BMI Charts Put This Woman Into The Overweight Category… And She Has Something To Say About It

BeautyHealth 126 Comments

By Amber Rogers – This picture is an accurate representation of what I look like today. Most people would say I look fit. Only the most extreme would say I am fat. I am regularly referred to as ‘lean’ and ‘thin’.

And yet. I weigh 170 pounds, which puts me just into the ‘overweight’ category on the BMI charts according to my height (5’9). Today I am wearing a pair of jeans that is a size 14W – which means I found them in the plus size department (I also have clothes in my closet in sizes 4-12, that all fit. I most often wear clothes labeled between 8 and 12).

It is time for a new paradigm. Our worth as women (and men) is not determined by our weight, or our clothing size, or any other arbitrary number assigned to us. Not even how much we can deadlift.

“I believe health comes in many shapes and sizes, and that health starts with mindset – and that self-compassion (as well as compassion for others) is the healthiest mindset of all.”

This picture of me does not tell you how happy I am. It does not tell you how much value I bring to the lives of others. It does not tell you how many people love me. It does not signify that I am better or worse than anyone else. It does not convey the works I create in this world.

Being fit is awesome, because it keeps me healthy and strong so I can go out in the world and do awesome things. Being fit, itself, is not the goal. Being fit is a means to accomplish my true goals. If your goal ends at ‘being fit’, think bigger! The world has so much more for you!

About Amber

amber_rogers_headshotIn 2008, after 35 years of the Standard American Diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and two pregnancies, I found myself obese, exhibiting a whole laundry list of Metabolic Disorder symptoms, and hurtling madly down a path toward chronic illness and an early, preventable death.

Realizing that I was my daughters’ primary female role model, I decided to clean up my act and model a healthy lifestyle, in the hopes that they’d be spared the future of obesity and illness that was my reality. With the simple act of trying to set a good example though, something amazing and unexpected happened. I healed myself and profoundly changed my body.

Today, I’m a 40-year-old mom who reversed obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome with exercise and better food choices. I am a Personal Trainer and Weight Management Coach, as well as a Certified Massage Therapist specializing in Sports Massage. I practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. Go Kaleo is my personal blog.

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  • Jenn O.

    Great piece and excellent sentiments. The thin-focused, dieting, BMI-obsessed culture we live in serves the purpose of both perpetuating obesity and triggering eating disorders and it does so by refusing acknowledge that health can & should be measured not by the number on a scale, but by fitness level and blood work.

    • Aussie54

      Great response. You get it.

  • Buddy Touchinsky

    The author needs to educate herself on the proper use of the bmi screening tool. It says right on the NIH site, Although BMI can be used for most men and women, it does have some limits:

    It may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build.It may underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle.

    • Gabi

      Except that often times BMI is used all the time when it shouldn’t be used and the author of the standard never intended for it to be used the way it is.

      • Hallie Veteto

        When? I’m genuinely asking because my doctor is the only one who has ever brought up BMI in front of me. It’s certainly not used in the media to a large extent. So when?

        • screwreligion

          Try applying for the best airline in the world – you must input your data so they can get your BMI, and your BMI must be “normal”. The US Military use it, some training programs use it.

          • therealamericanamerican

            Exactly. I have been taped at 9% body fat, because according to the US Army I am suppose to way no more than 172 lbs. My total bodyweight with no body fat at all is 169 lbs. I am allowed to have 3 lbs of total fat to keep from getting taped. Yet, there are people who are skinny fat, with low muscle mass, who don’t have to get taped, yet can’t pass a pt test they are so out of shape. Once again, it goes back to convenience, not accuracy.

    • Mary Judge

      I agree Buddy…

    • blakektn

      Exactly. BMI is a screening tool, NOT an arbitrary standard. My physician is perfectly happy that I run a BMI around 25, because I’m 59, have normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, an 18% body fate level, and exercise 4-5 times a week. Most of the extra weight is lean muscle mass.

      Next time someone wants to be critical of your BMI, tell them to take their condescending attitude, fold it up until it’s all corners, and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

      • Hallie Veteto

        Agreed! Who/where are these BMI shamers? They sound like shit people but the BMI is just a scale. Do the same people want to do away with the percentile system we use on newborns and children to measure their weight and height? I’m honestly asking. Isn’t it the same?

    • Maya North

      The author knows all that perfectly well. It’s a poor tool never intended for such use.

      • Buddy Touchinsky

        No, it’s a good tool if you know it’s limitations.

        • Maya North

          I can’t agree, Buddy, because it only works for people who are absolutely within the so-called norm and it literally demonizes those who aren’t. It was actually created for statistical purposes and was never meant to be used as it is. In addition, the insurance companies retooled the weight/height charts downward back in the 80s. Not only are their standards almost impossible to achieve, they probably should not be. In addition, the assumption that people of size are not athletic and healthy is erroneous. There is a *tendency* for bigger people to have more health issues, but I was a power lifter at 340 lbs and 5’2″ and could do a full-body, 5 hour lifting workout that included one full hour of aerobics (I was 38) and weights that staggered the big guys (180 lb seated rows, 36 reps, 250 lb leg extensions — I could push 1000 lbs with my legs and relax between sets holding ). At age 56, weighing 290, I got a red belt in martial arts. My stats were right on the money except for diabetes which was entirely induced by an inappropriate medication that 5 subsequent doctors asserted I had never needed. People’s bigotry and assumptions were the worst part of me being a woman of size. Now, after a gastric bypass, which is the only thing that ever took weight off me, I have my human being card back, my intelligence card back… The viciousness of the bigotry truly cannot be understated. The erroneousness of the assumptions based on weight cannot be understated either.

