End Weight Question

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loulee997
loulee997 Posts: 273 Member
edited November 2023 in Health and Weight Loss
Hey,

Not using BMI, how do I figure out a livable weight for myself?

WHY NOT BMI FOR ME?

The recommended MAX BMI weight for my height is miserable to me. I've lost this weight a few times over the last 30 years. I am 5FT 4IN tall. The BMI says my max weight is 145. But the 145 weight is miserable.

Why is it miserable to me? First, I'm constantly cold at that weight. Wearing a sweater in summer cold. I hate freezing all the time. I don't look good. I have very muscular calves and thighs. To get to 145, I have to emaciate my top half. I look like a flat-chested bony chicken from the waist up and a bodybuilder from the waist down. I look mis-proportioned. I can also feel all my ribs at 145. I do not like that feeling.

Maybe it is because it is my body build. I have broad shoulders, broad hips, a bubble butt, big thighs, and muscular calves. I am built just like my grandmother. I am basically built like a 1930's farm wife. I'm 'sturdy'.

I also don't like that to maintain 145, I have to stick to a very strict diet and work out six days a week. It is not sustainable--as I found out the last two times I made it to that weight. Plus, I get tired of people asking me if I am getting 'too thin'. Yeah, 145 doesn't look or feel good on me.

I set a goal of weighing between 160 and 180. I picked this range because I look good and feel good in that range. But is it a good range for health? I don't know. It's better than where I am now. And I am hoping it will be more sustainable than 145. But technically, 180 is still obese and 160 is still 'overweight' by BMI standards.

I've lost 23 pounds so far. I still have a very long way to go to see 180. Is there to calculate a health weight where I can put in my frame size?

Or some other way to calculate it?
Anything below 160 is not fun for me.

Any ideas?



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Replies

  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 9,538 Member
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    Only you can figure it out for yourself, really. You know that 145 is too low for you. Thus stay higher. You know how weightloss works and you know that you won't wake up one morning being 10lbs lighter all of a sudden. Why not lose a bit of weight, then maintain and see how you feel. If you feel you can lose a bit more then do so.
  • xbowhunter
    xbowhunter Posts: 1,006 Member
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    HowdY!

    Forget the BMI calculator thing. I am 5'7" and currently 150lbs. I am actually on the upper end of the BMI scale but I feel the best where I am now, so this is as low as I ever want to go.

    Sounds like 160lbs is your Majic #...
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 6,327 Member
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    BMI is good for evaluating a larger population and giving a general risk assessment, if other metrics are lacking. But it would seem you have more muscle mass than average, so I would suggest trying to figure out your fat percentage (via example pictures online, calculators based on body measurements ...) and using that as a guideline - it'll be more relevant for you than BMI to estimate what a healthy weight is for you.

    Also: you don't need to know your goal weight already. You can just gradually move down and see how you feel/look. I set myself intermediary goals when lising weight and changed my goal weight several times along the way (in my case top end of normal BMI wasn't good, I moved my target downwards several times).
  • tomcustombuilder
    tomcustombuilder Posts: 1,842 Member
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    Just look in the mirror for knowing your end weight. That and how you feel about yourself at a certain weight will determine when you've found your sweet spot.
  • loulee997
    loulee997 Posts: 273 Member
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    Lietchi wrote: »
    BMI is good for evaluating a larger population and giving a general risk assessment, if other metrics are lacking. But it would seem you have more muscle mass than average, so I would suggest trying to figure out your fat percentage (via example pictures online, calculators based on body measurements ...) and using that as a guideline - it'll be more relevant for you than BMI to estimate what a healthy weight is for you.

    Also: you don't need to know your goal weight already. You can just gradually move down and see how you feel/look. I set myself intermediary goals when lising weight and changed my goal weight several times along the way (in my case top end of normal BMI wasn't good, I moved my target downwards several times).

    I've lost this weight three times before--and after a few years gained it back. So I've tried out several weights over time. I know below 160 is a no go. Above 180 is a bit too much. Or that is what I think now.

