By BMI, I am too fat to live

May 25, 2011 at 12:14 am 15 comments

Me in the Florida Keys

I am morbidly obese.

That’s right, according to my BMI, I should drop dead any second now.

And according to most websites, I should “seek medical help immediately.” I’m guessing they are alluding to weight-lose surgery or the like, because really, what else are they going to do? The most that would probably happen would be that I get a talking to and told to lose weight immediately or I will die fat and alone and a cat lady and soon, or whatever they are saying now and days to get people to lose weight.

For those of you wondering, my BMI is 42. Yeah, “normal weight” BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. So I am almost double a normal weight. I would need to lose more than half of myself to get down to what I am told I need to be. Is it just me, or is that a lot?

To further illustrate this fact, there is an old gallery on Flickr that Kate Harding put together called ‘Illustrated BMI Catergories,” that while old, will further illustrate the fact that BMI is a broken, arcane system and should be updated or just done away with altogether.

Why did I bother to bring up BMI? Just thought you should know the next time you say to me, “You aren’t that fat,” etc., according to BMI, I am the walking dead.


Entry filed under: Diet, Fat, Fat bias, Me!. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Slim Em  |  May 25, 2011 at 12:20 am

    So true! Love your blog!

  • 2. vesta44  |  May 25, 2011 at 4:20 am

    Yeah, my BMI is 57, so I should have been dead a long time ago….LOL
    Losing half of my weight would still leave me obese, although closer to “normal”, whatever that is, but at my age it would also leave me with pounds and pounds of loose and empty skin. That would not be a pretty sight, I can guarantee it.

  • 3. Healthy bmi  |  July 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Would doing away with the current BMI system make you feel better about yourself?

    • 4. kittypaws9  |  July 6, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      No, it has nothing to do about feeling better about myself. I feel great. It’s that doctors and health insurance base their reactions with me on that number. A number which doesn’t really give an accurate account of my health.

  • 5. Healthy bmi  |  August 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    As a physician, I must say that although BMI is not the ideal measurement of health status, it is a quick and simple tool that allows for risk stratification and some form of quantification. I love how people assert that “BMI does not account for body composition” and as true as that might be, if you are not involved in intensive anaerobic weight training, it likely does not apply. Obese people love to highlight the fallacies of BMI, and try to ignore the linear relationships it has with diabetes, HTN, CAD, OSA, colorectal cancer, the list goes on. The correlation coefficients have been shown in Studies with excellent power, and every clinician in a westernized country can give you tons of anecdotal evidence of patients whom can discontinue their poly-pharmacy regimens after conservative weight loss programs. There is NO medication that can consistently control hypertension as effectively as weight loss which has been proven beyond a doubt, yet people still question the interrelationship of obesity and health. I know, I know, you probably have an aunt or grandma who is 80, takes no medications, and has a BMI of 50. I’d be lying if I said I had not seen these cases before, but I assure you they are the exception.

    I googled too fat to live, because it is a common expression when describing a patient with a BMI>40 to other providers(TFTL), and your blog really upset me. Not because you embrace your size, but you poke fun at being categorized as morbidly obese. I find this as distasteful as teenagers making light of drunk driving or illicit drug use, because those behaviors, similar to the ones that lead to obesity, are dangerous, costly, and burden society at every level. If you are content with your size, fantastic, but remember that contentment breeds complacency, and the more acceptance and reassurance you offer to those who have a SERIOUS medical issue, the less likely they are to attempt to loose weight. Please consider the message you are sending.

    • 6. kittypaws9  |  August 2, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      At no point in time do I make light of serious medical issues. I do not have any serious medical issues, nor do I mention them. So for you to apply what I am saying to such things is putting words in my mouth.

      The message I am sending is one of acceptance. The fact that you think fat people “burden society at every level” shows me how you really feel. The fact that I am having to pay more for my health insurance even though I never use it just because I am fat is the issue here. There are people I know that in the eyes of health insurance companies would be “healthy” but are in and out of the doctor constantly. Just because you are skinny doesn’t make you healthy, just the way being fat doesn’t make you unhealthy. That is my point.

    • 7. vesta44  |  August 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      Healthy bmi – And have you found a way that turns fat people into thin people permanently? Because for 95% of us, there is no such thing, and weight cycling is worse for our health than maintaining a high but stable weight. I know whereof I speak, I’ve been supermorbidly obese for 35 of my 58 years of life (bmi 50+), and my blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol have been normal that entire time. My arteries are clear. I know this because I had a carotid artery ultrasound done when they scanned my enlarged thyroid prior to removing it. So my anecdotal evidence is just as good as yours – it’s all anecdotal and not backed up by rigid research done under controlled conditions. If you think weight loss is so easy, I suggest you read this post</a) and all the research cited in it. If you still believe that permanent weight loss is possible for the majority of fat people after reading all of that, then I have some ocean front property in Minnesota you might like to purchase, to go along with all the propaganda about fat that you've bought.

