Stop Letting The BS Of Body Mass Index Define You Or Your Body

Stop Letting The BS Of Body Mass Index Define You Or Your Body

Instead of focusing on our overall body weight, we need to find a system that focuses more on our fat levels than our weights.


I went to the doctor's office with my little brother this morning, and it pretty much felt like getting my teeth pulled out one by one. This wasn't his regular doctor, and nothing about the visit was fun, but the thing that stood out the most was when she tried telling my brother that his BMI was too high.

Y'all, my brother is a 6-foot, weightlifting machine. This kid lifts pretty much whenever he can, and he's ridiculous about his fitness. He even does meal prep AND drinks protein shakes. I seriously don't know anyone that tries harder at staying active and fit than my brother.

So when this doctor told my brother that, according to his BMI, he was overweight, don't get me wrong: I was a little ticked. My brother was a little ticked. My mom was a little ticked. This really did not help the appointment, but in the end, my brother shrugged it off because he said that BMI was pretty much BS.

But when I got home, I decided to calculate what my own BMI would be. And according to those numbers, apparently, I'm obese, by American standards.

I wasn't really sure how to feel, honestly. I've struggled some with body image in the past, but for the most part, I've gotten to the point where I can feel happy with how I look.

Suddenly that feeling of acceptance was stripped from me, all because of a couple of numbers.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not thin. I know I'm overweight. But I never ever would've classified myself as obese. After seeing my BMI, I decided to do some digging to figure out how accurate this test really is. What I found is that it's not very accurate at all.

In order to calculate your BMI, you divide your weight (in pounds) by your height (in inches) squared. Then you take that number and multiply it by 703. If the number you get is over 25, then you're considered overweight. If it's over 30, then you're obese.

That's all fine and dandy, except that calculation literally only accounts for your height and weight. It doesn't take into consideration your body type, how much muscle you have, how big your bones are, or any other factors.

So why is this the calculation we're using to calculate obesity?

As I said, my brother lifts weights excessively. For a 16-year-old, he's got a ton of muscle. But this test didn't acknowledge that. Instead, it just said, "Oh, since you weigh x pounds, you're overweight."

Admittedly, BMI does work for some people, and using it can give you a general idea on whether or not you need to keep an eye on your weight. However, weight isn't necessarily the problem. Usually, muscle isn't going to give you health problems, fat is.

So instead of focusing on our overall body weight, we need to find a system that focuses more on our fat levels than our weights.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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My Clothing Size Doesn't Define Me, Yours Shouldn't Either

Why my jean size won't determine my self-worth.


How many times have you gone into a clothing store and come out feeling like shit about yourself? I know I have, on numerous occasions. I got so pissed off at the way that I felt clothing brands/manufacturers kept making sizes "Alice in Wonderland" smaller, while clearly, I wasn't getting bigger.

Last summer, I went to one of my favorite stores at my local mall, and I left nearly in tears. Why didn't I fit into this size of jeans in this store? I fit into this same size in another store. What's going on here? Am I losing my mind?

After that experience, I decided that from that point forward, I would not let myself get worked up and stressed out over the sizing label on a pair of jeans—my clothing size doesn't define me. The inch measurements of my waist will not ever be relevant as to whether or not I am kind, smart, or freaking amazing at Karaoke (and I crush a good Stevie Nicks' song, by the way). My clothing size has absolutely no bearing on whether or not I add value to someone's life, or if I'm genuinely a good person.

Your clothing size should not ever define how you see yourself either. So what? You're a size 00—that doesn't mean that you're "nothing" or that you "look sickly skinny." So what? You're a size 16, or 18, or 22—that doesn't mean that you're "ugly" or "too big" or "not enough," or any of the other lies that society would have any of us believe about ourselves.

Society loves to put women in their place, and what better way to do this than to have us believe that because we wear size fill-in-the-blank jeans, that we are automatically "too small" or "too big." The problem is not with any one of us—the problem is with society and the fact that making women feel uncomfortable in their bodies have become the norm. I will never let the size of my jeans ever define how I see myself, and you shouldn't either.

As cliché and "Instagram hashtag" worthy as the old saying goes, it's actually true: Love yourself. In a culture that relies on women (and men, too), hating ourselves, it's absolutely critical for each and every one of us to accept ourselves exactly as we are.

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