          • OffToSeeHim

            Maya, I so agree. So many tools that were intended to be used to classify people statistically are being used as some sort of fat-shaming “gospel” by doctors, insurance companies… and don’t even get me started on the 20-year-olds at the gym with no training that quote the party line to try to get you to take the “Gold Membership” or whatever!

          • Maya North

            Exactly! I did weights most women and many men could only dream of doing. I had the respect (to their surprise) of the best lifters in the gym. Even though I never lost much fat (I wore a 26/28 and weighed 340), I could live my life at full speed and go all day. So I cluttered up the universe of perfect bodies with my rampant imperfection? Medically, I was a cheap date. And only the shallow were cruel, although, post gastric bypass, I am staggered by the improvement in my treatment. You would think people should be far more ashamed of being vicious and judgmental than I should be about my excess weight…

          • Hallie Veteto

            Demonizes?It demonizes overweight people? Ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous. It’s a base scale used to show the norm! That’s literally what it does! If you want them to update the norm measures, that’s one thing but the BMI itself isn’t a bad scale! It’s just there to show a base line. If you have facotrs in your life that complicate that measure like and illness, SEE YOUR DOCTOR! The BMI scale doesn’t claim to be your doctor and have tons of ***’s for this reason!

          • Hallie Veteto

            You clearly understand that there is a link between health and weight that has very little to do with aesthetics and alleged fat-shaming. There is a limit for every person of how much weight they can gain before a doctor would grow concerned for their future health. The BMI chart shows a base line for the norm to be supplemented by you and your doctor’s knowledge of your body and what is best for it!

          • Aussie54

            the BMI is actually quite useless. The way it is used it is clearly very unflattering. It is an inadequate measure of health.

          • screwreligion

            Actually, it’s pretty f’n useless.

            Take a chinese girl, with a small bone mass, small lean muscle mass, but high body fat percentage – she still makes the grade as “Normal BMI” but her body fat is very high and she doesn’t exercise and she eats like crap.

            Take an American girl, or a girl with polynesian heritage who has a heavier skeletal mass, higher muscle mass, and lower body fat percentage, – works out and eats pretty well, but ends up in the overweight category.

            The BMI says the first girl is ‘normal’ and is designated healthy, while the second girl is ‘overweight’ and designated at greater risk for health complications, when really the reverse is true.

          • TSD

            I am former army, and while I have let myself go since those days (I am 6’0 and about 260lbs now) I can clearly afford to drop pounds(if I could give up food I love it would be a simple affair), I play hockey 3 times a week and would guarantee I could out push, situp, and distance run someone in my age group who is in within normal range on BMI yet does moderate to no exercise each week.

        • Milo

          I’m just curious, how exactly is a tool that only works 10% of the time considered “good”?

          • Hallie Veteto

            Because it’s not meant for everyone to use/fall into!

    • emmettdigger

      Oh Buddy, don’t you just know it all. Thank god for you.

    • TSD

      As someone else mentioned the Military needs to establish a new standard. I had to dehydrate myself at every physical to make weight, because I would fail BMI and I had no problems exceeding the APFT requirements. The Army has an entry fitness test you have to pass to go to basic I think for young males(its been awhile) its like 25 pushups 30 situps and a 9 minute mile. In my opinion your BMI and weight should be irrelevant if you can pass the the entry test to get into basic and pass the physical fitness test when you are in. For my last age group when I was enlisted I believe the APFT (I was 24) was 31 pushups, 50 situps and a 2 mile run in 15:36. My last APFT I did 45 pushups, 92 situps (I was like a machine with situps its weird), and a 14 minute 2 mile run. I was like 10lbs overweight and would fail the BMI. It’s ridiculous, so I would have to run and not drink anything the day before weigh in and I could lose anywhere from 10-20lbs damn near of water weight.

    • Curious Mayhem

      That’s the problem, though: lots of institutions use the BMI mindlessly in exactly the way that the NIH warns against. While a little more work, there are much better measures.

  • Hallie Veteto

    How often is BMI used to shame women though…? Isn’t the point of the index to give a range of healthy weights for men and women based on their height?
    I just don’t see these statements as promoting unsafe body images. It seems completely health, not aesthetic centered to me. Being ‘overweight,’ whatever you consider it to mean, poses a risk to health and that’s why a measure for healthy weight exists- so people can have a guide. These sorts of measures are general..
    “People who are overweight or obese are at higher risk for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.”
    “Anyone who is overweight should try to avoid gaining additional weight. Additionally, if you are overweight with other risk factors (such as high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high blood pressure), you should try to lose weight. Even a small weight loss (just 10% of your current weight) may help lower the risk of disease. Talk with your healthcare provider to determine appropriate ways to lose weight.”

