Sunday, September 28, 2014
I am obese.
According to the BMI chart (which is just a stupid one-number exact replica of the old-fashioned height-weight charts, dressed up as some sort of pseudo-scientific breakthrough), I am not merely overweight, but O.B.E.S.E.
I work out regularly, and eat reasonably healthy…but I am obese.
I can still do the splits, a backbend, cartwheels, and round-offs… but I am obese.
I regularly turn heads in a bikini or a sundress or form-fitting jeans…but I am obese.
My very active career involves climbing up and down ladders, hanging from trees, crawling across rocks and retaining walls, constantly moving equipment, furniture, sets, and backdrops. It’s amazing I can do any of it, what with my obesity and all…
I can swing a 45-lb kettlebell like a champ, I dead lift 200 lbs, and have a 400-lb leg press…
My waist-to-height ratio (.43, while the recommended ratio is anything .5 or below) and waist-to-hip ratio (.63, while the recommended ratio is anything .8 or below) are both well under "healthy guidelines" and are aesthetically enviable by most accounts…
My blood pressure, blood sugar, blood lipids, and resting heart rate are all perfect. PERFECT…
I am a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and I have made it through P90X, Insanity, and TurboFire...
I have tried to run several people who are "normal" on the BMI chart through my exact usual workouts. They couldn't make it through, even with modifications...
I do MRT, Tabata, boot-camp-style bodyweight training, yoga, pilates...and I can hang upside-down by just one foot from a stripper pole (with the other foot bent behind me until it touches the back of my head)...
I take (and need) absolutely NO prescription meds…
I sometimes get stopped by bodybuilders when out in public. They want to know “how I got my calves like that.” Or they say things like, "I can tell you squat."
I am fully aware that my body is not everyone’s cup of tea… I know some people (including most of the media and medical establishment) stand by the BMI chart's assessment of my fitness, health, and beauty... Yet many (not all) women tell me they envy my shape…
And many (not all) men tell me that my body is their idea of “ideal”…
My figure is shapely…and mostly firm and tight, even after having two kids… but with just a little jiggle in the places that benefit the exercise of my womanly wiles.
Though I am 44 years old, I frequently am asked out by men in their 20s and 30s, and I am sometimes still carded when I buy alcohol…
I still buy almost all of my clothes in the “juniors” section, and I fit just fine in Victoria’s Secret swimsuits and lingerie…
BUT I AM O B E S E .
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, my celebrated cell-phone selfie series, “Portrait of an Obese Woman.”*
This is me, last week, in all my obese glory, in one of my favorite pairs of jeans (which I like because it doesn’t squish my assets or gap at the waist like most jeans do).
This is what an obese woman looks like in sweats, right after her workout.
This is what an obese woman looks like in a swimsuit.
This is what an obese woman looks like when getting ready for a date.
This is what an obese woman looks like when she’s out with a bunch of her (non-obese) friends. (obese person circled in red, others’ faces blurred for privacy).
BEHOLD, an obese woman's ass. Nope, it's not small. But it's round and it's firm and it's sitting right where it belongs (no small feat for a 44 year old mother of two). BTW, if you happen to like a round booty, I have 7 magic words for you: Super Slow Motion Suspended Bulgarian Split Squats.
And just as an added bonus, this what an obese woman looks like in lingerie…
*I apologize for the low quality of many of these photos. I do have beautiful, well-lit, professionally captured and retouched images I could show you, but I wanted to be sure to only use basic, low-tech, unedited images here to illustrate my point as clearly as possible. These photos are all recent, unedited, and show me at a weight which puts me somewhere between 1-2 points into the "obese" category on the BMI chart.
Anyway, I sincerely hope I’ve made my point… But just in case I haven’t, here it is:
Don’t allow yourself to be defined by the arbitrary standards someone else came up with. I won’t go into the reasons these charts were invented in the first place, or even the reasons why they are so invalid for so many people. But I will say that the people who decided on these numbers did so based on statistics that don’t distinguish between correlation and causality. These statistics are about as accurate for assessing an INDIVIDUAL as a grading bell curve is for assessing the intellect and understanding of individual students. The people collecting and analyzing the data used to make these charts do not in any way understand the totality of the differences in your frame size and shape, your weight distribution patterns, your bone density, your muscle mass, your hydration level, your overall health and genetic profile, your fitness level (cardiovascular, strength, endurance, coordination, and flexibility), your personal preferences, your mate’s personal preferences, your body’s energy needs, etc.
Stop living and dying and breathing and eating and smiling and crying by the magical number on the scale. Look in the mirror. Do you like what you see? Touch your body. Does it feel mostly firm? Check yourself - How are you feeling? How are you breathing and moving? How’s your energy? How do your clothes fit and feel on your body? Are you living a happy, balanced life? If you don’t like your answers to these questions, then perhaps you should take greater steps to improve your fitness level and nutrition. But don’t base that decision on a number or a chart or a medical-INDUSTRY-imposed definition.
I’m NOT saying to stop trying to maintain and improve your health and fitness. I’m all for it. I work on mine constantly. But I also relax and enjoy life. My body reflects both of those facts, and I’m super-okay with that.
But, then again, I’m obese, so what do I know? You should probably take everything I say with a grain of salt… Or a scoop of ice cream… Mmmmmmm, ice cream…
PS I wrote a heartfelt letter. It goes like this:
Dear BMI Chart,
F*@k you. You can kiss my well-rounded assets.
Edited to add: If you want some more objective answers as to why the BMI chart stinks to high heaven, here you go:
Sunday, February 05, 2012
It's never gonna happen, but I wish...
There was specialized "zoning" for fast food joints. It kills me that in the shopping center that houses my gym, there are also 3 fast food places. If I'm having a tough (weak will-power) day, I will honestly avoid the gym just to make sure that I also avoid temptation.
