Why the Outdated BMI System Should Be Scrapped
Time for a Tiny Bat Rant. And a very honest one at that, brutally honest...
Usually I don't weigh in (pun entirely intended) on the whole "curvy" vs. "skinny" debate when people start ranting about how the media should allow for "normal" women to be represented without ridicule. I say if you're skinny and rock it, or have curves and rock it, you go girl! Life is about diversity in beauty.
That said, I have openly talked in the past about my life-long struggle with aneorexia—to sum it up briefly, my mother started me on diet pills when I was 13 because I was bullied for being a "chubby kid" and, up until this past year, rarely ever was over 118 pounds. That's a size 1-2 for me. At my thinnest I was 98 pounds. That's a double-zero, a.k.a. shopping in the little kids department for clothes because the petite women's section was too big. It's disgusting when you think about it because that wasn't natural for me. That required me to eat little more than 600 calories a day and work out 5-6 times a week for up to 2 hours each time. That has been my life for as long as I can remember.
That was a desperate self-loathing based on the opinions of the media that I needed to look like I was strung out on heroine (oh, the 90's) or so frail I could never defend myself in a fist fight (oh the contrary). I put myself in the hospital trying to be thin and to this day still suffer from the long term effects of starvation over a period of twenty or so years. 2014 was the tail end of a long stretch of extreme stress and a period of dark depression for me. In the face of the catastrophic events that occured, being rail thin just didn't seem to be all that important.
So I gained a little weight and for the first time in my entire life I now have boobs and a butt, both of which I am quite proud of and really would rather not lose. About three months ago I started hitting the gym again and working to get back in the "model shape", as I've been saying lately, that I used to be. But do I really want to be that skinny again? I would like to find a middle ground—keep the big boobs and butt and tone up. I simply don't idolize the ability to have a size 2 dress be baggy on me anymore. I rather enjoy looking like a woman now rather than a teenager. As my friend Rhiannon said, "Girl, you finally hit puberty at age thirty-*cough*!" And I like it.
So, to steer back to the topic of this blog: Why am I pissed off this morning about the health industry's BMI rating?
A few months ago I obtained a new job in the high tech industry. As part of the health insurance plan we were offered a program to join called Virgin Health Miles, which monitors your activity levels throughout the year through a little pedometer. If you maintain a healthy active lifestyle you get a significant discount in your health insurance, which is mandatory in the United States now or the Government (a.k.a. the United States of Obama) will come and take your first born come tax time. You are required to fill out a health survey as part of your rating/goals including your current height and weight to get your BMI rate. I was absolutely SHOCKED when, according to their BMI (body mass index) rating, I was considered obese.
That's right OBESE.
Take a look at this unapologetically honest photo taken this morning. Please forgive the mess in the background—we're in the process of a home remodel. You tell me if I look obese to you???
Yes, I'm a little curvier than I was last year. But obesse? I seriously think not! WFT Virgin Health Miles? Could this possibly be what is fucking wrong with America's perception of body image??? And you wonder why we obsess over it, starve ourselves, shame ourselves, bully eachother constantly? You wonder why daytime talk shows are devoted to "getting fit" or "confronting your weight"? You wonder why the diet pill industry is still a billion dollar industry and why we stupid fucking Americans will buy any ridiculous pill made from some Amazon Rainforest secret fruit? Why we still spend millions every year on lipo, cool laser, and a multitude of other fat-sucking/dissolving methods to speed up the process.
You can imagine what that does to someone who is already battling a history of eating disorders. Thanks Virgin Health Miles. And go fuck yourselves.
So I suppose, if I'm obesse, then these celebrities which we all love to oggle every week in the media are as well:
That's right, depending on their height, all of these absolutely stunning women would be considered OBESE by the national BMI rating. Even Lady Gaga was shamed for daring to put on some curves since her Born This Way album for which she dropped to an almost disturbingly low weight.
I mean, how DARE Mother Monster have a butt and boobs! What is the world to think?? *rolls eyes*
I do understand that one of the number one causes of death in America today is obessity. This is an actual factual statistic. But the definition of obessity seems to have somehow along the way, perhaps out of panic or fear or fashion industry prejudice, been skewed to disregard what is actually healthy or natural. If you're a hundred pounds or more overweight, yes, you should probably take this into consideration when it comes to your health. But if a woman simply has curves, this is not "obesse". This is called BEING A WOMAN. But, thank you, Virgin Health Miles and the national BMI rating for making me feel absolutely disgusting this morning. Guess I'll go hit the gym or risk having my pedometer shame me.