Don’t Worry about the Body Mass Index BMI

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So years ago, I went to my doctor to get a checkup. As part of the process, they were checking my body mass index. According to my doctor at the time, I was supposed to weigh about 145 pounds. At 170, I was considered obese and really needed to drop weight. In fact, the Air Force also told me that I need to drop weight to meet their standards.

As a person who was relatively lean, quite muscular, and very, very fit, I found this noise to be extremely humorous. So I asked my doctor, “So according to this BMI, I’m considered overweight?” Then I proceeded to remove my shirt, (always ready to take my shirt off back in those days) and demonstrated my torso to the doctor. I pinched the skin, then tightened my abs to demonstrate how defined they were. I said, “If this is considered obese, and you want me at 145 pounds, you are going to have to chop off some of my limbs.”

The doctor got the point, and laughed. There is no way I was obese back then, and even now, today, I’m not obese. The body mass index has some very weird, unrealistic standards that doesn’t apply to most human kind. Definitely not to those of us who do some form of strength training. Anyone who has ever seen my physique knows that I am not a little dude. I may be short in stature, but I’m certainly not a small dude. My body is heavily muscled, and I’m what you call “stocky.” Even at my leanest, though I was smaller, my physique was still muscular and pronounced.

I came across a post today on Facebook that repeated this ridiculous notion that at 5’7″ I’m supposed to weigh about 145 pounds. The lightest I ever got, was when I was getting ready for a bodybuilding contest, (which I pulled out of due to steroids being allowed) I came in at about 155 pounds. My waist was a solid 27 inches, and I had very little body fat on my physique. I ate leaves, tuna, and egg whites, even then I was not at my “target weight.” According to them, I was still “overweight.”

The point I’m trying to make is that the body mass index is stupid and it doesn’t apply to everyone. In fact, I’d say that it doesn’t apply to most people.


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Also published on Medium.