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25 May

you’re more than your BMI number.

you know i have no problem getting real about weight, body image, health, etc. in fact, i’ve even shared my exact weight for the world to see and why it doesn’t bother me to do so. but a few weeks ago, i experienced something that still bothers me and i still catch myself thinking about.

just recently, i ran out of a simple medication and since robbie and i spent two weeks traveling in Europe this past month, i had completely spaced making an appointment with my regular doctor to get a new prescription. in order to get a new prescription filled quickly, i had to make an appointment in San Francisco to see a doctor that i had never seen before. because of the stress of the situation and the fact i had never seen this doctor before, i was nervous. {to show you how nervous i was, when the nurse took my heart rate at the beginning of the appointment they said it was unusually high. they took it again later in the appointment and it was completely normal. i was that worked up!} before seeing the doctor, the nurse asked me a series of health questions about alcohol/drug use, my sexual activity, previous medications i had been on, etc. however, never once was i asked about my diet or exercise regimen. this is important to remember for later.

after having my heart rate taken again after i had calmed down, i was told to wait. when the doctor came in the room, she sat down and the first thing she handed me was a piece of paper that said how to lose weight. what? i was so confused. i was there to get a simple prescription filled and i had no idea why she was handing me this paper about losing weight before she even said hello or introduced herself. then i saw it.

my BMI number was scribbled at the top of the paper she had handed me. {for those of you who don’t know or need a little refresher course, BMI stands for Body Mass Index and is a system of measurement for body fat based on your height to weight ratio.} i looked at the paper she had handed me, which told me that i was in the red category, meaning i was not only overweight but i was obese. i was completely shocked. that’s right, at 5′ 5″ and 170 pounds, i was being told that i was obese and then handed a paper with tips on how to lose weight.

i know my weight and i’m not ashamed of it at all. i have a curvy build and always have! i workout 3-4 times a week and try to eat healthy. yes, sometimes my sweet tooth does get the best of me, but all things considered, i’m healthy. i have zero health problems, i work up a good sweat frequently, and i could go out and run a 5k right now and feel great!

so there i sat in that doctor’s office, with a lump in my throat, not sure whether i was angry or sad, probably a strong mix of both. i was never once asked by my doctor about my eating habits or how often i workout, i was not given any sort of physical test or examination on my strength or endurance, i was just told that i was obese because a chart said so.  here’s the real kicker: in order for me to be considered “healthy” and in the “normal range” for my height, i would have to land in a range that began at 111 pounds. yes, you read that correctly. i haven’t been under 120 pounds since i was in 4th grade! let that just sink in for a moment.

needless to say, i have never had such an impersonal and unhelpful visit to the doctor. after she handed me the paper, she told me that the sheet had great tips for losing weight, still never once making eye contact with me. she filled the prescription i needed and that was that. i’m sure others have had similar bad experiences with doctors, but up until this point i’ve been lucky to have ones who actually care about me.

i came home and cried and cried and cried. i cried to robbie because i felt, well obese. i asked him over and over again if i needed to lose weight. he reassured me i looked beautiful, told me that i am in the best shape i’ve been in since he’s known me, and reminded me how flawed of a system the BMI truly is. {he told me how his high school health teacher who was 6′ 2″ and 210 pounds of muscle used to rant all the time about how much of a joke the BMI is because even as a strong former professional athlete, he was overweight according to the Body Mass Index.}

i knew i wasn’t obese and i know i am strong and healthy, but in that moment, i still felt small and insecure and very sad. i was in a funk for a few days after, until i was able to get back on my body positivity horse. i know i don’t need to lose weight and i’m happy with how i look! could i stand to lose 10-15 pounds and still feel good about myself?! sure, of course. but do i need to lose any weight to feel confident and happy?! the answer is no. i love my body just the way it is and i try to help everyone else do the same.

