13 March 2009

Why does finding comfort have to be so hard?

This started off as a comment on this post, but then I realized that it was not really that related and also excessively long. So!

I'm somewhere between 5'4" and 5'5", depending on who you ask. I'm not skinny.

When I was 17 my mom tricked me into getting out of the car and coming into the office during my little brother's checkup, and when I got inside, there was HepB shot waiting for me. Then my pediatrician (whom I had refused to visit since his attempt to bring up safe sex 5 years earlier) took me aside and told me that really, I could stand to lose five, maybe ten pounds. Just something to think about before my weight got out of hand.

At the time, I wore a size 6.

Since that time (with the exception of my pregnancy, when they all laid off a little bit) every doctor I've been to for any reason has told me that I need to lose weight. And yeah, I'd like to lose 10lbs. Sure. But at my last annual exam my gyno (a new one) told me that I should probably lose 25-30. And I don't want to point fingers here but it is a FACT that she was heavier than me.

What. The. Fuck.

First of all, I'm totally healthy. I have low blood pressure and low cholesterol and I exercise regularly and I eat my veggies and blah dee blah blah.

Second of all, dear readers: a lot of you have met me, and even if you haven't I post current pictures of myself on a fairly regular basis. I AM NOT FAT. I'm not delusional. I'm not looking at myself in a fun house mirror. Yeah, I'm not rail thin; in fact, I'm not thin at all. I'm just not fat. Fuck that.

So what am I? Well I do weigh a lot for my size. I think I'm more muscular than most girls, based on the fact that I'm significantly stronger than most girls. True fact: I weigh more than you would guess.

I just don't understand why you (medical professional) can't take your eyes off of the chart for the way things are supposed to be, look at the healthy, comfortable person in front of you, and chill the fuck out.

Because even though I've worked hard to be comfortable in my own skin? That sting gets harder and harder to laugh off.


  1. People, doctors, especially, need to take the focus away from the damn scale. I remember back when BMI got so trendy, it was like, 40% of the female population all the sudden were considered OBESE. Simply because the number was higher than what their height apparently required. It's bullshit.

    I have the opposite. Everytime I go to a doctor, they tell me that because I'm 5'6", I should weigh 20 pounds more. Quacks.

    Good post!

  2. Oh Jennifer last month I gained 5 pounds instead of 4 and my Dr. was like "well I guess since you haven't gained much so it's okay but keep an eye on your weight gain you should only gain 4 pounds a month..." I've gained 15 pounds in 28 weeks of pregnancy! What is up with all this craziness!

  3. Well, the biggest problem is that people CONTINUE to go off the BMI, which (ahem) "was invented between 1830 and 1850 by the Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet during the course of developing "social physics"... not even for measuring how healthy you are at all!

    Fuck them. If you're healthy, you're healthy, I say.


  4. yeah... all that matters is that you are healthy and you like you... what do charts mean... nothing.

  5. Doctors suck. If you feel healthy, and you are comfortable with yourself, then fuck the rest of 'em.

  6. Yep. I'm there with you. Doctors really need to pull their heads out of their asses!

  7. I think you look AMAZING myself. You have an hourglass figure and that is lucky. I bet when you gain and lose weight you probably do so evenly don't you? See, that would be lucky too (I'm like that and thank the stars all the time). I too weigh MUCH more than anyone would guess. I say I must have steel in my bones or something when people guess because I'll typically tell people my real weight.

    But I say bravo. You look AMAZING (did I already say that?) and you are very comfortable with yourself. Fuck them!

  8. According to BMI, I am officially obese. BMI can kiss my ass.

  9. I know exactly what you mean! I'm always shocked at how many people think about weight all the time. It's like, there's so much else out there to focus on- why is this something we're so fixated on? I hear it at home, work, from friends... it's crazy.

  10. OK I have a link for a site that has some different calculators that don't go by the insane old standards, if you'd like it.
    My daughter is 5'7 and weighs 150 pounds. She thinks she's overweight but even her doctor said she isn't, she just needs more exercise, and that will help tone up her skin and define her muscles.
    Our ribs don't need to be sticking out for us to be a healthy weight.

  11. Sister, I hear ya. I'm tall. Being 5'9" puts me in a weight bracket that is higher. I never reveal my weight. I don't even know how much I weigh, but it's more than anyone would expect, I'm sure. At my last Dr. visit they insisted I be weighed because I had refused the past 5 times. It seems I am difficult.

  12. I used to always when the fair game when they guess your weight - I always weighed a lot more than they would guess - I am guessing that I don't really weigh more than people think but that too many people are lying so it throws off the curve - at least I am sticking with that!

  13. that should have been "win" the fair game - sorry!

  14. I take a ton of doctor depositions, and let me tell you, most of them are FAT!!! I think the charts they use did not include people who have a lot of muscle, so they mean nothing if you tend to bulk up a bit from working out. I think you look great, girl. If you're happy and healthy, screw them.

  15. Oh, and I love the new layout, kids!

  16. A lot of the problem comes from trying to essentialize health into a number whether on a scale or a chart.

    For the first time in a long time I have a dr who is not "overweight" and she never tells me to lose weight. Instead, she talks with me about how I feel, helps me to analyze the numbers that come back from my blood work and strategizes with me on how to get my cholesterol under control without drugs.

    It takes longer than 5 minutes... and I never mind waiting in the waiting room because I know she is giving her other patients an equal amount of attention

  17. huh. that just seems... rude.

    i mean, you look like a healthy woman, and you dont have any health problems, so why is the number on the scale so important?


  18. You look great, stupid doctors! What do they know? If you're taking care of yourself, then screw what they say! I was rail skinny all my life - embarrassingly, uncomfortably skinny - and a lot of people, even doctors, complimented me on it. Until I was in my 20s and an ob-gyn did a full blood workup, etc, and we found my triglycerides were high, iron too low, etc... I was thin, yes, but ate like crap and didn't exercise and my body was extremely unhealthy. All this to say, the scale and our eyes are often misleading about the health of the person. Now, I eat a little better and work out a little more, but I'm chubby. Go figure!

  19. I am not even going to be eloquent. Fuck Them.

    Recent blog post: Thank You!