Is Overweight Overrated?
I was at the orthodontist the other day. Yes, I’m aware that I’m not 13. I am an adult with braces because the options to cure my TMJ were this or surgery. This one gave me a prettier smile, so I went with it. Anyway, since the girls there see me every 6 weeks or so, they get a nice little view of my weight loss progress. One of the assistants, Michelle, who I’m very friendly with mentioned that I was looking great. I told her I wanted to lose another 30-40 pounds and she seemed shocked, saying that I looked healthy as I was. I said I was in the 190’s and she said she couldn’t tell. Kind, yes, but this girl is also a pretty ’round the way-type of chick and she tells it like it is, so I wanted to believe her.
When I got home, I plugged my weight into a quick BMI calculator that I found online and got an interesting surprise. My BMI is 29, which means that I am just under the line to be considered obese. Yay! However, it does mean I’m at the very top of the range for overweight. If I lose 35 more pounds, I will juuuuuuust make the cut-off to be “healthy”. I began thinking about what Michelle said. She, a naturally thin girl, was looking at me and saying that I looked good, that I shouldn’t really lose much more. Yet medicine says that I’m still a fatty, just not a super fatty.
I wondered how jaded we’ve really become when it comes to being overweight. Back in the day, women like Marilyn Monroe were celebrated for their curves. It has been said that she was a size 16, though according to her dressmaker, that was a British 16 which translates to a US size 12. Clearly, she had a little size to her, but her published weight was 118-140. Assuming the studio downsized by 10 pounds, that’s still 128-150 – and by today’s standards (and the BMI chart for that matter), she’s still pretty healthy. And what’s more, we’re celebrating bigger women now. Girls are so much more “bootylicious” and proud that Marilyn is starting to look a little waify. So are we just so desensitized to the fat is fab movement that we’re okay with it?
Having been big for so long, I was obviously a supporter of the big & beautiful movement. I said I wanted to be accepted for who I was, but the reality is that I was unhealthy and unhappy. I made a change, and I’m so glad that I did. And I’m not saying there aren’t some GORGEOUS big girls out there – all hail Queen Latifah! But I am saying that even as a former self-declared fabulous big girl, I longed to be thinner, no matter how many affirmations I had that I was still considered attractive. It wasn’t just about looks, I just felt so sluggish. And even though I’d exercise I still felt like I was surrounded in this cocoon. Now I just sort of feel free, and that’s a feeling I’m really enjoying.
I think being overweight is now a lot more socially acceptable, but even as a person who struggles with it I find myself seeing people who are morbidly obese and I feel terrible for them. I wish that they could feel the sense of accomplishment and relief that I have every time I perform magic fitting my body into the same size as Marilyn. The same size that’s actually getting a little big. 🙂 I think the difference now is that I am willing to speak out. I really want to be an example for others out there that it is NOT hopeless! Yes, the surgery is extreme. But here’s a wake-up call for you – If you are 5’5 and weigh 250, you’re twice the person you should be and I think that’s a little extreme too. It has been said that losing just 5% of your excess weight (so for our example person that would be 6 1/2 pounds):
- Lowers your body’s cholesterol levels
- Can improve blood sugar control
- Reduces aches and pains
- Improves mobility
- Can improve your breathing
- Helps you to sleep better
- Reduces the risk of sleep apnea
- Helps prevent angina – chest pain caused by decreased oxygen to the heart.
- Decreased your risk of sudden death from heart disease or stroke
- May stop the need from regular medication
- Reduces the risk of certain cancer
How could you not want all of those benefits for such a small price? 6 pounds? That’s less than a gallon of milk! Anyway, I’m not here to be preachy because that’s not what this is about. And Lord knows I had my share of people tell me I should back away from the onion dip. I’m just saying that what I’ve been so blessed to have has changed my life and my perspective for the better. The only regret I have is that I didn’t have this surgery sooner. I’m going to continue to keep fighting the good fight, and I’ll continue to be an example for you. And if you’re fighting with me, let me know about it. We can discuss over a post-run yogurt smoothie. 🙂
Thanks for reading! – A