Rant: Why scales are a tool of BULLSHIT

I have sworn off weighing myself.
I started dieting young, like a lot of American girls. I was in Weight Watchers in Junior High, where my body clung to every last ounce it could and all I thought about, ever, was eating. Well, eating and grades.
For a while, a couple years ago, I weighed myself every day and entered the data into a spreadsheet which calculated a rolling seven-day average (this allowed me to track my weight loss without being too frustrated by the inevitable knuckleballing one’s weight does. Seriously, weigh yourself every day for a week and you’ll see what I’m talking about).
I finally decided that my weight is just a number. It doesn’t tell me how fit I am. I can’t imagine anybody is going to tell a 300-lb professional football player he’s unhealthily overweight, or a slim couch potato that he’s perfectly healthy. So I swore off the scale. I told the nurses at the doctor’s office who insisted on weighing me not to tell me my weight, and turned my back on the scale’s numbers. I concentrated on exercising and eating right and didn’t let myself worry about what the scale had to say.
Well, I let my personal trainer weigh me as part of his measurement-gathering yesterday. I made the mistake of looking at the weight number. THEN I made the mistake of hitting a BMI calculator today to see where I fall on the BMI charts.

Now, I know the BMI is bullshit. This is not news. But being reminded just HOW bullshit it is ain’t good for my blood pressure.
It may interest you to know, dear readers, that I am obese. Officially. The government says so.
This is what an obese woman looks like:
Me and my pass!
Now, I wouldn’t mind slimming down a bit. But the BMI chart thinks I should lose about sixty pounds. The last time I was anywhere near that weight, I got worried talks from family members about whether I had an eating disorder, and I wound up with fibromyalgia. And I got that slim because I had a cyst pressing on my stomach and keeping me from eating. Yeah, that’s a healthy way to lose weight. I wasn’t even exercising because I was in grad school and only had time for homework and class. Eating right? Not so much. I lived on glop, which consisted mostly of cheese, potatoes, hamburger, and bbq sauce.
But the weight standards in our country said I was doing fine.
So: I’m going back to my “fuck the scale!” mentality. I don’t want to know what I weigh. The last time I was at the doc’s, I jokingly told the nurses not to tell me my weight because “the scale is a tool of oppression, man! Fight the power!” We all laughed, and they went along with me.
I’m not so sure it’s a joke anymore.

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8 Responses to Rant: Why scales are a tool of BULLSHIT

  1. Rich says:

    The BMI thinks everyone should be built like a marathon runner. It is Body Mass Index, so if you have a lot of muscle it is the same as having a lot of fat.
    Better measures of health are fitness tests. The problem is fitness tests are not easy to compare over a whole population.

  2. Amanda says:

    BMI is bullshit, and even most medical professionals will admit that. I don’t own a scale, the last time I weighed myself was at Nate & Annie’s wedding, and they weigh me backwards at the delightful annual trip to the gynocologist.
    I’m okay with this.

  3. Alex Summers says:

    Damn, I’m not the first person to set up a spreadsheet with a 7-day rolling average?
    You want to really annoy yourself, get a copy of Wii Fit. It actually tells you “you’re obese!” out loud, in a cheery voice.

  4. Kyeli says:

    My BMI is in the neighborhood of OMG YOU ARE ABOUT TO DIE OF FAT.
    I stopped weighing myself, too, because I lost 40 pounds and then hit a plateau that I couldn’t get off and it was making me insane, so I ditched that plan. (:
    You, by the way, are gorgeous!

  5. Fred says:

    Back when I was training capoeira, I put on enough muscle that according to BMI I was overweight. Even though my waist size was exactly the same as it had been since I was 18 and my body fat percentage was exactly normal. BMI should be banned.

  6. Laurie says:

    Did you know that the BMI was created in the early 1800’s by a Belgian mathematician? Troofax. And this scale is still used today, almost 200 years later, as though it were some sort of gold standard of health. According to the BMI most high-performing athletes are considered obese.
    Yeah, not so much with the BMI.

  7. Stephanie says:

    The only reason to pay attention to the BMI is if you hope someday to be slim enough to get private health insurance. If you have health insurance through work, then you probably don’t need to pay so much attention to it.

  8. Keith says:

    BMI is completely inaccurate. I run 20 miles a week. One of my runs is 7 miles long. I am obese as well. Oh by the way I ran 2 miles in 14 minutes flat last Saturday and that was the last two miles of my 7 mile run. So I must be one fast fat man.