    • Peace Train

      BMI doesn’t take into account body fat percentage, muscle mass, or gender. Nor does it take into account bone mass/density, or your ethnicity. AND it for sure doesn’t take into account your emotional intelligence, your spiritual quotient, or environmental factors. A kindergartener would come up with more insightful indicators than what BMI has in the current make up of this test. It’s inherently flawed, and the fact that anyone actually abides by it speaks more to their individual lack of health indicators in their thinking process than anything else.

      • Hallie Veteto

        Don’t be like that.
        The BMI works for me and is completely reflective of my weight in comparison to others my height and age. For some, there are factors that complicate gauging such things. Some people believe the calibration of such measures was created to shame women or make specific traits undesirable, but that’s the discussion we’re having. Isn’t it?

        • Peace Train

          No, the discussion is based upon the assumption that there’s a correlation solely between height and weight. Your comments are based solely on emotion and ignorance. You have yet to address any of the points I’ve made, and yet you blindly move forward as the poster child for ineptitude.

          Now it is I who reply to you with your own words, “Don’t be like that.” Like what? An idiot. By definition, an idiot is, “One who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way, boasting an IQ in the range of 0-25.”

          Do you really feel from your limited scope of “others my height and age” that BMI is anything more than a gimmick? It doesn’t calibrate based upon age as you claim, only height and weight…two factors which are negligible compared to the aforementioned factors cited in my previous comment. As far as your assumption of shaming women goes, if a woman puts any heed into something as inane as BMI, then whatever shame she feels is solely of her own doing. She should seek help outside the realm of the internet, and take full responsibility for her condition thereof. I wish you luck.

          • Hallie Veteto

            Wow. Let me take it point by point before I leave this discussion. I don’t think anything I said was rude or hostile, unlike everything you’ve said. Now someone who simply wanted to learn and discuss has been driven away by your hostility. Way to make the world worse on a daily basis. Thanks for that.
            1. Ok there is a correlation. There is. For some people the strength of the correlation varies and there a variables that change the strength or are a part of that correlation, but that’s the point. This is a base line, but everyone is different.
            2. I meant don’t be hostile, which you’ve continued to do- calling me inept, an idiot, and ignorant among other things when I haven’t personally attacked you. What parts of my comments were based on emotions? Show me. There is literally no reason for you to be this rude.
            3. I agree with some of your last point except that it could be said in a less vitriolic way. It’s an article. Stop bashing people who are just trying to be a part of the discussion. Some BMI scales DO take age into account. Somehow I knew that despite being an inept, ignorant idiot. Seriously you had to call me all that just to make a point? Thanks for adding that negativity to my Sunday. You’re a peach.
            I’m finished replying to you unless you can be respectful.

          • Peace Train

            I’m not sure what you’re referring to as either rude or hostile? As these are indicators of perception, each of us is entitled to their opinion. Such labels are clearly triggers which are inherently within you. Likewise, your arguments are based upon manipulative tactics. (I’ll cite examples from texts if you like, but that’s not really the point.) To everything you’ve put out there, I replied in kind. I teach by reflection, not by example. And yet, I’ve pointed out several concerns in my initial comment that you still have yet to address. Instead, you continue to assert fluff and manipulation, sideskirting the issues and talking around the subject as if this somehow vindicates you. Perhaps no one’s ever reflected this to you, but it’s hardly the basis of a productive discussion, at least one in which points are resolved. You might try politics.

          • Gene Linet

            ^Keyboard warrior.

        • screwreligion

          You say a lot for someone who is so ignorant. God, shut up already.

    • Rebecca

      Most health professionals including myself think the BMI chart is outdated and doesn’t take into account many factors of the individual body structures like muscle mass, bone density which are needed for optimum health. A body composition analysis known as a DEXA scan is a very accurate indication of someones body composition.

      • Hallie Veteto

        Ok, I’m not in the medical field, so that’s actually really helpful. My point was just that I was thinking that it measures only what it is supposed to- and so to base you self-esteem on it would be an incomplete assessment of your worth, sure, but you’re saying it’s also inadequate for giving a range of very loose healthy weight guidelines to be looked at by an individual and their doctor?
        I just thought it was supposed to be a loose guide. You’re saying we have to update the variables that go into calculating BMI to reflect out wider understanding of what affect weight? That’s very interesting
        I’m not sure if the comment below was directed at me, but I’m here for discussion and that’s all I respond to.

      • Lina

        This is true. Me and my dad are from a family of easy to get muscle, heavy bones, large shoulders, small hips, large wrist type of body, swimmer body type. We are small (like 1.6 – 1.7 m) and when we are around 60 kg we already look too thin with ribcage start showing and deep hollowed face. I found out that BMI 22 and under for us means looking frail, weird or gaunt and I really gave up on BMI. Doing a check on body fat and looking in the mirror seeing if we are porking around belly is the only thing that works for us.

  • Ashley

    This is what is wrong with the BMI calculations, it does not account for muscle mass or body composition. That’s why it should never be taken that seriously, it’s a flawed calculation and not the whole story about health.

    • Charles Batchelor

      Yet the military uses it like it’s a religion.

