Welcome to part two of the unexpected, unscripted body image blogs. If you haven’t read part one yet, pop over here to read.
This one is easy for me to write because I’m copy/pasting a response to part one from one of my real life friends – let’s call her “P”. I know I can always get honest feedback from her. We met at work in the smoke pit and before we started to get to know each other, I would purposely not on purpose listen to her talk to her mom on the phone. The thing is that P was born and raised in Germany and so I would get to listen to what I thought was a horrific argument in German, but she has repeatedly told me they were probably only talking about the weather or other mundane things. Cracks me up just thinking about it!
To learn more about her, feel free to pop over to her FB Page Burg Bellevue and coming soon blog. Mini description of what’s to come for her: “Join us on our adventure to go tiny, build a farm, build a castle and build our biggest dream yet! A page about homesteading, horses, tiny house living and sustainability. And Castle stuff…. (Yes, really, we’re building a tiny castle…)“
And from that intro, please enjoy her comment to part one of an unexpected two part blog:
From an equally tall woman, hear the following psa loud and clear please:
Bmi was made by men for men and then "translated" to women because women are small and dainty and therefore any woman above 5'7" will show up overweight or obese if they're not anorexic. This is because the linear formula for men was followed "down" for women in height and then back up at a smaller % weight for each inch height cause women are "little". Boobs and hips and butt aren't allowed to weight anything, only male lean muscle mass weighs as men do. Et voila, a scale that measures men distorted poorly for women.
I know this because at age 20-25, the military obsessed over my height, weight and bmi on a semiannual basis. Every year for years. I was always "overweight" on height/weight, so I had to get "measured" to confirm that my weight is accumulated in the right parts of my body for a mathematical formula to determine that I don't "fail" the PRT (physical readiness test) no matter what my actual athletic performance was. Let that sink in for a minute. Even though my athletic performance met all the standards at better than average I still have to get MEASURED to determine if I'm physically FIT enough and not overweight. This is, obviously, ridiculous. But the military isn't exactly made for women.
At age 35 I hit a midlife crisis and decided martial arts will fix it. At age 36 i was in THE best physical shape of my adult life. Including military times. I used to beat the crap out of 20 year old men. I had cardio, strength, balance, flexibility, mobility and technique. The bmi chart called me overweight. Inspite of being physiologically the closest to the tall, lean and athletic beauty ideal you could be without getting paid to work out for a living. I have smashing photos to prove this. Overweight my ass.
At 38 my life burned down and I deteriorated into serious depression (as opposed to my usual incurable depression) and in a matter of a couple of months I stress starved a solid 20lbs off without trying. That's the ONLY time in my adult life my 5'10" ass was ever not "overweight" according to bmi scales for women. I was also unhealthy and weak af.
I'm past 40 now. I've gained at least 25 maybe 30lbs back since the last major depressive episode. According to bmi charts I'm "overweight". I wear a size 10 to 12 today, depending on the brand. I miss being in fighting shape because I miss being able to move, lift, DO like I used to. I do not miss the constant injuries but the pain from being sedative sucks too so either way you're eating ibuprofen lol.
I've sincerely had VA doctors absent-mindedly look at my charts instead of me and suggest that I should loose a few pounds "for my health" during my fighting days. It wasn't until I started laughing they looked up and went oh... ok... maybe not.
I don't own a scale. I haven't that I can recall as an adult. I weigh myself at the doctors every couple of 6 months or so. Because at age 20 the military taught me that the numbers are complete bullshit. Bmi, height and weight are useless for women over 5'7". If you feel like getting a displacement test, that'll give you a better idea. But why bother?!
The numbers that are ACTUALLY important are your blood pressure, lipid numbers and fasting glucose. What you should pay attention to is your heart rate after 15 minutes of moderate continuous cardio and how long it takes to get back to resting. Especially as a smoker. (I'll never get that shit together lol.)What's important is that your clothes fit comfortably and you don't have to buy a size bigger every season.
Long story short: tall women fall out of the bmi chart no matter what "shape" you're in. Because bmi charts weren't made for women. Throw away the scale and buy a blood pressure cuff and glucose meter instead. Walk because it's good for you. Eat consciously because heart attacks kill not because size 6 is enough vogue.
Seriously, at 5'10" and solid muscle with a body fat percentage low enough to disrupt my menstrual cycle (this approaches anorexic bmis by medical opinion) I showed as overweight because tall women aren't measured correctly by the charts.
Also, I haven't seen you in person in a hot minute but from the pictures you post I can affirm that you're in far better "shape" now than your old days. I saw you daily back then. You "look" WAY healthier now. Not just the size of your waist, hips or booty. But your face. Your eyes. Your skin. Your hair. You've got a healthy shine to your hair that's new because before sobriety it wasn't there. It was dullish. And your skin is clear, hydrated and not nearly as brittle wrinkled as during the drinking days.
If you need confirmation, side by side compare your favorite recent photograph to your "blood pressure episode that landed you in the hospital at work" picture. You'll see what I mean.
In summary: Fuck bmi for tall women. It's bullshit. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
And back over to Monica. I think the reason why I value her insight so much is because it is full of experience and fact. I know reading through this the first time, I gasped a couple times, laughed a couple more and felt myself nodding throughout. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in this, but it’s horrifying to see what crap someone has been through because she didn’t measure up “properly” on a scale that is skewed (IMHO).
So, with that, I want to end this with a healthy cry of “THROW OUT YOUR F**KING SCALE!! AND TELL YOUR BMI CHART TO SUCK MY OVARIES!” ❤
Love and light, y’all! Happy Sunday Funday!