The Things Ed (and Addiction) Steals From Us

The eating disorder, or any addiction for that matter, is much more than a psychological or physical reliance on behavior or substances; it’s a physical, emotional and spiritual issue that puts blinders on our perspective, corrodes our value systems, and compromises our ability to prioritize normally. It literally takes over our life slowly and begins to damage every part of our being.

Over time, the eating disorder (or addiction) becomes our most important priority. And in order to continue fueling its demanding and ravenous needs, we must sacrifice other important aspects of our lives.

As I looked back on recovery and though about the damage it has done, I’ve realize that, like any other addiction, the eating disorder had affected everything in my life that was meaningful. I’m so thankful that I am recovered and that the eating disorder no longer has the control over any aspect of my life.

Ed (and addiction) is a thief, and these seven things are its most common targets:

  1. Relationships

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Watching someone suffer from an eating disorder or addiction can be both heart wrenching and infuriating. Although no one wants to isolate someone they love, our behaviors and mentality during active addiction often force family and friends to want to walk away. Our refusal for help and the want to engage in unhealthy behaviors makes for the worst combination. Ed quickly steals our most cherished relationships.

  1. Success

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Whether it’s performing well at work, honing our talents or continuing to learn, things that once made us feel successful are replaced by the eating disorder. The eating disorder is very good at stealing our passions and diminishing the quality of our efforts. It makes us feel like we aren’t good at anything and we will never be worthy. This is a lie.

  1. Time

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Possibly the most important commodity in life, our time is forever fleeting. Every minute, day or decade that we sacrifice to the eating disorder becomes stolen time we’ll never get back.

Aside from the life-shortening, physical consequences of our destructive behaviors, being active in our eating disorder also steals the quality, purpose and value of our time. I never realized how much time was lost until I was far in recovery and actually productive with my time and enjoying things. I was so wrapped up and consumed in the rituals of the eating disorder and I didn’t have any real time to actually live!

  1. Gratitude

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Addiction rewires the pleasure centers of our brain. Whether it’s a sunset, a child playing, or a good friend’s contagious laugh, we slowly become unappreciative to the meaningful moments in our lives. Experiencing the world through a veil of the eating disorder makes seeing or feeling things we once loved increasingly more difficult. The eating disorder makes us lose meaning in what is important in life.

  1. Spirituality

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Whether it’s through religion, nature, philosophy, art or anything else, spirituality is an important aspect of our human experience. The eating disorder quickly steals our wonder and peace; it destroys our ability to dream. In the deepest of my eating disorder, trying to dig myself out, I realized that I was drawn so far from my faith that I didn’t know who I was anymore. This may have been the most detrimental loss for a period of time. Everything loses meaning when you lose your faith. Finding my faith and my relationship with God again is what saved my life. There is a reason why Alcoholics Anonymous has a focus on a higher power.

  1. Happiness

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Once we lose our loved ones, our ambition, our gratitude and our spirit, happiness becomes harder and harder to hold onto.The eating disorder promises us happiness, but simply supplements our discontent with short-term escapes. It continues to raise the bar on us as we continue to strive for what is promised. As we work harder for the happiness, it seems to get farther and farther away. As we begin to lose our happiness, it also becomes easier to steal our hope.

  1. Hope

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Once addiction steals everything else, the only remaining thing to steal is our hope. From recommitting to future goals, to mending our broken relationships, the hope of regaining our lives is continually taken as we remain in active in the eating disorder. To regain hope, we must first recognize the culprit that has taken everything away. Not everyone experiences addiction the same, but the disease is predictable in terms of what it steals from us. The eating disorder and addiction is a thief of our time, our minds, our hearts and our relationships. After taking everything else, addiction also tries to steal the hope of our recovery. These are the points in recovery when you want to give up, turn and run or feel like you can’t go on anymore. I saw a pattern in my recovery when I frequently said, “I need to take a break from all of this.” What that really meant was that I was beaten down, tired of fighting, and worn out from the loss of hope for being fully recovered. However, quality treatment programs offer millions of individuals hope when there seems to be none. I was very lucky enough to have a treatment team that recognized those statements and didn’t allow me to “take a break” from appointments. I think when we journey in recovery, this is one of the firs things we get back. Once we begin to regain our hope of recovery, we can also begin to recover the other stolen parts of our lives.

