Monday, January 7, 2019
The problem with trying to reach other people’s ideals
For the most part, I’ve always been relatively comfortable with my weight and felt like I was within a healthy weight range. There have been times where I have been more active and fit than others, but every once and a while that gnawing feeling comes back that a few pounds could be shed. Weight and how I look become a concern. It bothers me that my mind will go back to this reoccurring thought instead of focusing on health, movement and good eating habits.
For me, I think it comes from a society that, on the positive side, always tries to push us to be better. The other side of it is, we are never good enough. I’m no longer in the thick of uncertain adolescence when we care so much about what others think of us. I’m not stuck on relying on what other people say and the images that surrounded me to tell me what to aspire to, but neither can I completely ignore it.
I’m fairly old school, so I am not immersed in social media and the altered world that people want to mimic. I think I was fortunate that I was brought up in a way that my self worth was never based on what I looked like. Well, maybe that’s not the whole truth but I didn’t care much because I just wanted to play. I was considered a “tom boy” as a kid because I loved movement and challenges. The love of movement continues to follow me. This has helped me stay within a ‘normal’ weight range.
I’m about 5’6 ½ “ tall. When I was in my late teens and early 20’s my weight was between 128lbs and 132lbs. This put me at a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 20.3 and 21. As mentioned in a prior post ‘normal’ BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. So, I was well within the “normal” range. Yet, I was told that, ideally, I should lose weight by more than one person.
One individual was especially significant. I liked and trusted my doctor but during each visit and checkup I do remember she always told me I should lose some weight and be 120lbs. Yes, for an active young adult and a weight that was already within “normal” in the BMI chart, her ideal for me would have been to lose 12lbs. That would be a BMI of 19, which is still within the normal range, but not far from under weight.
Dealing with someone else’s ideal of what my body should be like, especially from someone I trusted, was a little confusing. I remember not wanting to diet but I did pay more attention to what I was eating and tried to eat a little healthier. I was a dessert and chocolate lover then, as I am now, and that is where a continuous journey of trial and error started in order to find out what better habits worked for me.
There was one point where I did purposefully lose some weight. I restricted my diet and recall constantly thinking about food. I knew I was quite a bit thinner but not feeling any better for it. It was my best friend’s mother who showed concern and stepped in. Thank goodness for her. She stopped what could have been a cyclical struggle with food and diet.
I weigh more now, but I’m also stronger in many ways. I’m still comfortable with my body although I don’t always like the aging process. That lingering feeling of not being at an ideal body weight has never been completely silenced but I enjoy life and the people around me. I enjoy helping others maintain their movement and making them feel strong.
Other people’s ideals should not necessarily be our own. Take a break from social media or what others think you need to be. Figure out the advantages and disadvantages of making changes in your routine based on your own ideals. It’s always a work in progress but at least the ideals will be your own and keep you motivated.
I’m wondering what my doctor would tell me now. I’m still within the normal range on the BMI chart and have limited sedentary time. With the push towards body acceptance and overall health, would she still direct someone to a possible unhealthy mental relationship with themselves and food?
I would only hope that her focus would be on maintaining my active lifestyle, and work on continuously adding good habits. That is something a younger (and older) me could work on and appreciate.