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nicole309
06-21-2007, 03:03 PM
After reading all the posts on here about weight issues, I have decided to post one that has been bothering me for a while.
In February I went to the bike expo in Seattle and they had this machine that measures a variety of things like body fat, weight, etc...
Then it gives an overall asessment of your health. There are the following groups Average, Overfat, and the worst Obese. Yes, I was rated obese!!
I am 5'10" tall and weigh 162 lbs. Which sounds like a lot, but I am tall!! I wear a size 8 for the most part, sometimes a 6 sometimes a 10, you know how it goes!!
I know that overall Americans are quite an unhealthy lot, and maybe I spend too much time comparing myself to other people and have lost sight of my own health. I'm not saying I couldn't lose a few pounds, that I couldn't afford to make a few diet changes. But obese? Really?

LBTC
06-21-2007, 03:13 PM
Nicole, I agree with you! Your weight for your height is perfectly normal. I thought that as soon as read your specs, but then I checked this http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ BMI calculator and it puts you right in the normal range.

Was the device meant for elite athletes? Did they have a weight loss product to sell? Regardless of their reasons, I think that their measuring device is grossly inaccurate! Yikes!

Your weight makes my 135 pounds on a 5' 1 1/2" frame ghastly overweight - and I would not consider myself obese either.

If you feel good, are healthy, and your clothes fit, don't worry. Enjoy life and be happy with your nicely functioning body!

Hugs and butterflies,
~T~

teigyr
06-21-2007, 03:19 PM
:eek:

Nicole, we are about the same size only you might be smaller than me. I'm 5'11" but am a fairly solid size 10. I am so glad I didn't see that at the Expo or I would be scarred for life.

I know as a population, we're getting bigger and we take that for granted. I always read about the effects such as larger hospital beds, extra-sturdy chairs, and all of that. I think that is obese....we might not be extra-skinny models but we're healthy. I know people who are obese who eat unhealthy food and complain that it's impossible to lose weight. That isn't us.

Gads. I'm sorry you had to experience that.

BleeckerSt_Girl
06-21-2007, 03:25 PM
Don't forget that muscle is denser and heavier than an equal volume of fat. People with more muscles tend to get rated as having excessive body fat instead with some of these dumb evaluating systems. There is no WAY you are obese! Fools invent such things.

nicole309
06-21-2007, 03:30 PM
Thanks for your comments. I just wanted to ask. Mostly, I didn't expect anyone to say that I really am obese, but it is just frustrating.
They were trying to sell something, the machine that gives all this information. It mostly just looks like a bathroom scale, but supposedly measures weight distribution etc...
I actually asked the guy if they ever sell any of the things with those kind of results? I can't imagine!
I have looked at BMI charts and just using height and weight is really not a good indicator for me. I have actually weighed less and been a bigger size than I am now.
I actually have a pretty good body image overall, but that whole thing really scared me.

Jolt
06-21-2007, 03:58 PM
Were you perhaps a bit dehydrated? That can throw off the accuracy of some of those devices if they are the kind that sends a small electric current through the tissues to measure body fat. If I remember correctly, fat has a lower percentage of water than muscle, so that would mean that if you were somewhat dehydrated it might have read a higher percentage of fat than you actually have.

nicole309
06-21-2007, 04:01 PM
Were you perhaps a bit dehydrated? That can throw off the accuracy of some of those devices if they are the kind that sends a small electric current through the tissues to measure body fat. If I remember correctly, fat has a lower percentage of water than muscle, so that would mean that if you were somewhat dehydrated it might have read a higher percentage of fat than you actually have.

Interesting...
The results did say that I was a bit dehydrated that day. You would think if it knew that, it would also know that it was muscle and not fat!!

LBTC
06-21-2007, 04:12 PM
It mostly just looks like a bathroom scale, but supposedly measures weight distribution etc...

If it's anything like the Tanita body fat scale that I use, it's obvious to me that you would need to set your personal settings up as athlete. Somehow that setting understands that it's more muscle than fat, or something like that.

