25,000-29,999 SparkPoints 29,364

It's about your health, not your weight

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Whenever I went into the doctor, my doctor always told me I had to lose weight. Always. Without fail. Often he or she would ask about my lifestyle (what I ate, what I did for exercise), weigh me, compare my height and weight to the handy-dandy BMI chart, and then say, "You should lose weight!"

Of course, this is insanely frustrating (yes, I know I'm fat, I'm trying to fix that!), but I think this more shows a crucial disparity in thought: is it more important to look at the number on the scale or other measurements of health (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.)? Otherwise put: is it weight or health?

For the weight camp, they do have a point. Often times, if you are overweight or obese, you are not healthy. I wasn't. I hardly ever exercised, I ate unhealthy (though I'd hardly come forward with that unless you pressed me), and I generally felt unwell. When I donated blood, my blood pressure appeared high. I'm sure if I went to the doctor, I might have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or other health problems.

But weight isn't everything. There are people who are super thin that aren't eating right, who are pouring junky foods into their bodies and don't feel well. There are overweight people who exercise and eat right but can't get within their BMIs.

The problem with BMI and weight is that it is generalized. It can't possibly be applicable for each person, because each person is slightly different. What is overweight to one person is the ideal weight to another; what is underweight to one person is perfect for another.

I know why doctors rely on BMI: because it's easier and a general idea of what is "good" and what is "bad". A doctor doesn't live with me day to day (unless I decide to get married to one!) to be able to look at everything I do and judge if I am living a healthy lifestyle. He or she must rely on the patient to tell the truth about her lifestyle and what the instruments say.

I personally believe health is more important - and not just healthy eating to get down to a specific weight, a PERMANENT healthy lifestyle. When I am eating healthy, my body will respond and bring me to a healthy weight. But the end goal, the determiner of my health is not a number on the scale, bright red and glaring. It's how I FEEL. It's how I LIVE. It's what I eat, drink, and sleep. It's the entirety of my being.

So when I get discouraged with the scale (and it happens more times than I'd like to admit!), I need to remember: am I living a healthy lifestyle? Am I living better and feeling better? If the answer is YES, then it doesn't really matter what the scale says.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I agree! Well said.
    1776 days ago
    I had full body imaging done and was told that the weight of JUST my skeleton, muscle, brain and fluids was approximately 147 pounds, not counting fat. Per the BMI chart, even if I weighed 147 -- which I obviously can't since I need at least some body fat -- I would still be overweight. It is absurd!
    1776 days ago
    Sounds great, but you know that's the way it's been for a long time like (you have such a pretty face, ect....) you know I have always hated those But a emoticon everyone to good health and feeling better! emoticon
    1781 days ago
    good points.
    1781 days ago
    Very well said! I am very fortunate that I have a doctor that isn't fixated on a number. He said I should lose some weight, but it wasn't done in that "you should lose some weight or you will DIE" way that some doctors do. AND, every time I see him and I've lost weight, he is ECSTATIC, even if it's only two pounds, and he tells me how great I'm doing. It's never "how close to your goal weight are you?" or "you need to lose X more pounds", it's just "That's awesome! I'm so proud of you and you should be proud of yourself!" and he's a training physician so he brags to his students about me. It's pretty cool. emoticon
    1781 days ago
    Well said!
    1782 days ago
    If I listened to my doctor, I would be taking all kinds of medication by now but I have persevered on my own - learned a lot - and losing it slowly. And I'm healthy - don't need any meds.
    1782 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/2/2013 11:57:38 PM
    Great blog! And so true that standard measures are not one-size-fits-all targets. Healthy is what matters.
    1782 days ago
  • LESLIE2561
    Great blog! I totally agree with you. I especially hate it when I go to see a doctor for say my migraines or a pain in my foot and they start in on the you need to lose weight lecture without even knowing anything about me besides the obvious fact that I need to lose weight. I feel like going "I'm not stupid! I know I need to lose weight, but I'm here for help with my migraines."
    1782 days ago
    THIS. Oh yes, very much this!

    The only other question I would add is "does my lifestyle make me happy?" Without the joy, then I don't much see the point.

    Thanks for the reminder about keeping priorities straight.

    Keep enjoying the journey!

    1782 days ago
  • HALEY2147
    This is so true I have a friend who runs 10 miles a day eats extremely healthy but according to the regular BMI calculations he is obese. He isn't even particularly muscular which will skew BMI. It's all about lifestyle changes.
    1782 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.