Picking a healthy weight after extreme weight loss
April 11, 2009 9:08 PM Subscribe
How do I know if I'm at a healthy weight, given some complications?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Background: I'm a woman in my mid-30s. I'm about 5'5. Due to chronic illness, I gained a huge amount of weight in my 20s. About 6 years ago, I weighed 235 lbs. Over the course of a year, I lost about 50 lbs through moderate exercise and a pretty restrictive (but safe) diet. I then went on to have two children, the second by C-section. In the past year, through weight training, increased activity and breastfeeding, I dropped to 160 lbs. For three months, my weight has fluctuated from 158 to 162, from week to week, in spite of me eating 1600-1800 calories while breastfeeding a toddler 2-3 times a day and exercising a fair amount, including weight training.
Recently, a close friend took me aside and said that she did not think I needed to continue dieting. This friend is a doctor. She said she is concerned that I have become dysmorphic.
I pointed out that my BMI is a bit more than 26 and that my waist is 33" and that all the online calculators say I still have a lot of body fat and a poor hip/waist ratio. I noted that I also have a small frame and that I thought it was reasonable to drop to 135 lbs.
My friend, who is a doctor, said that she feels I am dysmorphic because I have been dieting. She also said that she does not think I understand what two children, a C-section, and extreme weight loss would make my stomach look like. She said that she thinks my stomach fat is not fat but instead excess skin. She also said that I have extremely muscular legs and that I should consider that I'm still breastfeeding and have a 34J bust. She said that I may also have increased bone density from carrying extra weight for several years. For these reasons, she feels my BMI and waist measurement are not "right".
My personal trainer said before that I have legs that most of her clients would have worked years to get -- if at all. She said there is not an ounce of fat on them. I am now into size 6 pants, although I have a serious muffin top. And I'm in a 34J bra, so I'm pretty trim around the chest.
My friend, the doctor, said that continued dieting could have long term implications for my health and that she doesn't think it's a good idea. She said my body will probably hang on to 10 or 15 lbs till I stop breastfeeding and that she thus thinks I'm already at a healthy weight. My personal trainer has said before that most of her clients hang on to 10 or 15 lbs till they stop breastfeeding.
Is there some way to tell if all this is true? I would have thought I should be aiming for 135 lbs. I will go see my own doctor, but I suspect she's either going to think about the BMI and measurements or else she's going to agree with my doctor friend, since she isn't a specialist in weight loss.
Is there any standard for figuring out if your BMI and waist measurement are thrown off by a history of obesity? Thanks.