I went to the doctor yesterday for my regular check-up and when I was leaving they gave me a print-out summary of my visit. On it included my blood pressure, pulse, etc. and while I was looking it over I realized it showed my height, weight, and BMI.

It didn’t give any sort of interpretation of the BMI number, it just showed it and left it at that.

They had calculated my height to the 1/2 inch so I was curious how that impacted my BMI as all the charts and calculators I’ve ever seen don’t let you get that specific. So, while my kids were in gymnastics class I did a Google search on my phone to check what a BMI of 25.6 meant.

Then, I stared at my phone is disbelief for a while.

The website I was on said, clear as day, “Your BMI is 25.6, indicating your weight is in the Normal weight range category for women of your height.”

Shocked to discover someone saying I’m a “normal weight” I started wracking my brain to figure out why I’ve had it in my head that I need to weigh 147 pounds to have a “normal” BMI.

When I got home I started doing more research and all the other sites I went to said that a BMI of 25.6 means I am “overweight”. Then I went back and looked at the original website more carefully. At the top it said, ” …the values of BMI for normal weight range and general conception of ideal weight for height itself vary from time to time and country to country. In 1985 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) consensus conference suggested that overweight BMI were considered at a BMI of 27.8 for men and 27.3 for women… Our BMI calculator for women is based on these recommendations and overweight for women begins from the value of BMI exceeding 27.3.”

When did this change? When were the categories of “normal” knocked down a couple of notches?

Turns out it was 1998.

From 1985 – 1998 a “normal” BMI was anything under 27.3 for women. Then a group of researchers decided to lower the number. Some other researchers protested the change. I’m still not clear how or why it was changed to make 29 million additional American adults qualify as overweight.

As far as I can tell the logic, in part, was that since people in the upper part of that normal range were carrying around 6-12 pounds more than was ideal they thought that by classifying those folks as overweight would encourage people to lose those 6-12 pounds and get them healthier.

What utter crap.

When will anyone learn that humiliation, labels, and pressure will never fix an individual’s weight problems and will never fix the nation’s trend towards higher and higher weights?


It all just makes me so frustrated.

It also makes me angry that one again I fall prey to this.

It seems that no matter what the number was set at for a “normal” BMI I would be always chasing the lowest number. I actually stopped looking at the various charts because the more recent the chart the less I’d have to weigh to get into that ever elusive “normal” category.

Hasn’t anyone noticed that the more we lower the target weight the fewer people can hit them? How does this help anyone?

My goals remain the same, although I’m removing the concept of BMI from them.

Goal 1: drop 2 pounds to the weight my diet suggested I shoot for.

Goal 2: drop another 3 pounds so I’m under 150 for the first time in my adult life.

Goal 3: drop another 3 pounds so I can be 100 pounds below my highest weight ever.

The hell with the BMI.

My satisfaction comes from the personal and internal meaning I attribute to my goals and my accomplishments.

That’s probably how it should have always been.