Over the past two weeks I’ve had 3 people say some variant of, “You look like you’ve lost some weight.” While flattering, I guess, it also somewhat disturbs me. Not because somebody might have noticed that I’d lost weight, but because I realized that I have absolutely no idea if I have lost weight.
I don’t often weigh myself. Not because I’m afraid of what the scale says or because I might be proud of random weight loss, but because I honestly don’t think much about how much I might weigh. This stems partially from my non-standard BMI. I’m an oddity there. My upper body is build on the small side of normal and I have moderate plumpness about me. I’ll certainly not be the first to starve to death on the island, that’s for sure. My lower-body is another thing entirely. My legs are almost unnaturally muscular and thick when compared to my upper body. If I clench the muscles in my legs, it’s nearly impossible to find enough fat to be able to pinch. It’s not something that I have any particular pride about, it’s something that’s just natural to my physiology, like having brown hair.
I don’t work my lower body any more or less than my upper, yet my lower body takes very little effort to build power in. When I was doing weight lifting in high school I was able to sled press about 1,000 pounds after only a few weeks, but it took me about 2 months to add 20 pounds to my pretty pathetic bench press. I’ve come to accept that I’ll likely never be very strong in the arms; it takes a lot of work for me to put any kind of muscle on my arms, and I don’t have that many hours in my day to worry about doing it.
This makes BMI problematic for me. My typical weight puts me solidly into the upper end of the overweight category, but I was told a long time ago by a doctor that, because of my lower body, typical BMI measurements are pretty much useless for me. Muscle weighs way more than fat, and my legs are like two lead weights that way. In order to weigh in at a normal BMI, I’d have to starve myself long enough that my body started to digest the muscles in my legs.
So anyway, because of that I put little stock in BMI and don’t typically watch my weight very closely. Aside from the recent efforts my wife and I have put into eating healthier, I haven’t been actively trying to lose weight. Indeed our healthy eating has kind of lagged off a bit with some of the recent happenings (my business trip, her having a lengthly trip of her own, etc) so I figured I was putting on the pounds with our less mindful eating.
Getting these compliments made me realize something: I have no idea how much I weigh right now. I have no idea what I weigh because it’s been several months since I last stepped on the scale. Am I thinner; do I weigh less? I honestly have no idea. It doesn’t seem likely with my recent diet of primarily take-out food and grilled burgers/sausages. I suppose I could weigh myself and find out, but what’s the fun in that?
-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?