I recently had a complete and thorough doctor’s visit, a very detailed check up that ended up with me fretting a bit about my weight. That path led me to referral to a specialist at the metabolic health unit at a local hospital. I wanted to know if there were good medical reasons for me to lose weight or a good medical explanation for why I found losing weight so hard.
I knew already that I have a healthy living rock star profile when it comes to blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. (The last time I had this tested the nurses joked that they wanted to meet the person with such good cholesterol results and they spent awhile chatting with me about my diet.) You don’t have to care about health or make it a priority. No judgement here. See Healthism, fitness, and the politics of respectability.
But I do worry about health and I wanted to make sure that I was really okay.
After all, the media constantly bombards us with stories about the health implications and costs of obesity epidemic. We hear a lot about rising rates of overweight and obesity and what that means. I wanted to know, personally, what it meant for me.
The answer it turns out is nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip.
I met with a specialist who assured me that I’m a model of metabolic health. I’m very fit and my commitment to physical activity matters far more than the number on the scale, she said. She told me that people come in lots of very different shapes and sizes and as far as she could tell there was no medical reason for me to lose weight.
She said she wished she had a weight loss magic wand to wave and help me lose weight if that’s what I wanted but she didn’t. She granted that especially with menopause approaching it’s very tough.
However, in the absence of the magic wand, I should just keep moving and enjoy my life.
The same unit of the hospital also has a scale that spits out BMI numbers and accompanying advice. Mine said, and I’m paraphrasing: Lose weight or die soon.
I showed the doctor the slip of paper and she said it was false. But why give them out then? Why scare people if it’s not true? What’s up with that? Argh. Grrr. Just stop.
I still want to lose weight and make it up hills faster. But it’s good to know there’s no health reasons at stake if I can’t.