Thursday, December 2, 2010

Serious Stuff

People sometimes don't pay attention to the important stuff.  That often forgotten measure of health, the BMI, is important, and I always list my current BMI in the right sidebar.  I do so for a reason.

My current mini-goal is to get my weight down to 247.  That was not a random number.  I based that goal entirely on BMI.  At 247 lbs, my BMI will drop below 40.  My goal is to leave Morbid Obesity behind, and at 39.9, I will be "merely" Severely Obese.  Semantics?  Hardly.

They call it MORBID Obesity for a reason. 

My 327-pound frame had a BMI of 54.5 on December 17th, 2009.  That means I was carrying around 178.215 pounds of fat.  THAT is like me giving a piggyback ride, every moment of the day, to another fully grown big-boned adult.  Insane.  And ignorant (or arrogant), to not even consider that my heart and joints were not designed to do the work of two full adults.  One heart per person at a time - that's the rule.  I'm making mine do the work of two people, and have been demanding this of it for DECADES.  All the while, my most important organ is aging and thus, becoming less efficient.  This is not a recipe for good things to come. 

This week, my BMI is 41.5, or 106.655 pounds of fat.  It is still another person, but a much lighter one. 

Interestingly, WebMD Health News had an article yesterday (by Daniel J. DeNoon) that addressed the risks of carrying around excess pounds.  It highlighted a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, which apparently found risk of death "goes up 31% with every 5-point increase in BMI ..."

My BMI is in the morbid obesity range (BMI of 40+) right now.  That means, even now, I have increased my death risk by 251%.  Dropping OUT of the morbid obesity category - getting my BMI down to 39.9 - means my increased death risk will "only" be 88%.   That is significant.  According to the article, "those figures are for women who do not smoke and who have no underlying disease.  The risks are similar for men ..." 

The safest BMI range?  Not suprising, mortality was "generally lowest within the BMI range of 20.0 to 24.9."  (This, according to someone at the National Institutes of Health.)  It turns out, being underweight may also increase death risk, so the healthy range is - well - healthiest.

I'm in my late 40s now.  And, according to the article, the measure of BMI prior to age 50 had the strongest effect on death risk.  This means, the sooner I get things under control, the better my chances of long term survival.  I admit, I don't like to think about my demise.  I feel (falsely, surely) that "those things" happen to other people.  The problem is, those who've passed away from weight-related ailments probably felt the same way, or that they'd get some sort of warning before things became irreversible, so they'd have time to fix it.  The reality is, that doesn't happen for everyone, or even the majority. 

How about this for an eye-opener?  The article states, "The strong statistical significance of the findings suggest that an earlier study of the impact of obesity on death risk - which was scary enough - may have underestimated the problem." 

Here is the study/article link.  Keep in mind, this study was done using people who reported no underlying medical issues - the "healthy" obese.  I had cholesterol issues.  I currently (still) have blood pressure issues and blood sugar issues.  I can presume, therefore, that my own death risk is even greater. 

Sobering thought. 

I don't know about anyone else, but I have a LOT to live for, and people who rely on me. 

So, this is serious stuff.  I am working hard to reach my current mini-goal of 247 lbs.  I'm 10 lbs away from that, and from leaving the morbid obesity category behind.  Underlying medical issues aside, dropping my risk from 251% down to 88% is amazing!  And I'm almost there.  This is a major goal for me (one of the reasons I'm making my "reward" for reaching it a major carrot, in a manner of speaking). 

Since starting this diet in late July, I've managed to drop my BMI by 8.1 points.  And, since December 17, 2009, I've dropped a full 13 (yes, thirteen) points on my BMI.  Those little drops in weight add up, and make me stronger statistically - because I get stronger medically.  I'm not out of the woods yet, but I can see light through the trees now.

I pay close attention to  my BMI these days.  There are free BMI calculators all over the Internet.  It is a measurement based on height and weight.  And everyone should know their current BMI.

Do you know yours?

I'm making this day BMI Thursday.

My BMI today:  41.5


  1. I love it when my peeps start screaming !!! Fight the good fight !!!

  2. True and interesting post, Ann!
    Now we know better,
    AND can do something about it!

  3. Serious stuff is right! What a great post. When I originally lost my 65 pounds in 2006-2007, I set my goal weight solely on the BMI numbers. The number I set was smack dab in the middle of the healthy weight range. My plan was to get there, see how it felt and adjust if need be. When I got there, it felt perfect (imagine that!!) and so it remains my goal weight. Today, I am at a BMI of 25.3, so unfortunately just over the healthy range, but I expect that to change SOON! I hope this post inspires many to look not only at a number on the scale, but give some serious thought to that BMI number.

    Here's a link to my favortite BMI calculator:

  4. Excellent post and very scary. When I started in July, my BMI was 46.3 and now it is 38.7 which has me at Severely Obese. To move to "just" Obese I have to hit 210 lbs. So I still have a lot to do!

    You are doing great! And now I am trying to decide if I want to read the article you linked (it will probably set off my anxiety)...

  5. While my confidence in you doesn't really count ... yours does and you've got it. You're sure to reach those goals you've set for yourself.


  6. Doesn't it feel good to be DOING something about this "serious stuff"? You are taking your life in your hands... taking it back so to speak and placing more value on the time you have here on earth. You do exude confidence and insight... good for you girl. I have no doubt that you will reach your goal. I want to get my BMI under 24. I started at 49.6 and I'm now at 29... just under obese. Feels so good! Although I often forget I've lost my weight and still feel (inside) like a heavy person... but that's a whole other story.

    Thanks for your inspiration and reminders. You are kickin' butt, girl!
    Thanks also for your kind comments on my last post. Your words really meant a lot to me. :)


  7. I also set my goal to get to a "normal" BMI and weight for my height. It shouldn't be about looking good in those jeans, or getting back to a certain weight when we were happy. It should be about getting healthy and staying healthy for those who count on us. Great post, Ann. You and I are on the same page.

  8. what a great though scary post. It is true we need to think about these issues. When I stop and think about what I'm doing to myself it scares me. It is easier, sometimes, to just ignore it.. but that doesn't get me anywhere but probably to an early grave. Thanks for bringing up this post.

  9. My BMI is currently 29.8 which is overweight, but just barely this side of moderately obese. To get down to normal I have to lose 31 lbs. It seems like so much. And then it also seems like nothing. I am stuck in the middle, LOL I dont know what my "death risk" is. I assume its a middle number, not super high, but not lowest. I have good blood sugar though and while I do have high bp, it is likely to be genetic (according to my Dr. not me) and is being controlled with the tiniest med that exists for this. So I dont know. I am trying to get back on track, its difficult cause I spend my days job hunting and taking care of kids and cant focus as much on exercise which I desperately need (just for mood elevation, LOL)