Did I mention I recently took up running?  The machine that I have is limited to 30 minutes, at the moment I can run 4.1k during that time and I’m working to increase my running pace until I can run 5k in that time.  I feel kinda proud of myself, I generally see real improvements each week and I try to run every week day.  On Thursday, to my frustration, I couldn’t do it.  I felt exhausted, all I wanted to do was go back to bed or lie on the sofa.  I’d had a similar experience a few days before and I was starting to get worried.  The truth was, however, that as soon as I ate something I felt better.   It wouldn’t be the first time that it has been brought to my notice that I don’t always eat enough considering my activity level….That will probably come as a surprise to some of you who know me.  I’m not a skinny girl.  Nevertheless, I don’t tend to eat much, particularly since I’ve been working from home.  If you see me for meals out or rare occasions then you probably see me eat like a horse…there’s a reason for this…I’m craving everything.  I’m not the only one,  over restriction of calorie intake is a growing phenomena, and more and more people find that they lose more weight when they eat more food.  We’re driving our bodies into horrendous imbalance with our deep desire to be ‘healthy’.

The truth is that I’ve been on a diet or thinking about dieting or removing something from my diet (red meat, dairy, fat..) for more than 20 years.  I’ve never once let my body be.  I’ve been longing to be skinny ever since I hit puberty and it’s not men that have made me feel this way.   The men in my life have been more than happy with my curves (I was a good stone heavier when I met my husband) and I long ago learned never to wait on my own in a bar with a book, on your own always implies in need of company it seems.   This body loathing has come entirely from me.  Me and society and prohibitive standards of beauty.  I told myself for a long time that my fanaticism about losing weight was entirely rational.  I’m four pounds overweight.  I need to lose a good half a stone in order to be healthy, obviously.  Most people, doctors included, note that I’m not thin.  It’s a given.  Obviously I should be thinner.  It doesn’t matter that my body resists that loss with everything it has at it’s disposal.  It doesn’t matter that eating less than I should moves it no more than going on holiday and gorging.  It doesn’t matter that I’ve been on a six month plateau.  It doesn’t matter that my husband liked me more when I was bigger.  What is more worrying is that I’m struggling to accept the growing amount of evidence that suggests that the BMI reading I have been basing my self-esteem on might be completely inaccurate….

I did some research.  I do that.  BMI is known to be inaccurate, even by the esteemed medical establishment,  it doesn’t take into account muscle mass or bone density, athletes are often overweight if not obese.  The bone density issue has been a bone of contention (couldn’t resist the pun) for years but it’s considered now a fact that there are different frame sizes, discernible by a measure of the wrist or the elbow, but medical practitioners and diet services ignore it.  Equally the definition of ‘overweight’ was altered drastically in the 70s/80s, rendering far more people in the wrong category than ever before.  In my personal quest for understanding, I found out the following:

Waist to Hip ratio – Healthy

Waist to Height ratio – Healthy

Estimated percentage body fat based on body measures – 27% – 31% depending on the source- Healthy

BMI accounting for frame size – Healthy

Activity Level –  Healthy

 

Yet here I am driving myself crazy over four pounds.  A four pound judgement, made by a flawed system.

What bothers me more is the amount of evidence also flying in the face of the standard understanding of high blood pressure.  It can, and often is, caused by stress.  Weight is not a clear indication of blood pressure.  So, correct me of I’m wrong, but if you put pressure on a healthy person to lose weight and fail to address their stress issues, are you not just making them more stressed and thereby more unwell?  To what degree is the health system actively making people sick by not addressing them as human beings rather than statistics?

In my own universe, I’m trying step by step to address the unhealthy amount of pressure that I put on myself to be thinner.  Escaping the strangle hold of my perception about weight and eating is by no means an easy one and I know I can’t be alone.  How many other people have an unhealthy attitude to their own bodies that is derived from medical ‘fact’?  I acknowledge that weight is an issue for health, but the point when that issue becomes of import is unique, overweight, if the individual is still active, has been proven to have less of a negative impact on your overall health than being underweight and overweight on it’s own is a movable feast.

Of course I’m saying all of this because I feel the need to justify not being skinny.  That says it all really doesn’t it?

 

 

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