I haven’t weighed myself in over 5 years. I make a conscious effort not to.I exercise regularly, I have an active job, I eat well, drink plenty of water and when my hot flushes and insomnia are behaving themselves, I get plenty of rest.
We all know that the societal norms make us feel we MUST know our numbers. Do you know how it goes skinny equals healthy? And a high BMI must mean unhealthy? …..No, not necessarily!!!!As women, we are always looking at other women for inspiration instead of ourselves. The magazines and the movies are full of toothy smiles and celebrities sharing their wholesome lives. She’s picture-perfect and unbelievably slim. He has model genes and huge muscles.And have you ever noticed that tv anchors and weather girls are so slim that the negative bias towards us is often front and center as we watchReality tv also seems to be bound by a certain body type. Even creating a script around contestants who have had lap band surgery. A dangerous narrative that seems to create conformity rather than encouraging conversation around health and wellness.We have Radio and reality stars joining forces with weight loss programs, so they can show off their new bodies. We almost need armour of steel around us to ignore it.
So Let me share the recent experience that had me revisiting my efforts to not be controlled by the scales….
Now that I have turned 50 and experiencing the effect of menopause, my GP suggested I get a full blood test (I have had low iron in the past 2 years) and an ECG.
As I entered the room for my ECG appointment the nurse said “we will need to weigh and take your height” …. Before she had even finished speaking, I could feel myself starting to argue with myself.
“OMG, I don’t want to know THAT number. I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want to feel embarrassed. And even though my logical self knew that the request for my weight was merely part of the procedure, it still affected me.For the remainder of the appointment, the numbers rushed around my head. I was trying to calculate what I “should be”.When I got home, I put my numbers into a BMI calculator. I wish I hadn’t.According to the BMI calculator, I was 25 kg overweight and was considered obese.I understand the science of movement and weight loss but just as importantly, I understand weight gain can occur through hormonal changes, emotional and lifestyle changes. And certainly not just through laziness or through lack of trying.Being emotionally trapped by a weight = health scale can be all-consuming.
Fast forward a month and I returned to my GP for my test results. My ECG results showed a trace of my heartbeat. “Incredible results “were her words. Then came my blood test results.” Wow these are impeccable results they are like a 20-year-old”.As I sat there listening to my GP praise me for having such great health results, I couldn’t help but take my mind back to that initial experience I had with being weighed. The BMI results made me Obese. And societies norms that thin equals healthy.
I feel disappointed that I didn’t trust my lifestyle to keep me healthy. I feel sad that even though I know that size doesn’t necessarily equal health I still punished myself based purely on a number on a scale.
I have checked back in with myself. I feel amazing. A fifty-year-old with the heart and blood of a 20-year-old. Now they are the kind of number we should brag about!!!If you are feeling consumed with the scales, I encourage you to go and get a health check and see the big picture. You are far more beautiful than a number on the scales xx
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