Dieting and the body mass index

After Christmas many folk tend to start a diet. I have not really ever had any good experiences with diets because I enjoy food too much.

Now what really annoys me is the way obesity is measured. If I go to my doctor he tells me I am obese – which is almost fair enough since I do carry some additional padding (although I don’t think of myself as obese – overweight certainly… but not obese). However he then goes on to tell me that for my height I need to be 11 stone in weight, at which point I tell him it just isn’t going to happen, he tuts, I walk out.

BMI is calculated by dividing your weight by your height squared (BMI = W/hxh). It takes no consideration of physique, background history or anything like that. Simply put, if you are short, you need to be slight, and if you are tall, you can afford to have a few additional pounds to carry.

I think this is nonsense. We have many different body shapes among us – endomorphs, ectomorphs, mesomorphs. I have always been the latter. hard luck for mesomorphs then, your BMI will always inform your doctor that you need to lose weight!

In my case the doctor recommends I attempt to return to the weight I was when I was 12 years old. Apparently that would be good for me. I haven’t been anywhere near 11 stone since I was twelve, and spent the majority of my twenties being 13 stone – with not an ounce of fat, and enjoying a robust sporting life. Apparently that doesn’t count!

Right now I’d be delighted to be 14 stone – that would be a significant achievement… but not according to my doctor (who, by the way, could do with losing a few stone himself).