related: Sarah Tripp tells Women’s Health that “beauty comes in many different shapes and sizes”

my message here is to forget about the silly numbers that we hold ourselves to and/or society holds us to. because trust me, they are not a reflection of who we really are. and in cases like this, they’re not even a reflection of the truth! because i promise i would actually be unhealthy if i weighed 111 pounds. you’re worth so much more than what a stupid chart categorizes you. it will forever baffle me how the Body Mass Index is still a legitimate measure used by health professionals and fitness fanatics. it’s just another way that society tries to put all the different body types into a box and it simply cannot be done. everyone is different and there is no one size fits all. there are many thin people that are unhealthy, and there lots of bigger/curvier people that are strong, fit, and active… and everything in between.

a chart may try and tell me i am overweight or obese or whatever, but i know that i don’t feel that way nor do i look it. i am curvy fit, i am active, i am strong, and i am healthy. that doesn’t mean this experience didn’t get my down for a little bit, because i have my off days too. but on those days i remind myself that i’m so much more than what any scale or chart could ever say. so here’s a little reminder that you are too. xx ‘just chill’ sports bra {another color here, love this ‘fear less’ one here and here}
floral leggings {sold out, love these}
tan Nikes

35 Comments
  • Shelly Bentley

    Sounds like you need a different dr!💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻

    May 25, 2017 at 10:01 pm Reply
  • Brittney Lyon

    I loved reading this!!! Very inspiring. I had a similar situation happen to me recently.

    May 25, 2017 at 10:11 pm Reply
  • Larkin Madden

    Seriously this JUST happened to me Friday. Went to a new doctor for a physical, she handed me a paper and said “for when you’re ready”… ugh!!! I’m so sorry you experienced this but thank you for your honesty and openness <3

    May 25, 2017 at 10:12 pm Reply
  • Scarlet Brooks

    <3 you inspire me to love me more! I love everything about you. Your BMI does not say anything about you most crossfit women are obese according to the chart when we all know it's solid muscle but shame on that doctor for treating you that way. All I can say is Stay beautiful just the way you are.

    May 25, 2017 at 10:30 pm Reply
  • Laura Koleas

    Unfortunately our health system is flawed in many ways, this being only one of many. You are a beautiful, strong woman and you are e doing the world a great service for taking this platform. If you weren’t active and lead a very sedentary life and were even 20lbs lighter you would probably have health problems. Your lifestyle & exercise habits say more about your health than a number. Stay strong, healthy and as awesome as you are!!! ❤️

    May 25, 2017 at 10:46 pm Reply
  • Kait

    My best friend has told by an ob/gyn that she wouldn’t consider taking her on a fertility patient until she lost at least 50lbs. Absolutely ridiculous.

    May 25, 2017 at 11:13 pm Reply
  • Daniela Zuniga

    This same thing happened to me!!
    Being told that you are obese when you know you are not it’s awful. Even if you try not to, you end up feeling bad.
    The day that happened to me I got super negative and was feeling like I never wanted to work out again because it didn’t matter anyway.
    Thank god for being strong enough to bounce back from that feeling.
    You are beautiful and a great example that being curvy can be beautiful, strong, fabulous, healthy and happy. Love your blog <3

    May 25, 2017 at 11:27 pm Reply
  • Juliana Tress

    I came from Mexico and visit the doctor for first time here at Cali and it was the same my Dr. Said I need to leave cookies, chips, ice cream, cakes and other many things i don’t even eat, when we (my husband and I) left the hospital, I was sad too, because She didn’t ask nothing, I have hormone problems, and also check what I eat, and try to be healthy, they just talk in numbers.

    I really like your blog it’s such a inspiration for me

    May 26, 2017 at 12:19 am Reply
  • Irene

    That’s just unacceptable. I hope you told her everything you so beautifully wrote here. She seems like a pretty bad doctor not to take into account a person’s excercise and eating habits. It’s sad to think she’ll keep hurting other people like this too.

    May 26, 2017 at 3:41 am Reply
  • Mindy Thompson

    What a great message girl! I have heard so many reports that say we shouldn’t focus on our BMI. Life is a BALANCE and we need to enjoy it along the way.

