The reaction to those pictures sparked an idea for this post – the idea of using another picture to tell a story that can hopefully help some of you break more chains.
(Yes, I know I said more recipes and meal plan ideas were coming, and they will! This post rose up inside me and I had to let it out! :D)
I said in the last post that I hadn’t stepped on the scale in a while. So this morning I decided to live on the edge and give ‘er a whirl again (mostly because I really wanted to write this post for all of you out there who, like me, have suffered a lifetime of the onus of The Chart hanging over your head – and I wanted it to be authentic and accurate).
Weight charts theoretically serve a purpose, in general terms. They should be a guideline, giving a range of figures that can lead us in the right direction for better health.
The problem is this – if you struggle with weight, eating, and nutrition issues, particularly if you – like me – are genuinely built large, once that number is in your head you’re never good enough again in your own mind.
You’re never skinny enough, you’re never healthy enough, you never look good enough, you’re not part of The Club: that special group of people who seem to naturally fall right into the “correct” column on The Chart.
While each of us suffers individually, thinking we’re just not good enough, not “NORMAL”, check out the numbers. According to the CDC:
- Percent of adults age 20 years and over who are obese: 35.9% (2009-2010)
- Percent of adults age 20 years and over who are overweight, including obesity: 69.2% (2009-2010)
Yup – the truth is, more of us are off The Chart than on it. While we’re over here feeling all self-conscious and inferior, so is most of the rest of the country.
Health is important, in the end it’s really the only thing that can possibly offer us the hope of a long life that allows us to see our kids grow up, meet our grandchildren, and enjoy all the wonderful things the world has to offer right up to the last possible moment.
A number does not define health. Especially when that number does more emotional damage than good.
Back to the scale this morning. The verdict – 224 lbs. I underestimated in that last post, I’ve now lost over 40 lbs. since September. This is my lowest weight in five years. (I’m 5’9″ by the way).
The BMI calculator on WebMD says I’m still “obese”. The Chart says I “should” be between 125-169 lbs. (yes, it adjusted for age and activity level).
At a *minimum*, The Chart says I should lose 55 more lbs. At maximum, 101 more lbs. If you saw that picture from the last post, you can understand more fully how frighteningly ludicrous The Chart really is.
My goal is to get under 200 lbs. I have reached an age and mental state in life where I know myself and the weight at which I am comfortable. I have a large frame and I’m very muscular. I will never be tiny.
Screw The Chart. The Chart doesn’t know me.
The picture you’re about to see is from 23 years ago. I was 19 years old and had subsisted on 1200 calories a day for months in order to get to “pageant size”. I landed at 160 lbs., in a size 10. (please – for the love of all that is good and holy – try to overlook the insanely ridiculous and huge 90s bleached out hair!)
It was very difficult to get to that weight. I wasn’t eating enough, and not enough of the right things. I was still dancing. Even so, 160 was rock bottom for me. I couldn’t break that barrier. (naturally I still thought I was enormously fat anyway)
It was not sustainable. I got married a couple years later and settled into a comfortable size 16 until I had kids. No one ever guessed I was a size 16, just as no one ever believes I weigh what I weigh now.
So, let’s look at the facts there – at age 19, going hungry, very active, I was still just 9 lbs. under what The Chart says should be my *MAXIMUM* weight now at age 41. I can only imagine what it was supposed to be at that age, pre-kids, pre-metabolism slowdown.
Why am I telling you all this, even though it’s not exactly about going grain free? Because I think The Chart can get ingrained in us so deeply that we never really exorcise that nagging notion that no matter how healthy we feel, or how happy we are in our clothes, we’re still not quite good enough.
Damn The Chart to hell. Only you know you. The goal should be feeling healthy and energetic, minimizing medical issues, and exuding confidence in yourself.
Let The Chart go.
You are a beautiful, amazing, valuable individual. Not a number.
Please share your experiences and thoughts about the weight chart with me in the comments!