The good thing is, these things can be given back. Although we can never get back the time that was lost in the eating disorder or addiction, we can spend time building new relationships, memories and successes. Once we decided we want a healthy life (and it is possible) we can immediately have hope as we enter treatment to begin the journey toward finding our self. As we find success in recovery we learn to value gratitude and see the little things in life, feel true happiness, regain our sense of spirituality and everything comes back around, full-circle. Although we momentarily lose some things, through recovery we learn valuable lessons and become stronger for it.

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Strong(her)

I have been thinking back on the years of therapy, and looking at how far I’ve come, as I patiently wait to completely finish and I thought about how much shame and embarrassment I felt for even having an eating disorder. I wanted to hide this disease from everyone and if people found out I was terrified they would judge me. I can’t say I’m one who broadcasts it to the world, but I can say that I no longer feel shame for saying an eating disorder was a part of my life. I no longer feel shame or embarrassment attached to the idea.

I think we live in a world where eating disorders are seen as something that is vain, and many people don’t understand them, but we also live in a world where the stigma of mental illness is losing the grip it once had. In this information age, people are realizing more and more that illnesses like depression isn’t just something that people can “get over” and smile through, and eating disorders aren’t about beauty and food.

So, what if you looked at the eating disorder through a different lens –  How would you view yourself?

Think about.

What if you saw it as something that wasn’t so shameful, or embarrassing? What if it was just something that you needed for a time period? What if it was something that you turned to for help for a period of time because you didn’t know what else to do? Would you cut yourself a break? What if it was just a coping mechanism, or a survival mechanism, to get you through a terrible life situation, or to help you deal with something that was so traumatic or difficult? You know, like a survival skill you learned.

How would you view yourself now?

Would you view yourself as having a shameful flaw, or would you view yourself as being strong for figuring out how to survive? Given the situation that you were in, you found a way to manage (Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a healthy way to manage, but you found a coping skill when you had none, even if it was an unhealthy coping skill – and you didn’t end your life). When things were so hard to deal with, you found a way to handle what you were going through… you were able to say, “It’s okay, I’m going to do ______ and I’m going to be okay.” You made an attempt to “be okay.” You wanted to be okay. You fought to be okay when you felt like you had nothing else. Doesn’t that make you strong?

Think about it.

What does it say about you going into recovery? It says that you no longer need the eating disorder because it no longer serves a purpose in your life. You are willing to accept help and change. You’re now even stronger than you were before because you are willing to learn new and healthier ways to cope with life. Maybe it did serve a purpose for some time, but now you realize that it no longer does what it used to do for you. You’re stronger because you can see that these disorders kill.

Sure, it was a maladaptive coping skill, but that maladaptive coping skill saved your life for a period of time. It kept you fighting through a difficult situation – whatever it might have been. Now you’re learning new coping skills; healthy ones. You don’t need the eating disorder because you don’t have to do it on your own anymore. You are stronger because you are willing to save your own life now – you don’t need the disorder to do it for you.You don’t have to figure it out on your own anymore because you have support.

Think about it.

You’re eating disorder doesn’t make you weak… It makes you strong because you thought to hold on and find a way to “be okay” in a dysfunctional situation you might have been in. You did what you had to do to get through, but now you don’t need that survival skill anymore. You were strong by yourself for long enough. Now, in order to stay alive, we have to let go of that maladaptive survival skill we learned because it doesn’t fit in our lives anymore. Each day you are even stronger because you are learning to live without it. Recovery is for the strongest ones.

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Beach Bodies

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:

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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!!

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OK – Back to our beach bodies!

I came across this image about beach bodies and BMI.

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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! 🙂

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And because everyone needs a laugh mid-week…. this will be me on the beach…. for real!

irish girlThe sad part is, I’m not even kidding… that’s why I buy SPF 100! 🙂 But with that SPF 100, I’ll be gettin’ my tan peach on!

Faith In Your Body

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In our society today, body confidence can sometimes be hard to find. Any person would be a liar if they said they had confidence all the time with absolutely no problems. Body confidence is something we can have, but sadly seems like something we have to work for.

Misty Copeland is a pioneer in the field of body confidence and a woman whom I love! Maybe I love her because my body looks like hers. I grew up as a dancer and struggled to make sense of my athletic build in the mirror, whereas Misty has embraced it and has made a movement and danced all the way to become the very first African-American principal dancer with the American Ballet Academy.

