Over *what* weight?

I think it’s fitting that my first post would explain where exactly the title “Over *what* weight?” came from. Over the last year or so I’ve been trying to look at media and society’s standards with a critical eye. I’ve been doing as much research as I have time for between work, school, and a social life, and have discovered quite a few things where the truth is quite different from what society is seen spouting every day. The one that touched me the most is the idea that being overweight, or even obese, isn’t a death sentence.

BMI is an idea that was created by a mathematician who was just trying to get an idea of what the average man was. He had no concern for the health of human kind, and was in no way a medical doctor who could determine that certain BMI’s were a death sentence, he just had a need for a number and so BMI was born. Somehow along the way doctor’s started using BMI as a tool to determine if their patients were healthy, just by looking at a number that takes into account nothing but your height and your weight. It doesn’t take into account your activity levels, your cholesterol, your blood pressure, your levels of stress, or your eating habits. It takes nothing into account, but two other numbers that really say nothing about you or your health. And all too often doctors are taking this information and deeming a person to be unhealthy, just because of their BMI. Or taking a person’s health problems and blaming them on this number, even though these health problems can be seen in patients who are at what is considered a “normal” BMI. I’ve heard stories of people who were overall fairly healthy, but because their BMI was a certain number they were deemed unhealthy. This strikes me as incredibly unfair, and as a way for a doctor to simply cop out and decide a person is unhealthy without taking the time to dig a little deeper.

As to the specifics of this exact title “Over *what* weight?”, it comes from my own experience in life. According to a doctors chart, I am indeed overweight. And now because of this I feel as if I’m unfit for society, all thanks to this stupid number.

This number doesn’t say anything about me, except that my height is x and my weight is x. It doesn’t say whether I’m happy or healthy, it doesn’t say if this is a weight that I’ve gotten to by consuming mass quantities of junkfood, or if it’s just the weight where my body sits when I’m eating healthily and being somewhat active (the latter being the true statement, and my weight stays the same even when I’m being quite active). So while I am overweight according to a BMI chart, I can’t help but to question “Over what weight am I exactly?” Over the weight in which I can be a healthy, happy, productive member of society? I don’t think so. I’m over the weight of what a mathematician and an insurance company have deemed as acceptable (more on that later), and that’s it.

(Also, I played with the idea of simply using Over Weight, meaning that I am both overweight according to BMI and over the idea of weight and the implications it can have on a person. I don’t own a scale, and for the most part am happy with that because the number on a scale does not dictate whether I’m happy, healthy, or attractive. The idea seemed harder to convey though, without a long description below the title, and the blog url overweight.wordpress.com was already in use, so overwhatweight it is.)

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