      • TSD

        When I joined the Army I had to dehydrate myself so I could make weight so they wouldn’t do the BMI which I would have failed. Normally at that time I weighed about between 200-210 at any given time at 6’0, I weighed in at 189 after a day of running peeing and not drinking any water . I was in pretty good shape, I could already pass the APFT for my age group before I went to basic, and they seriously would have not let me join if I didn’t artificially lower my weight. (either you had to make weight OR pass the BMI). It’s stupid, there has got to be some other way for them to determine your fitness to enter basic training. Clearly my BMI and weight had no impact on my ability to perform. There were really thin guys who failed the run on the APFT at the END of basic training, after all that running we did, yet I am sure would pass weight and BMI with flying colors, whereas I improved my 2 mile run by a minute and a half (ran it in 15:30 going in, 14 flat going out). Also, what a surprise, my APFT improved in every category and I GAINED 15lbs and still didn’t make weight or BMI, lol (pretty much for the rest of my enlistment every time height weight and APFT time came, I had to dehydrate myself to make weight) it was stupid.

        • MC

          Same here–I had to do a weigh-in before Marine Corps OCS and was so dehydrated they struggled to get a blood sample. My physical fitness scores were near perfect, and yet I still had to drop extra weight artificially. During the first week of training, many ladies weren’t taking care of themselves to insure they would pass the final weigh-in before training commenced. I think there are some standards that could be reassesed.

          • screwreligion

            While nowhere near as hardcore as you guys, for a certain company to apply/get-in as cabin crew you must give your height and weight so they can calculate your BMI. Your BMI must fall within “normal” limits to be hired by them.

            Which means for some people, just seeing the stats on paper that company may look and go – “oh he/she is over the normal BMI, must be too fat to be cabin crew. Put then on the reject pile” whereas they are not fat, they are fit and capable.

            It pisses me off that BMI is still in normal use.

            I think it might be helpful for people who are sedentary and very overweight. As they begin to lose weight they see the scales go down, they see their BMI go down – and that’s fine.
            Once you start building muscle seriously though, it ceases to be of much use.

      • My BMI said I was obese, so I went to the doctor for the next step- he had me take my shirt off, and put it back on. He annotated my records. “not obese.”

        • Nikki Kirch

          Thats awesome…..wish my doc would do that to me…lol. 😄 could use some

      • Montgomery Draxel

        The military uses a system that isn’t BMI. It is still a flawed system, but takes neck size into account.

        At 5’11”, and 200lbs, I was always being taped after being weighed. Because of my physique, I was never considered fat and always passed. If the Army used BMI, I would have been considered fat and been put on the fatboy program.

        • Betsy

          I am surprised that the military does not use body fat measurement for a much more accurate assessment of over/underweight. IMO, the BMI should be used as a screening device. My doctor’s BMI chart shows me at borderline obese, yet my body fat (does at my local YMCA in a few minutes) put me smack in the middle of desirable body fat percentage range. Some people actually do have “big bones” (although many use this term to justify being fat) and/or more muscle than the average for their gender. Scales and charts almost set me up for an eating disorder when I was young.

  • Bree

    I would love to know how you reverse pcos with diet and exercise as you claim, seeing how it is a hormonal disorder and even thin women can have it. I think it’s irresponsible to make such a claim. You can minimize symptoms or manage pcos better by losing weight but you don’t reverse it by doing so. Also, women with pcos typically have a harder time losing weight because of insulin resistance. It is hurtful and inaccurate to tell people you reversed pcos with “better food choices” as if we all just ate our way into having ovarian cysts. Most people do not understand pcos. Please don’t make it worse by making false claims.

    • OwnDevices

      What you eat will heal you or hurt you. Yes, you can heal yourself with a change in lifestyle. Have you tried it?

      • Bree

        No, you cannot, and to say so is ignorant. You cannot cure cancer by eating well. You cannot cure hypothyroidism by eating well. You cannot cure polycystic ovarian syndrome by eating well. Have you even done research to know anything about polycystic ovarian syndrome? Do some research before saying unfounded things.

        • OwnDevices

          Do you even know that what you eat affects your hormones? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, btw.

          • Bree

            Yes, I do. But the fact remains that you can’t FIX certain illnesses with a change in diet. You can mitigate the symptoms and make things better, but you cannot cure them. My sister has had hypothyroidism since birth. Are you telling me that, as an infant, she should’ve changed her diet? I live a healthy lifestyle with clean foods and exercising 7 days a week, btw, before you just go assume things about people.

            Your ignorance is offensive and this is the last time I’m responding to you because you’re clearly a troll.

          • Jessica Suzanne Benbow

            Scenario: The condition of your mother’s pregnancy with your sister may have affected her from birth, and if she wasn’t breastfed, the microbes she would have needed, weren’t given to her. If she was breastfed for a prolonged period of time, she might have gotten what she needed to help her along. Many mothers didn’t breastfeed for a period of time, and the results are very interesting to research. Not saying that’s what happened, but your comment about your sister changing her diet was actually your mother’s responsibility. She probably just didn’t know it.

            But yes, the person above is correct, you can change with better nutrition. It’s hard when you’ve lived with something for such a long time to be convinced there might be an alternative. But with all of the destruction that has been done with the way the American population eats, (and shipping that food around the world) the rates of disease have followed. That much is clear. So if we can destroy ourselves with food, we can also heal ourselves.

            I have reversed the symptoms of PCOS and psoriasis with my diet, not with pills. The pills made me very sick. Will either condition be “cured”, nope! But if I can keep them from coming back…then what’s the concern you have? That you will still be stigmatized by something in your genes that you have actually been able to control?

