Apologies to my readers for missing a post last week, it was a crazy week with exams at school and a lot going on. But I’m getting back to business now!
As someone who has been losing weight for over a year and managed to drop my BMI by almost 14%, I think I have enough experience in the area to call out Body Mass Index for being a ridiculous measure of what’s normal. According to the Body Mass Index, an average body mass is between 18.5 and 24.9% fat. Of course, what this doesn’t account for is how much muscle weighs, different body types, etc. My current BMI is 25.2% so even though I’ve lost 94 pounds and I’m able to run 3+ miles multiple times a week, according to this scale I’m still overweight and therefore “unhealthy”. My blood pressure is the lowest it’s ever been, I weigh less than I have in over a decade, and yet by the standards of science I’m still considered to be overweight, which I think is total bull.
This “overweight” individual just ran 4 miles in under 56 minutes. (insert shade throwing eye roll at BMI)
As of 2010, the average size of an American woman is a 14 and the average BMI is 28.7% (which is considered overweight). While I’m extremely proud to be better than the national average based on this information (at a size 8 and 25.2% body fat), it really is discouraging to know that I’m still not considered “normal” by these standards. I’ve never subscribed to the idea of wanting to be normal, as I don’t believe that “normal” is a reality. I once heard the phrase “normal is just a setting on the dryer” and I have never agreed with something more. I’ve always been into “weird” stuff, like older movies, and nerd culture so I never thought I would be considered normal and I was ok with that for a very long time. Things changed when I started losing weight though, as I got closer to my initial goal I decided to readjust and make my goal to have a normal BMI.
I’m currently nearing my weight loss goal, sometimes the end feels so close that I can taste it, but it still bugs me that Body Mass Index is used as a measure of “health” in our country. I haven’t considered myself to be thin since before I hit puberty, and for the first time I am confident enough in the way that I look to say that I’m thin. I know that it must be true because Ariel has started telling me to “eat something”, the true mark of being thin. It makes me feel amazing that the important people in my life think that I look good and healthy. I certainly think I’m in the best shape of my life, but this internationally recognized “scale” says I’m still overweight.
If looking like this isn’t “normal” or healthy, I don’t think I want to be normal. I was teaching my Godbrother Hayden how to pass a sobriety test at EPCOT, though I was drunk while teaching him.
So I’ve decided to reject the Body Mass Index and just be happy where I’m at. I’m still trying to lose those last few pounds to reach my goal, but I’m not being so hard on myself about it. I’m incredibly proud of the progress I’ve made, and I’m so much healthier for it that some number on a scale or some reading from an index doesn’t matter. If the way I look and feel now is unhealthy, then I don’t know what it would take to be considered healthy. It’s my belief that as long as you’re working on being healthy and getting in shape, the number on the scale shouldn’t matter. If eating right and exercising consistently is healthy enough for me to lose almost 100 pounds in under a year and a half, I think I’m pretty healthy.