TOLT #56 – Why Numbers Matter Part 3

In the past I have been very upbeat about my weight. Part of this has been due to the privilege of being “thin” for most of my life. I didn’t come by being thin easily, but I have been thin for most of my life due to periods of restrictive eating and periods of taking care of my body. No matter what, I’ve always fallen at average or lower, so weight has not concerned me that much….until my recent doctor’s appointment.

This time around, for my yearly physical, I weighed in at 145lbs. I am about 5’8″ tall, so if you do my BMI that puts me in the average category….no biggie right? Well, normally I’d agree except this time it wasn’t a moment of normalcy for me.

Before I go any further, I want to state that I know that weight is a touchy subject for a lot of people and I am by no means overweight or obese, so the question will always come, “Why am I complaining?”. I’m not. I’m just taking notice of a few things.

First is that I have weighed 145lbs before in my life and it didn’t concern me then. Being concerned by my weight is a red flag for me. I suffered from severe patterns of restrictive eating in my past and (I’m not going to lie about it) even tried taking over the counter diet pills for awhile (in secret) during my first marriage. Seeing my weight as a problem is the first sign that I need to be more aware of the choices I’m making in order to be sure that I do not fall back into those restrictive eating patterns. I also need to make sure that I don’t take a defeatist attitude and just let things go by the wayside.

What do I mean by that? Well, the reason that I have been vigilant about the industry I am in is because I come from a family that has a huge problem with weight and the associated health problems that can come from being overweight or obese. My family has heart disease, diabetes, and other problems for which I am concerned.

My graduation party, 1999
My graduation party, May 1999

I considered my weight when I graduated high school (118lbs) and realized that in the past 18 years of my life I have gained an extra 27lbs. That equals out to being 1.5lbs/year. Because I’m a numbers person I then started looking forward…..

I hope to live a long life as have most of the women in my family (despite their health problems)….so, we’re going to say at least 90. That gives me 54 more years. At a rate of 1.5lbs/year weight gain I would be roughly 226lbs at age 90. This would put my BMI at 35.5 (approximately). That’s assuming that I don’t shrink any with age.

Okay, reality has to kick in now AL!

Realistically I know I need to consider far more than the reading on the scale or BMI. Why? Well, I’ve written about numbers in the past and you can read my two posts here and here about measurements I’ve used. And it’s also not likely that I will continue to keep going at this same rate. At 118lbs at the end of high school I was really Underweight and I had little muscle to show for what I did have in pounds. That’s very different from where I’m at right now.

In fact, since I haven’t had any kind of measurements done on my body in some time, I have no relevant number to truly understand where I’m at right now other than weight and BMI. The problem with BMI is that it doesn’t account for any muscle that I’ve built, but I know that that is not the result of my increased weight. My training hasn’t been such that it would increase my muscle mass significantly.

Yesterday I wrote briefly about the failings in my training of late and recently I read a post on Fit is a Feminist Issue that gave me the courage to write this post. So, what am I going to do about it? Sit here and continue to whine? Nope….that wouldn’t do me any good. I have to be smart about my next move.

As I said in yesterday’s post, I started running again. It’s small, but it’s something. I’ve been sticking with my HIIT routine (except for that 2 weeks I was sick and couldn’t breathe). And now I’m being more mindful about what I’m eating and when and how it feels to eat. I have a plan to get measured again soon so I know what my jumping off point looks like and I’m not setting my goals too high this time. Little incremental steps to make myself FEEL better.

Family photos, Dec 2016
Family photos, Dec 2016

That’s going to be the biggest change in my weight journey….the way I feel will be the focus. Currently I am unhappy with how my clothes fit, the way it feels when I’m in certain yoga poses, and how my muscles miss running.

Weight is just a number. This time it scared me into doing a little bit more, but it’s not how I fully define myself. How about you?

When has your weight caused a scare for you?

How do you work around that?

Thank you to AMANDA, as always, for a place to share what’s on my mind today!

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