    I will do a fat percentage and see if that will give me a betteruideline.

    This time, I'm only making small changes I can live with. No giant exercise plans. No complete rewriting of my lifestyle.

    I'm losing and it's easy because it already fits how I live overall. Yeah, I'll hit bumps I'm sure. I'm just trying to make this time--last forever.

    My first goal is to get to 240. I'm down to 243 right now. I've lost 20+ pounds so far.
    My second goal is to get below 220.
    Third goal--below 200.

    And so on.

    I just want to do it the 'right' way this time so I have long term success.

    Thank you for your help!

    L

  • loulee997
    loulee997 Posts: 273 Member
    Options
    Just look in the mirror for knowing your end weight. That and how you feel about yourself at a certain weight will determine when you've found your sweet spot.

    Hi,

    Thank you! I want to be healthier, but don't want to trade healthy for miserable. I was hoping to find a weight guide that had body frame and muscle mass loaded in. My muscles are only in my legs/thighs. And our 'runners' legs run in the family...along with the high bubble butt. Makes pants hard to find. Hah.

    My top half is not muscular at all. I feel like I was put together out of spare parts.

    I will try to be more patient and just settle into a weight that feels good that I can maintain. I used to do Weight Watchers--and since I could never maintain the weight recommended for my height--I always felt like I was failing.

    I will try to be more patient and to listen more to what my body is telling me. Logically, I know 160 to 180 works. But my head keeps telling me that maybe this time 145 will be different. It never is.

    Thank you for your kindness!

    L

  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,487 Member
    Options
    Another way to approach what weight you want to end at is to play with MFP goals and see how many calories you get at different weights and activity levels.
    (I’m a sloth but figured it isn’t too bad to add an hour of exercise 6 days a week)

    Talk your goals over with your doctor and move towards them at your pace.

    Even if you end up at the top of overweight, but can maintain it, it is in general a healthier place to be than keep yoyoing. And you never know after a couple of years maintaining at that weight you may find you can drop a few more pounds.

    As you have a way to go, take pauses/break at maintenance so you can adjust to lower calorie levels for a while rather than having a constant deficit. Good for your body and mind.

    Cheers, h.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,824 Member
    edited November 2023
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    I'm going to endorse the "don't worry about it, you'll know it when you get close" idea, as long as you don't have severe body dysmorphia. (You sound pretty clear-headed about what you want.)

    As you think you're close, that's a good time to talk with your doctor about the health aspect. My doctor just talked about the normal BMI range when I was still substantially over-fat, and I understand why. It's hard even for them to assess how losing X pounds will sit on a person, when X is still pretty large. I've asked all of my doctors about my weight since (now in maintenance), and all think I'm in a healthy range for my body configuration, age and health history.

    BTW, statistics suggest that being somewhat into the overweight BMI range is as healthy or maybe even healthier than being in the normal BMI range, especially as we age (though some studies are flawed in how they include/exclude people who are thin because of health conditions).

    There are recommended body fat ranges for women at various ages, and online photos or calculators to help you estimate body fat levels. (There are also expensive-ish sports lab tests, but probably no extreme need to go that far.) The thing is, you've already told us you have an atypical build, and a pattern of getting thinner than you like on your upper body while staying sturdy in the lower body. Would those generic rules apply to you, or not? I'm thinking maybe not. You can try them, sure.

    There are also frame-size calculators online but those are iffy, too, IMO, for unusual body types. They usual use wrist and/or elbow size to estimate frame size. (Presumably that's because those areas have less body fat than some others?) That's nice, for people of typical build. With atypical build, as you report? Maybe not.

