You are not just a number

“The healthcare role of the BMI is to identify individuals who are at risk of either premature death or preventable disease (i.e. the so-called lifestyle modifiable diseases), or possibly preventable events (e.g. early knee replacement implant failure). Do you know what it’s not for? Singling out fat people.” – Dr Bryan Chung.

So why am I writing a post in response to a blog by a plastic surgeon? Because it got me thinking. What if my potential clients think I’m going to get them on the scales and tell them ‘they are fat’.

“Well duh”, they say silently to themselves, “look at me, I’m a stressed out mother of three who has just hit forty and have a waist (if you can even find it) almost as big as my age. I don’t need to be told I’m fat. Do you know how small and stupid that makes me feel? I’m here because I am tired. I’m sick and tired. I know I should eat better but it is so hard. I know I should exercise but when can I find the time? My back aches constantly and I cannot cope any longer. I WANT YOUR HELP, not your condescension!”

Because you need to understand that there are many of us in the health & fitness industry who will not treat you just as a number that fits somewhere on a graph. We will look at as many of the variables as we can. We will treat you like a fellow human, with the same hopes and fears that we have. Me? I listen. How can I truly help you if I don’t understand you? In my personal training business I am to educate and inform. Each session is about what you can yourself, in your own time, to improve on where you are now. Yes I will get you stronger and more stable. Yes I will focus on your weakest areas, those that are holding you back physically and mentally. My aim is get you feeling like you think you should always have felt. How you wish you could feel if it wasn’t for work/family/money/life.

I will empower you.

As for the blog itself. I found it enlightening. It explains why medicine uses it, and how it can be used for great good when it is understood and used correctly. (unlike three years ago when the asthma nurse told me i must lose weight because my BMI was 27. Bet you know how that made me feel.)

In case you don’t have the time or inclination to read Dr Chung, he reminds us that BMI is not a measure of fatness. It is a marker. It can help highlight the risk of health issues when taken in context with other measurements. Just because your BMI is over 25 doesn’t make you overweight, in the same way that a score of 24 doesn’t mean everything is hunky-dory.

The BMI: Lack of basic epidemiology knowledge makes us all dumber

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