For anyone who has no idea what this means… it’s kind of a big freaking deal! J In the past, Misty had often been rejected due to her outer appearance and body proportions. In an interview Misty said, “As an adult, I was told that I didn’t have the right skin color. I was too muscular. I was too curvy. My breasts were too big. I was too short.” In a world where your body is your tool, and often scrutinized, this is hard to hear, but she didn’t stop.

Misty told NPR in September that breaking into ballet as an African-American is immensely difficult due a combination of racism and reluctance to change a traditional art form. “I think it’s just something maybe that I will never escape from those people who are narrow-minded,” Misty told NPR. “But my mission, my voice, my story, my message is not for them. And I think it’s more important to think of the people that I am influencing and helping to see a broader picture of what beauty is.”

I’ll give the quick reasons why Misty making principal ballerina is SO important :

  • Misty came from a very tough background
  • Misty only started dancing when she was 13, far past the age when dancers start (I started at 6)
  • Misty is an African American woman in a world of ballerinas dominated by white women
  • Misty is curvy and has an awesome athletic build
  • Misty has a bust which is highly uncommon for ballerinas

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We all know what the common ballerina looks like and Misty is not that. When you see her dance, she proves that she is just as good, if not better than any other ballerina out there. This video speaks for itself. It goes to show that there is no mold for beauty and the traditional standards are being broken. If we stand in confidence of our bodies, there will be a shift in what is expected. Misty has started that revolution in the ballet community just as many others have in other communities. The more we work at loving ourselves the less power the world has at telling us we shouldn’t. Her unchartered rise to greatness shows that faith in your body can take you places that you never imagined! Imagine what you could do!

Super Soul Sunday: Ballerina Misty Copeland [Original Short] from Zachary D. Perlinski on Vimeo.

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The Frogs In Our Lives

I was in Bible study the other week and we were discussing the plagues God brought down on the Pharaoh until he let Moses and the people of Israel free. We specifically talked about the story of the Pharaoh and the frogs. As we discussed this story I couldn’t help but think about how it relates directly with what we do in life and in recovery.

The Scripture:

9 “You set the time!” Moses replied. “Tell me when you want me to pray for you, your officials, and your people. Then you and your houses will be rid of the frogs. They will remain only in the Nile River.” 10 “Do it tomorrow,” Pharaoh said.  – Exodus 8:9-10

Just try to picture it! There were frogs everywhere. They were in the bed, in the kitchen, in the sitting rooms, in the oven, even mixed in the bread dough. God had said to Pharaoh, through Moses, “If you refuse to let my people go, I will smite all your borders with frogs.” Pharaoh refused to let God’s people go, and now there were frogs everywhere! His pride was too much to believe what this God could do.

Imagine frogs jumping in your bed, clothes, on your lap and even on your body at all times. Everywhere you turn and every door you open is filled with frogs and you can’t get away from them. When you get in bed and pull the covers up, frogs come pouring out! When you open a cupboard door for something to eat, frogs come pouring out! When you try to sit on the toilet, frogs come pouring out!

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Pharaoh could no longer stand it so he called Moses and Moses said to Pharaoh, “I will ask God to take the frogs out of the land, you just tell me when shall God remove the frogs?” And, Pharaoh told Moses, “Wait until tomorrow, give me one more night with the frogs!”

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There were millions of big disgusting smelly frogs all over the land of Egypt and, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out the Pharaoh’s response. There were frogs everywhere –  in the bed, in the food, in all the houses and even in the Egyptian’s clothing. God was ready to remove them all and Pharaoh said, “Wait until tomorrow, give me one more night with the frogs!” This man was nuts! This day in age he could be admitted into a psych ward for observation for responding like that! At first, I thought it was just pride – he was too proud to admit that this mighty God could remove them all and save him from these menacing frogs. I was wrong. This is the picture of an unbeliever who is not only rebellious and proud, but also procrastinating.

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(So gross!!!! Can you even imagine being surrounded by these nasty things?)

