I turned 30 last year. There’s something about turning 30 that makes me feel like I need to get my shit together… well, at least the shit I can get together, needs to get together.
Here’s what else you should know: I am not skinny. I am in no way anywhere near skinny. I am fat. I love my body. I do not judge my health by my weight, but by the easy of my mobility. Can I walk up this hill and not feel like dying? Then I’m good. Can I run 3 miles and feel like a total badass? Then I’m good. Can I do an hour of yoga and wake up the next day feeling deliciously sore? Then I’m good. I care about what I can and cannot do, and a number on a scale will not tell me that. Action tells me that; movement tells me that.
My body tells me I am strong and capable; the number on the scale is the way in which the world tells me I am lazy and incompetent, and I call bullshit on that label. I will not take that on as Truth.
Knowing all of this, I want to tell you that I went to the doctor today; I was being proactive about my health. My family has some histories with different diseases, and it was time to get some blood work done to check some organs out.
So imagine my surprise when the doctor does not ask me anything in regards to my eating habits; he asks me nothing about my activities; and he does not believe when I tell him that I do not snore. What he does believe, however, is the number on the scale.
The goddam number is his truth, not mine.
He proceeded to call me overweight and obese a total of 10-14 times. I shit you not. He asked me about my sleeping pattern, because overweight people tend to snore, and that’s a sign of sleep apnea. I said my sleep patter is more affected when I eat bread because I don’t snore. He ordered an EKG because being overweight puts stress on the heart, and he just wanted to make sure my heart was okay. He gets the results and, with shock in his voice he says, “Wow, your heart is good.” I said, “I know,” with not a single hint of sarcasm. He’s running a test for diabetes, because to him fat people must have something wrong. I cannot be fat and healthy.
Again, no conversation about what I am already doing; no questions around my current diet, my current exercise choices, or my daily life. I am not a whole person to him, I am merely a body that does not look like it should, and, therefore, there are things that must be wrong.
I have seen this article going around Facebook, and I finally read it last night with half an eye. Today I’ve gone back and read it three times. Here’s what I find to be true:
We need to stop reinforcing this idea that if you’re not thin, you’re obese. As a concept, it has absolutely nothing to do with health, and everything to do with justifying our demand for idealised female beauty by mocking anyone who doesn’t meet its impossible standards as overweight. We need to stop relying on BMI to tell us how healthy we are, or not – especially for women – and accept instead that “health” is too complex a concept to be boiled down to a single calculation. Especially given the horrific biases in the healthcare system against anyone seen to be overweight, using a single glib rule to determine the most likely cause of unwellness is not only counterproductive, but dangerous.
This world has told me for a very long time that I am not the ideal, and I am finally at a place in my life where I am not even trying to be anyone’s ideal; I’m just trying to continuously love who I am.
So yeah, I won’t be going back to see him, and once all my tests come back, then I will also be writing a truthful review on Yelp, because if the medical professionals you have in your life do not support your overall health but would rather define you solely by the number on the scale and a chart that is biased and harmful, then you have the right to get the fuck out of their office.
Here are a couple of articles that a friend shared with me about doctor’s and weight bullying, and another about how to stand up to your doctor for shaming you about your weight.