A Bit Of Irony And A Few Potato Chips

Before I start my post, I want to let you all know I won’t be around for a few days as I will be at a writer’s conference. I’ll catch up Sunday or Monday.

I’d also like to point you over to Bella Online which published a poem of mine in it’s literary review, Mused. http://www.bellaonline.com/review/issues/fall2010/p038.html

 Now onto my post.

Long, long ago, almost in a different lifetime, I was thin. And I didn’t appreciate it! Imagine that? I’ve always had a skewed body image. Now, that I’ve gotten over it (well, sorta’) I find out I’m FAT!

Ok, we’ll start in the beginning. I was a gangly child, all arms and legs. As a teenager, I was skinny….actually in today’s standards set by society I’d probably be considered the perfect size. However, I was teased by a certain girl who called me “chicken legs”. I was very self conscious and never wore dresses, only blue jeans.

Recently, we had a family gathering. As all gatherings go with family, things are usually said later about people’s appearances. And always, there’s someone who can’t wait to tell you what so and so said about you. Someone said that many of us didn’t pay any attention to her because we were jealous that she looked so thin and we were all fat. Then it was added, “Susan sure has gained a lot of weight”. Well, it hit a nerve. It is the truth. I have gained a lot of weight. And I gained most of it over this summer. I was probably at the highest weight of my lifetime with the exclusion of full-term pregnancy. (which even then I was only five pounds heavier than that weight!) I kind of let the remark bounce off of me at first because I try to look for more substance in people than their weight. However, I became a bit more aware of what I was actually putting into my body.

The whole point of my biking and hiking was to prepare myself physically for our Utah trip. I can’t deny that I was secretly hoping I’d lose some weight, but was not going to allow myself to focus on it. I weighed before starting this regime which was three and a half weeks ago. I weighed a week ago and I’d only lost three pounds. Really? After close to a hundred miles (at least it seems like it!) of biking and hiking and only three punds? So, I decided to go ahead and make up with my enemy, potato chips. I have had some probably everyday since then. I weighed today and I’ve lost eight pounds. My thighs are no longer considered fire starters, as the two and a half inches I’ve lost on each one prevents them from rubbing now. But better than any of that is that I feel good. I have much more stamina than before. But I now ask you, should I invent the potato chip diet?

The following information is just to provide how even the health industries can’t agree on ideal body weights and fat percentages…or maybe the standards have changed through the years.

At one point in my life, I became obsessed with my weight. I was 134 pounds, and thought I was still fat…go figure! Prior to pregnancy I was 128 pounds and back to that two weeks after each pregnancy. (I only gained twenty-six pound each time.) This 134 pounds was when I was thirty-one. I really saw myself as fat while everyone else was worried because I was too thin. I went to a nutritional service for a body fat analysis. I dug this information out to share just to point out the discrepancies. Ok, at 134 pounds, my body fat was 27.7% with the average being 32%. So while being 4.3& under average, I was still 5.7% over optimum range. My optimum healthy weight range would have been 124 pounds. At any rate, I did not get any thinner than 134.

Three years later, I joined a gym. At age 34, my current weight was 142 pounds, and my body fat was considered 22.5% . Their analysis stated that my ideal range would be 134-141. Their suggestion was to lose one pound.

Fast forward…this is exactly what I weigh today which is seventeen years later. (For the record, I am not short either.) According to this website http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/ my body fat composition is 32%. According to their charts, I am obese! So, the bottom line is that  the very same weight that would have been one pound too much is considered obesity seventeen years later. By the way, I like the people who created this chart! And double darn it, I was just feeling good because I fit into (and can still breathe!) the size 8 jeans I bought a years ago as an incentive. It obviously didn’t work last year. I happened to remember them this morning. So now, I think I will stop looking at charts. I won’t stop looking at scales because that is how I got to this point in the first place. However, I am going to focus on how I feel. I want to continue to feel good and have lots of energy. However, wearing a smaller size clothes would really big a huge benefit.

I’m not even going to go into the range of basic metabolic rates that were given each time. Let’s just say that several sites give vastly different numbers. This all leaves me wondering whether these are national standards or if health organizations pick their own standards, and if they do change through the years.

28 thoughts on “A Bit Of Irony And A Few Potato Chips

  1. My BMI is 23.4. I think I’m about 5 pounds over what I should be. But, at 64, I weigh 133 pounds at 5’5″ tall. We worry about weight far too much. I think the issue is “are we healthy”? And to answer that question, you obviously are! My daughter at 40 is 155 at 5 foot 7 inches tall. She’s constantly on a diet, but looks amazing. I too was a skinny minnie until my late 50’s.

  2. I have never worried about this, but just for the heck of it I calculated my BMI. It says I’m right in the middle of normal. At my “full retirement age” according to Social Security, I am 5’9″ and weigh 150 lbs. That’s the most I’ve weighed in my entire life. I was around 136 from high school days, but during chemotherapy I made more effort to eat three meals a day, and gained weight. Go figure. People around me say I’m skinny. Now I can say no I’m not – I’m just average.