I'm glad you're happy with your body. Yay!

Hugs and butterflies,
~T~

Torrilin
06-21-2007, 06:09 PM
A rough sanity check for light boned women is 100 + (height in inches - 60)*5. That gives you pretty much the numbers on a doctor's height and weight chart... and that puts a 5'10" woman at 160 lbs. It's fairly reasonable to have around a +/- 20 lbs variation around that estimate (tho that still leaves some heavy boned women overweight on paper and bordering on underweight in reality).

There's really no substitute for knowing your own body tho. If you've historically been healthy at 155, or 170, and your measurements have changed, then your current weight probably isn't ok.

KnottedYet
06-21-2007, 09:26 PM
That scale at Bike Expo sounds like a crock. I'm 2 inches shorter than you and weigh nearly the same... and I don't think ANYONE would call me "obese"!!!

echidna
06-21-2007, 09:59 PM
That was a BS measurement. BodPod??? Anything that's even remotely connected to bioelectrical impedance has to be taken with a huge grain of salt (and, sadly, hydration and electrolyte levels will throw your results off, so you can see where this is headed, right?).
Look at it this way: the lowest cutoff for clinically "obese" is 30% bodyfat.
If they estimated your bodyfat to be EXACTLY 30%, that would mean that yor fat-free mass would be 113 pounds, and if you were 15% bodyfat (about the lowest that a female should be at unless they're in contention for Olympic gold), you would weigh 130. That is to say, if they were correct (and you are currently obese), you would be fit, lean, and healthy at 130#. Now imagine yourself down 32#. Would you be lean and fit, or would you be emaciated? If it's the latter, which sounds correct, you've just mathematically proven that you are not "obese" at your current weight.

DarcyInOregon
06-21-2007, 11:41 PM
Nicole, what did they determine besides declaring you obese? Did you get a body composition breakdown as to what you lean body mass is in pounds and your body fat in pounds?

A fitness expert gave me a body composition test about three weeks ago, accurate to within 3%. She made certain I was hydrated, and scheduled my test for several days in advance just to make sure I drank a lot of water. I got a printout that told me everything about my body composition. I am 53 years old, I am 5'8", and my lean body mass is 145 pounds. She did not think this was an error because she scrutinized my body and she could see and feel my hard cyling muscles. I also told her I had a bone scan last year and that my bone density measured at over 100% on the scale they used, meaning I was over their top number for calibration, therefore my bones weigh more than most women my age. I need to lose 40 pounds of fat, which is information I wanted because I am a person who used to be heavier, and others might thing OMG she is fat at 40 pounds - but I am happy because it is the light at the end of the tunnel for me. And I am told I should weigh 188 pounds to be at a 23% body fat, which was really useful information because if I didn't know this, and I got to 188, I would have killed myself trying to get to 150, thinking that is what I should weigh, and if I had, I could only have reached that weight by losing muscle and bone weight.

You should have received the same type of information as I did. My advice is to get another body composition test, but from a reliable place, and then compare the two results. If the second body composition test shows you with a low lean body mass number, then my second piece of advice is to get to the doctor and get a bone scan and make sure you are not losing bone density.

Darcy

Trek420
06-22-2007, 06:36 AM
That scale at Bike Expo sounds like a crock. I'm 2 inches shorter than you and weigh nearly the same... and I don't think ANYONE would call me "obese"!!!

I'd call you "just right" :)

Now I see the problem, I'm not overweight, I'm "underhieght" ;) :rolleyes:

I would like to loose weight, I'm arguably 20+ lbs over what my Dr reccomends but 50 over the charts.

My previous PCP (now retired) said to forget about the charts. If you're athletic they don't tell the whole story.

He told me that if I weighed the recommended 105'ish at 5'1" I'd loose muscle to achieve that goal. His opinion was he'd rather see me active and weighing more than sedentary and or weak and hit that number.

