Things I Like Include: Truth Behind Numbers

In honor of the NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) walk on my campus this weekend, I thought I would do a post about body positivity. Being an American woman, I believe that I’m in forever the middle of what feels like a lifelong (and slow) process towards loving myself and my body. I’m going to do something that may sound terrifying to the average 21 year old college woman- I’m going to confess how much I weigh:

 

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This is how much I weigh, and this is my Body Mass Index.

According to this (and every) Body Mass Index chart or calculation, I am obese.

 

I won’t lie and say that I am not dreadfully uncomfortable about doing this. My weight is a number that’s only shared between me, my doctor, and my bathroom scale (and honestly, sometimes I’m even hesitant to look at the scale in the morning). That three-digit number is absolutely haunting. It determines how much breakfast I think I’m allowed to eat, how many miles I’ll have to run that night, and whether that day I’ll feel comfortable in my jeans and my skin. That number often determines whether I look down at my thighs and see curves or fat, ugly or beautiful. Today, on the 8th of November, I am choosing to see beautiful.  

 

I, for one, believe that this is qualification: this obesity standard, is ludicrous. I fit into relatively normal sized jeans, I can run upwards of seven miles at a time. I am training for a half marathon, and I love my body.

Sure, I’d love to lose some weight, but I can’t help but wonder if I actually want to lose weight or if I feel like I’m supposed to want to lose weight. Like most 21 year olds, I probably eat too much pizza and drink too much beer, but I am constantly worried of being judged unfairly in comparison to my thinner counterparts- the woman at the bar who eats as many cheese fries as I do, but who is a size 4. Do people make snap judgements about her laziness, her values, and her intelligence because of her size? I’m sure there are some implications that exist. However, I don’t believe that they are equal. I feel healthy until I am told otherwise- until I am confronted with a number that tells me I am not healthy, that I am “other.”

In a conversation with my best friend Alyssa (who is in school to be a dietician) this summer, I came to a sad conclusion that I only truly understood once I said it out loud:

“There is no worse feeling in the world than being the biggest girl in the room.” 

There are no feelings that compare to feeling like the ugliest of your friends; to have to sit at a dinner table with a group of people while you are starving because you feel too embarrassed to eat in front of them for fear of being judged.

 

This number, my BMI, this arbitrary measure of health has the potential to determine my health insurance coverage, doctor to patient bias, and essentially, my self worth.

 

I am sick of feeling defined by numbers. Between weight, grades, and applying to graduate school, I feel as if I am constantly inundated with my ability (or inability) to measure up to the norm. I move that, instead, we begin to define our bodies and our minds by what they can do. My legs can take me down DoG street at a 10 minute/mile pace, my mind can create thoughts that they couldn’t conceptualize 5 years ago. 

I have one hundred and fifty nine reasons to love myself and all the things that my body is capable of.

Things I Like Include: The Hump Day Handful

This whole “theming Wednesday’s blog posts” is actually working to help hold me accountable to posting. I love creating new blog posts, but sometimes I get caught up in the rhythm of the week (and by that I mean copious amounts of schoolwork and very little sleep) and I just “forget” to post. However, THOSE DAYS ARE NO MORE. It feels good to be on a schedule.

 

This week’s Hump Day Handful is going to be fitness themed. I’ve had a glorious time the past few weeks going to the gym with my sisters. The usual suspects are me, Tori, and Alison (who’s birthday it is today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALISON). We all trek over to the student recreation center on our campus, and we head to Zumba, Cardio Dance, Body Combat, etc. I’ve honestly never been a person that was super jazzed about fitness. I cheered in high school and a little in college, and I played soccer, but I was never one of those people that went on sporadic 4 mile runs just because. While I was in Memphis this summer, I decided to take up running as a hobby. I made myself a goal that I would participate in the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC this spring. Starting in the summer would give me plenty of time to train. Which brings me to the first feature in this week’s ‘handful.’

 

Nike + Running App

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This app is PHENOMENAL. It’s calibrated to keep your distance in check on both indoor and outdoor runs. You can also program “power songs” that will play during the middle of a tough workout to give you the extra ‘umph’ you need to push through to the finish. Plus, you can add your friends and all cheer each other on throughout the month. 

 

Next on this week’s Hump Day Handful is something that I never thought I would do…ever!

ZUMBA

Tori and Alison and I have been doing an inordinate amount of Zumba (slash Cardio Dance Party, slash this thing where they turn off all the lights, turn ON a black light, and you dance…sounds perfect, right?) I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Zumba. I love the music, the dancing, and leaving the fitness studio dripping with sweat. You can burn 500-1000 calories doing Zumba, and there are targeted tracks dedicated to squats, abs, and even arms (we did an arm track the other night that literally almost KILLED ME…but I loved it so it’s okay).

 

Nike Air Pegasus

 

This shoe is the BOMB. I had been running in my Nike Free Runs, which are great, but they just don’t have the right support for distance running. Don’t get me wrong, the free runs are such COOL shoes. They come in a bajillion colors that are adorable (and come on, cute shoes MAKE me want to work out). But the Pegasus are the money maker. I can run for miles and miles without my feet hurting one bit. I’d highly recommend these shoes to any runner: new or veteran.

 

So there you have it. A fitness inspired hump day handful. Happy Wednesday, everyone!