I should be doing school work, or going out for a run in prep for a 10 miler coming up, but instead I felt the need to write about summer beach bodies! 🙂
I’m going on vacation to Aruba this Sunday and I couldn’t care less what I look like in my bathing suit because I’ll be reading some books on the beach in between my sangrias and dips in the ocean. I’ve come to accept my athletic build as part of who I am, but that hasn’t come easy. It came with many sessions of my therapist
screaming in my face gently reminding me that body mass index, or BMI, is bogus and that it isn’t a real measure of how healthy a person really is.
She may have talked to me
two, three, four, ten, twelve times and it may have looked like this by the end:
Let’s be honest, people! We don’t hear the crap they say the first time they say it!!! 🙂
Just kidding (but she probably looked like that on the inside). BMI did come up a lot, and I’m sure it was exhausting to repeat before it sank in and I could finally “hear” it. I finally had to do my own research and I talked a lot about BMI and how bogus it is in a previous post here.
After many rounds at the doctors, I realized that I will probably always be tipping the scales close to, or in the overweight category simply because I have a strong athletic build. I’ve had my fair share of doctors tell me that my glutes are strong and well developed and that my hamstrings and quads are as well (hence why they are always tight and I have issues). Oh the life of a field hockey player with strong legs and glutes!!
OK – Back to our beach bodies!
I came across this image about beach bodies and BMI.
The illustrations were created from scans of six people in New York, who were all 5 feet 9 inches tall and 172 pounds. This means that though their bodies look very different, they all have exactly the same BMI. At 25.4, technically each of them could be considered overweight. (By the most common definition people with a BMI over 25 are overweight and those with a BMI over 30 are considered obese.)
How is it possible, you say? The simple explanation is that muscle and bone are denser than fat and some people carry more or less weight in their torso or legs.
BMI only considers height and weight, so it won’t consider the athletic guy’s muscle mass sitting on the beach next to the guy with the beer belly weighing the same, who is secretly chugging that beer from a soda can.
Alas, research is starting to catch up! A really boring research article that’s tough to read came out! You can read it here if you have all the time in the world to figure out what all the numbers mean! It is basically suggesting that body fat percentage and body composition are more important indicators of health than weight alone. DUH! It also means that burning calories and losing weight for a beach body isn’t the answer, and that building muscle is also part of a healthy body. woo hoo – I’m on track for health! 🙂
So, as I lay on the beach in my healthy body, wearing my SPF 100 (so I don’t burn), I’ll appreciate that I don’t give a crap about BMI, and that I just laugh in my doctor’s face each time they try to tell me that I’m overweight. I’m still eating my ice cream, doc!
And when they finally do away with BMI, I’ll be the one laughing considering I have done away with it long before! 🙂
And because everyone needs a laugh mid-week…. this will be me on the beach…. for real!