We live in a world of quick fixes. We want someone to give us quick and easy answers. This applies in the world of weight loss too. We want someone to give us a number we should try to hit on the scale, but it is never that simple. Weight loss is a very complex issue. Even though I have said to people Eat Less, and Move More is the short answer to what I have done, it is not the WHOLE answer.
For years we used the old height/weight charts designed over 50 years ago by insurance companies to figure out how much of a risk you were to insure. In recent years, people have now realized these are out of date, and do not take into account things like age and changing metabolism.
Then along came the Body Mass Index, or BMI which now seems to be the gold standard. Guess what folks? It has the same flaws. It also does not take into account things like muscle weight. Most athletes, trainers and body builders are obese by this standard.
I did some digging around on the internet, and based on their height and weight (which the BMI still uses to find it’s number) people like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are obese.
The BMI is just a tool. It is a guide to be used in consultation with your health care team. If you use the BMI and find a number, you need to consult your doctor, your nutritionist, dietitian or even your trainer to see if that number is right for you.
For example, when I joined TOPS I was 329 pounds. That was way down from my high point of 425+ but I needed a target or goal weight. I said 200, which seemed like an impossibility at the time. I talked to my endocrinologist about it and he said based on my age, frame structure and other factors, 200 was a good goal number.
Well, according to the BMI, that would give me the BMI number of 29.5 which is still considered overweight and on some BMI charts, even obese. You see, even different BMI charts disagree, and none take into account the other factors I mentioned.
Like the scale, the BMI is a tool. Please don’t obsess on it. Richard Simmons tells the story of people who have told him when they get up in the morning, the weight themselves, then after “morning duties” weight themselves again to see if there is a difference.
This is the kind of obsession that can lead to eating disorders.
I have been taking an online course through Dalhousie University called Behind the Scenes: Addressing Weight Bias and Stigma in Obesity. One of the most fascinating take aways from this is how little people address the issue with their doctor and what I find scarier is how little doctors address it with their patients.
It’s like if we don’t talk about it, it will just solve itself. People think “If the doctor won’t mention it, neither will I” while doctors are often thinking “I don’t want to bring it up as people can be touchy about it.” Meanwhile the condition gets worse and each side blames the other.
I have learned on my journey, that you cannot do this on your own. Besides the support of family and friends (and distancing yourself from those who don’t support you), your health care team needs to be part of this journey.
I know it is difficult to talk about. I get it. You are embarrassed that it has gotten this bad. You think the doctor is going to lecture you or say something useless to you like “You could stand to lose a little weight” without giving you the help to do so.
If you have a weight problem, or even think you do, book that appointment and ask questions. What is a good target range (not necessarily a specific number), what can of exercise or activity can I do, what food changes should I make?
If you really think your diet is the issue, then talk to a dietitian or nutritionist and get some suggestions from them. Remember that focusing on one type of food or totally eliminating one type of food is not an eating plan. It is a fad diet.
I have seen local stores like Choices Markets offer free seminars on a lot of aspects of health, diet and nutrition. One of the most informative things I attended was a local supermarket tour. It was offered by Save On Foods but I am sure a lot of grocery store chains offer something similar.
We went around with a nutritionist and she showed us how to make healthy choices when shopping and the ways that supermarkets are laid out is not always in your best interest so you have to know HOW to shop the lay of the land.
There are a lot of tools out there to use on this journey. Open the whole tool box.
Here comes a couple of blatant plugs. If you look at the links at the side of my blog, you will see Get Healthy with Bacon. That is my website where I offer my Motivational Speaking and Weight Loss Coaching. Right below that is a link to sign up for my monthly newsletter.
If you live in the Vancouver BC area, here is something to mark on your calendar. July 20th I will be doing a seminar called What’s Eating You? You can see details in the picture below. Click for a bigger view I hope to see some of you there. If you are among the first 10 to book, use promo code “earlybirdbacon” to get $10 off!
Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!