A couple of weeks ago I strained my back badly during a workout. I cringed every time I took a deep breath. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t even think about picking up my kid. So, after about a week, I gave up and went to the doctor to get a muscle relaxant. When I got called back to the exam room, I experienced the same thing most women do when they’re walking to the hall to the exam room. I felt like I was walking the gang plank, knowing that before I got to the safety of the exam room I’d have to get on a scale. My husband is well trained. He knows to walk right on by that scale before I get on it, and stand on the other side, out of sight, waiting, while the nurse silently makes a note on the chart and we move on.
On this particular day, I must have been looking particularly thin because when I got on the scale the nurse guessed my weight more than 50 pounds less than it really is. I kid you not. She was that far off. She was so certain the number on the scale was wrong she weighed me again before I left to make sure it was accurate for the prescription. Heaven knows you don’t want too strong a muscle relaxant, so she was for sure checking it twice.
So, kudos to me. I’ve been working out a lot lately. I’m more muscular than most women my age, and we all know muscle weighs more than fat. I’m also just more body dense than a lot of women. I’m never going to be a petite little flower. I’m 5’7”. My grandmother used to say women in our family were sturdy. I’ve learned what clothes make me look tall and strong, and I know what clothes make me look like a refrigerator. So, usually, when I go out in public I go for tall and strong.
The nurse is a woman who weighs a couple dozen people a day. She should be good at guessing. Truth of the matter is, I think it would be very hard to guess my weight. People have tried. The guesses vary widely depending on whether I’m wearing tall and strong or refrigerator chick. People also try to guess my age. Most people get that wrong too. Numbers are tricky.
A number on a scale means nothing – as in not one thing. I did some research. I wear a size 12 pant. Sometimes a 14. Sometimes a 10. I have dresses in my closet I can wear that are as small as an 8. However, let’s just say I’m as size 12. I weigh approximately 37 pounds more than the average woman who wears a size 12. Thirty-seven pounds more, that’s almost 40 pounds more. That means my body composition is very different.
Bodies at 120 pounds come in all different shapes and sizes.
Bodies at 150 pounds come in all different shapes and sizes.
Bodies at 200 pounds come in all different shapes and sizes.
If you want to explore what bodies at different weights look like, check out this website. My Body Gallery has a massive library of real women’s bodies with their weight and clothing size. It’s eye opening.
Basically, the number on the scale doesn’t really tell an accurate story of how you look or even how healthy you are.
So, what does? What about clothing size?
Nope. Not even close. Clothing sizes are a kind of a scheme. They are non-standard and very widely from store to store and designer to designer. Trust me on this, a size 10 in Banana Republic is way different than a size 10 in Walmart. I’ve experienced both. Don’t judge.
Like I said, I have clothes in my closet ranging from size 8 to size 14 that fit me perfectly. That’s freaking confusing. This model tried on 10 pairs of pants in the same size with dizzying results. She did this experiment with size 16 jeans. Sizes would range even more wildly at smaller sizes.
Clothing size says nothing about you. It certainly doesn’t tell a story about how you look. So, if you can’t define yourself, how you look, or your health, by your weight, or your clothing size, how do you do it?
If you’re super clever right now, you’re saying BMI. The body mass index has been shoved down our throats for decades by doctors. For full disclosure, I will tell you right now, according to my BMI, I am on the high end of overweight. I will also tell you that if I were in the healthy BMI range I’d be way too thin. I know this because I have been. However, let’s not talk about me. I’ll throw my husband under the bus here. According to the BMI scale, he would be obese, and my husband is fit. Most people would consider him thin. He’s very muscular. The BMI scale doesn’t have a way of quantifying who he is. It doesn’t have a way of quantifying who you are either.
Here’s the thing about the BMI. There is a ton of research that shows that people who are “overweight” based on BMI measurements, live longer and are healthier than people who are in “healthy” ranges. Let that sink in for a moment. Being overweight might help you live longer. If that doesn’t rock your perception of reality, I don’t know what will. This is called the obesity paradox. If you don’t believe me, google it. Based on that happy news, I’m going to be healthy and live forever. Yay me!
So, let me ask you a question. What if your weight, your clothing size, or your BMI meant nothing, nada, jack shit. What if you were instead looking at your blood sugar levels, or the number of hours your sleep in a week, or where you rate on some sort of joy index?
What if we’ve all been looking at the wrong numbers all along?
Would you like me to tell you how much you’re worth? You are worth what you’re willing to invest in yourself. That’s what you’re worth.
If you want to be beautiful decide you are and then take care of yourself accordingly
If you want to be healthy, eat the best foods available to you, get fresh air, and move your body.
If you want to be valuable, treat yourself like something you value. It’s that’s simple.
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Lisa Hayes, The Love Whisperer, is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.
Posted on 02/06/2015 at 12:00:00 AM