Better Indicators of Health

Last week while I was ill I saw a new doctor, and as part of the labs she took to rule out anything too serious, she did a full panel of just about everything you can test for with blood. I got the results over the last few days, but first I want to remind you all of what happened when I got there: I got on the scale and had a shockingly high number. It was in the “overweight” range for BMI, and not only that, it was pushing obese. Ok, you’ve seen me, right? I’m not obese. Look at obese ol’ me this past weekend:

Yeah, I’m a few pounds over what I normally try to aim for (being sick and unable to exercise for a week will do that to you). But obese? I think I look healthy, maybe even would use the term sturdy. But, it doesn’t seem to matter what the camera or mirror says, see a chart that says you’re 3 pounds from obese (with your winter clothes and shoes on, after breakfast and coffee) and it’s hard not to get a complex.

Right. Now that I’ve got that out of my system… the blood work came back and I was right on target for every measure, plus my blood pressure is on the low side. I did come back with 2 abnormal results: low Vitamin D (I’d been sick in bed forΒ  several days, hard to get much sun) and my mumps vaccination needs a booster. So I’ve been told to go in and get some shots for those issues. I’ll take care of it later today.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is, you can be healthy regardless of BMI because it’s not a good indicator of general health. It’s a nice guideline for beating yourself up with, if you’re into that kind of thing. I did spend many years beating myself up with BMI, but when I have better indicators of health, it’s hard to justify. As much as I hate to disregard such a conventionally-accepted measure, when the other measures all say I’m doing great, it’s hard to overrule everything else just for the sake of one guideline that doesn’t take anything about me or my build into account.

If you’re actively working on your health, doing the things that are right for you to exercise and eat right every day, keep doing them and being healthy. Me? I need to work on journaling my intake this week and building back up to running as I start feeling better over the next few days and weeks. I intend to take a couple of pounds off and rebuild my momentum. Here’s to having a strong week!

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10 Responses to “Better Indicators of Health”

  1. Andie Says:

    I’m with you on the fuck BMI movement. πŸ™‚

    So glad your results were (mostly) good, and that the Vitamin D and mumps booster are easy to fix.

    You are such a powerful role model. Hope you start feeling better soon, and I *know* you’ll have a strong week. You are a strong woman, after all!

  2. Yoko Olsgaard Says:

    Those charts frustrate me too, for the same reasons. 2 things –

    1. Johanna lent me a book called “Healthy at Any Size which I recommend highly – I’m in the middle of the book now. It sheds some new light on those charts, not to mention dieting. I don’t agree with EVERYTHING the book says about diets, but the rest is mind-blowing.

    2. Low Vitamin D… if you curtail too much fat from your diet, you can get low Vitamin D levels and low calcium levels. Read it somewhere… Being sick for a week should not have lowered it so much. I now drink 1 or 2% milk, not non-fat. Try that and see if it helps. Can’t hurt!

    You looked fabulous this past weekend, and EVERYONE thought so! You were glowing with health and happiness. Don’t let those charts ruin your mindset. What YOU are comfortable with is the important thing.

  3. snapshotstacy Says:

    I truly hate BMI with the firey passion of 5,000 supernova suns from hell.
    Um. Yeah. πŸ™‚

    Right before I got married, I weighed a whopping 195. At 5’11”. And, thanks to that “stunning” BMI number, a physician (who I hold in complete contempt and more of that sun-level-hating) put me on a diet. Which, over the course of a year caused me to gain over 60 pounds. During which time, he harrangued me and accused me of ‘cheating’ on the diet and generally made me hate myself. I was pretty young, though, and I was still pretty much on the “oh my god, I’m so much bigger than everyone” mindset, so I believed him and continued to ‘try it his way’.
    Now, here it is almost 15 years later, when I’m finally getting myself back to myself. I’m currently 35 pounds from my ‘goal’ weight, and I think I finally have the tool-set to stay around there. Even though I’ll need to most likely always be vigilant.

    And, it was lovely to see you this weekend, even if it was only in passing. πŸ™‚

    • Laina Says:

      Dude – 195 is a GREAT weight for someone who’s 5’11”! Guy should be defrocked…disbarred… whatever it is they do to bad doctors.
      Also – You looked great this weekend! You’ve clearly been working hard, and it shows!

      • snapshotstacy Says:

        Tell me about it! I look back on that time in my life, and I just get furious!
        I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get back under 200… But I’m giving it my best shot! And, maybe I’ll get that 3/4 of an inch back that I shrunk due to spine compression/worsening scoliosis when I’ve lost the weight.
        And, thanks. *blush* I’m super proud of how far I’ve come. I just know I’ve still got a long road ahead.

  4. Tracy Renae Cote Serros Says:

    I learned when I was pregnant – because the doctor’s appointments and weigh-ins are almost constant – that the scale at the doctor’s office always read 5 lbs higher than mine at home. I tried to wear the lightest clothes and shoes I could find but it was still predictably about 5 lbs higher. I don’t really know what to make of that, but I count on it now.

    I had a health assessment several years ago wherein I had my body fat measured, and I was in a “normal” range with a couple percentage points to spare, but according to the BMI for my weight and height I was right smack in the middle of “overweight.” I discovered that to get an accurate BMI I had to add 4 or 5 inches to my height. Maybe BMI is accurate for some people (I don’t know, maybe not?) but it doesn’t work at all for me. I don’t want to even know what it would say about me right now…

  5. Rachel Says:

    haha! “fuck BMI” might be the best tag/label EVER.

  6. OS Says:

    Love your website which I just discovered!

    Vitamin D is no biggie. As we get older, we lose the ability to convert Vitamin D from the sun, no matter how much time we spend outside in the sun. Vitamin D supplements are dirt cheap. Make sure you buy Vitamin D3 cholecalciferol, not the other kind. Personally, I take 2,400 IU a day and my D levels are always in a healthy range, which they were not prior to starting supplements even though I live in a sunny clime. I’m not a big believer in vitamins, but that is the one vitamin I do take.

    As someone with weight issues who has to watch my weight, I would never try to get enough Vitamin D from foods because, even if that could be done, I would need to consume a lot of extra calories that I don’t have room for in my budget.

    Also, it could be my imagination, but I think I get fewer colds and manage my weight a little better since starting Vitamin D supplements.

  7. kristi Says:

    Yes my bmi is in the obese range and I do want to lose more. But I am wearing size 18’s after not being able to wear them for 13 years. So it’s all good!

  8. Donna Says:

    Not specifically on topic, but I thought you might want to see this article http://www.economist.com/node/21542373

    You did look totally fabu in both outfits this past weekend πŸ™‚


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