            Your genes load the gun, your lifestyle pulls the trigger.

          • Georgia

            This argument is ridiculous. I have PCOS, I’m slim, eat healthily and go to the gym most days. My PCOS give me NO symptoms, none, nada. Yet it shows up in my blood tests, and abdominal scan. No amount of eating differently is going to fix that or “reverse” it, I didn’t do it to myself, no-one caused it, it just happened. When I want to have children I will have to consider carefully if I need medical intervention, not added vitamins, not a lifestyle overhaul, unfortunately. Stop being so ignorant.

          • Jeremy Abrams

            Agree, but the U.S. is not “shipping that food around the world.” Modernity, not America, is encouraging the consumption of those foods. It’s time to stop blaming America first. We have a good system; we are broadly speaking a good country.

            Europe was the colonial horror for 400 years, not us. The 20th Century killing of over 50 million – Germany and Russia, primarily, and Imperial Japan.

            America’s great sins were the mistreatment of the two or three million Native Americans who survived European microbes (and that tragedy was no conscious person’s fault), and slavery and segregation. Large sins, but not the size of Europe’s.

            And while the stain of slavery is eternal, it’s worth noting that today, more people have immigrated to America from sub-Saharan Africa than were brought in chains. Also, Mohammed Ali, after training and then fighting in Africa, did in fact say, “Thank God my grandfather got on that boat.”

          • Aussie54

            your response is irrelevant in regard to food consumption. Look at some of the American foods that have been exported elsewhere: the Big Mac, Hot Dogs, and fries are some of those exports. Coca Cola is very sugary.

          • Bree

            That doesn’t change the fact that you can’t reverse hypothyroidism with diet and exercise. Better nutrition and exercise can help alleviate symptoms of many conditions like PCOS, but they certainly don’t reverse or cure anything which was my point. Some women have PCOS with zero symptoms. That doesn’t mean it was reversed or cured. I also don’t understand your comment about stigmatization when most women aren’t stigmatized for having PCOS in the first place because so many people either know nothing about it or are misinformed about it.

          • OwnDevices

            You are trying to discredit the author’s personal experience. She has actually experienced first hand the outcome of taking charge of her health. Of course, you can’t see anything through your resentments. You’re obviously a truly unhappy person, the way you communicate.

          • Georgia

            You’re mistaken, I’m a very happy person, and I’m truly happy for the person that wrote this. She has turned her life around in a number of ways and is healthier for it – she looks great and sounds humble. However, it is unsubstantiated that one can reverse all bodily ills through changing diet and exercise, including PCOS.

          • Missa Phoenix

            Georgia is actually correct. There is actually no cure what so ever for PCOS much less a change of diet and exercise. Now mind you, in certain cases of PCOS diet and exercise can mitigate many if not all symptoms but for many women that is not the case. For many women the only solution is a gastric bypass which helps them lose weight, become more fertile, and for unknown reasons reduces their risk of Alzheimer. How ever there is no way to ‘cure’ it.

            In the writer’s case I think it was simply a poor choice of words not a lie though. I think that she managed it would have been much better. Otherwise it is an EXCELLENT article and I love it.

          • OwnDevices

            Just for the record. I don’t recall the word ‘cure’ being used by the author. It’s a rare, rare thing that any western doctor would even use the word with any disease. One size does not fit all and so this may not work for everyone. But, it CAN happen. Bashing the author that she shouldn’t share her thoughts about what has happened in her experience because it would have a negative effective on women who can’t reverse it through diet and exercise is asinine.

          • Missa Phoenix

            “reversed obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome” Reversed does equal cured in the medical meaning of the word. As I stated it is a WONDERFUL article and pointing out a misuse of phrasing does not equal bashing. We are all human we all err. If the author completely reversed her PCOS then she is a medical miracle and the first person to do it.
            As I said, you can control it, you can limit the side effects, but you can’t get rid of it any more than I can get rid of my green eyes.

          • Bree

            I didn’t bash the author, I asked her to stop making false claims, which she did. Her word choice was poor. You cannot “reverse” PCOS. You can mitigate symptoms but it is an incurable condition. Spreading the wrong information makes it even harder for women to get treated and diagnosed for the condition which is more important to me than the author and her feelings.

          • Bree

            I am not trying to discredit her experiences. I am telling her she is spreading medical misinformation which is only hurtful to people who have the condition, not helpful. Which is true. There is no cure for PCOS. T0 say that you reverse PCOS with diet is misleading. There is no arguing about that. It’s a fact. I’m sorry you feel that I am an “unhappy person” because I’m pointing out the author’s misleading information. PCOS is a very misunderstood condition. The community does not need more people spreading misinformation around.

          • tdperk

            No, she’s not saying that. She’s saying she reversed her PCOS with lifestyle changes, and I have no reason to doubt her.

            You don’t either.

          • Bree

            Yes, I do. Because you CAN’T “reverse” PCOS. It is a medical impossibility. You can lessen symptoms but you can’t reverse it. That’s not how it works. I know because I have the condition myself.

          • Joseph Mack

            Probably the same person that refuses to let children get vaccinated, then wonders why they come down with mumps, chicken pox, measles etc.

