The only really accurate way to measure BMI is with the dunk tank test - they dunk your whole body, and based on how much water you displace, your physical statistics, etc. they calculate your BMI.
Next would be calipers, using the 7-9 (I can't remember for sure which it is) measurement technique. The formula below apparently compares to the calipers. I haven't used calipers, yet, and I'm checking to see if I can get the dunk test done somewhere, but I know this formula more acurately reflects how my body looks, than does my scale (I have a Tanita - they aren't acurate - they depend too much on level of hydration, and only take into consideration the lower body). Hand-held is inacurate becaus it only takes in consideration the upper body.
One thing I noticed between the two methods is that one focuses on lower body measurements, and the other focuses on upper body measurements. I carry most of my excess weight below my waist, so it makes sense that that formula says I'm 'fatter'... but even when lean, my lower body is very muscular.
How do you carry your weight? That might make a difference to which formula is a better indicator for you.
I think the bottom line is that most of these 'formulas' have a weakness in them, as do all the other methods (except dunking), so I guess it's about using these things as tools, and continuously evaluating for yourself as you go through the process.
Something that I think complicates the situation is that depending on how someone is losing the weight can drastically affect their lean body mass - if anyone is losing more than 2 lbs a week they are also losing a high percentage of muscle... if they're not strength-training they are losing muscle... if they're not eating enough protein they are losing muscle... so you can actually get to goal weight, and still have a high BMI (there is such a thing as 'skinny and fat'), with reduced lean muscle mass, and reduced ability to keep the weight off. This is why I'm being really careful about how I'm losing the weight, and I don't mind slow. The more lean mass I retain the happier I will be when I get there.
Don't be afraid of the numbers. Knowing all your numbers is power, because then you know what you need to change.
Here's a calculator you can try that does the math for you (focuses on the lower body): www.healthcentral.com/cholesterol/home-bod
And then there's the following calculation for a more accurate BMI number - this will be the same sort of number as if you used calipers to calculate - it's lengthy, but it was worth it: www.davedraper.com/bodyfat-calculation.htm
Here are a couple of articles you also might find useful at this point:
"IDEAL WEIGHT: IS THERE SUCH THING?"www.thomastadlock.com/index.cfm?action=vie
"Body Weight vs. Body Fat"www.thomastadlock.com/index.cfm?action=vie
| current weight: 135.0