When I was 17 I weighed about 180 pounds. By no means is that acceptable to a thin-obsessed society, but it’s about 70 pounds less than what I weigh now. Therefore, because I weighed less then, I must have been healthier then, too, right? After all, aren’t we all repeatedly told that in order to be healthy you must weigh the minimum?
This bullshit line of thinking came to me the other day when I was walking. When I was in school, you had to run the mile twice a year, every year. As someone who has never been a good runner, even as a healthy-weight kid, this was my Hell. You had to run the mile in like 7 or 9 minutes (I’m sure my fellow classmates that were actually capable of doing this could tell me the right number). The most time allowed whether you ran or walked it was 15 minutes. You had to do it within that time frame to be considered acceptable.
I could barely walk that mile in 25 minutes.
I thought about that the other day because now, six days a week, I’m regularly walking a mile in 15 minutes or less.
But I weighed LESS then. So I had to be healthier back then, right? Isn’t that the bullshit logic we’re force fed today?
When I was 17, my physical activity was pretty much non-existent outside of the minimum effort I put into PE and whatever walking/standing I did at work. Granted, having H/I cup boobs kind of put a damper on more aggressive physical activity because that shit is painful, but I admit it. I was a first class slug when it came to moving my body.
My diet at 17? Well, I’d say I ate less than I do now. I pretty much lived off of french fries, pancakes, whatever the cafeteria served for lunch at school, and whatever I ate working at Taco Bell. That’s it.
But, I weighed less.
At 27 I weighed about 200 pounds. More than my high school senior days, but a good 50 pounds less than now, so I must have been healthier then, too, right?
Well, I kind of was. I moved a whole lot more, that’s for sure. After my breast reduction surgery, physical activity became much less cumbersome and potentially hazardous. I did yoga and belly dance five days a week in addition to whatever miles I clocked working at Wal-Mart 24 hours a week.
And I still ate less at 27 than I do now, I think. My diet basically consisted of whatever was quickest, whatever frozen, processed shit I could pull out of a package or anything I could dump out of a can, whatever I could stick in a microwave and heat up on the fly. Fast food and soda were staples to my diet. I basically ate like a raccoon foraging in a dumpster. I also smoked a pack a day.
But I weighed less.
Now I weigh about 250. I eat more than I did at 17 and 27, but I eat less garbage. Very little soda and fast food, way less processed foods. Most of the dinners I make are vegetarian. Most of the lunches I eat look like they were packed for a third grader, all of the food groups represented.
I move more than I did at 17, but less than I did at 27. Consistency has been my biggest issue. It was hard to get back on the exercise horse after I hurt my knee. It was hard to be consistent working three jobs with varying schedules. Now just working two jobs that are more stable, I’ve been slowly able to work that consistency back in. I’m moving more than I have in a long time and I’m really happy about that.
But am I healthier than I was then?
According to the scale and society, no.
But I feel like I am.