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low bmi, but healthy
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low bmi, but healthy

I am a 20 year old nutrition major and understand how important my health is and would never do anything unhealthy to my body to be thin. My question is about bmi and if bone structure sizes make any difference in the measurement. I am 5'8" and weigh 112 lbs. My bmi is 17.5 and my doctor is very concerned that I am too thin and starving myself because of the bmi number. Women my height are supposed to be 130 lbs at the minimum to be considered healthy by the chart but if i were to be that size, I would be carrying way too much extra weight. I have an extremely small bone structure for my height, my wrist is the size of the 5 year old kids that I babysit!! I wear size 6 in shoes, my ring size is 4, but i have a healthy sized waist and wear size 26 pants. I look thin but not like skeletal or anything. It bothers me when my doctor asks me if I have an eating disorder and even wants me to gain weight!! I really feel like bmi does not determine if someone is healthy or not because my brother is in amazing shape and is considered overweight by the charts. Is bone structure a valid argument for my low bmi?? I can tell my doctor thinks I am just making excuses, but I really am a petite person who happens to be tall!! I'm just concerned.
Tags: BMI, Weight
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Avatar_f_tn
I appreciate the concern. I have 20% body fat and exercise regularly and include a lot of weight lifting to prevent the risk of osteoporosis and other conditions that run in my family. I have studied eating disorders in my nutrition classes and I know that ED sufferers avoid any foods with fat because they are terrified of being fat. I eat very healthy and avoid trans fats and saturated fats but I know that polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in avocados and other nutritious foods such as flax and salmon are essential. I make sure to incorporate these foods in my diet along with the right amount of protein. I do not think I am fat at all, I actually am very comfortable with my body where as patients with eating disorders are never satisfied. I am just naturally thin and I personally think that the bmi scale is not the best way to judge if someone is healthy. I just wanted to hear opinions other than my doctor's.
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1666434_tn?1325265950
I know a lot of healthy tall skinny people that can pretty much eat anything and not gain weight.  As long as you are feeling good I think that is the important factor.  Making sure you are getting enough healthy fats like you said, avocados and fats from nuts even help.

And also if you are working out a lot you do always need to make sure that you are eating enough to compensate for what your body is expending.  What do you think your average caloric intake is?
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Avatar_f_tn
I would guess that my average intake is around 1800 kcals a day. I try to eat more carbs on days that I do cardio and have more protein on days that I weight lift.
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1666434_tn?1325265950
some people that I know that lift actually increase their calories but I guess that depends on their goals to increase mass or just tone.... I guess there is a whole formula to it that I don't know too much about.
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Avatar_f_tn
1800 calories a day is far under what you are supposed to be eating. In order to find out how many calories a day you should be eating, try doing this simple equation: BMR = 655  + (4.7 x your height in inches)+ (4.35 x your weight in lbs) – (4.7 x your age in years). Then after you get that number, you will multiply it by another number depending on how much/how often you exercise. Light exercise: AMR will equal BMR x 1.375, Moderate exercise: AMR will equal BMR x 1.55, Difficult exercise: AMR will equal BMR x 1.725, Extremely difficult exercise: AMR will equal BMR x 1.9.

You really should be eating about 2100 calories a day(2120.09 specifically for you) when you are exercising regularly because your body needs that extra food or else you can damage your body. You don't need to "feel fat" or "hate food" in order to be considered to have an eating disorder. If you are withholding food from your body and don't want to gain weight to get to a healthy weight, then you are on your way to having an eating disorder if you are not already there now. It's good to eat healthy, but don't become so obsessed with foods that you are watching everything that you put in your mouth. It's not a healthy way to live, psychologically and physically. It's nice that you have taken a nutrition class, but not everything is black and white, by the book. There are grey areas and eating disorders do vary with how extreme they are.  
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1666434_tn?1325265950
I did know a few girls the actually would make sure they worked out for however many calories they had consumed in a day.  So if they ate 1800 calories a day they would workout to burn 1800 calories a day.  Was kind of an odd behavior.  And granted they did not having an "eating" disorder but yes was a way to restrict any excess calories from getting onto their body.  So I do agree with the grey areas of eating disorders.
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