What is BMI?

If you are wondering just how much fat you have in your body, then it may be time for you to use a BMI calculator. BMI stands for Body Mass Index. Perhaps you have heard the term before. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about BMI and what it really means for you and your health.

Reading this article should help you understand completely what BMI is, what it’s for and when it is best applied. We will also discuss your body and how to stay healthy when it comes to body fat.

What You Should Know About BMI

The first thing you should know about body mass is that you want your BMI to be fairly low, but not too low. When you go to the doctor and you tell him or her that you want to lose weight, they are going to want to determine your body mass index. This isn’t so that they can determine how much fat you have, but to determine your obesity level.

In order to determine your BMI a formula is used. This formula looks relatively simple as it is your body weight divided by your height squared and then multiplied by 703. In order for this to configure accurately, you need to convert your height into inches. Therefore, if you are 5’4”, for example, then your starting point would be 64”. You would then have to take your height squared (64 x 64 = 4096), divide that number into your weight total, and then multiply by 703. So if you weigh 135 lbs the formula looks like this: 135/4096*703= 23.

Sound complicated? No worries, you can use our free BMI calculator to quickly determine your own BMI without having to figure it out on your own.

According to current BMI calculations, if you have a BMI level over 30 then you are considered obese. There are, however, some considerations that may adjust this obesity level. For example, if you are a very tall person, then your BMI level can be higher and you will still be healthy. In addition, muscle weighs more than fat, so it is important to take into consideration your fat percentage as well; to determine that, you will have to use a different calculator.

Here are the BMI levels:

If your BMI is:

Less than 14.9, you are considered anorexic
15 to 18 is underweight
18.5 to 22.9 is considered normal
23 to 27.5 is considered overweight
27.6 to 40 is considered obese and
Over 40 is considered morbidly obese.

Interestingly, these are the calculations for the US. Other countries have their own determination of what is normal, overweight and obese.

Myths about BMI

The biggest myth about BMI is that it determines the percentage of body fat that your body has. Body fat percentage is determined by different factors. Your height, weight and waist size are used to determine your body fat. In addition, your age and gender are considered as well because women can have more body fat and remain healthy while men should have lower body fat levels. When determining how much weight you should lose, you should not just consider your BMI but your percentage of body fat as well.

Another myth is that you can use BMI to help you diagnose health problems related to fat. The truth is that any obese person is at a higher risk for heat disease, diabetes, stroke and so on. However, there are millions of people with low BMI who struggle with the same issues. The truth is, if you have a high BMI and you aren’t a body builder or extremely healthy, then you should concentrate on losing weight. However, it is possible to visit your doctor and get a clean bill of health, even with a high BMI.

Finally, determining your BMI is only a guiding tool in terms of losing weight. It is your BMI that will help you determine whether you need to focus more on your diet or on exercise in order to achieve your weight loss goals.

Achieving Your BMI Goals

The first thing that you need to remember is that BMI calculations are only meant as a guiding tool; if you want to start an exercise program or do some serious dieting, then you need to talk to your doctor first. A 5’4” woman who weighs 140 lbs would be considered overweight by BMI calculations. If, however, that woman has 2.5% body fat because she is muscular versus fat, then she clearly wouldn’t be slated to the overweight calculator.

Your next step will be to eat a healthy diet. It is true in all weight loss programs that exercise is important, but when it comes to achieving your BMI goals you simply cannot overlook your diet. You should eat a lot of vegetables as well as cut red meat out of your diet, at least for the time being. In addition, satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit and fruit juices rather than eating foods with processed sugars; this is just a healthier way to satisfy food cravings, which will help you to continue eating in a healthy manner.

A food journal is another helpful tool. Sometimes simply seeing the amount of food you are eating will help you to achieve your goals. Be completely honest in your journal, after all, this is for you and you alone; you don’t have to show it to anyone else. If you want to keep track of your calories, try sites* that show you the calories of nearly every possible food with every combination of seasonings, toppings, etc. that you can possibly imagine. This will go a long way towards helping you stay on track and avoiding foods that aren’t good for your goals.

The reason that using the scale can cause problems is that if you are exercising in addition to dieting, then you may be converting fat to muscle, especially if you are incorporating weight lifting into your exercise program. If your exercises are effective, then you may not see any weight loss for a while as your fat turns into muscle. This can be discouraging and many people quit when they only lose a few pounds not realizing that what they are doing is effective.

Instead of using a scale, use pictures to monitor your progress. You may need the help of a friend to do this, but nothing is more motivating than actually seeing your progress as you view each picture from week to week. Many people find that exercising with a friend is an effective way to stay on track through any diet and exercise program. Not only do they offer encouragement, but a little competition can be a motivating factor as well.

Regardless, the important thing is to get busy doing something. Even if you start eating well and walking one or two days a week, this is going to have a positive impact on your overall health, so there is no reason not to make at least a minimal change in your life. Before you know it, you may find that you are feeling better and have more energy, which will encourage you to do more for yourself.

With all that being said, to get started you should determine what your BMI is. Our BMI tool is very easy to use and will let you know right now where you fall under general guidelines for body mass index. Get started today, it only takes seconds to learn what your BMI is. Try it now!