BMI Calculator: What is it and How to Use it

Body Mass Index (BMI) Chart

Many of us hit a point where we wonder if we are our healthiest self. If we are eating right or are the proper weight. If you have ever had these thoughts, you have come to the right place. I think that everyone should feel at their best and to get there, you must first see where you are at. Your Body Mass Index (BMI) can help you with that.

I’m sure you, like most people, have heard of BMI. But most people do not understand how to utilize it.

That is exactly what we are going to do here. I am going to walk you through this so you really understand what BMI is and how it can help you start to work towards your weight loss goals.

Define Body Mass Index (BMI)

Scale and Tape Measure to Calculate BMI

BMI is calculated by taking your weight in kilograms and dividing it by your height in meters squared.

This number will let you know if you are under weight, in the normal, overweight, or obese range.

BMI Ranges

There are many different body mass index calculators available online that make it easy to plug in your height and weight to get your BMI. We will cover this more in a moment.

Pros of BMI

Tape Measure Around Stomach for BMI

As with anything, there are pros and cons to using them. It is important to understand what they are so that you can accurately understand what you are looking a.

First, we will look at the pros of using body mass index.

The use of BMI is the recommended way to diagnose if you are overweight or obese.

It does not cost anything to find out what your BMI is.

You don’t need any special training to calculate it and because there are hundreds of calculators online, it is also very easy to get your body mass index.

There is also a correlation between high BMI and chronic diseases, so finding your BMI can help to tell you if you are at a higher risk.

Cons of BMI

BMI and Muscle

Now to look at the cons of body mass index.

I want to first start with what can be a big con for many of you down the line. Muscle weighs more than fat.

Body mass index is not a direct measure of body fat. Those with a lot of muscle could be calculated in a high range because, again, muscle weighs more than fat.

If you start working out and continue to only use BMI as your assessment tool, it is not going to be accurate because your muscle that you built is going to throw it off.

BMI is not an accurate assessment of your health. A person might have a low BMI, but it is a result of having an illness. Just because they have a low BMI does not mean they are healthy.

This test also doesn’t tell you where the fat is distributed in your body. Having fat in certain areas can put you at a higher risk for certain health problems but having fat in another area could be harmless to your health.

 I do not want you to think that BMI is useless just because of the cons. I think it is a good place to begin when you are first starting on your weight loss goals.

It can give you some insights. You just need to be aware that you will want to use other metrics as well, especially when you start progressing in your journey.

Where to Calculate BMI

As I stated earlier, there are hundreds of BMI calculators online. Here I have two different calculators that you can try. I list these two different ones because they are somewhat different and I like the extra information they have.

Web MD

BMI Calculator

This is a very helpful BMI calculator for a couple reasons. First, as with any BMI calculator it will tell you what your body mass index is and show you where you fall in the spectrum.

I also like that they offer a waist-to-height ratio. This helps to describe your body shape and can warn you of potential health problems.

Belly fat affects your health more than fat in your arms or your hips. It’s linked to a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes, and it puts you at risk for other diseases.

Then you can also go to their food and exercise tips section. This will have you put in your sex, age, how active you are, and your weight goal.

Once you put in that information, it tells you what your current daily calorie needs are. And it is their recommended number of calories you should start with when deciding how to reach your weight goals.

From there, you can see what your recommended heat rate should be during general fitness at a moderate level ad during high intensity interval training.

Knowing the calories and heart rate will help you to get the most out of your health and fitness goals.

Precision Nutrition

BMI Calculator and Body Planner

I think this is a really cool calculator. They call theirs’s a body weight planner and it doesn’t just focus on the BMI.

You start by giving your sex, age, height, weight, and physical activity. Then you move to what your goal weight is and the time frame you would like to reach that goal weight in.

You can even include physical activity changes you are willing to make to help reach that goal.

Then it shows you the results. This includes how many calories you should eat to eat that goal, what your current weight, fat, and BMI are and what they will be once you hit your goal.

There is also a graph that explains how many calories you should have each day of your goal. It is a gradual decrease to get you to your goal.

BMI Simulator Results

I like this planner a lot because I think it takes more into account than what a standard BMI calculator tell you.

It is also great that they tell you to reach your goal you have so many calories, but then they go on to show you have you should slowly decrease your calories to get there.

I think a lot of people that try to lose weight think they have to have X number of calories, so on day one that is what they are having. It’s a huge change for them which makes it almost impossible for most people to keep up with it.

I think it’s great that this calculator encompasses BMI, but also shows you so much more!

How You Can Use it to Help with Weight Loss

Sandwich with Tape Measure

You can use your body mass index in several ways to help you lose weight. As you saw with the last calculator, that alone can help guide you to where you want to be.

When looking at just BMI, it lets you know where you are at. If you are underweight, normal, overweight, or obese.

This is a great place to start because it can give you an idea of how big of a change you might need to make.

Your BMI also helps you to determine what weight is healthy for you. With using a calculator, you can plug in different weights to find what you will be happy with, that falls in the normal range for your height.

It can also help you to figure out how many calories you should be consuming each day when it comes to losing and then maintaining your weight.

Many of the calculators out there offer this because they know most people that are looking at their body mass index don’t just want to know where they are at. They want to make a change and become healthier.

Keep In Mind

Arrow Pointing You in the Right Direction

We covered a lot of different things when it comes to just one simple tool you can use to guide you in your weight loss journey.

BMI is calculated by using your height and weight to see if you are under weight, normal, overweight, or obese.

It is important to remember there are pros and cons to using BMI. It is simple to use and there are hundreds of calculators online, but it also doesn’t take into account muscle or any medical conditions you might already have.

As we discussed, every calculator online can offer something different. From the basics, just letting you know what your body mass index is and how many calories a day you should be consuming.

To the more advanced, like the body weight planner that gives you even more information and helps you to break down your weight loss goal.

I want you to remember that knowing your BMI is a great place to start when working on weight loss because it gives you an idea on where you weight falls.

It can also help show you what a healthy weight for you is and the number of calories you should get each day to be at that weight.

Check out one of the calculators today to get your journey started.

Body Mass Index Chart
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Published by Amy

I have always had a strong passion for health and fitness, as well as helping others. So much so, that I went on to receive my Level 1 Precision Nutrition Certification. My goal is to help others feel at their best! I know it can be a struggle to reach your fitness goals, whether it is losing weight, getting in shape, or improving your overall health. I want to help you reach your goals and find what works best for you so you can stick to it! Let's work on making you Happy Healthy and Strong!

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