Are you OBESE or just overweight?

There are many websites that can give you all sorts of charts that tell you if you are 5’8″ tall, you should weigh less than a certain number to not fall into the OBESE category, but what does it all mean?

Last night I really heard it all when a woman I was chatting with told me that at 5’2″ tall and 125 pounds, she was considered OBESE by her Wii game system.  I was shocked.  She works out 4 days a week, eats right, looks perfect and healthy.  Obese is never a word I would call her.

So who or what is decided when we toss out the word OBESE?  Our BMI (Body Mass Index = weight divided by height squared) is a tool that is used on a regular basis to tack the tag of obese on overweight people.  My scale will even tell me what mine is.  If yours is too high you are too fat.  Simple.

According to Wikipedia, “Although obesity is often stigmatized in the modern Western world, it has been perceived as a symbol of wealth and fertility at other times in history.” I was just born way too late.  In the good old days my fat backside would be sought after instead of the target of the billions of dollars that are made at the hands of people who are desperate to lose weight and willing to part with hard earned bucks to do just that.

Maybe the word obese doesn’t even have anything to do with our size, maybe it’s an attitude.  When I was heaviest (440 pounds) and had to be pulled up from chairs and have my shoes put on by my husband, I FELT obese.  I actually felt like Jabba the Huts older, fatter and more sluggish sister.

Losing weight has helped me feel better about my body image, but according to every chart I’m still obese.  After two years of working on my weight, it is a title that I want to shake off as soon as possible.

Obesity is an ugly sounding word. There are other words that tell us what we already know.  Words such as fat, tubby, chubby, blubbery, super-sized, heavy, plump, jumbo, big-boned or if you are old enough to remember the “Husky” sizes for the bigger kids growing up, labels were put on people that you can obviously see aren’t sticks.

So what do you think?  Are you obese, overweight, just right or ready to blow away with the next strong wind?  Are we too caught up in labeling the things we can plainly see?

No matter how many tent dresses I wore, my rolls of fat were never hidden below.  I wear my addiction (which was and still is food) on my sleeve, in full view for the whole world to see.  Call me what you will, I’m finally getting comfortable in my own skin even if I am still obese.

Priscilla Houliston – Author of Little Changes