How it relates to life and recovery:

This made me think about who we are as people in life and recovery. We are famous for the word “tomorrow”. We are famous for saying that what we have to do can be started tomorrow, and we forget that it should be started now. We have frogs, you know. I’m talking about the frogs of troubles, doubt, burdens, suffering, sickness, sorrow, disappointments and heartaches. Frogs of difficulty, grief, strife, confusion and stress; they plague us morning, noon and night. They are constant in our life. We get so caught up and used to the “frogs” that are around us that we are okay with spending another night with them. We say, “eeehh… I’ll spend one more night with them, I’ll take the leap tomorrow because I’m so used to them that I don’t have to change right now”. And maybe the change that has to happen is harder than dealing with the frogs that are there. Can you imagine being a pompous Pharaoh having to admit that this God he denied is real and powerful? The thing is, we don’t have to live with the frogs, and we aren’t supposed to live with the frogs! We are supposed to live a happy and healthy life and waiting to start tomorrow prevents us from doing that! The frogs are menacing and the change that comes with the frogs is typically a type of good or positive change! When you go through something tough, rarely do you say “I learned nothing from that! What a waste of my time!” We usually learn a lot which is why we have the old saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

There are times when we are so focused on the situation in front of us that we don’t ask for help from anyone to help us remove the frogs. When we don’t ask for help, we sit with the frogs when we don’t have to. When we keep the frogs in our lives, we also keep unhappiness and everything else that comes with it.

In regards to recovery, the eating disorder frog is not going to go away overnight, but the longer we say we will start tomorrow, the harder it will be to overcome. This is also true with anything in our lives. The longer we let anything fester, the bigger and uglier it can become. If it’s dealt with right away, it has a better change of healing and healing fast. The more we put anything off, the more painful the process becomes.

Do any of these statements sound familiar, or are they close to other statements you’ve made?

“I know I should. I’m planning to do it sometime. Maybe I will do it tomorrow.”

“I’ll get to it.”

“I don’t feel like it right now. It will get done eventually.”

“I’ll start going to church tomorrow.”

“I’ll start recovery tomorrow.”  Or “I’ll get back on my meal plan tomorrow.”    (or any variation of that)

“I’ll start working out to eat healthy tomorrow.”

“I’ll start fixing my relationships with people tomorrow.”

“I’ll clean up tomorrow.”

“I’ll start looking for a new job tomorrow.”

“My legs are sore, I’ll stop running and take some rest days tomorrow.”

“I haven’t seen my family much, I’ll work less starting tomorrow.”

“I’ll call the bank/credit company and work out the problems tomorrow.”

The problem with “tomorrow” is that tomorrow may never come. When we keep putting things off, we only waste time and potentially hurt ourselves and those around us. When we continually live with the frogs around us we sacrifice happiness and living a fulfilled life.

We all have frogs!

I noticed that I had this problem with the frogs for a while. I continually made excuses about why I couldn’t make weekly meal plans and always said I’d get to it next week. I realized that I never really got to it next week. I continually got comfortable in my lack of structure with dinner plans. I finally got to the point where I had to just do it! I had to sit down and force myself to make a weekly dinner plan to take away the cluster and confusion of deciding what to eat each night. This frog would have me frustrated when I couldn’t decide what to eat after a long day and it would leave me irritated. It wasn’t worth the moments of frustration when all I had to do was stop procrastinating.

Procrastination and putting off what has to be done leads to stress and worry (and we all have enough of that in our lives). We give up peace of mind and happiness when we do that. For many years I made excuses and said I wasn’t sick enough to get help and that I would get help if it got worse, but I just never did get help. My “tomorrow” had to be when I was near rock bottom. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble and frustration if I would have just stopped putting it off for tomorrow.

We don’t have to live in these situations, or with these frogs all around us. We can make the choice to fix it today. God wants us to be happy and live a fulfilled life of abundance and it’s very hard to do that when we are stuck in, or focused on, the situation in front of us. Getting too comfortable with where you are, and what you are dealing with, can lead to being okay with the frogs in your life. God wants to get rid of your frogs and to help make you happy! I hope you’re able to strive for more because life without the frogs is so much better! (so is being recovered!)

If you’re putting off calling for help for your eating disorder, food issues, or any other problem, do a quick google search for a therapy office near you and schedule an appointment. Take the first step toward happiness and getting rid of the frogs in your life! You deserve happiness!

