I recently had my annual physical and I was like pffffft….I’ve got this thing in the bag.
Heart? Sounded A-OK.
Lungs? All clear.
Yes, I wear my safety belt. I drink alcohol in moderation. And no, I don’t smoke.
I was sailing toward a bill of health cleaner than my mother’s kitchen when…
The doctor looked over my paperwork and saw my weight. Hmmmm, she said, for your height and weight, your BMI is high and you are very close to being obese.
For those of you who are not familiar with BMI, or body mass index, it is a conspiracy cooked up by health professionals to figure out new ways to guilt you into losing weight.
It takes into account your height and weight and then comes up with a score to determine if you are like porridge in a Goldilocks fairy tale: Underweight, overweight or just right.
But even at the news about my BMI, I was not fazed.
Then I raised the question that I should have left unasked.
So, doctor, how much weight do I need to lose? (I figured five pounds would be a reasonable answer.)
“Fifteen pounds” came her reply.
The room started to spin.
My righteous indignation started to rise.
Protests began to form on my lips.
Fifteen pounds! Now look here, I work out religiously four to five days a week, at least 30 minutes of hardcore exercise each time.
She acknowledged that was good but said the issue was probably my food intake.
You mean my beloved cookies the size of Frisbees that I get at the Jefferson Diner in New Jersey?
You mean the processed snack bars that are promoted as healthy but are still loaded with a bit too much sugar and carbs? Or my less-than-optimal daily intake of vegetables?
In the Supreme Court of Calories, I want to strike a plea bargain.
BMI is an imperfect measure of body fat that was originally intended to assess the obesity rates of a population of people. Applied to individuals, one size does not fit all.
Further, it does not differentiate between fat and muscle, so if you work out with weights (which I do) you could be penalized.
An article in Men’s Health magazine makes the point that you know if you are overweight.
How do your clothes fit? Do you have trouble making it up a flight of stairs? What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Now, it is true that what you eat matters more in some ways than how much you exercise. That is an area where I do have room to improve.
So I’m resolving to try to cut back on my sweets and maybe watch my portion control a little more closely. And maybe extend my workouts a bit each day.
I figure what I have got to lose — except 15 pounds.
Have a question or a comment? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org