    Mindy II amixofmin.com

    May 26, 2017 at 8:40 am Reply
  • Brooke Webb

    Beautifully written and I can’t say how proud I am of you for believing in yourself and loving yourself from the inside out! You are doing all of the right things to stay healthy and you should be very proud of that! PLUS…you look AMAZING! I have a body positivity post in que and I’m sharing some of my personal struggles too. Your post is so inspiring!

    xo,
    Brooke || http://www.kbstyled.com

    May 26, 2017 at 9:11 am Reply
  • Lauren Goodman

    I once had a nurse call me back on my cholesterol because one of the numbers was one point out of the normal range. I asked what I could do to bring it down and she suggested working out more and asked how much I workout. I told her 5-7 days a week…silence…obviously she didn’t even read my chart before calling me or look at any of the other numbers. My mom’s a doctor and says today doctors are so quick to look at numbers and not the entire scenario and actually assess on practical medicine versus some chart. You look and clearly feel great and that’s all that matters!! Clearly this doctor is not using a practical approach to practicing medicine and that’s not even addressing the bad bedside manners she exhibited!

    May 26, 2017 at 11:04 am Reply
  • Meredith Tilch

    you are a true light and i’m thankful for your courage to talk out about this stuff. it’s important and difficult – but you champion it with poise and grace. thank you a million times – reading this has made me feel better! xo

    May 26, 2017 at 12:47 pm Reply
  • Jewels

    Um…this is ridiculous. Judging someone’s health by their instantaneous account and pretty pictures of food is ridiculous. In general, it is not your place to tell her what or where to eat. I ahave a skinny friend who never works out, eats out all the time and eats like cap all the time and people assume she’s healthy and active. Whereas I work out 5 times a week, hike hallenging CO mountain trails every saturday and run races all the time. I eat healthy and always homemade food and not even the occasional cookies or icecream or whatever because I am allergic to sugar, gluten, dairy, corn. I don’t replace it with storebought gluten free foods, I never have artificial sweetners to replace my no sugar diet. I eat vegetables, healthy grains like quinoa and buckwheat and legumes, some meat and fruit, healthy fats like avocado and nuts. By all means healthier than anyone I know, yet according to my BMI, I too considered obese. It’s mind boggling!

    May 26, 2017 at 2:13 pm Reply
  • Apryl Gorton

    You made a difference in my life today. This article is exactly what I needed.

    May 26, 2017 at 3:30 pm Reply
  • Nancy Svizzero

    I needed this! Thank you for sharing, so brave. Thanks again

    May 26, 2017 at 4:03 pm Reply
  • Lauren Hart

    thank you, i needed to read this today! i have experienced similar situations. keep doing you!

    May 26, 2017 at 4:06 pm Reply
  • Lindsay

    you’re so amazing and I appreciate you sharing this. I have always been a curvy girl myself and have been told my BMI is too high. Doctors can be awful and insensitive about the topic, and it’s such a silly and arbitrary index! You rock girl!

    May 26, 2017 at 9:17 pm Reply
  • Lili Sulastri Zainal Abidin

    This is a hilarious post. Why? I am 68 lbs and I am 5’2″. When I did my check-up, I was told I am obese, overweight, and BMI numbers that is not compatible with my height. I did look at the doctor blankly not knowing what to say. Eventually I decided to exercise to stay fit and when I feel heavy and sluggish, I look at what I eat. If I feel overweight or fat (I am not curvy, I wish), I am only comparing myself to my previous self. Then again, no way am I going back to my Twiggy self. At my age, I think I look good enough as is. My main issue is to flattened my tummy a little bit more.
    You look lovely. I can’t visualize you looking thinner.
    Chill out dear. I never follow my doctor’s advice. We are talking about our bodies. Our bodies will send out signals when something is not right. Just listen to our bodies more.

