I was recently asked what the difference between being fat and being overweight is. Below is a picture I got from Pinterest, there are many like it. Notice the woman on the right looks skinny and fit, while the woman on the left looks like she may be carrying a few extra pounds. This is the same woman at the exact same weight.

Let’s assume this woman is an even 5 feet tall. At 5 feet 130 pounds her Body Mass Index (BMI) would be 25.4. BMI uses your height and your weight to assign your body a numerical value. Any value from 25 to 30 is considered overweight. Above 30 is obese while below 25 is the normal range and eventually the underweight range. If you are the woman in the picture below, assuming a height at 5 feet, you would be considered overweight in both pictures according to your BMI.

The difference is BMI doesn’t take into account how your weight is distributed. Muscle is more dense that fat, meaning a pound of muscle takes up less space that a pound of fat. If you are carrying 5 pounds of fat then it will have a noticeable difference in the way you look while 5 pounds of muscle may be barely noticeable. That is how it is possible for both of the pictures below to be the same person at the same weight. But even though they are both considered to be overweight, the body time on the right would not be considered fat. This is because of the muscle difference. This is common among people who lift weights. People who lift weights may be very healthy, fit, and skinny, but will often be considered overweight due to all of their lean muscle mass.

 

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Posted by Scott Edward

Scott is a Certified Personal Trainer and a member of the International Sports Science Association.

One Comment

  1. This is why I don’t trust the BMI.

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