Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Health Check

An email from a mailing list peaked my curiosity last week; an event in itself I know. Mailing lists usually just get filtered and ignored. I should have ignored this one as well but "Free!" and "Health Check" screamed at me from the subject line. My employer was offering free health checks, promising nutritional analysis, dietician consultation, weight management consultation and other general health screening. I thought I should go, just to see how I measured up and see if they can't offer some advice on stabilizing my metabolism after my fitness competition. So I made my appointment, blocked off my calendar and headed over this afternoon at my appointed time.
Unfortunately, I ended up just pretending that their advice was new and exciting for me; "As a woman, you need more calcium- are you getting enough calcium?" Yes, I am...1000mg a day to be exact. (Shocked look across dieticians face when I could recite exactly how many mg of calcium I'm getting a day- and from what sources). "Have you seen the Canadian Food Guide?" Yes, and it's really not applicable to me. "How? It's applicable to everyone". No, it's not. Everyone's metabolism is different and the only way you know what works for you, is by monitoring your meals and results closely and diligently. I kept my mouth shut though, thanked the very kind lady and moved onto blood pressure. No problemo there; I'm at my normal 110/72- kind of low which is why I am always cold. "Do you suffer from dizzy spells or faintness?" Nope.
Ok, last stand- weigh in. A friend just recently reminded me how important it is to stay away from the scale as much as possible and to focus on how you are feeling, and how your clothes fit. Well, no surprises on my weight, or waist circumference. I know my measurements. But this kind lady proceeded to interpret them acccording to the evil instrument known as the BMI...urgh. The indicator came back that I am at risk for a heavy-weight related illness. Yes, that's right. I train at the gym 2x a day, I eat a strict clean menu, I walked up 13 flights of stairs to my policy committee meeting this morning and I am overweight? Not bloody likely Thank You! SOOOOOO....yet another support for the tao: Feeling healthy is being healthy. If you feel good, if your clothes fit and you are happy- stay there. It's a good place to be, and don't buy into a bmi, scale or other measurement outside yourself. I thanked everyone, handed in an evaluation of the session and walked over to the gym- which I have been to for more than 100 consecutive training days! I had another good workout (after they cut the lock off my locker- the lock died- staff didn't give me the 'what the hell did you do to it' speech. They know I'm there, everyday, for months and months and months. It was it's time to go.)
So, a new combo lock (and memorization task) and a new outlook on my fitness level. I guess the health check served it's purpose after all.


hellien said...

Hi There! I can't believe she said 'you are at risk for a heavy-weight related illness' - what an idiot (sorry, but ccmon)! I was at a health conference a while back and and yet again they were saying (they have been saying it for yearsssss) that BMI really isn't the best indicator of health. I always like to tell students this too! People really need a more in-depth assessment (e.g. ask what exercise they are doing, what they would typically eat during the day, how often they visit a dietitian, how involved they are in their own health, what they feel about their own health). These things, to me, provide a much more accurate viewpoint of a PERSONS health. With this in mind - you're one of the healthiest people I know!

I like your advice about clothes fitting and not 'weighing in'. I know so many people (including nurses) who obsessively weight themselves - even though naturally a person's weight fluctuates throughout the day/month. New research says that waist circumference and the amount/type of exercise can have a huge influence on health. Most of all, as you mention, health is related to how you feel about YOUR health, not your size, shape etc. Anyway, I just had to rant about that - keep the blogs comin! Take Care, HV :)

Jade said...

Coming from such a well-educated and intelligent health professional like yourself Hellien, this comment means so much. Thank you sincerely.