    May 26, 2017 at 10:37 pm Reply
    • Madison

      68 kg, not 68 pounds. If you were 68 pounds you would be in a hospital

      August 3, 2017 at 9:16 pm Reply
  • M.G.G

    What is most disturbing about that story is the chart that doctor was using is outdated. All the current charts put 170 5’5 at either overweight or healthy (depending on the chart source); not obese. In any case, only you know if you’re fueling your body appropriately and if you actually need to lose weight. Take her advice with a grain of salt and be healthy, happy and wise about you’re body. Your positive attitude is beautiful.

    May 27, 2017 at 1:05 am Reply
  • Sarah Smith

    Shame on that doctor. Your mental health is as important as your physical health and she did not take that into consideration at all. Continue to own your strength and beauty and don’t give her a second thought.

    May 27, 2017 at 8:28 am Reply
  • Jackie

    I had the same exact experience with the doctor. Exactly the same and I relate to this so much. I got so frustrated and angry about it and still can’t forget even though it’s been a few years since it happened. Your advice at the end made me realize I should let go of that now. Thank you for the wonderful blog post and love the outfit here girl.

    May 27, 2017 at 9:11 am Reply
  • Kristen

    Thank you so much for sharing this honest and motivating post! It is so hard to not get upset or to focus to much on the number. It is really just important to be confident, healthy and happy! You look AMAZING doll! Don’t let anyone tell you different!

    xoxo
    Kristen
    http://www.everychicway.com

    May 27, 2017 at 2:35 pm Reply
  • Amanda | The Golden Girl Diary

    Beautifully written! So saddened that you had this experience. It’s totally not acceptable!

    May 28, 2017 at 8:46 pm Reply
  • Sarah Lennon

    You go girlfriend! I love this post so much!

    May 28, 2017 at 9:08 pm Reply
  • Maggie

    Thank you for sharing this! I got measured today for a challenge I am doing and basically got upset about my numbers. It is nice to be reminded that numbers do not mean anything and it is who we are inside. So thank you for reminding me! XO

    May 29, 2017 at 11:05 am Reply
  • Megan

    You look amazing girl. Our society put so much emphasis on appearance and weight and the number on the scale. As long as you look and feel good nothing else matters.

    May 29, 2017 at 11:49 am Reply
  • Liz

    This makes me mad! You look beautiful and healthy so I wouldn’t even pay any attention to what that doctor said.

    Liz
    http://Www.lizzieinlace.com

    May 29, 2017 at 3:58 pm Reply
  • Kasey

    How terrible! What kind of doctor doesn’t even get to know you before making a diagnosis? What a terrible experience for you! But honestly, you are a beautiful, amazong woman and you are so strong for rising above this and speaking out!

    May 30, 2017 at 8:39 pm Reply
  • Mariam

    BMI is completely ridiculous and just plays into the narrative of an “ideal” body.
    Everyone is unique and as long as you feel good and are healthy, nothing else should matter.

    May 31, 2017 at 8:14 pm Reply
  • Makayla M.

    Your honesty is so inspiring! I couldn’t agree more and I’m so sorry that you had to deal with that! You are so beautiful… and I’m dying over those sneakers, haha! Loved this. xo

    June 1, 2017 at 1:30 pm Reply
  • Tabitha Faith

    Sarah,
    You are so inspirational! I completely understand the struggle. I’ve been in the same boat my whole life. Currently I’m 8 weeks postpartum, 5’8″ and 182 lbs. my BMI has always registered on the high end of overweight and occasionally into that pesky obese category. I always found that insane because I’m much more active and health conscious than some of my skinny mini friends. There really is no normal and I’m glad there are ladies out there like you to give a voice to the ones that feel body shamed by these kinds of things. I hope inspire body positivity like you do!
    Thanks for your transparency!

    June 30, 2017 at 12:27 pm Reply
  • Kelly

    Wait that doctor is dumb also. 170 and 5’5 is not obese.

    Underweight = <18.5
    Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
    Overweight = 25–29.9
    Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

    And you're so inspirational btw and I support ya!!

    August 3, 2017 at 9:12 pm Reply

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