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Weight Loss
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completely confused about if I need to lose weight.

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So i've been in cross country, soccer, and track all throughout high school and now that i'm in college i still find time to work out at the gym two hours everyday. Still i'm confused because i checked to find out what my bmi was and it was 24 which is on the high side of normal. Which makes no sense to me because i've always been really small due to athletics. Having just finished my first year in college i've been really paranoid about the freshmen 15, but i haven't gained any weight so i don't know why my numbers are so far off from what the bmi expects. It's kinda important since i have no clue how it ended up telling me i'm borderline overweight. I probably shouldn't have, but I looked up the clothing sizes of girls the same weight and they were from 5 up to 11, making me even more confused as to how big I myself am. Just so you know no ED, i don't want to be headed towards overweight because i love running. I can't understand how i'm so small if i need to lose weight or is the calculation off? To give numbers I'm 5"4, 140lbs, and have measurements of 35,24,36. I wear a size 0.
12 Replies (last)

Age ?

Visually do you have fat on your body ?

Oh, age is 19.
I don't really have a lot of fat. I can see the muscle on my abs, which is a lot of my problem understanding why the bmi came out like it did.

Based on BMI you have a healthy weight range of 104 to 152 lbs. So if you do not have any real body fat don't stress. Considering your exercise levels you probably have reasonable muscle which would keep you in the upper half of the range. So I'd say the answer to your question is "No"

That would make sense that the muscle weight could have put me there, no sure how I didn't think of that possibility. Thank you for helping me. :)

Hi!  The BMI does not tell you the whole story. In fact the BMI of athletic, muscular people will be on the higher side because muscle 'weighs' more than fat and the sad thing is that BMI  does not distinguish fat weight from muscle weight. The better measure and indicator of fatness/obesity, is the waist circumference. If you are ethnically of South Asian origin, then for a male your waist circumference should not exceed 90 cm.

Yeah, if you can see the muscles around your abs, then you shouldn't be concerned about your weight at all.  That waist size is going to be your best indicator.  Instead of using a computer generated BMI scale based on your height and weight, see if you can find one that measures it based on waist/neck/hip circumference.  It will give you a much better picture.  My wife usually gives me the old skinfold calipers along with the measuring tape, which is nice, provided the person with those tools knows what they are doing (she does, thankfully).  Chances are your BMI is closer to the 15-10% range.

BMI was originaly designed for populations, not really for individuals.  I am sure your body fat percentage is quite low. 

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First off, I would say if you arent sure...then you probably dont. At your height 140 is a prefectly healthy weight. I am the same height and 140 would be god with me if it fell withn my desired bodyfat range of 20-22%. I agree with using calipers. If you are in a size 0 that says you must be pretty lean (muscular) and have pretty low fat.

I hate the BMI, in my opinion, it is very outdated and according too that most bodybuilders would be considered overweight. And as mizkay notes, it is not being used as it was designed- for large numbers not individuals. As someone else suggested if you really want to know where you are, have someone measure your bodyfat - either with calipers or use something like the BodPod if there is one in your area. but again if you dont feel you need to lose weight then you dont need to lose weight.

General body fat % are as follows :

10-12% is essential fat- usually only bodybuilders going into competition go this low

14-20% athletes

21-24% fitness

25-31% acceptable (most people fall between here and the below)

32%+ obese

I would not worry at all.  I  have gotten my BMI taken before and it really depends on the machine.  If you used the one that has two grips that you hold out in front of you, I would not go by that BMI.  Those are pretty inacurate...  You shoudl either do the pinch test or if your school gym has one the water weight test.  I am 5'4 and 120 and my BMI is 14%...I wear a zero.  I don't go by BMI I go by how I look and how I fit into my clothes.  If you are working out and excersizing and still fitting into yout size zero pants, then I would say you are NOT in the relm of needing to loose weight.  If your BMI results are really bugging you then go get one done the correct way at your doctors office or a gym...don't just plug your stats in online because most don't take into account muscle and from what you have posted I am sure you are much more muscle then average. 