    Those calculators tell me I am of medium to large frame. I have giant hands (size 10 ring finger even at BMI 21; most women's rings don't even come that big!), and my wrists/elbows are pretty substantial, too. But I have a relatively narrow pelvic width, and literally no breasts (post mastectomies, no reconstruction). It's those large body parts that have more bearing on best body weight, because it takes much more meat to wrap around a larger pelvis, shoulders, etc., and breast size matters a lot in women. I'm fine around BMI 21-ish, so 125-130 at 5'5" (age 68). (I do get thinner up top, too, but don't mind feeling or even seeing my ribs, as long as I have ample body fat for health, which my lower half does. I like being lighter for athletic reasons, and because of osteoarthritis strain.)

    I really strongly would suggest you go with the process, and trust your self perception, then eventually talk with your doctor. Middlehaitch makes a good point about looking at the sustainability of probable maintenance calories at various weights (though a few pounds doesn't make much difference IME and according to the calculators).

    That said, below are some random examples of the things I mentioned. These are not definitive, I don't much believe in them, you can find others on the web, I'm only offering them as examples of the sort of thing that's pretty common. I don't endorse them. I don't use them. I trust my self-perception and my doctors.

    Frame size estimate: https://www.myfooddiary.com/resources/frame_size_calculator.asp

    Ideal weight calculator (so called) based on various formulas: https://www.calculator.net/ideal-weight-calculator.html

    Body fat estimator based on measurements: https://www.calculator.net/body-fat-calculator.html

    A couple of "ideal body fat percent for women" charts:

    Body-Fat-Percentage-Chart.png
    Ideal-Body-Fat-Percentage-Chart1.jpg

    Body fat photo examples (there are lots of these on the web, and they vary quite a bit):

    blogpost_Females_MFL.png

    I do believe in crediting sources, but I think all of the above make obvious what the source is, so I haven't named the sites other than including the chart titles or URLs.

  • tomcustombuilder
    tomcustombuilder Posts: 1,842 Member
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    loulee997 wrote: »
    Just look in the mirror for knowing your end weight. That and how you feel about yourself at a certain weight will determine when you've found your sweet spot.

    Hi,

    Thank you! I want to be healthier, but don't want to trade healthy for miserable. I was hoping to find a weight guide that had body frame and muscle mass loaded in. My muscles are only in my legs/thighs. And our 'runners' legs run in the family...along with the high bubble butt. Makes pants hard to find. Hah.

    My top half is not muscular at all. I feel like I was put together out of spare parts.

    I will try to be more patient and just settle into a weight that feels good that I can maintain. I used to do Weight Watchers--and since I could never maintain the weight recommended for my height--I always felt like I was failing.

    I will try to be more patient and to listen more to what my body is telling me. Logically, I know 160 to 180 works. But my head keeps telling me that maybe this time 145 will be different. It never is.

    Thank you for your kindness!

    L

    Those things are an estimate. Everyone hold their fat differently so what is a good weight for you may not be for someone else and vice versa. Body fat % is basically a meaningless number and those body mass devices are far from accurate.

    You need to just keep going, be lifting weights and when you get where you need to be you'll know.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,824 Member
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    By the way, about being cold: I found it very odd that when I lost weight in my late teens/early 20s, I was cold all the time. This time, in my 60s, at a similar weight, I wasn't any colder than I'd been when overweight/obese. There's some potential for adaptive thermogenesis to have a role in this symptom, among other possibilities. Fast loss or lowered physical activity or extreme diet methods (nutritionally) could potentially make that more likely, maybe? (I'm speculating.)

    If I were cold all the time, having read some things since my 20s, I'd consider "reverse dieting" (adding calories a little at a time) to see if I could maintain weight at a higher calorie level. No guarantees that works, though. And I haven't tried it because I'm not cold. ;)
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,923 Member
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    There is a non trivial chance that feeling cold and lower average/testing heart rate are correlated with adaptive thermogenesis and that the longer the loss and larger the deficit the more likely it may be to see symptoms of AT. Also frequent dieters etc. other than refeeds, breaks, management, increased activity and some recognition that it may take a long long time (like a couple of years not a couple of months) of eating a maintenance for things to resolved I don't know that there is much that we can do.

    Incremental long term changes you are yourself continuing with a good few years into maintenance is a good path to take.

