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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Obesity and Health and History

So last night, I'm driving home from Oakland after a lovely night of ceili dancing, feeling good, and I tune into KQED and listen to a few minutes of Sarah Varney talking about her book XL Love. Since it's Forum, folks are calling in and asking about what's considered obese and she starts talking about BMI and how unless you're an athlete, really, at the point you're tipping into a 30 BMI, you really are obese.

And then I turned to KFOG because I remembered it was time for 10@10 and it turned out to be 1988 and it was a fabulous set and I hoped very much that my brain would let it go.

So today, I'm flipping past Facebook and hit a post of photos of Victorian burlesque dancers. And all I can think is, "How is it I'm obese, and these girls were hot?" Because I'm pretty sure I'm about as fat as this girl:
And I could pick out any of about half of the girls pictured. Some are a little heavier, some lighter, but none of them are as thin as is considered "normal weight" today.

And by BMI standards, I'm obese, and have been for the past two years, and have been overweight for the last 20+ years.

And I'm fighting the good fight, trying to lose weight, but while I eat 1 egg and a slice of Canadian bacon for breakfast, a 3 oz. piece of chicken and some steamed veggies for lunch, an apple for a snack in the afternoon, and a 3-4 oz piece of meat with some steamed veggies for dinner, and maybe a glass of wine, and I might lose a pound a week, and I can put that right back with one deviation from the plan. Meanwhile, my intern is eating 24 sausages a day for breakfast because it's what he can afford to keep him from withering away. He's sitting at the same desk I am for just as many hours, and while yes, he's a 22 year old boy, I was already overweight and fighting it long before 22 and I NEVER got to eat like that. Ever. So is it just a different genetic makeup? Because I don't eat badly. I rarely have. It was chicken breast and salad for lunch in high school. I just always gain weight unless I'm hyper-vigilant. And I'm sick and tired of it. And I'm sick of being told that the obesity epidemic is something totally new and that Americans have never been this fat before. I have to ask, "Is that really true? Or has our standard for "obese" shifted to move more people into the category." If it is true, I hate being lumped in it. I'm fatter than I should be, but it's not because I'm living on Doritos and Coke and burgers from McDonald's. What the hell is going on that I can barely shift the needle with vigorously healthy eating and at least 2 miles of walking at lunchtime per day?

Anyway, shut up brain. It doesn't make sense. It's never going to make sense.


2 Comments:

  • Here is an interesting article on the History of the BMI. The person who came up with it never intended it to measure an individual only populations.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2009/07/beyond_bmi.html

    By Blogger Alison, at 4:48 PM  

  • I remember there was a small spot of time when you were thinner for no apparent reason, too. Knowing gut flora is kind of popular now, I still wonder if cultivating different bacteria would help. Antibiotics can kill good as well as bad. And I'm thinking that we weren't really evolved to have such a highly acidic system that chugging carbonated sodas may produce.

    By Blogger Kim, at 4:14 PM  

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