I went for a health screen the other week. I have a new life insurance plan which encourages me to engage with it; being fit and healthy drives down my premiums. Now given the fact that I live in central London, don’t have a car, and walk or bicycle everywhere, I like to think I’m pretty fit. However, I didn’t reckon with the utterly medieval height-weight-BMI calculation at the health screen.
Ya see, all that walking and biking builds muscle mass, so even though I am the same clothing size I was at 18 (granted, after childbirth, not all the pieces stack together neatly), the computer (and therefore, insurance company) now thinks I’m overweight. So until I get a Bioimpedance Analysis (BIA) done, to measure the ratio of fat to lean body mass, that number sticks. It’s on my file. All these years spent focusing on how I feel, how I’m managing my auto-immune condition, my PTSD – all meant nothing in light of that stupid number. But just for a second.
I had a choice: to let that number suddenly define me and erode years of hard work and body love, or reject it for what it is. A number. Just a number. A static snapshot of me on a particular day. I chose not to assign it any value in my life.
Because I define my health by the overall picture – mind and body in tandem. How calm I am. How able I am to deal with stress at work. How long my auto-immune condition stays in remission. How mild the flare ups are. How much sleep I’m getting. How much my hip hurts. And so far, I’m winning. I feel good.
I choose this quote by Anne Lamott over that number every single day!