Thursday, May 15, 2014

BMI bullshit

OK, so the BMI as a measure of health is total bullshit. I'm not even saying that like it's an argument. Anyone who wants to argue otherwise is just an idiot, as far as I'm concerned. I am going to post a few links for you to read about why it's bullshit and then write about my issues with America's obsession with being thin.

General info on the BMI and how it was made and other formulas
Obesity Myths
More Obesity Myths
NPR Debunks the BMI
Overweight vs. Underweight
BMI is pointless, unscientific, garbage

My case you were wondering, I'm death fat. I'm going to die from being fat if I'm not already dying.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, let me tell you why I have a problem with America's obsession with thinness and this whole BMI crap.

OK, look, the problem with Fatphobia is that it sets a person apart based on his or her appearance and nothing else. Fatphobia presupposes that it is ok for a person who is naturally thin to eat whatever he or she wants, but a person who is naturally heavier simply must eat a certain way because fat is bad. Fatphobia presupposes that any person who doesn't look athletic, must be a couch potato. Fatphobia presupposes that a fat person is less than a thin person, that fat people are worth less and have lower value. Fatphobia presupposes that a thin person is automatically in perfect health when the reality is that health cannot be determined by someone's size or appearance. Fatphobia assumes that fat people are lazy and stupid and that their body type is within their control.

American women are, at average, 5'3" and 166 lbs. That puts the average American woman at a BMI of 29.4, .6 away from being obese. This means the average American woman is overweight. What's funny is, if you look at a collection of these women, they look good!

Judging any person based on appearance is pretty fucked up, and I get riled up about it on a regular basis. I have spent my entire life worrying about my appearance and I'm so sad to know that so have almost all of my friends. Honestly, I can't think of one person (male or female) I've ever known who hasn't spent time trying to lose weight or dress for their best shape or go to extreme measures to change their size and it's all based on nonsensical crap. Judging someone based on his or her size just doesn't make sense, and I so wish I could remove this ridiculous attitude from our culture so that my friends spent time worrying about more important things!

Even as I finished my first marathon, I was still considered obese (though not morbidly obese), which is so fucked up!


  1. Thank you. Thank you thank you!! I have lived on both ends of the spectrum. I was 5'7 99lbs for many years. After a lifestyle change and children, my BMI was in the 30s. Before getting pregnant this time, I was 5'6 180lbs. I can tell you first hand that you are treated completely different soley based on your thinness alone. And I hate it

    1. Hello new commenter!!!

      You're completely welcome! I was actually way thinner in high school and I had no idea how hot I was because all I could see and hear was how fat I was and shopping for clothes to fit my D cups and big ass was really difficult. And now I look back and think I was so gorgeous!

      Le sigh. I hope someday this all will change.

  2. I have to admit that I care about the number on the scale during certain times of the year: two times out of the year when I have to get weighed by the Navy and then other times during major races because when I weigh more it slows me down, and I'm always trying to get a PR, especially when it comes to marathons. I have been heavier in some races, and as I've said before, I've seen people of all shapes and sizes running races, so weight isn't the only factor to consider when determining an individual's overall health. I do think our society does place a lot on weight and external looks, which is why my own hometown L.A. annoys me so much. Ultimately, we'll all end up old and in a grave, and hopefully it will be our actions and hearts that people judge us and remember us by. -Jess L

    1. Certainly there are some careers that require certain weight standards, and that's just a fact of that job. But it doesn't change the fact that the BMI is totally unscientific when it comes to individual health and that weight as viewed from the outside isn't a determining factor in health.

      I think everyone has a right to do what they want with their body, whether it's healthful or not. But I think that judging someone by their size is a real problem in America.