When it comes to getting into shape today, one of the biggest battles you’ll face is one of disinformation. With so many avenues to learn about your weight and body today, it’s so easy to fall into a trap of learning about the wrong things. For example, there’s a lot of controversy over one of the most commonly used practices for weight management: The Body Mass Index (BMI). It’s become a bit of a punching bag for those looking at weight loss analysis, as many people misuse the BMI and cause themselves issues by doing so.

If you are someone who wants to use all the tools available to manage your weight loss, BMI should not be ignored. However, it should not be the be-all-and-end-all solution, either; while it’s still a powerful and credible weight management analysis tool, it is no infallible. Like every system, the BMI has some limitations as to how it can be best used. Therefore, the main challenge comes from making sure that you use it right. If you wish to try and tap into that, then let’s take a look at why ignoring your BMI is not the correct way to go.

Why does your BMI even matter?

Put simply, your BMI matters as it allows you to get a decent starting guideline for getting into shape. Make no mistake, though; people are correct when they say that the BMI is a dangerous tool to use alone. Without context into your lifestyle and your general weight loss aims, it can cause more good than bad. Why? Because many people use their BMI without any genuine analysis.

For example, someone who is well-ripped and in good muscle-bound shape might find their BMI disagrees with what they see in the mirror. Michael Jordan, for example, had a confusing BMI that said he was out of shape but he had a waistline of 30!

That’s obviously inconclusive, as he was one of the fittest people on the planet. If the BMI tells a super athlete they are overweight, then surely it can tell someone who is overweight that they are A-OK?

And yes, it can. However, the BMI is still a good analysis tool so long as you do not use it as your only point of reference. Someone who is muscle-bound will always have more weight caught onto their BMI than someone with just fat: it’s just the way the BMI is limited. If you can keep that in mind, then, it becomes a useful tool again.

How to work out your BMI

To work out your BMI, you simply need to do the following:

  1. Get a set of weight scales, and then weigh yourself – note down what your weight is.
  2. Get a measuring tape out, and measure yourself from top to bottom – note down your height.
  3. Take both of these numbers, and then divide your weight in pounds by the square of your height in inches.
  4. When you do that (not as odd as it sounds), then multiply this number by 703.
  5. Once you do this, you will have your BMI.

Your BMI will be higher if you have a higher weight. Anything under 18.5 is considered to be underweight for your height. Anything in the 18.5-25 range is healthy for your height. If you are over 25 but below 30, you are overweight. Anything over 30 is usually considered to be obese.

While you should not use your BMI as a comprehensive measure of your health, it does give you a good way to get a general look at your weight issues. So long as you keep that vital context in place, you should be able to use it to better evaluate your general growth and your development in terms of weight loss.

Just remember that you can use this to make sure you start to get some better ideas about your general health. It’s a simple tool that allows for you to paint a bit of a clearer picture about where you need to go next in your journey to get into the shape that you wish to be in.

So long as you don’t swear by the BMI, it’s very much a tool that you should not ignore.

Getting the rest of your story

While doctors and health professionals – even insurance firms – still use BMI, it’s only giving you a part of the weight story. It does not take into account key factors of your body such as:

  • Muscle mass.
  • Waist circumference.
  • Cholesterol.
  • Blood sugar levels.
  • Blood pressure levels.

Number two, waist circumference, is so important to know that you should definitely take that into account. Alongside your BMI, it’s a very useful tool for learning more about your physical form and capacity overall. The higher the ratio that is around your weight, then the more likely it is that you are carrying bad fats. Visceral fats are the ones often around the insides and your organs, making it much more likely that you contract dangerous physical conditions without doing something about it. This includes issues like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

It’s also important to keep in account the importance of muscle in your BMI rating. BMI cannot provide the same level of depth and detail for those who are muscled, as it does not take into account the importance of weight difference in muscle and fat. It just looks at your total body weight, instead of the context that makes up your body weight.

However, for the average athlete or day-to-day person you can find that BMI is not something you should ignore. It’s still a very good starting point for those who are just living a normal life. Again, so long as you can add some much-needed context to the results, you will be much more likely to get the kind of positive results that you want.

And that, as time goes on, is the most important thing: getting results you are happy with.