Body Image.

As I've mentioned before, I have a problem with body image. When I was obese, I thought of myself as "carrying a few extra pounds, but not fat". When I was a skeletal teenager, with very little fat (4%) or muscle, I thought of myself as normal. It seems like if I don't pay attention to actual standards, where I'm sitting at any given moment is "normal". Give or take a hundred pounds. Mentally, this isn't what I'd call a disorder, because I just don't care enough about it to get all worked up. If the body does what I want it to do, I figure that's good enough. Form follows function.
 
Maybe body image isn't the right phrase. Maybe it's body delusion. I see a lot of that. Guys who will argue the BMI scale is completely inaccurate while Lays potato chip crumbs cascade down their distended guts. They're not fat, and it's the system that's rigged against them. I can see being a notch off what the index says is "normal". Muscle mass varies. Body types. All sorts of stuff can skew the numbers. However, when you're firmly in the "overweight" category and nudging "obese", it's probably time to start rethinking your health choices. BMI was only intended top be a trend indicator, but once you start pushing the margins, you might want to look at other standards and talk to your doctor. He'll probably call you a fatty.
 
I remember the Special K "pinch an inch" ad campaign from the '80s. Even at my skinniest, I could still fold enough skin and intestines in between my fingers to make myself "fat".  Think BMI is a flawed standard? That was a cereal-selling masterstroke, and if I was the sensitive sort I would have immediately started buying all the cardboard-flavored cereal I could find.
 
Some people love to point to professional athletes as proof of what normal should be. That makes me giggle. They have as much in common with steroid-infused NFL linebackers as I have with Chris Froome (I can only assume he is completely natural, like all professional cyclists). My response to people who use outliers as justification for their own physical characteristics is the same- get a body density scan and then tell me all about how you're "normal". It's sobering. That is, if you're not still wrapped up in self-delusion and "alternative morphology facts".
 
I get it. Everyone want to believe they're average or better than average. Fitter. Healthier. Prettier. More-intelligenter. That magical line where they're better than the mean. Better than the majority of everyone else. Problem is, 50% of the population isn't. Somebody has to make up that lower half, and usually the guys complaining about standards being skewed fall under that line. Maybe we should make 25% the new 50% so they can feel better about themselves. As a sub-average guy in myriad ways, I fully support this approach. 
 
When I took an honest look at myself, I could assess what the "standards" were telling me in relationship to my own personal health. Was form following function, or was form comprised of mostly lard and regret? At a certain point I also had to look at the other direction and decide if I really want to keep up with the body mass arms race. Some of the guys I race against can get stupid light and fly up the climbs while putting out a fraction of the power I am. If I went that light (even over a long period of time), I would barely be able to get out of bed. I can still afford to drop a bunch of weight (relatively speaking), but I'm not going to get "that low". I'm good with that, because it removes the requirement for the cardboard cereal and kale diet and lets me do my thing. As long as the form is supporting the function (to a degree) and the tests keep telling me I'm in pretty decent shape, I'm good. I may call myself a disgusting fat-body just to motivate myself and keep things trending the right way, but in reality I'm good.
 
Chances are, I might even be above average (which, as I mentioned, is now 25%).

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