So while I just got a scale again after a long time without I go by how my clothes fit, how I feel and how I'm doing on the bike and not the scale. I've dropped 4 pants sizes cycling .... and stayed the same weight, it just turned to muscle.

nicole309
06-22-2007, 10:24 AM
Thanks for all the numbers and charts. I like that kind of stuff.
Darcy, I think I was hoping for something like the composition test you were talking about. The test gave me a lot of that information, much of which I am trying to remember. It is still hanging on my fridge at home.
I guess if nothing else it gave me the motivation to ride more!!

DarcyInOregon
06-22-2007, 10:54 AM
Nicole, your story reminded me of another story. A few weeks ago the big news story was about some diet expert lady calling Jordin, the 17-year-old winner of AI, obese. I think if anyone wants to read it they can Google the story. This diet expert said when she sees Jordin, she sees "diabetes and other illness in her future." For the record, Jordin is 5'11", her father is a former pro-athlete, meaning Jordin is athletic herself, and she wears a size 12. I was shocked. What is happening when people can proclaim on national news that a young athletic girl, tall and fit, is obese? It makes no sense to me. Jordin is certainly less than 30% body fat. She looks great in her clothes and she has a flat tummy.

Darcy

nicole309
06-22-2007, 11:06 AM
Sorry, I am out of the loop on my bike terms...
What is an AI?
In any case I think our perceptions of someone who is healthy and who isn't are really screwed up sometimes.

DarcyInOregon
06-22-2007, 11:06 AM
AI=American Idol.

nicole309
06-22-2007, 11:09 AM
Silly me!:o
I don't have a TV. I was thinking that they were calling some woman who won a bike race fat!!

RoadRaven
06-22-2007, 11:33 AM
What???

Crazy... just read Darcy's last post, as well as this whole thread...

How do people define overweight socially anyways? By crap opinions of naval-gazing media "personalities".

As a society/global community, we really do have to get away from the weight goals and set fit goals. If we have fit goals (and a balanced diet) and try to achieve them the weight stuff will usually take care of itself.

Niciole, I did the BMI thing earlier this year. My son has just finished a Health and fitness tertiary qual, and they were looking at the BMI and discussing its flaws, and which group of people it was best suited to as a tool for measuring. Women wasn't one of those groups...

I am 5'10" and now weigh 99kg... that means I am just a few kgs away from being overweight, instead of obese! Even at 110-5kg when I started biking, I didn't see myself as what I had in my head of "obese". I didn't lose any weight the first year, but I did drop two dress sizes and still I was obese!

Its a standing joke at work now, I tell the diet crazy girls I can't have something cause I am aiming to be overweight, and no longer obese... one of the girls has no weight that needs losing but is a very fit toned sportswoman - shes overweight according to BMI and thinks, like me, that its amusing.

nicole309
06-22-2007, 11:58 AM
I guess the whole issue of what society sees as overweight is what tempted me to take this test in the first place. I just wanted a so to speak medical evaluation of my weight, etc...
I think that our views are often skewed by the media. Like I said in the beginning, I'm not necessarily saying that I couldn't afford to eat a little better or tone up a bit. I don't necessarily think I need to lose weight. I think for the most part it wouldn't kill us all to be a little healthier. I was hoping to find a goal to work towards. Something achievable, as I said I really like numbers!!
On a side note...
I too went to work and told my all female office that I was obese, and we all joke about it.

Mr. Bloom
06-28-2007, 01:18 AM
My Mercedes is 38 years old and it has "antique" car insurance.

I'm 44 years old...what's that make me? Older than an Antique???:eek:

I think your experience underscores the short comings of the machine's inventor...

anakiwa
06-28-2007, 06:07 AM
I'm calculating your BMI as 23.3 based on your height and weight- that is normal (BMI <25 is normal, 25-30 is overweight, 30+ is obese).

Did they calculate your body fat percentage? If so, how did they do it? Body fat percentage measured by calipers and someone who knows what they're doing is more accurate than BMI. Body fat percentage measured by one of those scales you stand on that measures electrical current is notoriously inaccurate (various things like hydration status will change the numbers).

Either way, focus on living as healthfully as possible and don't worry about the numbers.

