Lately I’ve had a whole lot of people comment on my weight. Either they say something like, “Oh you’ve put on some weight, you look much better,” or something like, “oh, you look too thin (or sick).” Now, I know that it is all amplified because folks know I had a brain tumor: so I don’t take it personally…but it has me worried!
I think it reveals a larger problem in society, especially the rural, midwestern culture here in Livingston County (Illinois). Our American Society is, quite simply, obese. I was overweight until not long ago and now that I’m at the top end of my healthy weight range, everyone thinks I am sickly. I still have flab, I’m still not fit and toned…yet everyone thinks I am now unhealthy! Let me say it one more time: I’m not even at the low side of my healthy weight range and everyone around me seems to be freaking out, why? Because so many who are around us in rural midwestern America are overweight. Overweight has become the standard, quite simply.
I’m not coming down on obesity because of how people act, by the way (I’m not calling people lazy), nor am I even upset because of how people look (It’s really not about vanity). I’m honestly concerned for my health, my family’s health and for the people around us. Being overweight is a serious problem which leads to all kinds of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, for example. And weight gain, beyond one’s healthy weight range, is an indicator that one’s diet and exercise are out of whack and that things are not well with your body! (When you are gaining weight your body is trying to communicate with you)
Well, back to me. Last week someone cornered me and shared their concern about my weight and I responded that Weight Watchers (my weight loss) saved my life. It did, by the way! I told them the story of how my spinal fluid leaked into my bed after my second surgery. I told them about how the surgeon shared with Carrie that I would have died that night had I been any heavier or older. I told them that losing 35 pounds and getting into my healthy weight range was not just to look better (vanity), it actually saved my life. Now, I’ve responded this way with several people, but the reason this one interaction stands out in my mind is because the person responded to my story: first, by saying, “Oh my.” and then saying, “what do you mean about a healthy weight range?”
They were serious. They had no idea that based on sex and weight there are guidelines to help people find a healthy weight! Today I want to begin correcting this view. More importantly, I want to become more vocal about our need, especially in rural communities, to work against obesity and grow in health. I want to do this work not to be critical of people or to be hurtful, but because I want to help. There are many people suffering from the plight of obesity (or at least being overweight) and I would be remiss if I didn’t share my own experiences and work to help them. At my heaviest several years ago I was 225 and I hit my goal weight of 165 pounds a few weeks ago (when I arrived in Pontiac two years ago I was about 200). I’m a 6′ male and my healthy weight range is 147-184 according to Weight Watchers. I got to where I am by eating more vegetables and fruits and cutting down my oil and carbohydrates, I got to where I am by eating well (not being hungry), and I got to where I am by adding some basic exercise to my routine which not only helped me feel better and lose weight, but also helped me to have more complete and enjoyable days.
I hope you will join me as I continue working to be more healthy. Don’t do it for me, do it for you!
Also, if you’d like to find you’re body mass index (figure out how you are doing), click here!