BMI

I’ve been eating more, two to three meals a day, or you know, one big massive one like today. Not that I did anything deserving of food. I read somewhere that it takes 500 calories just for your brain to work properly, and I assume who ever said that meant per day. If so, I had been stunting my brain again, not by eating fewer than 500 calories (though that was true for one or two days I’m sure) but by eating fewer than 1000. Because if 500 gets devoted to your brain imagine what it takes for the heart, the lungs (well, the diaphragm), everything. I’ve been gaining weight again since I started eating. It makes eating distressing, but I know that if I can eat regularly and healthfully I can convince my body I’m not starving, and it will stop hoarding calories. I realise this isn’t about BMI yet but I think I should reflect on the moment as well as the whole.

As for the issue of BMI, well, I think it’s terrible. First of all, there’s that disclaimer that it’s not meant for measuring health or fat, but everyone does it anyway. Companies, colleges, doctors, individuals — everyone passes judgement on people based on this number. I’ll admit, I’ve spent most of my post-pubescent life inside the 25-29.9 range. Though only a few months ago I was flirting with 30 being two or three pounds away from that threshold number when I weighed myself every day. I was also at the highest weight I had ever weighed myself at. I had passed my magic number and all my pants were tight and I’ll admit I was probably at my least healthy point. I had been exercising less and caring less about what I ate. To an extent, I think it’s was probably healthier for me to not care so much about my diet. It was certainly liberating until I started weighing myself daily.

During these months I read an article about how a university had a BMI requirement for graduation. While it was true that anyone who didn’t have the right numbers would just have to take a PE class, it still wasn’t something that sat well with me. Especially since I was on the verge of facing that requirement (matriculation aside) and was normally only somewhere around eight to ten pounds away from obese even when eating healthy and exercising regularly. As I’ve mentioned before I’m short so while I may be only ten pounds away from the dreaded diagnosis of obese my BMI is two points away from obese and three from “normal”*.

In a fit of rage after reading that article I cruelly asked my friend to guess my BMI. She said 25.6 when I was 29.4 and 3 pounds away from 30.0. Now, even if this friend deducted a point or even two points in the name of friendship, she was very, very off. Even with these extra two points she was still lower than my BMI when I considered myself healthy. Today, an study showed that 3 in 10 teens didn’t know they were overweight with males mistaken twice as often as females. Is this really a surprise to anyone?

Even after BMI gets discounted as a measurement of health, I regret to say, I will still use it. I’ve already been indoctrinated even though I fight tooth and nail every time someone else uses it. I still have a BMI calculator as one of my tabs. I will still sit there and go “Well, what if I’m this weight? What if I lose 5 more pounds? What if I were an inch taller?”. My personal ideal weight, the weight I want to be and think I have a chance of reaching is has a BMI of 24.7. I know when I get there, I’ll see that if I gain two pounds I’ll be over weight again and try and lose another five. That’s a start of a slippery slope. I hope if I ever get there, I won’t go too far.

Still, something that always is nice to see is the BMI Project.

*Approximately.

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February 10, 2010. Tags: , , . Reflection.

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