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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Defines Being Healthy? Body Image and Health.

I was struggling to determine what issue to post this week relating to health, fitness and wellness. There is so much happening in that forum which could keep you occupied 24/7 just writing.

As I was walking home last night, an earlier conversation was resonating in my head. The topic had been a description of an individual as obese and how she felt upon hearing the description of her.

For those of you who have met me, I do not, as defined by medicine, fall into the category of height and weight appropriate. In fact, based upon my weight and height (I am just soooo tall, as you all know!!), I would be considered overweight. What is wrong here? More importantly, when does an index have the ability to cause such emotional upset and sometimes lead us into an unhealthy practices, just so we can fit into a defined criteria.

I have battled my eating disorder for most of my life and only within the last several years have found acceptance of myself. That demon sometimes comes back, but I just remember to breathe and it is extinguished. My Body Mass Index is 20% (there is nothing wrong with muscle on a woman-I still have my curves. For my weight and height, 20% is amazing) and I have more endurance and strength than most 20-25 year old males (I can actually say this cause I demonstrated this in a judo match). I got to this point through exercise, sometime structured, sometimes not and embracing a healthy diet. Do I deprive myself? No, everything is always in balance. If I do a Saturday night pizza, then you can bet I’m into salads until Tuesday.

I have some close friends who have been involved in a life-long battle with their weight and have taken many “quick fixes”, which have lightened their wallet books and temporarily the scales, and I am always sad when their weight comes back on as they become unhappy and frustrated. We have had frank discussions, as they know my past-but ultimately until they incorporate some exercise and make a lifestyle change, this cyclic weight-on/weight-off will continue. I never tell them this-they know it-they just haven’t gotten to the point in their life to accept it.

The scales, when I have to get on them for my annual check-up, are totally irrelevant to me. I have also been blessed with finding someone within the medical profession who understands what being fit is truly about and isn’t concerned that my weight and height do not jive. If I observe changes to weight around the waist, then that is a different issue as I approach the other side of 45.

The point I am trying to make is when I look in a mirror, I do not judge myself on how I look but always on how I feel. When you look into the mirror, if you can tell yourself that you are working towards your goals, that you are active and healthy, then whether you recognize it or not-you have embarked on positive change. Kudos to anyone who recognizes that health and wellness doesn’t come easy and it is always a work in progress. You should be proud of yourself!

If it came in a bottle everyone would have a great body.-Cher

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