Junk food was available only in JUNK FOOD STORES. Just like (at least in this area), alcohol is available only in liquor stores. I guarantee, junk food causes just as many addictions and deaths each year as alcohol. Yet, I can't go down a single aisle in a grocery store or drug store, without facing at least one "end-cap" display featuring poisonous temptations. I dread the grocery store every time I have to go, because I know I will spend the entire time fighting that inner battle: "but you don't NEED a Peanut Butter Snickers", "but I really really WANT one", "but it does not support your goals", "but I really REALLY want one"..... And don't even get me started on the childhood obesity epidemic and the pressure moms are under if we ever dare try to navigate the supermarket WITH our children in tow.
I doubt these things will ever happen. But then again, ONE of my past wishes was granted, thanks to DVR - the ability to fast-forward through junk-food commercials. So hey, I'll keep dreaming, and you never know!
Friday, January 27, 2012
Some days, I am shooting (with a camera, not a gun). On those days, I am quite active and feel great. Other days, I sit at my desk, editing photos, answering calls and emails, and working on everything else I have to do as a small business owner. Those days, even though I almost always get in a workout of some sort, I don't feel as good.
I've read articles here on SP and other places that advocate getting up and doing SOMETHING to move your body at least once every 60-90 minutes or so. Since we all tend to get lost in work and lose track of time, these same articles recommend setting an alarm that will remind us to do it. But I realized today that my body gives me a very reliable and natural "alarm", I just have to listen to it. After all, if you really think about it, you'll almost certainly realize that there are several times during the workday when you get that "numb-butt" feeling...or is that just me? Okay, so if you don't get numb-butt, maybe you get tight shoulders?? Work with me here.
Today I decided that every time I have that numb-butt feeling, I will get up and do something active - just one set of something, anything.... Then I remembered that I have made it one of my 2012 goals to be able to do pull-ups. And I did just buy this crazy resistance cable contraption to assist me with said goal until I get strong enough to do them unassisted. And my pull-up bar (with attached assistance contraption) hangs in the doorway that is directly in my line of sight when sitting in my office chair (which is a stability ball on wheels, btw, but I digress). So, there it is, pull-ups every time my butt goes numb!! And hey, maybe I'll really go Pavlovian and immediately drink a big glass of ice water upon completing the set of pull-ups! Yes! That's it! Numb butt - > Pull-ups -> Water!!!
Yay for new healthy habits!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I saw the "Tracy Anderson Method" infomercial last night. Honestly, it looks ridiculous. But then again, I have an aversion to anything endorsed by Gwyneth Paltrow, so maybe I'm biased by that... Plus, I'm always interested in trying something new, fitness-wise, so I try to stay open-minded even though on the face of it, this program appears to go against most of what I believe to be true about fitness. (Looks like lots of cardio, very light weights, and frankly, just too easy...but I know looks can sometimes be deceiving.)
So has anyone else here tried this program? What are your results?
What does she advocate in the "diet" portion of the program? How long are the workouts, and how many times per week?
Would this kind of program be kind of a joke (as in, too easy) for someone who is a serious fitness geek (i.e., a P90X-grad such as myself)?
Any other thoughts, praise, or criticism to share?
(If you're doing this program and like it, please don't be insulted by my blog and/or questions. I'm just going by what I saw on the infomercial, and I know you can't really understand something without trying it. That's why I'm asking questions, I am always open to having my first impression challenged.)
Thanks so much!
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
I learned (or was it more like, "decided") to love my shape a while back (see this blog for that story: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3253740 )....and I really have made so many strides in that area. However (there's always a however, isn't there?) I still kept thinking, I love my shape.....now if only I could get my SIZE where I want it. Then it hit me today as I was driving along, anticipating tonight's birthday celebration for my FIL, and stressing over the thought of eating birthday cake. STRESSING OVER BIRTHDAY CAKE?!?! How insane is that? Yet I know for a fact that MANY of you can relate to this exercise in absurdity.
What exactly was it that "hit me", you ask? Hold tight, cuz here it is:
I am not a fitness model.
I will never have the body of a fitness model - not because it's not possible for me, not because of genetics, not because I'm too old, not because I don't have the ability to work that hard. None of that. I will never have the body of a fitness model because I do not have the willingness to eat and/or train like a fitness model. (Note to my fitness-model friends: I love and admire you and am happy for you, as long as you are happy. I simply have no desire to live the way I would need to live to be you.)
My body is what it is because I eat healthy a lot of the time, yet I enjoy a glass of wine/cocktail or three from time to time. My body is what it is because I work out HARD 3-7 times a week, but I refuse to spend more than an hour at a time, and most days it's 30 minutes or less. My body is what it is because I eat tons of fruits and veggies, but I also love my sweets. My body is what it is because I practice portion control most days, but give in to overeating on holidays (because it's gonna be a while before all those goodies are on the same table again). My body is what it is because I care deeply about my health, but I also care about pleasure and fun and living like a normal human being.
My body is not perfect, but it is beautiful. My body is firm and lean some places, softer and rounder other places. My body is in the "overweight" range on the BMI chart, yet I turn heads in a bikini.
I am sexy because I am fit and healthy even though I will never be called skinny. I am sexy because I am confident in some ways...and yes, vulnerable and insecure in others. That makes me real, and real is sexy. I am sexy because I enjoy life and all of its sensual pleasures (yes, including amazing desserts). :: Side note: A million years ago, I dated a bodybuilder guy who ordered 2 broiled skinless chicken breasts, a salad with no dressing, and plain oatmeal every time we went out to a restaurant. So NOT sexy. I'm just sayin. ::
I believe that the key to life is balance. And my body reflects that. And I think that's pretty effin cool.
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