    I also fully believe that you don't have to decide on a weight now and that people around us and our own eyes are not always best able to see us. Neutral third party (doctor, nurse) those I would trust more than my own eyes whether going up or down. It takes time to adjust mentally to what you see in the mirror, especially when moving multiple sizes.

    Awesome job on the progress and keep looking for sustainable long term things. If you ever feel you're about to give up this means that your path forward needs adjusting towards a more sustainable option.
  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,487 Member
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    @PAV8888 ' If you ever feel you're about to give up this means that your path forward needs adjusting towards a more sustainable option.'

    This! So eloquently said.

    Throughout our lives our eating patterns change, and it is no different when losing weight.

    Keto, low carb, any of the various fasting concepts, inclusions, exclusions, etc, etc, can work, or even be ideal for a particular point in time, but that doesn't mean it has to be the only route one take. Being open to adjustments makes one open to success.

    Cheers, h
  • neanderthin
    neanderthin Posts: 10,017 Member
    edited November 2023
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    loulee997 wrote: »
    Just look in the mirror for knowing your end weight. That and how you feel about yourself at a certain weight will determine when you've found your sweet spot.

    Hi,

    Thank you! I want to be healthier, but don't want to trade healthy for miserable. I was hoping to find a weight guide that had body frame and muscle mass loaded in. My muscles are only in my legs/thighs. And our 'runners' legs run in the family...along with the high bubble butt. Makes pants hard to find. Hah.

    My top half is not muscular at all. I feel like I was put together out of spare parts.

    I will try to be more patient and just settle into a weight that feels good that I can maintain. I used to do Weight Watchers--and since I could never maintain the weight recommended for my height--I always felt like I was failing.

    I will try to be more patient and to listen more to what my body is telling me. Logically, I know 160 to 180 works. But my head keeps telling me that maybe this time 145 will be different. It never is.

    Thank you for your kindness!

    L

    I'm going to give you a different perspective and it's based on this particular post. I know, I know, I do this a lot but I think it's important and relevant here. :#

    What your describing here is genetic. I have a very close friend, female that is in the same boat as you, larger lower and a very slim upper body and regardless of weight loss/gain, it moves in tandem. I'm going to argue that your overall weight or BMI does not necessarily dictate or indicate your health status and on the contrary you may be quite healthy, and of course this is contingent on any existing medical conditions. It's based on the type of body fat and it's metabolic use.

    Human evolution has facilitated over millions of years the ability to store body fat where our closest relatives, the chimpanzees don't. Chimps body fat is in and around 3-4% and the need to be close to a constant daily food supply is essential to their survival, which is dictated in their basic biology and geographic habitat that supports it. Humans do the same and our ability to store body fat is basic to that survival as well and normal body fat for humans is 20-30% and higher. Basically a 150lb human have upwards of 150,000 stored calories where a 100 lb chimp will have around 15,000. Those odds just don't facilitate survival of the human race considering the geography of human habitation and especially considering the last ice age didn't start to decline until 15,000 years ago.

    Ok, so body fat, and this is where it gets fascinating, sure ok, well maybe boring for some, but hopefully a few are still reading. :D Basically most know we have two types, subcutaneous and visceral.

    Subcutaneous fat is the fat between or muscles and organs and our skin and is protective. It our energy reserve, it insulates us, it protects us against trauma, falling and the like, it also produces the hormone leptin that regulates our feeling of fullness and hunger and it may show some endocrine and inflammatory characteristics and may help to further explain why some obese and overweight people are healthy metabolically.

    Visceral fat on the other hand is the fat that invades our organs and is an active fat metabolically and is shown to cause the many diseases that are described as metabolic syndrome like insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, non alcoholic fatty liver and high blood pressure. Basically we don't want much of it if we want to be healthy.

