Thursday, January 24, 2008

Let’s Talk About Weight Goals & BMI

So often people who have WLS begin their weight loss process with a very specific, set-in-stone, can’t-compromise weight goal where they want to be at the end of the process. They set their sites on a specific number and live their whole lives around that number.

I personally don’t want to be SO focused on a specific number on the scale that I lose focus of what this journey is about in the first place.

But it is still a good idea to know the numbers, right?

Weight-loss surgery is considered successful when a person loses 50% of his or her excess weight. This is according to the “experts” – those people at NIH and surgeons who perform bariatric surgery. Once you hit the 50% mark, you are added to your surgeon’s Success List.

Estimates for the other end of the scale of weight loss range anywhere from 70% to 85%. So it’s expected that RNY patients will lose 50 to 85% of their excess body weight.

But how do you know what the real number is for the “excess” weight? If you use the BMI scale, you’ll notice that the Normal range of weight has a 40 pound variance. For instance, for me to be in the Normal Weight category I would need to weight anywhere between 115 and 154. So I’ve done some math to try and come up with the 50%, 80% and 100% benchmarks of losing excess weight.

Normal BMI for woman at 5’6”
115 pounds = 18.6 BMI
154 pounds = 24.9 BMI

I averaged the two numbers and came up with 134.5 pounds. So for argument’s sake, let’s set my Ideal Body Weight at 135.

My starting weight on the day of surgery was 299.4. Which equals a BMI of 48.3. Yikes! Now let’s figure out how much weight I need to lose to hit the benchmark percentages.

50% = 82.5 pounds Weight of: 216
80% = 132 pounds Weight of: 167
100% = 165 pounds Weight of: 135

So what does all this really mean? And what is my current Goal Weight?

When I hit the mark of losing 82.5 pounds, I need to do a little celebration that in my surgeon’s eyes, I’m a success. When I hit the 132 pound mark, I need to do a little celebration that I’m a success based on the upper end of the expected weight loss scale. Big Whoop!

Right now my Goal Weight is officially “160-ish.”
When I hit the 160’s, I’ll figure out if I want to continue down to 135 or if I’m happy with my body and my health at 160. I really don’t want my total and complete focus to be some stupid number on a scale. And I especially don’t want my goal to be a number on the BMI scale --- the archaic BMI scale --- because I honestly do not believe it gives a true picture of health and well being.
I'm more focused on my health and the way I feel than some stupid number on a scale!

So for now, I’m posting this just so I have my math calculations written down some place that I won’t lose them (and don't have to re-do them!). I'm also posting this because my friend, "M" pissed me off yesterday with his preaching about my having to achieve a certain weight in order to really be a success.



  1. I like that you have used all of the benchmarks. I hadn't thought about the fact that when we lose 50% of our excess weight, we are considered a bariatric success.

    I have currently lost 77% of my excess weight. Of course this is based on my ideal weight being 142 pounds. I can't imagine myself weighing 142 pounds.

    You have a very healthy way of approaching this whole numbers game.

  2. I have you linked under weight loss on my blog. Let me know if you'd like me to take it off.


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