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#No Thigh Gap

Somewhat recently, the words “thigh gap” have had a tremendous impact on the Internet and the body image of women everywhere. Since it first surfaced, the term has been nothing but damaging. It has sparked “thinspiration” images on social media and has prompted retailers who Photoshop their models’ legs in order to make their proportions seem disturbingly (and disgustingly) thinner. Some retailers even went to the point of actually getting mannequins with legs that are too thin with the thigh gap! Here is a girl who is a healthy size 4 standing by a mannequin!

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Let’s not forget the awful production from Target showing the model who was butchered at the start of last year’s bathing suit season! She lost a good portion of her vagina and cervix in order to achieve the Thigh Gap. I don’t know if she made it through that experience … RIP, poor soul!

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Sadly, the backlash from people who “fight the thigh gap” have unintentionally made some of those who are naturally skinny feel shamed by body they are in, so this “war” affects both sides.

Recently, and thankfully, there was a lull in the “thigh gap” debate. But the term has emerged with an empowering message that raises awareness about body positivity, and it’s all thanks Lena Dunham. The actress shared a close-up photo of her leg in a pair of shorts with the hashtag #NoThighGap on Instagram, and her simple act has started a revolution!

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Women have begun sharing their own photos on Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter, and have turned the #NoThighGap hashtag into a body positive movement. The hashtag has become a hub of love and pride for our bodies (as we all should have).

The movement is by no means saying that your legs are not beautiful if you have a thigh gap, but it’s there to celebrate the diversity in bodies that are not typically celebrated by the media. In fact, there are many people who just cannot physically obtain the thigh gap based on their physiological structure. Our muscle/fat/pelvis size all play a role in whether a person can have a thigh gap. I had the thigh gap once… when I was so sick I was almost dead.  I didn’t realize the complexity of it all (the thigh gap) until I stumbled across this blog post which breaks down the information very well: (if you read the article – I’m the athletic Mesomorph – it’s nearly impossible for me to obtain the thigh gap – and I accept that). Let’s all be totally honest – most of the world does not have a thigh gap! Most of the healthy world will always have thighs that touch! We are built to have fat on our legs and that is healthy and okay. The percentage of people who naturally have a thigh gap is so low that it doesn’t even matter to me in this blog post 🙂

It’s important we remember that a thigh gap is not a measure of health (or even skinniness). We’re all built and shaped differently — and that’s an absolutely wonderful thing!! What’s “right” or healthy for one body isn’t going to be what’s right for every body. If hashtags like #NoThighGap can help us to recognize that, then maybe they will also help us to foster an acceptance of ALL body types and encourage a more open-minded perspective of what “healthy” looks like. “Healthy” is a large variety and looks very different for every person. My “healthy” is very different from your “healthy”.

Our worth should not be determined based on the space between our thighs, however wide or nonexistent that space may be. Whether or not any of us has a thigh gap, we should appreciate our bodies for what they are capable of doing, rather than how they look and if they adhere to a very narrow idea of what is acceptable and beautiful. This is something that I’m trying hard to do, and succeeding at more and more each day! Our bodies were made to do some pretty amazing things and the more we focus on what it can do, the less we will focus on what we think it should be or look like. This isn’t something that is easy to do, but it is well worth the struggle to achieve it! Body positivity and appreciation is something that amazing and freeing when you finally find it!

So… for the movement… let’s look at some of the #NoThighGap posts!

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BMI… and how bogus it really is!

There is a lot to say on this subject, but I’ll try hard to stay on topic and not sound like I’m in a rage.

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BMI (Body-Mass Index) has been a thorn in my side for some time now. It has caused many tears on the couch of my therapist, and many angry conversations and tantrums through the course of my recovery. I can still say that I don’t like BMI, but at least at this point I understand it and bogus it can be!

Let’s start with me: First, I am an athlete. I have always been an athlete and I hope to always be. I am a runner and a field hockey player. Because of my years of intense athletics, I have developed strong muscles. I am a muscular athlete. According to the BMI, I am probably in the overweight category right now. My muscle tissue from all the activity keeps my weight higher and it will constantly keep me in the overweight category. I have finally accepted this and there is nothing I can do about it. I like and need my strong muscles. I prefer them!

Now – let’s look at some hotties (without shirts on) of whom you may know.

Dwayne Johnson has a BMI, of 34.3. Which means, according to U.S. government standards, the Rock is obese.

the-rock

His co-star Vin Diesel is overweight at 27.1.

vin diesel If Johnson and Diesel aren’t the first guys you think of when you ponder America’s obesity problem, you can see the problem with the BMI, a ratio of weight to height, as a tool to judge an individual’s fitness or health risks.

