For most of my life I’ve battled with these ten extra pounds of weight. It tips me over what someone somewhere decided was my Ideal Body Weight and makes my MD’s computer automatically hand me brochures warning of the health issues associated with obesity.
This is the same ten pounds that evaporate every time I have an asthma exacerbation. Because breathing is hard work then and takes calories. More calories than I can consume during those times and the ten pounds of reserve simply vanish in a matter of days.
Those ten pounds sustain me and the rest of my organs during the days I am ill and my metabolism is ramped up by steroids and the very effort to draw breath. I can tell exactly how sick I’ve been by how much of the ten pounds are left at the turning point of the illness. Or worse how far have I drifted into a deficit — because sometimes the illness will claim all ten pounds and then some.
Our society, even our medical community will wag a finger at me and tell me those ten pounds have to go. Certainly at least part of them — to put me at what they believe to be my Ideal Body Weight. But that’s just foolish. It’s a standardized equation that doesn’t look at the whole picture of my life or circumstances.
It’s subtle body shaming which could actually be harmful to my health in the long run. Thin does not equal healthy.
Say it with me again — OUT LOUD — Thin does not equal healthy. It’s a horrible misconception which has taken hold in our culture. We all know it on some level, yet we allow it to seep into our minds and affect our self esteem, our very souls. I spent most of my youth hating that ten pounds, and here it is, saving my life. I should have been so grateful to it, for never giving in, never leaving me, never abandoning me to my own stupidity.
This week when I sat in my pulmonary MD’s waiting room and looked around at the frail humans who surrounded me, many of them attached to oxygen tanks — most of them simply skin and bones using every calorie they consumed in the effort to breathe— I was so thankful I had lost the battle with my extra ten pounds and they were determined to stick with me.
In fact, it was with great relief when I stepped on the scale — I saw that eight of those ten were still there. We were doing okay. I remained firmly above my Ideal Body Weight and received my obesity warning brochure.
I read it with a smile — over a bowl of ice cream as soon as I got home. And without a bit of shame, only thankfulness for those ten pounds.