Monday, August 6, 2012

The Deceptiveness of Weight

Weight.  One word brings up a lot of emotions in many different people, primarily women.

Last weekend I was on a bike ride with a few other runner friends.  We stopped halfway through our 40-mile ride to eat lunch.  While we were deciding what to order, the issue of weight came up.  Now, I've overheard multiple weight conversations in the running club before and taken part of my fair share, and every time I leave thinking the same thing.  Much of weight is based on height.

My friend commented at lunch that she did not want to lose any weight, and really, could not afford to.  She currently weights 127 pounds.  Another friend chimed in that she currently weights 124 pounds, and is happy with it.  She used to weight 128 pounds but once she started running she lost a few pounds and have kept it off.  I attributed to the conversation by saying that I, too, was happy with my weight.

"You are so thin.  You must weigh less than us."  I hear this a lot.  People think because I am tall and fairly thin, I must not weigh much.  However, a lot of weight is related to height.  I wanted to see how related the two were, so I went to a BMI calculator to plug in some numbers.

To review, if you are underweight your BMI is under 18.5.  Normal weight is 18.5 to 24.9.  Overweight is considered 25-29.9 and obese is 30 or greater.

At my current height (6'1")and weight, my BMI is 19.1, which is in the normal, healthy range.

If I was 6'3" (like my sister), and my current weight, my BMI would be 18.1, and underweight.

If I was 5'9", my BMI would be 21.4, and still normal weight.

If I was 5'5", like my first friend mentioned above, my BMI would be 24.1, which is still normal.

If I was 5'4", like my second friend mentioned above, my BMI would be 24.9, the highest normal.

Here is the problem with talking about weight: if people ask what I weigh, I will share the information.  I'm happy with how much I weigh.  But whenever I share that number, the response is almost always the same:

"There is NO WAY you could weigh that much!"

Yes, I do.  From my informal research done on Google, it seems as though 2 pounds per inch  is an appropriate measure to use.  Therefore, I am 8 inches taller than my first friend.  Since 8 x 2 = 16, that means I could subtract 16 from my current weight to get a weight at her height.  When I did this, the end result was 129 pounds.  It is fairly odd to think what I would be like if I was that short.  I think I was that height in 5th grade.  She, on the other hand, could never imagine being my height, either.

Anyway you look at it, weight and height are correlated.  Numbers are just that - numbers.  I feel like weight should be measured in an alternate way to avoid confusion in the future.

You turn...weigh in...

Is weight deceptive?


  1. Absolutely! Not that I have a height problem - I'm 5'5" (or maybe I have the opposite problem of you?).

    I fluctuate, but I'm typically around 155 which is considered overweight when you plug that into a BMI calculator. I call shenanigans though because I am definitely fit and trim. Sure, I have a few pounds I could lose, but I feel like my weight has nothing to do with how in shape or fit I am.

  2. I am concerned about my weight also. When I tell people how much I weight their reactions tend to upset me. "Get out, you are not"
    I mean, I seem to be putting on weight lately despite all my efforts and people are kind saying, "muscle weighs more than fat" but still.
    there are exceptions to all the rules. Or that's what I tell myself.