So…. after much frustration and acceptance of my own BMI (and after many tears)…. I decided to do a lot of research to educate myself about how bogus this thing can be. Yes, my therapist said it to me a few times, but I think I needed to do the leg work on my own. So, I’ll break it down and save others the trouble 🙂

Background: The BMI was introduced in 1832 by a Belgian named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. He was a bmimathematician, not a physician. He produced the formula to give a quick and easy way to measure the degree of obesity of the general population. It was created for a quick measure for allocation of resources. He said explicitly that it could not and should not be used to indicate the level of fatness in an individual. He observed that human weight “increases as a square of the height,” except during infancy and the adolescent growth spurt.

So why is his formula kind of dumb? It makes no allowance for the proportions of bone, muscle and fat in the body. A person with strong bones, good muscle tone, and low fat will have a high BMI. Thus, athletes and fit, health-conscious people who work out tend to find themselves classified as overweight or even obese. In addition, it ignores waist size, which is a clear indicator of obesity level.

So where did all these categories and “YOU’RE FAT” come from?????  Because this guy didn’t say it.

1940’s: The focus on obesity and its complications for health started with the insurance industry in the mid-20th Century. Insurance companies published their first set of weight-for-height tables in 1942, and then updated it in 1959. The U.S. government started using BMI in 1980 to establish cutoffs for what was described as “ideal,” “desirable,” “suggested,” or “acceptable” weight. Go back and read that sentence again. They decided what weight and BMI was “good” or “bad” based on that formula made by a mathematician.

Now let’s apply this information to what do we know about humans? We are two basic genders, many different heights, several body types, many ethnicities and countless levels of activity. Each has a slightly different distribution of height and weight, but we are all graded on the same scale… to the decimal point. (But if you notice one decimal point is the sharp change from one category to the next!)

 In this photo – all of these women weigh 150lbs but they all look very different! 2192-aussie-average

Here is the problem – BMI can’t distinguish between fat and lean tissue, nor can it distinguish between different types of fat.

We know the visceral fat, the type that accumulates around your organs, puts your health in danger. The fat women hold in their hips and thighs is linked to a lower risk of chronic health problems. So, the good fat and the bad fat get the same “bad name” here.

Also, muscle changes the whole game – it’s the wild card. The wild card that causes a lot of problems.

Remember our obese and overweight hotties at the top – The Rock and Vin Diesel? Muscle weighs more than fat… a lot more than fat!

The whole “Muscle weighs more than fat” thing is a true statement, SORT OF…. a pound is a pound, so 1 pound of muscle weighs the same as 1 pound of fat. However, muscle is more dense and takes up MUCH less space than fat.
See for yourself!!

muscle-vs-fat

Here is a great example of body composition. Weight and BMI can look very different depending upon diet and exercise.

The most obvious problem that we started with: People who are taller and/or more solid—like countless athletes or people into working out—are lumped in with people who are soft and sedentary.

Example: I went to a neurology appointment an a nurse, who should have seen in my chart that I’m recovering from Anorexia, told me that I’m overweight and should be worried about about obesity.

What I really wanted to do to her was this:

slap

I realize now that she could not take into consideration my muscle mass. She had no idea that I eat healthy, run very regularly, and that I am a frequent flyer in hot yoga classes. She was basing my health on ONE component.

Where does everyone go from here?

  • BMI isn’t going anywhere. Some doctors believe in it, and others understand how bogus it can be in certain cases.
  • BMI is only ONE indicator of health. It is ONE small factor in a huge list of things taken into consideration.
  • Being placed in a category does not make you who you are. Look at it rationally.
  • The number that comes up on the scale means nothing if you are healthy and in a safe range.
  • Doctors need a range for the many Americans who aren’t healthy (because so many aren’t). Be aware if you don’t fall into that category. Think about your bone structure, density, muscle mass etc.
  • Your body has a set point that it wants to be no matter what that bogus formula says! As long as you are eating balanced and healthy it will fall into that set point and maintain.

If you want some more interesting reading …. as if this post isn’t long enough…. here is a cool link I found of a ton of people and their height and weight/BMI listed. Some will shock you!

BMI Calculated With Real People