          • Aussie54

            PCOS is not an illness. It is a syndrome that involves the hormones.

          • screwreligion

            You have a very closed mind and keep natting on about how things are offensive and hurtful. You just WANT to be offended and place blame outside of yourself, don’t you?

          • Bree

            Blame outside myself for what? The author’s poor wording? That’s my fault, how? How am I close minded? Because I’m telling the author she should be accurate in how she describes a medical condition to an audience that may not know much about it? How is that negative? Wanting the facts to be clear shouldn’t be an issue.

        • Betsy

          She didn’t reverse PCOS with changes in nutrition alone, she also added in exercise on a consistent basis. Exercise and physical activity, especially weight training, changes how the body metabolizes blood sugar and also how well hormones regulate everything. Insulin resistance, which is a key symptom of PCOS, improves with regular, consistent exercise. If you’re focusing on nutritional changes alone and not exercising, it’s not going to improve insulin resistance.

          • Bree

            You’re assuming all women have the same symptoms of PCOS though and they don’t. Not all women have insulin resistance, not all women’s bodies respond to diet and exercise the same, and not all women have ALL of the symptoms of PCOS. Some women have none. So to claim you can reverse PCOS is misleading.

    • Aussie54

      It has to do with hormones, fats etc. Women with PCOS are lucky if they can get pregnant. It is the losing weight that really helps the situation. A diet that is heavy in fats, not just transfats, will contribute to all of the “obese” conditions.
      BTW I am overweight. I was overweight when I became pregnant x 3. During pregnancy I put on a lot of weight. After the last pregnancy I have been unsuccessful with regard to losing weight.
      Better food choices can help, but I would not recommend a vegan diet.

      • Jessica Suzanne Benbow

        Would love to talk to you about your experience with trying vegan. It’s great for some folks and an utter disaster for others. I’m working with a client now who has the exact same problem, overweight while pregnant x3, and she’s had PCOS since her a teen.

        We are trying juicing combined with a more balanced diet, definitely not vegan. There may be a health coach near you if you are interested, as half of my class was from around the world, several in Australia.

    • George Talbot

      Fat cells generate estrogen. Obesity alters the hormonal balance. Losing excess fat can decrease estrogen to more normal levels.

  • Roe

    I had posted to a health forum, about a year ago, trying to,help a client, who was struggling with some body issues. She hated her mid section and believed spot treating it during workouts would help. I tried to convince her not to,focus on that area so much, and to read the responses I received from other trainers, on this subject. It completely backfired on me when a woman, a MELT Instructor, tore her body image apart even further. I had described this client as weighing 125 lbs with 27% body fat, at 5’2″ tall and she was toned and lean, which she was. This female instructor said that she didn’t consider that weight or body fat toned, lean or healthy and she should weigh much less at her height. I was appalled that any professional would make this remark, and coming from another woman, made it even more shocking to me. We all need to stay off the scale and stay away from main stream charts on health. We need to do our best to stay healthy and accept and love our bodies throughout the process.

  • Alex Marshall

    That’s fd up–according to the BMI I’m overweight at 5’11” and 175 lbs. According to me, I’m fine–but then I’m male, so no-one tells me I shd worry, not my GP, not the guy at Banana Republic who persuaded me into a smaller size than I’m used to.

  • Leslie Q

    I am in the military and at the “top” of the acceptable weight. Likely will go over after I deliver my baby and weigh in 6 months later. No one can believe I am as heavy as I am yet I am in shape and run races. It threatens my career because its height vs. weight and that’s that. I am 5’4″ and 148 lbs. That said, another girl who wears a larger size than me is the same height and weighs only 135. Go figure.

    • Peace Train

      When you say go figure, are you referring to military intelligence or something else? Of course the test doesn’t factor muscle mass, fat percentage, bone density, gender, ethnicity, or anything else.

  • Peace Train

    You’re right on target, Amber! We’ve forgotten what it’s like to think
    for ourselves. The social minority has become such a corporate and
    media-driven, medical and pharmaceutical wasteland that we’ve lost sight
    of what it is to be beautiful, loving, and compassionately healthy
    human beings. Of course, true health is never about someone suffering in the
    darkness of their mind and spirit, whether or not their body meets the
    standards of some simplistically ridiculous chart.

    As you’ve so
    eloquently stated, the greatest measure of health resides within the
    truly self-loving and self-compassionate beings who’ve awakened to their
    true health and beauty…within and without. Thanks for sharing your
    experience, and for setting the example for others to follow!

  • April Harkness

    I used to fail the bmi all the time in the army, so I was always taped after I failed my weight. Never mind the fact I passed the pt test with flying colors and maxed my pt test as a female.

  • Laura Schellhase

    Of course you’re heavy; muscle is always heavier than fat. Determining obesity by how much someone weighs is just stupid.

  • Lenora Hanna Bertheaud

    Thanks for that reality check.

  • aprey

    A simple caliper test, which measures the body’s fat at key points, might be a better gauge of body fat. When I was a competitive powerlifter, I used hydrostatic weighing for the most accurate measure of body fat. The caliper test was usually pretty close to the hydrostatic results.

    • Chemman01

      You are correct. That is the best way to determine body fat.
      I didn’t have much body fat but the bmi was a problem because beside being a competitive runner I did things to strengthen my muscles. Strong muscles work longer than weak muscles. The bmi would show me overweight.

