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BMI Does Not Define You

May 12, 2021        Written by, Amanda Dutton, MS, LPC 

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Amanda Dutton has a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix and is licensed in professional counseling in the states of Georgia and Colorado and registered to provide telehealth to Florida. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Health Psychology to improve her understanding of the mind and body connection.

She has been providing counseling in a variety of settings, including community mental health, hospitals and in private practice since 2011. She has been serving adults with depression, anxiety, chronic pain and illness as well as individuals who have had or are considering bariatric surgery. Having had successful bariatric surgery in 2005, Amanda has a special interest in this community.

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Have you ever thought about the body mass index? I know silly question-we hear about it all the time. Well, what if I told you your weight isn’t as important as you think?


Ah, the lovely BMI-the body mass index.

*insert eye roll and gagging noises*


It’s a big part of what gets us to be eligible for our bariatric surgery.
The body mass index was created so that there would be a standard scale for measuring the health of a person. Can you believe that? A standard scale. I mean I didn’t know about you, but I don’t feel quite “standard,” whatever that means.

This scale was created basically based on a bunch of figures that someone decided was gonna be the “norm” for everybody. I’ve seen people on both ends of the spectrum and even in the middle, whether considered underweight, overweight, average weight (whatever that is), who’ve been very, very unhealthy. I’ve also seen people of sizes whether they’re considered average weight, underweight, overweight, who are super healthy.

Your weight isn’t the most important part of you!

Now I know to get approved for the surgery right now it has to be part of it, but let’s think about this: a bodybuilder could have a BMI of 35, which technically could qualify them for bariatric surgery, but have this tiny, you know, fat percentage and be physically in the best shape of their life. We don’t know what else is going on on the inside – how their heart is, their lungs or anything else. But still-the reason I’m bringing this up is because your body mass index is not indicative of your health or your being as a person.

Me personally? I’m barely in the “normal” BMI category. 5 pounds, and I would suddenly be “overweight” again.

My BMI doesn’t dictate how healthy I am.

The way I see myself, the way I treat myself. My blood work, my blood pressure and everything dictates how healthy I am and those are good. You know I’ve seen in the news lately where someone gained four pounds, and that put them into the obese category, and the media just ran with that. Really? Four pounds isn’t going to make any difference in the health of someone just because they switch from one BMI category to another (like I said about myself above)!

Focus on other areas of your life that really indicate the progress that you’ve made

We call these “non-surgical victories” and they’re probably the most important part. What can you do now that you couldn’t before? What have you accomplished since your surgery? Where have you gone that you couldn’t go before?

Share some of these non-surgical victories with me  – I’d love to celebrate them with you!


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