Weight =/= health

As anyone who knows me personally, or reads my blog regularly knows, I’m a bit out of the ‘healthy’ weight range on the old BMI scale.

I have certain health problems, mainly depression, and the joys that go with a permanently stressed immune system. My body, because of my anxiety and depression, is in a permanent state of ‘fight or flight’. This, as I’m sure you all are aware, is not a good thing. But I’m used to the affect of this permanent stress state, which manifests itself in my case as a dodgy digestive system and a continuous cold.

So, when, on the first Monday back to work after the New Year, I woke up and the room was spinning, when standing was almost impossible because I fell down again immediately, and eating was not a thing I could do (also, I started disconnecting – I found my hands incredibly funny for a few seconds) I figured I was probably not in a good situation and rang in sick. After panicking a few people, because disoriented Rosie is weirder than not disoriented Rosie, I rang the doctors and managed to get an emergency appointment.

Two flaming hours I sat in the waiting room but I did finally get to see a doctor in our little minor accident unit. It’s basically triage; if you’re damaged enough they’ll send you to hospital, if not your illness or injury gets dealt with by the staff at the primary care centre – the doctors surgery. I told the doctor about my disorientation, the spinning room, and all the rest. Answer? What’s your diet like? Are you trying to lose weight? How much exercise do you do? When did you last have blood tests? Any history of heart disease/blood pressure/diabetes in the family? Get on the scales. You weigh too much, cut your portion sizes, use low fat dressing in your meals, do more exercise…

And on and on and on. Because I haven’t heard all this before. He did take my blood pressure though, and seemed confused by the results. Then he decided I needed blood tests, for my blood sugars, cholesterol, etc. In the barrage of questions about my lifestyle the doctor forgot to tell me what was actually causing my dizziness and disorientation. That is problematic for me; the doctor didn’t give me a diagnosis and discuss all possible causes, he jumped straight to ‘you are sick because you’re fat’.

Another forty minutes pass. I really needed the medication that stopped the dizziness but couldn’t risk getting called in to see the phlobotomist while I was at the pharmacy, so I waited it out. Finally, I get to see a nurse.

Who, while looking up my records to find out what tests the doc wanted doing actually bothered to explain what was wrong. I have vertigo, which can apparently be caused by stress. When I told her about my depression, my job and the events of the last year, the nurse, being more professional suggested stress might indeed have triggered my vertigo. It made a change from the usual assumption that it’s all because of the fat. The nice nurse took a pint of blood out of me, all right it was three vials but I have a lingering dislike of needles so it always seems worse, and sent me on my way to see the pharmacist for meds.

Yay for meds! (Anyone have a problem with antidepressant meds? I hope you never need them.)

Anyway, today I rang the doctors to get my results, fully expecting to hear I’m pre-diabetic and have ridiculously high cholesterol. I was prepared for the news; we have a family history after all and I am considered obese. We’re bombarded with the idea that fat = unhealthy…lazy…stupid…ugly.

The results?

EVERYTHING NORMAL; NO FURTHER ACTION NECESSARY

My health, as measured by my blood work, testing for things usually considered diagnostic in obese people, is NORMAL. You didn’t see that one coming did you? I grinned like an idiot and I’ve been in a good mood all day.

The reason I’m sharing this news, other than to assure you that I’m not going to die before the novel is complete, is because I’m sick of seeing concern trolling on body positive and body acceptance posts. Lets get one thing straight shall we: weight and health are not the same thing.

Yes, there are some diseases that are linked to extremes of weight, whether that’s extreme low weight or extremely high weight.

No, it does not automatically follow that a person with an extremely high weight is going to drop dead at any moment from a heart attack etc.

Yes, some people, fat or thin, eat nutritionally poor foods.

No, that doesn’t mean all fat people live on chocolate and take away meals.

Some people are large, healthy and physically fit; some are slim,unhealthy and unfit. Then again everyone is different. Personally, I’m terribly unfit but all the walking I’m doing at the moment is helping with that, I’m fat, and my blood work says I’m in the normal ranges for everything, so I’m healthy. I even eat sensibly, lots of fresh fruit and veg, wholemeal grains and oily fish and lean meat. Nom.

What this boils down to is people need to stop making assumptions about someone’s health and lifestyle based on outward appearances. Unless you’ve seen my medical records and spent every single minute of every single day monitoring my eating habits and exercise, you really have no evidence to come to a conclusion.
Concern trolls – I love this descriptive phrase – need to stop projecting their psychological hang ups on to everyone else; you’re not being helpful, you’re being bad mannered and ignorantly judgemental.

And now I have to go to sleep because I have work in the morning.

Good night, wherever you are.

Rose

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