    Just to be clear, we're talking about overconsumption here and because fructose is primarily metabolized in the liver, about 70% and the overconsumption contributes to increased triglyceride concentrations in both the blood and liver and the first sign of too much visceral fat accumulation is NAFLD which eventually causes NASH, and an end result can be and generally is liver cancer and of course all the other metabolic dysfunction like IR, diabetes and high blood pressure etc. The very first case of NAFLD in a child wasn't seen until the late 80's and now about 10% of the children have NAFLD and teenage children are about 20% and if obese the percentages goes up drastically to around 38%. Most of this is directly related to the amount of UPF consumption and of course over consumption.

    Even in population that aren't overweight but consume mostly UPF, which is happening in Asia and India in the last few decades and mostly in urban settings is now out pacing the USA in diabetes, basically the same path, so just because someone isn't obese doesn't mean they're healthy. All the refined foods, mostly carbohydrates and sugar is the beginning of increased triglycerides in the liver and when the liver is over worked the accumulation starts there and manifests itself as NAFTA , HDL drops, C-reactive protein in the blood and the inflammatory cascade increases exponentially and disease begins

    Anyway, body fat has context, and it's why we survived as a species but too much of the wrong fat whether it shows up in BMI or not is irrelevant, but what is relevant are the foods we consume and fructose is not our friend when overconsumption has been well established in someones lifestyle. Fortunately visceral fat is the first fat to get used when dieting and low carb and ketogenic diets basically eliminate most sugars including fructose, so it works faster obviously. And why a whole food diet regardless of how it's structured works to our metabolic benefit regardless of how much actual food is consumed.

    https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8267750/


  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,690 Member
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    I have the same kind of body. I don't, however, mind the bony upper body and I like doing regular exercise so the calorie level needed to sustain my weight loss isn't a burden for me. I look at myself in the mirror and really don't know whether I am too fat or too thin. Basically it doesn't matter since I've found a lifestyle that works for me. I have sustained a 50+ lb. weight loss for about 10 years.

    You need to figure out a lifestyle that works for you so you aren't constantly needing to work to lose weight that you regained after a period of strict dieting. Yo-yo dieting isn't healthy, either physically or mentally. That may mean making some real changes to either your food sources or amounts or to your physical activity. You need to make changes that you can live with over the long term. As stated above, you should talk to your doctor when you get close to a comfortable weight to make sure that your health markers are also improving. Get your cholesterol and blood sugar checked. How is your breathing when you exercise? Can you move without pain? Can you climb stairs?
  • Corina1143
    Corina1143 Posts: 3,130 Member
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    Just an interesting fact. I used to wear a size 8 top, 14 bottom.
    Weight gain and menopause. Size 20 top, 20 bottom.
    Hysterectomy and weight loss. 16 top, 10 bottom.
    Life is funny.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,996 Member
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    I have a consistently broad frame http://www.myfooddiary.com/Resources/frame_size_calculator.asp * and the only time I've had a BMI as low as 24 was after 6 weeks of undereating and overexercising during boot camp. (When I first arrived there, I had to get boots and hats from the men's side of the uniforms room because there weren't any big enough for me in women's. At 5'6", I'm not especially tall. I've always had a hard time buying bracelets. I wear men's shoes as often as I can get away with it.)

    My goal is to get back into my skinny jeans from when I was a full time yoga teacher, which will have me at a Low Overweight BMI, and I'm ok with that.

    *This calculator may be inaccurate for people considerably overweight. I still had a large frame when I had a BMI of 24 when I was in the military.
  • loulee997
    loulee997 Posts: 273 Member
    Options
    Another way to approach what weight you want to end at is to play with MFP goals and see how many calories you get at different weights and activity levels.
    (I’m a sloth but figured it isn’t too bad to add an hour of exercise 6 days a week)

    Talk your goals over with your doctor and move towards them at your pace.

    Even if you end up at the top of overweight, but can maintain it, it is in general a healthier place to be than keep yoyoing. And you never know after a couple of years maintaining at that weight you may find you can drop a few more pounds.

    As you have a way to go, take pauses/break at maintenance so you can adjust to lower calorie levels for a while rather than having a constant deficit. Good for your body and mind.

