A Rant About ‘Obesity’

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I recently decided to check my body mass index (BMI) on the NHS website. Apparently, I am considered obese as my BMI is 32.9. I am quite heavy and I am of average height for a woman, so I was not surprised by this score. It’s recommended that I should be eating between 1731-2225 calories per day. In reality I would be surprised if I did actually consume more than the maximum recommendation of 2225. I would love to be in the region of 10 stone and 6 pounds, the maximum ideal weight for my height, but I doubt that is ever going to happen again.

I know I am overweight, but…

I eat very healthily.

I don’t like high-fat food such as pastry, burgers and sausages.

I drink around 8 units of alcohol a week.

I eat lots of chicken, fish, fruit and veg.

I love cheese, but rarely eat, or buy it. I consider it a rare   treat.

I don’t have large meals.

I only use extra-virgin olive oil, in small quantities, to cook with.

I love puddings and chocolate, but I am very careful to limit these to occasional treats.

I generally don’t snack in between meals other than on fruit, or an occasional low-calorie biscuit.

I walk between 3 and 5 miles each day, at a relatively fast pace. I should probably do more vigorous exercise.

I wear size 14 jeans and leggings.

My top half is generally a size 18 because of accommodating my boobs!

I have normal blood pressure and cholesterol readings

I don’t smoke and never have.

I have no aches and pains or joint problems, but I do suffer from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), which can make weight easy to gain, but difficult to lose.

On my last visit for an over-40 health check, the practice nurse was surprised at my weight and didn’t think I looked as heavy as I was. However, I was pleased that she did not seem unduly concerned about it either.

I do have a fat belly area, and always have had, but my legs, bum and hips are not too troublesome.

I was interested to listen to Dr Malcolm Kendrick on the Steve Wright show on Radio 2 last week. He was talking about health myths, and it is interesting to hear there is no medical study to support that a BMI over 30 defines a person as obese. Apparently, a 650 page report from a World Health Organisation meeting in 1995, documented that:

‘the reason why we decided that a BMI of greater than 30 is defined as obesity is largely arbitrary’.

It was also interesting to hear that the evidence for the five portions of fruit and veg a day rule is non-existent. Someone, somewhere once decided this should be a guideline.

Clip from the Steve Wright show

Basically, the message from Dr Kendrick is, do what makes you happy, but be sensible and do some exercise. Which, of course, is all common sense.

I am finally learning to accept my body shape. If I am considered as obese by an arbitrary rating system, so be it. I know I lead a relatively healthy lifestyle and don’t abuse my body. We are all individuals, with differing factors affecting our bodies and health, and the labels attached to us by society aren’t always justified.

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