So it’s been roughly a month since I’ve posted something on this blog – call it a summer vacation, if you will. Hopefully I’ll get back into the posting once a week on Thursdays routine that I had going for a while.
Also, the title of this post is to be sung in your head to the tune of “Let’s Talk About Sex” by Salt ‘n’ Pepa.
So, let’s talk about weight, baby. And other types of numbers that impact your health.
So often as an adolescent, I was exposed to adult conversation that consisted largely of discussing weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure – this was a pretty big part of the family reunions that I attended growing up. It’s great that the adults in my life were focused on numbers that were more important to their health than weight is, but at the same time there was a lot of “You lost weight – you look good!” and “I’ve put on some pounds that I need to lose” that led me to believe that being an adult was centered on a struggle to maintain a smaller waist size. But before I delve too much into whether or not those discussions are accurate representations of my own views on weight as an adult, let’s back track to the original body positivity post I created in May:
“I think it’s important to create a new cultural narrative in which we’re comfortable talking about our bodies with specific numbers, rather than the usual “never ask a lady how much she weighs” bullshit that creates body shaming.”
So here’s my big reveal: In the past four months, I’ve put on about ten pounds, making me roughly 170. This gives me a BMI of 25, which puts me in the low end of the “overweight” category. Despite putting on ten pounds or so since May, the measurements of my neck, bust, waist, and hips have all remained almost exactly the same, so I’m not entirely sure where the weight went. I’ve been relatively consistent with my walking routine, but not so consistent with the yoga – it got very boring very quickly, and I’ve been struggling to find myself motivated to continue it. Eventually that’s something I’d like to phase back into my exercise regime. Overall, however, I don’t feel overweight. I don’t think I look overweight, either. And I’ll be the first to tell you that, chances are, I’d have a hell of a time shopping in a plus sized store versus in the misses’ section in the mall. Also, I can tell you from personal experience that I’m too small for people who consider themselves “chubby chasers” or fans of “curvy” women (when “curvy” is used as a politically correct term for “fat”).
Much to my chagrin, I very much fit into the archetype of the adult who struggles with maintaining weight that I was presented with as an adolescent. To my most recent knowledge, my blood work has always come back normal, so cholesterol and blood pressure levels aren’t of concern to me. As I mentioned in my last body positvity post, my weight fluctuates quite frequently and I’ve always struggled to maintain my weight consistently. As anybody with a mental health condition can tell you, the psychiatric medications that are prescribed to alter one’s mood often alter one’s waistline as well. I recall being on Zoloft when I was thirteen and already struggling with an eating disorder NOS, and my appetite waned to the point where all I was eating was mustard packets. Currently, I believe it is the brand of the birth control pill that I am being prescribed that is affecting my appetite and thus increasing my weight. And that’s the thing – pills themselves don’t cause weight gain or weight loss. They can cause bloating, but a frequent side effect of any psychiatric medication is that it affects your appetite. It’s easy to tell someone with an average appetite that they need to change what they are eating or how much they are eating in order to gain or lose weight; when you’re struggling with constantly feeling hungry or not feeling hungry at all, ignoring what are supposed to be your most basic indicators of health becomes that much more difficult. Even right now, I can hear the battle going on within my brain: “I ate three meals today, right? Did I eat enough? Am I not eating enough? How can I still be hungry when I’ve had three meals and a snack? Why the hell do I need four meals to function? Am I eating the wrong types of foods? Am I not drinking enough water? What is wrong with me?”
With the exception of my BMI, and potentially my weight if you disregard that I’m 5’ 9”, all the numbers are in my favor. My blood work, my waist measurement, my height to waist ratio, my hip to waist ratio – they’re all in the healthy range. My doctor (whom I won’t see until December) is really the only person who can tell me whether or not my weight is a problem… but honestly? I suspect it’s not. So until proven otherwise, I’ll be paying less attention to the numbers that tell me something is wrong with me, and more attention to the feeling of contentment with my appearance and the feeling of health within my bones.