Mike isn’t the only ShrinkGeek who has done the opposite of shrinking around here. Admittedly, his was both more dramatic and less intentional than mine, but there have been heretofore unexplored numbers showing up on my bathroom scale. In a vacuum, gravitational attraction between my body and the planet is merely a point of data that doesn’t say a whole hell of a lot. The child’s riddle about “which weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of nails?” applies to the meat of which we’re made, of course; a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle, but takes up a lot more space and is generally less aesthetically delicious. (Note: I can’t tell how good my marbling is, but I don’t think I’m bacon-grade flesh yet.)
Those of you who follow me elsewhere on social media will already have been treated to a variation of this rant yesterday, but, since we’re blowing the dust off stuff around here, it’s still apropos.
We had health screenings at the office yesterday, and I was about a glass of water from falling into the “Obese” category (>30.0) based on my BMI.
So, yeah – jump the cut to see the body of a quote-unquote “obese” guy.
I get on the scale. It reads ~191. I say, “I was 188 without the clothes this morning.”
The nurse writes down “192.”
THANKS FOR THAT, LADY, I’M SURE THIS WON’T FUCK ANYONE OVER WHEN IT REACHES MY HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDER. (I have since been advised by a lovely former coworker who is now a law student that health insurance companies aren’t allowed to jack with an individual’s rates based on their BMI, but I bet dollars to low-fat donuts that they’ll take a composite BMI figure to compute what our office’s premiums will be, and this rounding error could prove to be very lucrative; let’s not be coy here – it’s in the insurance company’s best financial interests to make me and everyone else I work with look statistically heavier and less healthy than we actually are. I’m sure someone around here will unload a disquisition on the subject of health insurance and the Affordable Healthcare Act and other such subjects before long, whether that’s me or Mike or someone else who tosses their hat into the ring).
Stupid, inelegant metrics don’t need help being made MORE wrong. Especially bright: pissing off someone who has been fasting for sixteen hours before taking their blood pressure. Also, asking me to engage in chit-chat while having my blood pressure taken isn’t helping (nor is the fact that most BP cuffs are calibrated for, frankly, squishier arms than mine, so they read high anyways; this is one of the reasons I prefer the wrist cuff vs the upper-arm cuff for BP testing; there’s simply less flesh between the cuff and the circulatory system to skew the results or require (re)calibration).
So, yeah, my paperwork makes me look fat and lazy (hand-gripped BF% machine returns 24.1% …. which is higher than my BF% was before I started working out. At all. Who calibrates these things, and does an accurate one exist for strength athletes? Christ. Body fat calipers and three- and five-site tests return a figure closer to 15%, which is, admittedly, squishier than I want to be, but it’s a far goddamned cry from the couch potato figure that widget returns. Even my grossly inaccurate Tanita bathroom scale typically says something between 19 and 22%, and it can swing that much half an hour after I drink a big glass of water).
The only good thing to come of yesterday’s poking, prodding, and pissing me off was learning that my lipid profile reflects how much my cardio has lagged; my HDL level is down, and my total cholesterol/hdl ratio has dropped from >4/1 to about 2.5/1, so I need to get back do doing interval training, getting prepared for the Zombie Run we’re signed up for in mid-November, and being more diligent about taking my fish oil capsules.
Being a vertically-challenged strength athlete makes you look like a complete asshole when it comes to health insurance actuarial tables. I don’t need any help looking like an asshole from some fucking insurance metric based on a flawed heuristic from a hundred and seventy years ago; I am perfectly capable of doing that unaided right now.