Why am I Obese?

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Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:12 am

According to the BMI calculator that the Government wants us all to use I am listed at Obese with a BMI of 31.8

I am 5'11" and weight 228lbs. But I am not out of shape, I have well defined upper body muscles, I walk briskly on a daily basis and living Colorado I can do a strenuous mountain hike with no problems.

My blood pressure is an awesome 114 over 75, my cholesterol has never been over 145.

I dont look fat, I look like a middle aged guy with bit of a spare tire around the waist (I am 40 and work 10 hours a day at an office job).

I dont think I am un-healthy at all, Granted I dont eat the best diet in the world, but I also dont pig out on stuff. I eat a wide variety of foods (good and bad) in moderation.

I think the BMI index is an impossible standard that forces people into trying to be a body shape that genetically they are doomed to failure.

I am not an obese person, but thats how I am to be labeled because of (in my opinion) an arbitrary set of numbers.

I think as a Society, we need to re-think this whole you need to be a stick in order to be healthy thing.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:17 am

It can be OK as a statistical measure, but falls apart completely when applied to individual cases.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:27 am

I'm pretty much in the same boat, being 6' 2" and 217 the BMI calculator makes me perfectly overweight. What I don't get, is that somebody my height can be as little as 145lbs and still be considered healthy. I think the last time I weighed 145 was 7th grade, maybe?
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:29 am

Some people are extremely slight. Others have much more substantial builds, and if in any sort of decent shape would pretty much have to cut muscle to even get a whiff of the "normal" range. Average everyone together, and the results are somewhat meaningful when combined with other data. In isolation they're less useful.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:32 am

BMI is a horrible measure of obesity. It's just a ratio of mass to height. It has no consideration for such things as body fat percentage or muscle mass. It's purpose is purely to provide a QUICK estimate. It's not meant to replace true health measure and/or physicians. I can guarantee that 90% of professional body builders would all fail a "BMI Test", but not a single, knowledgeable person would say they are obese (healthy is something completely different).

Talk with your doctor. If they think you're fat, then maybe be concerned. But with you're blood pressure and cholesterol levels, I doubt you have anything to be concerned with. Of course, losing the spare tire is never a bad thing either.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:35 am

Don't feel bad, the BMI index says I'm obese too at 6'1" and 245 lbs. I'd like to lose some weight, carrying a little too much around the waist, but I'm certainly not obese. One thing to consider is that the BMI index doesn't take muscle weight vs fat weight into account. There are alternative measures to BMI, but I don't know them by heart.

Edit: On the subject of weight and health. Anyone have any tips on the best way to ditch the spare tire? :lol:
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:41 am

Lonewolf08 wrote:Edit: On the subject of weight and health. Anyone have any tips on the best way to ditch the spare tire? :lol:


I'm no trainer, but I think you're pretty much limited to eating a little less, exercising a little more, and doing some ab training to define the muscles and make them more prominent to "hide" some of the fat.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:43 am

I have a friend who used an Online calculator that told him he had a negative BMI. He's average height, but skinny and has tiny wrists. A medical professional is a much better judge of your health than some calculator on the Internet.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:45 am

I'm happy that I've lost a bunch of weight and am getting a little bit of definition. It looks like I'd pass the 0% body fat mark about 40-50 pounds ABOVE the BMI cutoff for obesity.

BMI = garbage. I'm 6'4" and 270, and I have *maybe* 20 pounds of fat on me. 30 at the outside. BMI says I have to be at around 210 just to START being in the high end of the healthy range.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:47 am

Lonewolf08 wrote:Edit: On the subject of weight and health. Anyone have any tips on the best way to ditch the spare tire? :lol:

Exercise is the key. If you're not sore, you're doing it wrong. You need to break down your muscles and build them up. Your metabolism will be faster when you have more lean muscle mass. If you get really into it you won't crave the OMGBBQ foods that are awful for you--they won't fit in with your new body so you won't crave them anymore.

BTW I would call many NFL lineman obese, even though they're incredible athletes. They have so much bulk that it severely impacts their health, they age so quickly.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:54 am

you're not fat! you're just big-boned!
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:04 am

derFunkenstein wrote:you're not fat! you're just big-boned!


thats what she said
Does not compute
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:08 am

In the USAF they measure your waist size as an indicator of overall health. This was INDEPENDENT of height or body type. At 6'2" I had to have a 32" waist to be at the maximum rating, just like a man who is 5'5"... We argued this and the flight doctors told us it was valid and waist really is independent of height. :roll:
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:12 am

Waist independent of height? A doctor I work with just LOLed at that bit of stupidity.

