrawny are exactly like the women who think that lifting weights is going to mean they'll look manly and bulky.

BMI is not so terribly awful for target body mass. A guy should be on the top end of normal weights, a women should be smack dab in the middle. So at 6'1 you should probably be 170-190 pound range.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:15 PM

That's the level of lean mass and frame that "breaks" BMI.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:06 PM

Reference point: Martin Berkhan is 6'1, 195 pounds, and 6% BF.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:15 PM

If you had the same lean mass as he does, 210 pounds would be 13% BF, which would be acceptable. But I doubt you really do have that level of lean mass.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:13 PM

Putting him at a BMI of 25.7, just a bit into the overweight range.

977d98d9ee4a3edba0141c0b3aa018a7

(243)

on November 21, 2012
at 10:09 PM

It's not an argument or a red herring, it's just a fact. I know I have a long way to go, what I'm looking for is a good target to work towards. 170-190 is a difference of 20 lbs, so I'll probably aim for 170, because, why not?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 22, 2012
at 02:19 PM

BMI moves directly with bodyweight, don't know what's so hard about that. BF% now, is more complex, weight loss can come from lean mass or fat mass, so you're not guaranteed a lower BF% at a lower weight (though most of the time you are). Gaining lean mass is probably more effective in changing BF%, but that's a tall order. It's easy to lose 20 pounds of fat, but you can probably only gain 4 pounds of lean mass at best in the same amount of time.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 22, 2012
at 01:32 PM

BMI is a hard number to change, and percentage-wise the changes are small. What looks simple isn't that simple, which may be the reason for the denial. I had to constantly add exercise to move 30 to 25 and it took 6 months of focus to get it done. There are better ways to look at your obesity, starting with the mirror, which gives you an idea what everyone else sees.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 22, 2012
at 02:23 PM

That's what I'm personally working on now. I've got a "normal" weight, but my BF% leaves something to be desired.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 22, 2012
at 02:23 PM

Didn't mean to sound harsh, but when folks start dismissing BMI, it usually means they want to justify their higher than normal weights. And the thing is, once you get to a normal BMI, there's more work involved, as you'll probably have a poorer BF% than somebody who started at such a BMI.

2
782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

on November 17, 2012
at 12:09 AM

BMI is basically useless. You can be very fit and still have a BMI that puts you in the overweight catagory. Body fat measurements are better. If you belong to a gym there should be someone there that can measure you with calipers. I don't think that scales or on-line calculators will be accurate. The important thing, though, is how you feel, how you fit in your clothes, and how you are trending in whatever way you are measuring yourself. BTW, don't weigh yourself everyday. Weight can vary a few pounds during the day, I have found. I weigh myself once a week at the gym and that seems to be a more reliable indicator of how I'm doing. And congratulations on your weight loss!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:09 PM

BF is a better indicator, yes, but BMI is hardly terrible.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:08 PM

Disagree. Unless he's a bodybuilder, it's very unlikely that he's fit and overweight by BMI.

26e2364f7966432bbf8acfe930583674

(460)

on November 18, 2012
at 04:28 PM

Waist-to-hip ratio is a fairly reliable metric with respect to health risk, under 0.9 is typically considered the better place to be. If you have that locked down, let your scale weight fall where it will, within reason.

1
2efae96bca567fb3a6afb3f148309099

on November 18, 2012
at 10:17 AM

Don't make it complicated.

Your body will adopt to its right proportions if you eat in a healthy way and do normal exercise.

My golden rule of 10 is:

If you are male and for example is 175cm tall, your normal weight should be in the span of 75-85kg. Never above that, could be less than that if your DNA says you are a thin person.

If you are female and are 175cm tall, your normal weight should be in the span of 65-75kg. Never above that, it could be less than that if your DNA says you are a thin person.

My rule of 10 does not apply to true Bodybuilders...

How to exercise is a trickier subject, I do believe that if you max your heart rate for 15 minutes 3 time per week you will be very healthy and fit. What kind of exercise you do, really does not matter as long as you get your heart rate up. One more important thing, if you have any kind of heart condition ALWAYS consult your Doctor before doing exercise that involves high heart rate.

Food wise, I recommend Paleo 2.0

Good Luck

//Max

1
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on November 16, 2012
at 11:40 PM

Do your bodyfat percentage instead. There are calculators online.

1
Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf

on November 16, 2012
at 11:39 PM

Weight, BMI, body fat % ideals are quite varied for everyone. Maybe look at your waist measurement as a sign of achieving good metabolic health.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!