The importance of BMI in measuring weight loss success

English: 8 women with the same Body Mass Index...

Image via Wikipedia

There are a few different numbers that I will be taking note of at the start of this journey. One of which is BMI or Body Mass Index. There is some dispute as to whether or not this is a valid means of measurement. Most of that stems from the fact that BMI does not take into account body composition. You could have a relatively high BMI and be extremely healthy because your body is made up mostly of muscle. Conversely, there are a lot of thin people who are incredibly unhealthy but just happen to have a BMI in the accepted range. As an example, the above illustration shows sketches of eight women with the same BMI in different distributions.

I am not going to share my weight on my blog for the simple reason that I don’t want my success to be determined solely by the number on the scale. However, since I know that my body composition has a higher amount of fat than it should, I will include the BMI as a means of measurement. If you feel that you are in a similar position to me, feel free to calculate it with me.

Formula for calculating BMI:

BMI = ( Weight in Pounds / ( Height in inches x Height in inches ) ) x 703

Or, for those of us who are math-phobes, myself included, you can find a calculator online at

My BMI is 32.3, which is technically classified as EXTREMELY OVERWEIGHT or Obese Class 1. While I take this into consideration, BMI will not be the only means of defining my success. Reason being, a few years ago when I was healthier, I was watching what I ate and working out five to six days a week. Even doing all this and looking pretty good, I was considered overweight by BMI standards.

What’s my message? Calculate your BMI if you want to use if as a baseline to see your progression, but never rely on it as your sole measure of success.

I was reading O Magazine’s January 2012 issue and I came across some interesting statistics regarding body mass indexes. (Keep in mind this information is for people with a BMI greater than 25)

– If you lose 5% of your body weight, you improve your body’s insulin production and lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes

– lose 11% of your body weight and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease by 21% and risk of dying from ANY cause by 25%

– lose 16% of your body weight and you can triple vitamin D levels, which can prevent many things from Parkinson’s to migraines

All of those reductions in risk really drive me to get healthy and encourage others to strive for health too.

If you want to, share your BMI and how many pounds you would have to lose to be in the “normal” category. Is this realistic for you?

The online calculator suggests I lose close to 60lbs. Yikes! I’ve been that weight before, but it took a hella lot of effort to maintain!


Interesting article:

Gauging fatness vs. fitness yields unexpected results – on the National Post blog


About msjenniferwalker

I'm a Jenn of all trades, as long as they are creative and fulfilling. I'm an actress, writer, photographer and all around social person. I love to learn, travel, meet new people and have new experiences.

Posted on January 2, 2012, in Information and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Mine was 33.7, I’d have to lose 55lbs. I have no idea if I could actually lose that much weight. I’ve always though I’d be happy about 175 but that would still classify me as “overweight”

    • Like I said in my post, at my lightest I felt great but I was still classified as overweight. If you are happy and healthy at 175 when you get there (and you WILL!!!), don’t let the numbers mess with your head. Thanks for sharing!

  2. At my highest weight (which was just last January), my BMI was 39.5. Now it’s 30.4. I’m with you: I’m using my BMI as one of the many ways I’m tracking my overall health, rather than the sole indicator. Great post!

  3. I’m not sure if my “ideal” BMI is actually a great goal for me. I am paying attention to it. I think I am around 25.6 or 9 something like that right now, or was before the trip to Alaska. Real trouble cooking tons of stuff I shouldn’t be eating. 😀

  4. The information about what losing certain percentages of weight and the benefit is amazing to read and quite inspiring. My B.M.I is above 50 and I have about 157 lbs to lose. It’s going to be a long tough journey but one I need to undertake.

    • I’m so glad you found the info inspiring! I know it’s a tough journey but if you need it, I’ll be here to help you 🙂 Cheers to you for taking the first steps and sharing your BMI!!!

  5. Interesting about the vitamin D levels. We recently discovered that I had very low levels, so I’ve been supplementing with a giant horse-pill of D from the doctor (don’t think you can get it at the drugstore) & I feel SO much better. I mean, remarkably better. I’ve lost ~25% of my starting weight, so shudder to think of what my vitamin D levels were back then.

    My ultimate maintenance goal is TBD, but I’m fairly certain it will be in the overweight instead of “normal” section of the chart, and I’m fine with that. We’ll just see how the year goes.

    @mrsalexzan – you CAN do it! I’ve lost 64, and others much more. Jennifer has it down – make slow changes you can maintain over time, and you can get there.

  6. I have read several excellent stuff here.

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  1. Pingback: Body Mass Index (BMI)

  2. Pingback: What’s Your BMI? | michelle's blog

  3. Pingback: Healthy Weight – it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle! « mytopweightloss

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