Waist size is directly related to the size of your frame. I've seen scrawny-skinny folks shopping at big-and-tall stores because they have a 40" waist at 200 pounds and well over 6'. I've also seen rampantly obese folks wearing pants in the low 40" range simply because their mega-gut hangs over, leaving their waist itself pretty untouched.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:17 am

emorgoch wrote:..doing some ab training to define the muscles and make them more prominent to "hide" some of the fat.
If I remember correctly that is not how it works. Unless you burn down the fat in front of the muscles, they aren't going to be visible outside.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:21 am

lordtottuu wrote:
emorgoch wrote:..doing some ab training to define the muscles and make them more prominent to "hide" some of the fat.
If I remember correctly that is not how it works. Unless you burn down the fat in front of the muscles, they aren't going to be visible outside.

That's my recollection as well. Look at some powerlifters. Their torsos may be strong, but they look like boulders with limbs.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:23 am

SpotTheCat wrote:
Lonewolf08 wrote:Edit: On the subject of weight and health. Anyone have any tips on the best way to ditch the spare tire? :lol:

Exercise is the key. If you're not sore, you're doing it wrong. You need to break down your muscles and build them up. Your metabolism will be faster when you have more lean muscle mass. If you get really into it you won't crave the OMGBBQ foods that are awful for you--they won't fit in with your new body so you won't crave them anymore.


Drinking LOTS of water is also very important for a number of reasons including speeding up your metabolism and, drinking one cup of cold (3-4C) water burns about one hundred calories!
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:26 am

At 6' and 181 pounds I think I am right between normal and overweight on the BMI scale. And I couldn't care less.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:28 am

The Body Mass Indicator, or BMI (weight-to-height ratio (weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared, healthy range generally considered to be between 20 and 25), is a good indicator of of obesity (or lack thereof); however, especially if one is past its high end scale, it isn't perfect. Almost all past its low limit are getting dangerously thin; while MOST people past its high limit are, indeed, getting a bit pudgy. Many true athletes who are at the peak of health have BMIs ranging up to about 32 or so.

Any doctor (or insurance company) who adheres religiously to the statistical 20-to-25 without taking into account bone structure, physical condition, actual body fat measurements, blood sugar levels, cholesterol, blood pressure (measured at rest and after a stress test) and age isn't worthy of your attention (and/or money). Regardless, a spare tire, weight around ones middle ("apple" fat distribution as opposed to "pear" fat distribution), is the most unhealthy location for body fat and is often an indicator of possible heart problems down the line. Note the word "indicator" is not an absolute -- each person's general health (and genetic propensity) needs to be assessed on an individual basis.

That said -- and I'm NOT saying that this is your case -- I know many an athletic office worker with a slight to significant spare tire who could easily handle a rigorous mountain hike -- twenty years ago. Today, their hiking prowess is largely in their imaginations.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:32 am

Forge wrote:Waist independent of height? A doctor I work with just LOLed at that bit of stupidity.

Waist size is directly related to the size of your frame. I've seen scrawny-skinny folks shopping at big-and-tall stores because they have a 40" waist at 200 pounds and well over 6'. I've also seen rampantly obese folks wearing pants in the low 40" range simply because their mega-gut hangs over, leaving their waist itself pretty untouched.


I don't disagree, however, they seemed to have a pile of research to back this up. Surprisingly, when it came time to test us, the waist measurements seemed to work... Because of this I have decided not to have an overall opinion on the matter 8)

And not to fan the flames, but I think a lot of people in this thread are deluding themselves. I think you ARE obese and you're not facing up to reality. To be sure, though, you'd need your doctor's advice :wink:
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:33 am

StrangeDay wrote:That's my recollection as well. Look at some powerlifters. Their torsos may be strong, but they look like boulders with limbs.
Six pack == Strong abdomen. But lack of a six pack doesn't necessarily mean weak abdominal muscles. It just means their body fat ratio isn't that low.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:35 am

Fighthouse wrote:What I don't get, is that somebody my height can be as little as 145lbs and still be considered healthy. I think the last time I weighed 145 was 7th grade, maybe?

I'm 5' 11.5" and 140lbs. I'm definitely underweight.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:38 am

lordtottuu wrote:
StrangeDay wrote:That's my recollection as well. Look at some powerlifters. Their torsos may be strong, but they look like boulders with limbs.
Six pack == Strong abdomen. But lack of a six pack doesn't necessarily mean weak abdominal muscles. It just means their body fat ratio isn't that low.


You can also be genetically pre-disposed to be muscly or get "ripped" quite easily. I gain weight slowly, but I can get ripped quickly. Striations and what not. I'll never be "big" though, I don't have the frame for it.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:38 am

Look at Steve Jobs...

He's as healthy as you can get, right? :)
Seriously, those weight to height charts are averages, they don't take into account frame and muscle bulk.

