You may find this hard to believe but the former Mr. Universe and I have something in common: we are both obese. Well, this is according to the “expert standards” for BMI readings.

Now hear me out, sunshine.
I am not at all claiming that I am or ever have been or ever will be in the same hunka-hunka-burnin’-love-shape that the Terminator was in during his prime, or even today.

But here’s what I do know.
Arnie stands about 6’2″ and weighs in about 240 lbs., which would give him a super-high BMI of 30.8.
I’m about 5’7″ weighing in around 172lbs. these days, so according to a BMI chart, I’m borderline obese–tipping around 28.

So while most of us fudge the number on our drivers’ licenses, there was a reason for my honesty.

I want you to know that you cannot predict an individual’s health based solely on her weight on a scale or even her BMI measurement.

And I really want you to know that you cannot judge a person’s health based on the size of her body–including your own, sunshine. 

There are so many other factors that must be considered when identifying an individual’s health than just a number on a scale or a BMI chart. (BMI, btw, stands for body mass index–the measurement of body fat based upon your weight in relationship to your fat.)

Body fat, as well as other metrics such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and a resting heart rate are but a few other factors that should be considered.

Now don’t get me wrong here. I am extra fluffy in a few places, and excess body fat certainly has its own side effects, but the concept of body mass index (BMI) is flawed.

You sometimes hear that muscle weighs more than fat.
That is simply not true.
A pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of gold.
A pound is a pound.

But the way that fat displaces in the body is much different than the way that muscle fills out a physique, hence the reason Arnold weighs 240 yet looks extremely different than the 240 lb. 5’10” beer-guzzling-chicken-wing-eating-Cleveland-Browns-football fan.

So here’s the skinny on BMI–it’s a label. It’s one simple metric. But it’s not a comprehensive picture of one’s health.

So as many students are headed into their pediatrician’s offices for back-to-school physicals, I encourage you to also go and get a comprehensive check-up, sunshine, including a blood panel to check for important health predictors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate and more. You want to be a picture-perfect specimen of health–from the inside out! 

Side note: I I know that my new doctor here in Florida judged my health based upon seeing me on the table and looking at my weight and height on her chart. She was surprised (pleasantly) to learn that my resting heart rate was 42, my blood pressure 118/60 and my cholesterol was so low it was unable to be detected.  Boom! How about that for healthy!?!