Tuesday, August 2, 2011

They're More Like Guidelines Than Actual Rules

(Posted this on my SparkPeople blog this morning, but I figured it was worth sharing here as well.)

I'm going to post a picture below, that may be a bit disturbing for some people, because it's a picture of an obese person. I know my friends will be understanding, but out there in the real world, well . . . we all know the kind of stigma associated with being obese. So, here it is . . . you've been warned . . .

Wait, what?! She's obese?!

This was a picture of me taken yesterday. I weighed in at 169.5 lbs. My Wii Fit tells me that my BMI is 30.04. A few tenths of a pound away from being, no longer obese, but merely overweight. I'm finally there! And I'm ecstatic! (I know I don't look it in the picture, but really, I am!)

But come on, seriously? I know I've made this argument before, and I'm certainly not the only person who feels this way, but . . . SERIOUSLY?! I know my body is far from perfect. There's still fat layered over all the muscles I'm slowly developing, some areas more than others. I'm definitely not at a healthy weight yet. I'm not saying I am. But is this really what obesity looks like?

Apparently so.

Again, not to downplay a serious issue, but if half of the "obese" people in the country look like this, than this obesity epidemic isn't nearly as bad as everyone's making it out to be. Let's focus on the underlying issues -- lack of nutritional awareness (or caring) and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle -- and not worry so much about the actual statistics. Because not everyone who is "healthy" is really healthy. The lifestyle that has brought us to this point doesn't JUST affect the obese -- we should ALL be trying to make healthier choices. And I wish that there was a little more focus on THAT, and a little less focus on the end result, which is different for everyone.

Sure, all these things are related, so if "the obesity epidemic" prompts more people to start making positive changes, then that's great. The issue I have is with being labeled. By a doctor, an insurance company, or just a voice in my head, that says I won't be healthy until I reach 140 lbs because that's what the BMI scale says is healthy.

Like a friend reminded me last night, that scale is more a guideline than a rule. But it's a guideline that causes a lot of people an awful lot of grief.

I just keep thinking of a Dr. Cox quote from Scrubs: statistics mean nothing to the individual. I know I'm leading a healthy lifestyle. My body hasn't quite caught up yet, but after treating it badly for the last 10-15 years, that shouldn't come as a surprise. The fact remains that I AM making healthier choices than a good chunk of the population. And yet, based on the picture above, I am having serious doubts that I can lose another 30 lbs doing what I'm doing. I'm not saying it can't be done. But, without taking extreme measures that I'm just not willing to take, I may never be "healthy." I'll just be one more overweight person in the world, at least according to the statistics.

So, I guess if there's one point I'm trying to make here, it's this . . .

Screw the statistics!

I will continue to make healthy choices and live my life. It's all any of us can do. If I make it to "healthy," then great. If not, I just hope I never have to deal with people who treat the guideline as a rule.


  1. I completely agree. I know that I would qualify as obese as well, but don't feel like the stigma associated with that word reflects how I feel about my actual shape.

    congrats on your successful weight loss.

  2. First, I was watching Scrubs just before I read this! Ha!

    Second, you're right. I know that I don't need to worry too much about the rigidity of the FDAs guidelines. My husband is a very broad-chested man with a very hefty bone structure. When I met him, he weighed 175 and looked ill: he was way, way too thin. But, according to those guidelines, he was still five pounds "overweight." He is at his healthiest about fifteen pounds "overweight," so I know that I can't trust those guidelines completely.

    But I am overweight. I know it. There is fat on my body, and too much of it. I'm close to a healthy weight, and not even terribly far from my ideal weight. It's just a long road getting there... sigh.