You are more than a number.
This is just one of the problems I have with using the Body Mass Index (BMI) as a gauge of our weight, fitness, health and wellbeing.
It’s a very one-dimensional measurement, and we are three dimensional beings living in glorious technicolour!
BMI is based on your height and weight (and if you’re lucky, your gender). That’s it. Two metrics which have come to be THE indicator of your health, both now and in the future.What BMI Leaves OutHere are just a few of the other factors that BMI doesn’t take into account:
- Your family history
- Your race
- Your age
- Your environment
- The ratio of muscle to fat in your body
- Your mental health
- The food you consume
- Your culture
- Your sleep
- Your bone structure
- How active you are
- If you have any chronic conditions or injuries
The BMI is a very simplistic metric when you think about it, showing only a tiny pixel of the whole picture.
As a society, we have become obsessed with this one little measurement. I have seen so many women (and men) beat themselves up, because they have a high BMI – yet they are fit and healthy individuals.
Why It’s Time to Banish the BMIIf your BMI makes you feel bad, take heart, here are just a few other points for you to consider:
- The BMI was invented in the mid 19th century. You know, back when slavery was still okay, women wore corsets, and we thought it was a good idea to soothe teething babies with cocaine!
- It was meant to apply to whole populations, not individuals.
- Like many aspects of history, it is heavily biased towards white male populations.
- It was invented – not by a doctor or nutritionist – but by an astronomer!
As an holistic personal trainer, I know that assessing your health and fitness involves a lot more than simply looking at a number – whether that be BMI, your weight, or your waist-hip ratio.
Instead, I will also factor in things like:
- Your mental health (if applicable to you);
- What type of exercises you enjoy;
- How you feel about your body (body image).
By taking the time for a more in-depth discussion and analysis, I am then able to help you achieve your personal health and wellbeing goals.
Isn’t that a much better idea than trying to attain a certain BMI?!Sally McWilliam
The Body Positive Fitness Professional