I'm Not OK, But That's OK

I'm Not OK, But That's OK

It's not embarrassing to be unhappy.
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My whole life, my crayons have always been in rainbow order. Every year when I got my class schedule, I would be the first one at Staples buying exorbitant amounts of color-coded supplies. Safe to say, I'm a bit of a perfectionist.

Because of this, I've always struggled to accept failure. As soon as something didn't seem to go my way, or align itself in perfect color order, I'd compensate with something similar, yet equally stress-inducing. Didn't win class president? Join a new club. Quit basketball? Get a job. Struggling with a heavy course load? Take even more classes.

As soon as I let myself be upset when things didn't work out in my favor, I saw my unhappiness as a sign of weakness. Rather than learn from my own downfalls, I would feel guilty for even considering being unhappy. Failure wasn't an option, so instead I would search for my next success, without allowing myself to dwell on defeat. Just like that, I got stuck in a vicious cycle - never allowing myself to be upset, but rather allowing it to slowly accumulate, each grain of disappointment slowly trickling to the bottom of the hourglass until time began to fill it to the brim. I was always okay, and then just suddenly I wasn't.

About halfway through my senior year of high school, I started to shut people out. My amazing group of friends suddenly became a hindrance in my mind, whilst in actuality they were the opposite. Rather than turning to them for help, I stayed silent, instead turning to the fictional friends who provided refuge within my favorite books. I was embarrassed to admit my own weakness, so I didn't.

Criticism, too, began to affect me far more than it ever had before. Malicious remarks that I had once scoffed at as mere jealousy or lack of a better hobby became the basis of my own self-worth. In one particular instance, an issue of the school newspaper I had invested hours into faced immense criticism, to which I responded by shutting off my phone and shutting out those around me, avoiding the situation altogether.

By avoiding all of the stressors in my life, I was instead magnifying their impact. Left unresolved, they became a massive weight upon my shoulders, rivaling Atlas' own crushing burden.

Thus, came many sad days. Days where I didn't want to leave my room. Days I left texts unanswered. Days my mom remarked about how oddly long it had been since she had seen my friends. After four years of high school, and many years before that, I just finally needed time to myself to wallow.

By finally feeling the sadness which I had kept contained for so long, I was finally releasing the negative emotions into the world, freeing up space within myself for the positives.

I'm not going to sit here and pretend I'm always happy now. I'm not. However, I can say with confidence, it's okay to be unhappy. It's okay to show weakness. It's okay to be human!

I'm not always okay, but that's okay.

Cover Image Credit: Disney Wikia

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The BS Behind BMIs

Despite what you've been told since your high school health class, your BMI might not be an accurate indicator of your health.

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If you've ever tried to lose or gain weight, you've probably calculated your BMI. Your body mass index, or BMI, is an estimation of your level of body fat based off of your height and mass. This value can be found by dividing your mass (kg) by your height squared (meters). You can also use special BMI calculators like the one on the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's website. The value you get is your BMI. According to Adolphe Quetelet who devised the formula for BMIs, you are considered "underweight" if you have a BMI that's less than 18.5, "normal weight" if you have a BMI that's between 18.5 and 24.9, "overweight" if your BMI is between 25.0 and 29.9, and "obese" if your BMI is 30.0 or higher. Is this an accurate way to determine whether you're at a healthy weight? Absolutely not.

To illustrate this, let's talk about actor, producer, and professional wrestler: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

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Johnson stands at six feet five inches and 260 pounds. If you did the math, you'll see that Dwayne Johnson has a BMI of 30.8. That's right. According to his BMI, he's obese.

Similarly, another professional wrestler, Hulk Hogan, is six feet seven inches and weighs a whopping 302 pounds.

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This results in a BMI of 34.0, making him even more "obese" than Dwayne Johnson. Do either of these men look "obese"? No. Of course not. Looking at the images of both Hogan and Johnson, it's easy to see that they're both pretty muscular, fit dudes. So you might be asking yourself why their BMIs are high enough to be considered obese. The answer is simple: muscle weighs more than fat.

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In the image above, the yellow mass is five pounds of fat and the smaller, red mass on the right is five pounds of muscle. The pen is there for size comparison. As you can see the five pounds of fat looks much larger than the five pounds of muscle. This the part that BMIs get wrong: not all weight is equal. Because body mass index calculations only take into consideration the mass of the person (along with the height) as opposed to body fat percentage or strictly muscle mass, BMIs are never going to be an accurate representation of health. If you're still on the fence about the accuracy of Quetelet's Body Mass Index formula, NPR, or the National Public Radio, states 10 reasons why BMIs are phony.

Luckily there are more accurate ways to find out how healthy we are, such as Body Adiposity Index (BAI) and Hydrostatic Weighing. One inexpensive alternative is the use of skin calipers. Skin calipers are used to pinch sections of fat on the body and determine body composition. A downside to this though is that this is only as accurate as the technician measuring is.

Regardless of your BMI, your BAI, your weight, or your height, you are so much more than a number. Remember: it's what's on the inside that counts.

Cover Image Credit:

slimmingtipsblog / Flickr

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