Don't stress

Dear Ajit,

I have posted some relevant information taken from 2 reliable websites. I hope they help you to further understand the issue.


Geeta tio-calculator/waist-circumference.php

What is Waist Circumference?
According to the National Institutes of Health, a high Waist Circumference (WC) is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension and cardiovascular disease when the BMI is between 25 and 34.9. (A BMI greater than 25 is considered overweight and a BMI greater than 30 is considered obese.) Waist Circumference can be useful for those people categorized as normal or overweight in terms of BMI. (For example, an athlete with increased muscle mass may have a BMI greater than 25 - making him or her overweight on the BMI scale - but a Waist Circumference measurement would most likely indicate that he or she is, in fact, not overweight). Changes in Waist Circumference over time can indicated an increase or decrease in abdominal fat. Increased abdominal fat is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

To determine your Waist Circumference, locate the upper hip bone and place a measuring tape around the abdomen (ensuring that the tape measure is horizontal). The tape measure should be snug but should not cause compressions on the skin. ion_nutrient/en/index5.html 5.2.5 General strategies for obesity prevention 5.2.6 Disease-specific recommendations

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI can be used to estimate, albeit crudely, the prevalence of overweight and obesity within a population and the risks associated with it. It does not, however, account for the wide variations in obesity between different individuals and populations. The classification of overweight and obesity, according to BMI, is shown in Table 8.


BMI (kg/m2)

Risk of comorbidities



Low (but risk of other clinical problems increased)

Normal range

18.5 - 24.9





25.0 - 29.9


Obese class I

30.0 - 34.9


Obese class II

35.0 - 39.9


Obese class III


Very severe

a These BMI values are age-independent and the same for both sexes. However, BMI may not correspond to the same degree of fatness in different populations due, in part, to differences in body proportions. The table shows a simplistic relationship between BMI and the risk of comorbidity, which can be affected by a range of factors, including the nature of the diet, ethnic group and activity level. The risks associated with increasing BMI are continuous and graded and begin at a BMI below 25. The interpretation of BMI gradings in relation to risk may differ for different populations. Both BMI and a measure of fat distribution (waist circumference  are important in calculating the risk of obesity comorbidities.

Source: reference 26.

In recent years, different ranges of BMI cut-off points for overweight and obesity have been proposed, in particular for the Asia-Pacific region (27). At present available data on which to base definitive recommendations are sparse.1 Nevertheless, the consultation considered that, to achieve optimum health, the median BMI for the adult population should be in the range 21-23 kg/m2, while the goal for individuals should be to maintain BMI in the range 18.5-24.9 kg/m2.

Waist circumference

Waist circumference is a convenient and simple measure which is unrelated to height, correlates closely with BMI and the ratio of waist-to-hip circumference, and is an approximate index of intra-abdominal fat mass and total body fat. Furthermore, changes in waist circumference reflect changes in risk factors for cardiovascular disease and other forms of chronic diseases, even though the risks seem to vary in different populations. There is an increased risk of metabolic complications for men with a waist circumference ≥102 cm, and women with a waist circumference ≥88 cm.


1 A WHO Expert Consultation on Appropriate BMI for Asian Populations and its Implications for Policy and Intervention Strategies was held in Singapore from 8 to 11 July 2002 in order to: (i) review the scientific evidence on the relationship between BMI, body composition and risk factors in Asian populations; (ii) examine if population specific BMI cut-off points for overweight and obesity are necessary for Asian populations; (iii) examine the purpose and basis of ethnic-specific definitions; and iv) examine further research needs in this area. As one of its recommendations, the Consultation formed a Working Group to examine available data on the relationship between waist circumference and morbidity, and the interaction between BMI, waist circumference and health risk in order to define future research needs and develop recommendations for the use of additional waist measurements to further define risks.

5. Population nutrient intake goals for preventing diet-related chronic diseases: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27 | Next page



Dear Geeta,

Thanks. The first link is a site I too use frequently. 



12 Replies