Stepping on a scale and watching as those numbers flash up at us can be scary. Many of us have been conditioned to believe that the higher the number on the scale, the less healthy we are. This isn’t always the case. Scales do not account for muscle mass, and muscle weighs less than fat! The scale is not something to be feared, but to be utilized in losing or maintaining weight. Read on to learn more about how your BMI, or Body Mass Index, can serve as another tool in determining whether, or not, you are at a healthy weight.
Measuring Body Weight
Advancement in science has led us to believe that there are far more effective ways to measure weight loss than the scale alone. Skinfold measurements, underwater weighing, bioelectrical impedance, and isotope dilution are valuable tools in measuring body fat, but they are not readily available, and are often expensive and need to be measured by a highly trained individual.
What is BMI?
Thankfully, there is another way. Calculating your BMI, or Body Mass Index, is an inexpensive and easy to use method of determining whether or not you are carrying excess body fat. It’s important to note that BMI does not measure body fat directly, and it does not take into account muscle weight, but research has shown that BMI correlates to direct measures of body fat, like those offered with the more expensive, and less readily available, tools we mentioned above. For most people, BMI is a reliable indicator of body fatness, and it is the current method used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
How to Use BMI
Your BMI can be calculated by using a simple chart that takes into account your height, weight, age, and gender. Based on this information, the chart will help you to determine whether you might be at an unhealthy weight. Body Mass Index Calculators can also be helpful in determining BMI.
What to Keep in Mind
Whether you are watching the scale or determining your BMI, keep in mind that these numbers are just meant to serve as basic guidelines. The numbers can be effective tools in monitoring your progress, but they are not foolproof for every individual. For example, a muscular woman will weigh more than a thinner woman, but that does not mean one or the other is more or less healthy. It is just the way our bodies work! Remember, we are all in this together. Don’t compare your weight with someone else’s. It is important to focus on where you are now and where you would like to be in your own health and fitness journey!
Here is a very basic BMI chart that may serve as an encouraging path to help you track weight loss. Remember, though, BMI is just one of many useful tools out there. It is always best to speak with your doctor when determining which weight range is healthiest for you.
(Click for larger view)
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, remember to pair bodyweight calculation methods with a clean eating plan, like the Skinny Plate Challenge. Try our Fat Blaster workout and burn fat up to 24 hours, too. You might also like our Total Body Transformation Program!
None of the information in this post is intended to replace medical advice or information. Before beginning a new exercise program or diet consult your physician.