  • 8. Healthy bmi  |  August 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Well, you are young, and I truly hope you do remain healthy for the entirety of your life, regardless of what your BMI is. In my humble opinion, obesity- especially morbid obesity, is a SERIOUS medical issue. Your risk for preventable diseases is several fold greater than someone with a healthy BMI. Do you also disagree with auto insurance agencies charging higher rates for a 16 y/o boy vs a middle age woman? Sure, they boy might be responsible but statistically, the likelihood ratio of an accident is greater.

    I have struggled with my weight, and through dieting I have proudly obtained a healthy BMI for the past 9 years… Not just for me, but for my patients- how could I encourage a healthy lifestyle (which does include maintaining a healthy weight) without living one myself? Acceptance is not always a good thing, societies have “accepted” atrocities time and time again and accepting something both detrimental and modifiable is an absolute shame. Encouragement of positive change is something I hope we can agree on. Best of luck.

  • 9. Healthy bmi  |  August 2, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    And Vesta, I hope you health continues as well. I have spent the vast majority of my life, as both a physician and exercise physiologist reviewing literature and coming to my own conclusions. I am sure your extensive medical education consisting of cherry picking Data compiled by those with an obvious agenda(from BMJ among other places, which has one of the worst impact factors, but that’s neither here nor there) is compairble to that of my own. One of the most important parts of medical education, it critical interpretation of literature, it is what separates physicians from technicians. When working at an academic institution (where I unfortunately no longer work) I used to love when medical students would bring me studies promoting some obscure treatment modality or alternative therapy and we would dissect “how variables were adjusted” or the selection bias that was so apparent it was no accident. I would often get the “how can someone publish this crap?!”response. I still keep a 1950s article, which was prided as a randomized prospective study that
    Concludes that moderate smoking (<10 cig/day) prevents bronchitis. Technically, the study has never been disproven as I have seen no design duplication with numbers refuting the findings, but the overwhelming body of evidence in the scientific community has suggested otherwise. By all means, cling to your data if it makes you feel better, but don't promote a disassociation between obesity and coronary artery disease (or any other related ailment for that matter). And just FYI, just because you carotids did not have appreciable plaque, does not mean your "arteries are clean.". First the scan that you got for your thyroid used a duplex, which looks for vascularity to determine risk of malignancy ( I assume you had a benign nodule). It was not designed for the diagnosis of CAD. Secondly, even if they were clean (which they likely are) that is just one artery. A common cause for admission of the general ward is syncope which is often caused by cardiogenic or neurogenic pathology ( so you typically get a duplex and an ECHO) I have seen HUNDREDS of patients with completely clean internal carotids who ended up having 80% occlusions of their LAD after they went to the cath lab. Regardless, stay healthy and happy for as long as you can.

    • 10. vesta44  |  August 30, 2015 at 12:57 pm

      Well, I’m almost 62 now, my numbers are all still good, and this is in spite of having tried 5 or 6 different diets, amphjetamines prescribed by a doctor, phen-fen prescribed by a nurse practitioner, and a weight loss surgery – ALL of which failed to make me permanently thinner, and the WLS actually made me fatter. My anecdotal experience is just as reliable as your anecdotal experience. There are reliable, well-done studies that show PERMANENT weight loss does NOT happen for 95% of fat people, no matter how little they eat and how much they exercise. But you keep on believing that your anecdotal “evidence” has more credence than mine.

  • 11. Luisa  |  February 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Hi, I’m working on an international feature documentary film which explores reasons behind many of the health and social problems in the developed world. There is much research to suggest that the widening gap between the rich and poor is linked to widening waistbands – I am really interested to hear your thoughts on this. It would be great to talk to you and tell you more about the project – we are also casting for potential characters to feature. Please contact me: and let me tell you more about our project.

  • 12. georgestrango  |  July 27, 2013 at 1:35 am

    You look good to me

  • 13. Emmie  |  September 17, 2013 at 3:53 am

    Actually, it really doesn’t seem preposterous at all that you’d have to lose half your weight to be a healthy size…you’re really big and clearly in MAJOR denial. And this is coming from someone who’s lost almost 80 pounds. I used to think the same way, “Oh, I must have a bigger bone structure or something because it I lost the 80 pounds I’m supposed to lose according to BMI, I’d be skin and bones!” I now look back on my old fat photos and can’t even BELIEVE that I didn’t think I was “that” big! Trust me, it’s obvious to everyone but you. When/if you lose the weight, you will look back at your old photos and see that you really do have a lot to lose.

    • 14. kittypaws9  |  September 17, 2013 at 6:45 am

      I never said I would “be skin and bones,” nor did I talk about how much I should lose. If you haven’t noticed, this blog is about acceptance, not about weight loss. I am also not in “MAJOR denial.” I clearly know I am fat, my blog is even called Fattie Wisdom. The post is more about how according to this one number I should be falling dead at any moment. My point is that BMI is outdated and we should come up with something that more accurately paints our health.

  • 15. GamingSnob@BGG  |  August 30, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I love my girlfriend(she is big and yummy too!), but I wanted to say you are hot! I would sop’ you up with a biscuit that morning if I didn’t love her so much… I love me some big, soft, “snuggable” women.. I wish God would agree and wouldn’t nail you all with the health issues… You all are so sexy and most are very much in touch with their reward system, which is a big plus!


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