  • Tortillapete

    Meh – thighs are fat…

    • RustyShackleford1911

      Look muscular to me.

  • Beto_Ochoa

    Just as accurate as the Food Pyramid that’s giving everyone Diabetes…

    • Lina

      Exactly. Thanks for posting this. Because eating tons of sugary fake corn cereals from nestle is the “same” as eating whole oats or brown rice. And drinking fruit juice is never too bad even if you have a liter per day from Cocacola brand packed juice with glucose fructose syrup. That pyramid makes it so easy to lie to yourself when you eat.

  • Muscles are denser and weigh more than fat, so you can trim down and get fit but “gain weight” at the same time.

    The good side is you look and feel better, and muscles do also burn more calories than fat does.

  • Hank Stamper

    I ignore it, like everything else the government puts out.

  • Hank Seiter

    The whole BMI thing is pure crap just like all the “experts” telling us margarine was better than butter. And then it was all about cholesterol blah, blah, blah, BS. People in this modern age haven’t a clue just how much they believe to be true is pure crap if not lies. When you have a less than objective, less than professional media working hand-in-hand with “scientists” who think they’re more informed and smarter than everyone else, at some point an honest person has to ask themselves, do I really KNOW what I think I know or is most of it pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo serving a political agenda?

    My daddy may not have been the smartest man in our town, but he was one of the most hardworking, honest man I knew. He told me one day, “The only thing worse than an uneducated fool is an educated fool.”

    That truism certainly applies to all the so-called “enlightened progressives” of our day, particularly when they became so clever in selling the relentless murder of unborn Americans as being “pro-choice.” Of course that’s the Big Lie since these same “pro-choicers” don’t believe in choice regarding the Second Amendment and firearm, public school vouchers, private social security accounts or (channeling fascists Mayor Bloomberg and Moochelle Obama) what foods and drink you can freely choose.

  • RJ

    sorry for believing my lying eyes, but the author does indeed look a bit too “healthy” and that extra weight can’t be good for her heart

    • RustyShackleford1911

      it’s called ‘muscle’. Does it scare you?

      • RJ

        Oh, I’m sure for now there’s muscle underneath the extra flesh, but of course, with age even that muscle shall turn into flab. Better to stay slim, for long-term health and aesthetics. No, not scared, but no one who loves the female form can applaud such unnaturally distorted forms.

        • blargul

          Unnatural? Alright ladies. You need to restrict what you eat and make sure you don’t exercise! If you have a job that requires physicality, quit this instant! You’re unnatural! Luggage handler? Too fucking bad! Construction worker? What do you think you are, a person? Rancher? Should’ve married a farmer! And all those women who naturally build muscle from doing light work because of an excess of testosterone? Might as well fall of the facenof the earth. RJ has spoken – you are unnatural and should be thin. And God forbid you have any muscle! No man thinks you’re beautiful! Your husbands and boyfriends and friends and strangers on the street are all lying to you.

          • RJ

            Of course they’re lying. “Unnatural”-looking muscle from weight training is unattractive on both men & women. The type of build one gets from hard work however is quite different and generally aesthetically pleasing. Through neither light nor hard work will one develop the freakish muscle-on-top-of fat look of Miss Thunder Thighs pictured above. And, yes, it would help if she were to “restrict” what she eats a bit… a little less Krispy Kreme and a little more ratatouille could work wonders.

          • yestradamous

            Go sit in your car in the Walmart parking lot for an hour, people watching, then come back here and criticize this lovely woman for being fat?
            Ay caramba!!!

          • blargul

            It’s so sad and pathetic that it’s easier for you to believe that 40 – 70% of the population is lying than to just admit people have different aesthetics. Get over yourself.

  • J Galt

    You’re clearly 30+ pounds over weight. Have you seen your legs and ass? That you’re trying to hide in black? Quit griping about the BMI, and lose some weight. You’ll feel better, and your joints will survive into old age. Wise up.

    • RustyShackleford1911

      You are full of shit!

    • screwreligion

      Punch yourself in the face.

  • David

    The theme of this post is not consistent. Is about the innacurracy of the BMI in assessing whether a person is overweight in a meaningful respect, the impropriety of being fit as an end in itself (not the same issue as the accuracy of a measure), or what?

  • Curious Mayhem

    BMI is a problematic metric. The underlying geometry is right: the adult body is a like a plank, so you square the height. A baby is more like a sphere, so you’d cube the baby’s height in that case.

    However, the BMI misses body composition (muscle, fat, bone) and body proportion. Many have made the point about composition, so I won’t belabor it.

    However, proportion is also an issue. For example, a compact body build with proportionately less in the trunk, neck, and head, and more in the legs — a build much more common among women than men — throws the BMI off.

    A body fat measurement (by clippers or submersion) is far better. A better quick measurement is the waist to hips ratio, at least for men — the “apple” shape is more at risk of cardiovascular problems.

    When it comes to metabolic disorder and diabetes, fasting blood sugar and blood sugar reaction profile are the best place to start.

  • The Masked Avatar

    BMI should stick to making computers and not evaluating someone’s weight. : /

  • Drew Taddia

    The BMI test is nonsense. Someone should come up with a proper measuring system and get rid of both the BMI and THR. I’d imagine they’re still used simply because they always have been. Nice post Amber.

