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Meredith Holt, Published July 19 2012

Holt: Weight only one indicator of health

According to standard BMI charts, I should weigh between 117 and 146 pounds.

At 5-foot-4 (OK, fine, 5-foot-3-and-a-half), the least I’ve weighed was 112 pounds and the most (that I know of) was 313 pounds.

Depending on how I look and feel, my “goal weight” is 150-160 pounds.

How did I decide what I should weigh?

Mainly, I know I liked how I looked and felt around that weight, and I think I’d be happy there again.

If I asked 10 different people what my goal weight should be, I’d probably get 10 different answers.

I told a trainer I met at the 2011 national Anytime Fitness conference in Washington, D.C., that I’d like to get to about 150-160.

He grabbed me by the shoulders, looked me in the eyes and said, “Why not 140?”

Do I think I can’t get to 140? Maybe. Do I think I’ll be satisfied with 150? Maybe. Does it really matter? Maybe not.

Body mass index doesn’t take into account body fat percentage. Some athletes have high BMIs because of increased muscularity.

Contrary to popular belief, a pound of muscle does NOT weigh more than a pound of fat – it just takes up less space. A pound is a pound.

Keeping that in mind, weight is only one indicator of health, fitness and overall well-being.

I also keep tabs on my energy level, blood pressure, balance, flexibility, strength, endurance and muscle definition.

Yet I – and the societal “we” – obsess over the numbers on the scale.

I have a tumultuous relationship with my scale. I love it when it reflects loss. I hate it when it reflects gain.

At my smallest, I’d weigh myself twice a day, hoping for a little less each time. At my largest, I avoided it at all costs. I went as far as to insist on blind weigh-ins at doctor’s offices.

I wasn’t ready to face the hard truth yet.

This may sound twisted, but I regret not tracking my weight during those years. Hey, if I weighed more, that means I lost more.

Some people do it weekly, monthly or not at all, but for the past couple years, I’ve been weighing myself daily.

I do it first thing in the morning, when I’m supposed to get the most accurate reading.

Sometimes I skip a day, especially when a binge means I know the numbers won’t be in my favor.

Here’s a sampling of what I ate on a recent three-day trip to the Cities: mini doughnuts, movie popcorn, pasta carbonara, cheesecake (twice), cheese curds (twice), chicken Parmesan, fried calamari, and a Blizzard.

No way was I getting on that scale the day after that vacation-food disaster.

Some people can eat all kinds of crap and not gain an ounce. I have one too many “dirty days” and I put on 5 pounds.

However, I don’t freak out about daily fluctuation.

My weight usually spikes 2 pounds the day after drinking, consuming a lot of sodium, or a hard workout.

I accept that. It’s when it stays up that I start to worry.

Then I feel like I’m having a Garfield moment when the scale reads “ERR,” laughs at me or taunts me with “Who are you kidding? You’ll always be fat.”

Some days, I’d like to hurl it out the window or smash it with a baseball bat “Office Space” style.

I know the number on the scale isn’t everything, but the pounds still need to come off to hit that goal weight, even if it changes along the way.

Forum reporter Meredith Holt has lost 105 pounds since May 2010. She will share stories of her weight-loss journey in her column, which runs the first and third Friday of each month in SheSays.