My work has recently launched its “wellbeing” program. Basically it’s corporate social responsibility and is seen in corporate environments where people tend to develop unhealthy habits. It’s probably a tax thing too but I never really looked that much into it. As part of the program, we have an online portal to track fitness and healthy initiatives etc. There was an initial health check quiz as well which was fun.
I was also recently speaking with a friend who has started a new fitness regime.
There’s a common theme between the two. Both the test and my friends initial fitness test contained a BMI calculation. For those unaware, the BMI or Body Mass Index, is the fitness industry’s way of putting everyone into one of six boxes from underweight to morbidly obese. Simply by using their height and weight. I did mine on the Australian Heart Foundation website, you can see the results below.
I have sat in the Severely/Morbidly Obese category since I was 14, I’m now 27. My weight has fluctuated, unfortunately I haven’t gotten taller. I’ve always said I was too short for my weight, because it sounds better than I’m morbidly obese, I don’t think they call it that anymore but that’s what a specialist told me at 14 and it’s stuck with me ever since.
So what’s the problem?
I’m not morbidly obese, I accept I am a little overweight but I am by no stretch obese and I think this language is damaging. To be told at the start of a new fitness kick that you are obese is horrible and can be the reason the kick doesn’t turn into a habit.
The other issue here is that for me to be between 49 and 66kgs I would quite literally be skin and bone and I would still struggle to meet those measurements. The BMI doesn’t take into account things like body shape or muscles mass. This is where your body scans come in handy, they measure it better but still include a BMI figure. I used to train legs so much that my quads are just about rock hard and they are all muscle. We all know muscle is denser than fat and so that plays on the scales too. Not to mention the assets I was blessed with and am not willing to lose.
If the ludicrousness of BMI is not yet apparent, take a look at the below:
Does this person look obese to you? According to the BMI they are. What about this?
They don’t look obese or what one would consider morbidly obese. They look like a regular person. I’m glad you agree, because here’s the originals:
Images (L-R): July 2016, December 2014, July 2015, September 2014
Yep, they’re all me, all at different times and stages of fitness. Now do you understand why the BMI is ridiculous and should be scrapped? For reference, the below is what should be considered Morbidly Obese, because he is at very real risk of death. As am I, but not because I’m a little pudgy around the middle.
So please do not think that the BMI defines you. It doesn’t. Everyone knows its a load of codswallop and should be thrown in the bin. There is no mathematical equation for health and no easy trick or we would all be a healthy size.
It doesn’t matter what that BMI number is, nor the number when you step on the scales. What does matter is how you feel, and if you feel fabulous, then work it! You are an amazing little individual and you can do this.
Now I am off to go buy a new Fitbit, which will be reimbursed by work, which is kind of cool.
Stay cool kids!