However, that being said, since 99.99% of the people in the US no longer do strenuous daily labor, we have lost the ability to judge healthy weight. Watch some movies from the 30's-50's. Men weighed 135# -165#. People use to walk long distances, they used to lay bricks, move things with wheel barrels, shove by hand, etc. etc.

When in college, I ran 8 miles a day, I could wear my grandfather's size 30 pants(canvas hunting) and I weighed 145#. Today I weigh 195# and wear size 40.

Would I be healthier at 145-155#, heck yes. Will I ever see that weight again,(not unless this depression gets much, much worse)

I guess my point is that a healthy weight is dependent on a healthy lifestyle. Since few people get enough exercise to stay lean, the next best is to get enough exercise to stay healthy. (They say that 30 minutes a day gets the most benefit to time ratio:
while 4 hours would be great, 30 minutes gets you 80-90% of the benefit.)

Can I stay healthy at 180-200#, Sure! That doesn't mean the charts are wrong, only that they represent an unrealistic goal, given the modern world's near requirement of sedimentary lifestyle.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:48 am

pete_roth wrote:You can also be genetically pre-disposed to be muscly or get "ripped" quite easily. I gain weight slowly, but I can get ripped quickly.
You don't have to rub it in. :(
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:49 am

Well, you have to use the statistics for what they are worth. People with a BMI between 20-25 tend to live longer, have less cancer or other disease. than people with lower and higher BMI's. Around 30, there is a firm increase in mortality/decrease in average life expentancy. Example.Though nowadays there is a bit of debate about the low overweight category (BMI 25-30); a recent study suggested an ideal BMI of 23-27 instead of 20-25. Example. Statistics don't always count in specific cases, but with enough evidence, you get pretty close.

Measuring around the waist actually is a pretty decent way to estimate cardial risk. It's very time efficient, easy to do (but you have to know how to do it in a standardized way). Example. Give your doc a hug the next time he suggests to do that - it means that he at least is kind of up to date with current medicine.

Personally, I do not not believe in "heavy bones". All people I know who claimed that also had heavy bottoms, backs, bellys...

Oh about the bodybuilders - Is associated with abuse of steroids (which are amphetamine like in brain effect, cause cancer, kill your balls, increase the risk of hart attacks etc). Cannot find the exact MESH term for bodybuilding, so cannot give you references to big reviews of it.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:54 am

lordtottuu wrote:
pete_roth wrote:You can also be genetically pre-disposed to be muscly or get "ripped" quite easily. I gain weight slowly, but I can get ripped quickly.
You don't have to rub it in. :(


Aw poor toots. Don't sweat it dude, atleast you don't look like you're ready to graduate.....high school. A blessing and a curse.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:03 pm

ozymandias wrote:Personally, I do not not believe in "heavy bones". All people I know who claimed that also had heavy bottoms, backs, bellys...
True but people do have different frames.

ozymandias wrote:Oh about the bodybuilders - Is associated with abuse of steroids (which are amphetamine like in brain effect, cause cancer, kill your balls, increase the risk of hart attacks etc). Cannot find the exact MESH term for bodybuilding, so cannot give you references to big reviews of it.
I don't mean to thread jack but I need to ask. I went through the Wikipedia page for Anabolic steroids and I see phrases relating to increase in BP and cholesterol and testicular atrophy but I also see the words can, may instead of will. I also see nothing relating to brain damage and I actually see that it helps people with cancer.

I am confused.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:06 pm

pete_roth wrote:
lordtottuu wrote:
pete_roth wrote:You can also be genetically pre-disposed to be muscly or get "ripped" quite easily. I gain weight slowly, but I can get ripped quickly.
You don't have to rub it in. :(


Aw poor toots. Don't sweat it dude, atleast you don't look like you're ready to graduate.....high school. A blessing and a curse.
Nah. When the next ice age sets in, the extra 2-3% of fat in my abs might help me live. Just a few seconds longer.
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Re: Why am I Obese?

Postposted on Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:25 pm

Anabolic steroids exhibit an amphetamin like effect on brains - which mostly means dopamine stimulation in some parts (telling you you're doing good, even when you are doing not so very well), and disabling it in others (the forebrain, where you stop your impulses).

Why can instead of will:
How to know it for sure: give an adequate amount of people steroids without them or you knowing they do, give an equal amount of people fake pills/injections. Then follow them during the rest of their life and see what get's out of it. That would make it more possible to put a "will" instead of "could". Unfortunately, apart from unethical, it would cost way too much money. So you have to rely on other data, which is less clear than what I present. This is a lot better, and correct than wikipedia btw.

The effect of different frames is there, true, but in reality, there is not that much effect (statistically). You have the pear vs apple fat distribution that is important.
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