  3. I was dealing w/the same issues. My Dr. says BMI isn’t a good gauge for people who work out & build muscle mass. Muscle is denser and takes up less space than fat, so in turn, you take up less space in your clothes. Enjoy the conference! You’ll have to tell me all about it!

  4. It’s funny, because when I trained and did a half marathon a few years back I weighed 190 pounds. During the 5 month training I lost ONE pound, but I was still in better shape than most of my skinnier friends.
    You’re coming to Utah? Yippee! I’ll be thinking about you!

  5. Oh, family gatherings are always such fun, aren’t they? 😛 My Mom loves her potato chips and mayonnaise, and the doctor told her that she was as healthy as an olympic athlete. So…potato chips can’t be all that bad.

  6. omg- my mom is 4 inches taller than I am and 20 pounds lighter. I’m almost 39, and with the broken leg have gained a lot of weight (ok, broken leg and beer and food)…so I’m too high now. But I will never lose the 45 pounds the bmi calculator thinks I need to lose. 20 would be great- and I feel healthy at that weight. screw the government’s chart.
    The key is that muscle weighs more than fat- so if you were all muscle and did the bmi chart, they’d still say you were heavy. Now, with your sctivities, you’ve developed more lean muscle which will eventually burn more fat and calories.

    keep walking, eating fairly healthy, and not stressing.

  7. Congrats on the poem Suzi! that’s awesome.

    I don’t worry about my weight much, but tend to eat fairly healthy, just because that is what I like. I know that I should get more exercise, but I am working on it. Women and weight issues just seem to go hand in hand I’m afraid, don’t they.

  8. I was also exceptionally thin during high school and college. It was not until graduate school till I put on the pounds. I often wish I had worn more fun clothes back then b/c I had the figure. I still exercise regularly and eat relatively healthy, but some of those extra pounds I think are here to stay.

  9. It’s never been an issue for me, I’ve been the same size since I was 14 and eat what I like.

    Congratulations on having your poem published and have a wonderful time at your conference.

  10. Oh, I loathe those charts. I’ve always thought that how my jeans fit is a much better gauge anyway. Unfortunately, my metabolism came to a screeching halt in my early 30’s. Now the medication I take makes me gain weight. I feel like I’m on a sinking ship and I’m the one sinking it!

  11. Good for you! I personally hate those BMI’s, they don’t figure in muscle and build. Eight pounds is tremendous but being physically active even more so! Very happy for you! Enjoy your weekend of writing. How wonderful!

  12. Congrats on your publication! As for the weight, well it’s not what defines you, so as long as your healthy…forget about it! Besides, it’s a proven fact (at least by me) that heavier people look younger. =]


  13. I believe that most guidelines put out are made to be easy to use and they are for the MASSES. So — to me — they need to be taken with a grain of salt. Or as a starting off point . . .

    I believe that medical numbers are a better thing to concentrate on and be aware of. Medical numbers as in blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen usage, choelesterol, fasting glugose, etc.. Yet even those are just ranges and everyBODY is individual.

    The BMI information is a guideline as you know a really muscular person could chart at a high BMI same as a person that weighs the same, but has no muscle.

    And you could have weighed in only three pounds less because you might have built muscle — while muscle does not weigh more than fat (a pound of muscle is the same as a pound of fat . . . .it is both a pound) a pound of muscle takes up less room than fat. So a leg weighing 7 lbs weighs 7 lbs, but a MUSCULAR leg might fit loosely in a pant leg while a 7 lb leg with NO muscle might be stressing the seems.

    So sometimes WEIGHT is not necessarily what one might want to focus on. If you weigh the same as when you started but all your clothes were falling off because they were too big would you care?

    Oh, and no, you should NOT start the potato chip diet!!! LOL!

  14. I hope you have an excellent few days away!

    Boo to body images as done by the media! I swear, it changes so often…too often. I used to have such a complex in high school, thinking I was fat, but I wasn’t. I was perfectly fine. Sometimes I still battle with that issue, and I hate that I let stuff like this get to me.

    I like your potato chip diet. XD

  15. I agree .. it is how you feel that counts. All those charts and statistics just make my head spin. We are all so different, I don’t see how they even create them in the first place.
    I have gained weight this past year, too .. my work keeping me tied to my computer chair much too much … so, I would love to hear about a potato chip diet that really works? Or maybe a popcorn diet as that seems to be my snack of choice these days :0)
    Thank you for sharing your hiking adventures are inspirational … I think I should skip the popcorn diet and put on my hiking shoes, too.

  16. I’ve always had many of the same issues you described… when I was younger, I was so thin and people at school would laugh at me and call me “chicken legs.” I have not worn a dress, skirt, or pair of shorts since elementary school because of that. Now, I WISH I was a thin as I used to be. Having a baby took its toll on me, and now I am waaaaaaaay overweight. On the bright side, I’ve lost 13 lbs over the past two months. Let’s hope I can keep this up! And congrats and BEST LUCK to you, too!

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