Unpleasant Number Crunching: BMI

Disclaimer: This blog post is about me. No judgment about the size, shape, appearance, or health of any other person is intended.

Friends, I have never been what you would call svelte. I haven’t had flat abs since puberty and empire waist dresses only looked good on me in the adorable second trimester of pregnancy. My “skinny” jeans have a high waist and control top, suggesting that the garment is somewhat misnamed. I’m not ashamed of this. I’m a mom and I like ice cream.

But I do exercise (to the extent that I enjoy it) and make some effort not to just shovel whatever I want into my mouth, so, it was a bit of a shock last week when I was filling out an online health questionnaire (as part of an effort to get a $240 bonus from my employer) and realized that the last few pounds that have snuck up on me have pushed from the high end of normal to, technically, “overweight” on the BMI scale.

Digital scale showing 125.9 lbs.

This would be a “good” weight if I were not 4’11” tall. More than I have weighed at any point when I was not pregnant or post-pregnancy.

Yes, this is a seriously flawed measure, but it’s the one that the software was using. (The latest evidence seems to suggest that the scale may need shifting upwards–people who are slightly overweight on the scale seem to be less likely to die at any given time than people at the low end of normal.) To be clear, I don’t think that there is anything particularly unhealthy about my current weight.

So why am I talking about it at all, and in particular why am I discussing it in my frugal living blog?  Well, I am clearly eating up more dollars, in the form of food, than I need, and fluctuating weight can also make maintaining a wardrobe a pricey proposition. (Fortunately, I have not, thus far, actually outgrown anything.) And the technicality of the word “overweight” really got my attention. It feels like some weird mid-thirties, post-motherhood rite of passage that I never saw coming.

Most importantly, though, steady weight creep threatens things I value. Like being able to take the kids to school by bike. Walking across downtown. Hiking in the mountains. The general sense that I am strong and capable.

The cause of the weight creep is, on reflection, totally obvious. I was biking six miles several days a week for preschool dropoff, but now that we have moved across town, I’ve been driving. And I can remember too many times when I got up from the dinner table feeling fuller than full. So… portion control and upping my activity level. I have already gone to an extra Body Pump class and walked by a bag of donuts in the break room at work.

Not because I’m ashamed of myself, or think I look bad, or because I want to look better than other people. For the sole reason that I think my chances of continuing to enjoy an active, frugal life are better if I stop gaining inches and maybe shake off a few.

Do you see a connection between your size/weight and frugality?


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About frugalparagon

I'm a part-time librarian and mom to two small boys. I blog about striving for the long-term goal of financial independence while running a tight ship at home.

3 responses to “Unpleasant Number Crunching: BMI”

  1. David says :

    Exercise improves my mood considerably, so even though (at my level) I eat more than if I were idle, the good mood and clear mind more than makes up for any extra food costs. Plus, TIME is your most valuable commodity – and being fit is the best way to ensure you get the most of it.

    • frugalparagon says :

      LOL, I think having to eat more to maintain one’s activity level is pretty much a guy problem. Then there’s that guy in the Mustache forums who keeps saying that biking is not really worthwhile because it “costs” so much in increased food… but he is missing the point in so many ways.

      • David says :

        Bob W misses the point in many ways. I think he’s drunk too much of his halfka 😉

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