Andrea
06-28-2007, 06:12 AM
Do you have any idea what the machine was measuring? My guess is that it was some sort of bioelectrical impedance analysis machine. Simply put, it measures electrical resistance from one side of your body to the other. Fat has a low water content, so it's a poor conductor. Muscle is high in water content, so it conducts very well.
The machine sends a pre-determined amount of electrical current from one electrode to the other and measures the resistance. The more resistance there is, the higher your bodyfat is. The problem is that the machines are very sensitive- you can't just walk in off of the street and get an accurate reading.
Ideally, you will not have exercised for 24 hours, have not eaten for 12 hours, are well-hydrated, and have an even distribution of bodyfat/muscle between the electrodes- if it's a hand-held device, it's reasuring resistance from hand to hand, if it's a scale-type device, it's measuring from foot to foot. Now, think of how women differ as far as upper and lower body fat...

So, if you had been exercising, eating, a little dehydrated, or a little dis-proportionate in your fat distribution, then the machine is going to overestimate you. The best way to get bodyfat analyzed is with a DEXA machine or Bod Pod. Next best would be skinfold measurements, but you have to be VERY picky about who takes the measurements. I'd recommend calling up your local University and looking to see if they have an Exercise Science department. There, you'll find people that do skinfold measurements on a regular basis, and who know the exact sites to measure (critical for accuracy).

onimity
06-29-2007, 09:26 PM
Look at it this way: the lowest cutoff for clinically "obese" is 30% bodyfat.
If they estimated your bodyfat to be EXACTLY 30%, that would mean that yor fat-free mass would be 113 pounds, and if you were 15% bodyfat (about the lowest that a female should be at unless they're in contention for Olympic gold), you would weigh 130. That is to say, if they were correct (and you are currently obese), you would be fit, lean, and healthy at 130#. Now imagine yourself down 32#. Would you be lean and fit, or would you be emaciated? If it's the latter, which sounds correct, you've just mathematically proven that you are not "obese" at your current weight.

I think that the point of this comment, that the label is surely inaccurate in this case and that isn't something to worry about, but I disagree with the idea that we can calculate our health with numbers on a chart or devices of dubious accuracy. I am 5'10" and 130ish pounds and wouldn't say I'm emaciated by any means. I have a thin frame, but a lot of muscle. A similar machine, BTW, rated my body fat at 27.5%. You can be the 'correct' weight according to all of the scales and be quite unfit; very fit people can end up mis-labeled because the scales are built to the average, not the fit.

It sounds like you know that you are a strong and fit woman. I'd trust that voice over the calculation of some quacky machine.

Anne

lugged-steel
07-17-2007, 01:26 PM
I'm not sure if I am overstepping my bounds by posting, as I am fairly estrogen-deficient, but I was doing some research for my wife and I came across this thread.

I remember when I was in college, I got a fairly thorough assessment of my body fat, done with calipers that pinch for fat all over the place, and I was told that I was about 7.5%.

Sadly, those days are just a memory and I am in the high 20s now (but getting better).

Getting back to the glory days, though, I am 5' 11" and weighed about 185-190 at the time. I was not huge, by any stretch of the imagination, but fairly muscular and athletic. I went to participate in one of those pharmaceutical experiments that college students love so much (or is that just in Texas?) and I was told that I could not participate because I was overweight (based on BMI). I challenged them to find the fat on me, but they were not interested.

My wife has the same problem. She has very large, well muscled legs. Yes, she could stand to lose some weight, just like me, but she is 5' 8" and I can't see her ever weighing under 164, which means that the calculators will always have her as overweight.

We try to focus more on cholesterol, blood pressure and fitness in general. Yeah, we need to lose a few pounds, but we know that from looking in the mirror and looking at our fitness goals (we'd like to be 2 mph faster on the bikes).

When I was in college, my goal was 205 lbs. If I could hit that at the same 7.5% body fat (or even 15%), I'd challenge anyone to say I was bordering on obese, but that is what the charts say. Of course now is a different story.

Great site and great community, by the way.