    Cheers, h.

    My doctor won't help with weight loss beyond a photo coped portion guide ...
  • loulee997
    loulee997 Posts: 273 Member
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    Corina1143 wrote: »
    I vote you get to a happy weight for you, then talk to your doctor.
    But just a personal note. When I lose some serious weight, like 20 to 40 pounds, I'm cold. My body temperature actually goes down, like 98.4 to 97.6 in doctor's office. A year or two later, still at the lower weight, the cold is gone, body temperature is back up. Just a thought.

    Kept it off 4 +years the first time. Sweaters in summer.
  • loulee997
    loulee997 Posts: 273 Member
    Options
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I'm going to endorse the "don't worry about it, you'll know it when you get close" idea, as long as you don't have severe body dysmorphia. (You sound pretty clear-headed about what you want.)

    As you think you're close, that's a good time to talk with your doctor about the health aspect. My doctor just talked about the normal BMI range when I was still substantially over-fat, and I understand why. It's hard even for them to assess how losing X pounds will sit on a person, when X is still pretty large. I've asked all of my doctors about my weight since (now in maintenance), and all think I'm in a healthy range for my body configuration, age and health history.

    BTW, statistics suggest that being somewhat into the overweight BMI range is as healthy or maybe even healthier than being in the normal BMI range, especially as we age (though some studies are flawed in how they include/exclude people who are thin because of health conditions).

    There are recommended body fat ranges for women at various ages, and online photos or calculators to help you estimate body fat levels. (There are also expensive-ish sports lab tests, but probably no extreme need to go that far.) The thing is, you've already told us you have an atypical build, and a pattern of getting thinner than you like on your upper body while staying sturdy in the lower body. Would those generic rules apply to you, or not? I'm thinking maybe not. You can try them, sure.

    There are also frame-size calculators online but those are iffy, too, IMO, for unusual body types. They usual use wrist and/or elbow size to estimate frame size. (Presumably that's because those areas have less body fat than some others?) That's nice, for people of typical build. With atypical build, as you report? Maybe not.

    Those calculators tell me I am of medium to large frame. I have giant hands (size 10 ring finger even at BMI 21; most women's rings don't even come that big!), and my wrists/elbows are pretty substantial, too. But I have a relatively narrow pelvic width, and literally no breasts (post mastectomies, no reconstruction). It's those large body parts that have more bearing on best body weight, because it takes much more meat to wrap around a larger pelvis, shoulders, etc., and breast size matters a lot in women. I'm fine around BMI 21-ish, so 125-130 at 5'5" (age 68). (I do get thinner up top, too, but don't mind feeling or even seeing my ribs, as long as I have ample body fat for health, which my lower half does. I like being lighter for athletic reasons, and because of osteoarthritis strain.)

    I really strongly would suggest you go with the process, and trust your self perception, then eventually talk with your doctor. Middlehaitch makes a good point about looking at the sustainability of probable maintenance calories at various weights (though a few pounds doesn't make much difference IME and according to the calculators).

    That said, below are some random examples of the things I mentioned. These are not definitive, I don't much believe in them, you can find others on the web, I'm only offering them as examples of the sort of thing that's pretty common. I don't endorse them. I don't use them. I trust my self-perception and my doctors.

    Frame size estimate: https://www.myfooddiary.com/resources/frame_size_calculator.asp

    Ideal weight calculator (so called) based on various formulas: https://www.calculator.net/ideal-weight-calculator.html

    Body fat estimator based on measurements: https://www.calculator.net/body-fat-calculator.html

    A couple of "ideal body fat percent for women" charts:

    Body-Fat-Percentage-Chart.png
    Ideal-Body-Fat-Percentage-Chart1.jpg

    Body fat photo examples (there are lots of these on the web, and they vary quite a bit):

    blogpost_Females_MFL.png

    I do believe in crediting sources, but I think all of the above make obvious what the source is, so I haven't named the sites other than including the chart titles or URLs.

    Thank you. I'll look through