  • teapartydoc

    I’m a doctor. I never look at that number in anyone’s chart. I look at the patient (not client).

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  • teqjack

    The developer of BMI stated quite prominently that it should never be applied to individuals. Even for whole populations it was an indicator, not a diagnostic.

    BMI calculation had Marilyn Monroe as severely underweight, while “Magic” Johnson was rated obese. Nowadays both would be told so by their doctors (who actually know better, but rules are rules): people with similar bodies even have trouble finding employment, or are forced into programs to “fix” a non-existent problem.

  • Pat_Loudoun

    Obamacare is predicated on finding something wrong with you and then controlling you. People are waking up to that, just slower than I expected.

  • yestradamous

    Who even goes by the BMI? People can tell if they are carrying too much weight. It’s called blubber. Either you have it or you don’t. It’s not a mystery.

  • richard40

    The metric that really matters is whether your waist (when you are relaxed, dont suck it in) is bigger than (or very close to) your hips or chest. If it is, you are overweight in a way that matters, otherwise no, unless you are really huge all over. When I was 6′, 180, at 40 yrs old, I was pretty fit. Now that I am up to 230, I admit I need to lose some weight.
    With this lady, her hips looked fairly thin, and she had plenty of weight on arms and legs, and so was probably fit.

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  • Jay

    I think the point of BMI has been missed entirely. It is just meant as a general guideline for an average person. It’s not meant to be the absolute definition of health. Obviously if you are in the military, an athlete, or a fitness minded person, you can have a high BMI while being in perfectly good shape. It’s beauty is in it’s simplicity. It’s a basic calculation using easily available information. To make it more accurate would require additional, not so easily accessible information and more complex calculations, thereby making it less available. The real problem seems to be how it’s being used by insurance companies, the military, etc, and those institutions failures to recognize it’s purpose and shortcomings and not with the calculation itself.

  • Keith W.

    BMI was an artifact of the French Revolution. It has no basis in medical fact. They actually used it to prove people were members of Aristocracy, not for any medical factor.

  • MamaBeah

    Woman YOU are drop dead FINE! I’m a woman whose need for weight loss is hampered by pharma drugs during very serious illnesses. When I was growing up, the “standard” for beauty was blonde, blue-eyed, white, 36/24/36. As a girl of eight, Black and gangly, how the hockey sticks was anyone like me going to consider themselves beautiful (or even acceptable). I got over it quickly. Society’s standard has nothing to do with health or well being. I see you as fit, strong and fine just the way you are. Congrats and bless.

  • prrfff

    Great piece!

    Here’s the problem with BMI: it’s the basis for the standard language we use for talking about body weight/size/shape, regardless of the reasons we’re talking about it. It’s taken for granted that overweight=fat=unhealthy, unfit, and unattractive, not to mention all the other stereotypes and negative assumptions often assigned to fat people (lazy, incompetent, unworthy). The category “overweight” is defined not by size, body fat %, fitness level or overall health, but strictly by BMI >25. Yet we all use the term uncritically with a lot of the same negative connotations, even knowing full well that one can be in the “overweight” (or even “obese”) range yet perfectly healthy and fit, not to mention attractive, smart, kind, etc.

    Moreover, adopting the language of the health profession to talk about body perceptions in other contexts just gives people an excuse to disguise personal aesthetic preferences, perfectionism and judgmental natures as genuine health concerns (yes, being very obese comes with health risks, but that previously cellulite-free celebrity whose 15-pound weight gain makes gossip mag headlines is not suddenly at risk for diabetes). It makes it seem OK to demand that someone whose body doesn’t conform to our ideal lose weight to please us, er, “for their health.” Also makes it all too easy to forget our strengths to fixate on a number that often tells us little about our health and nothing about our worth.

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  • therealamericanamerican

    Just wanted to say as a health and fitness professional, DON”T USE BMI ON INDIVIDUALS!!!!! BMI was explicitly cited by Ancel Keys as being appropriate for population studies, and inappropriate for individual diagnosis. Nevertheless, due to its simplicity, it came to be widely used for individual diagnosis.

  • Mike_D36

    I’m a 5’8 male I have a visible 6 pack, can bench 265 lbs and squat 330 lbs, and according to BMI I’m overweight at 169.8 lbs. BMI is nonsense, they want me to weight 140 lbs. I would need to develop an eating disorder to weigh that.

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  • Nikki Kirch

    Argh, just wanted to rant here. I think u r right! i think apparently BF is bull aswell. According to my measurments AND internet pic comparisions, I am a fat ass 🙁 , and im 38 perecnt BF, no freaking way i could be that , the pics of what a 35 and up woman look like is rather disgusting. I dont think i look like that! 😯 I think the internet is lying or either mixed up 😡 , Anyways talk about downer! And infuraiting. Do you think i look that big?? I should have the begining of rolls according to how the pic looked, and a total chub chub. Look at my arm! Its not on the big side. Im a pear shape btw. Do pears look different?

  • Nikki Kirch

    This is my bikini pic a few month ago. Does it seriously look 38 percent BF ?…😣 Btw i USED to be in the althletic range, and was told by some people i was starting to look too thin 🙁 which also pissed me off,but…another rant, another day…