On Pinterest I like to look at a variety of things. Watercolor tattoos, tasty recipes (both healthy and cheesy/delicious), holiday decorations, and of course workouts as well. So when a BMI chart popped up on my Pinterest home page, I was curious to look at it.

Me during cancer, wearing a wig, age 15 weighing about 90 lbs.

Now, I’m not as thin as I once was. At my thinnest, I was 85 lbs. Mind you, I was undergoing chemotherapy at that time. As my body slowly regained the normal muscle mass that non-cancer-patients have over the next four years or so, my weight creeped up to a normal and healthy 130, though I still didn’t have the physical capabilities of a normal 19-year-old.

Me (right) at a healthier weight but not fully regained muscle, age 19 and about 130 lbs.

As I became a little too comfortable in my long term relationship, my weight creeped up to 165ish and I started to feel a bit self conscious.

Me at age 21, having gained and weighing in at about 165.

Then I studied abroad and magically lost 20 lbs just from walking everywhere in Viterbo, Italy. But when I returned, despite fairly healthy eating habits, I continued to creep up in weight slowly over the years.

Me (right) a few days after returning from Italy, 22 and weighing in at about 145.

I’ve got my B.A. in Public Relations, more than three years of experience in Marketing and Communications, and I just received my M.S. in Marketing and recently received an exciting job offer. And my weight has pretty much plateaued, despite a few low-key efforts to slim down here and there.

October 2017, age 26 and weighing in at about 173.

I’m 5’4″ and weigh in at 173 lbs. That puts me right at the line between overweight and obese on this chart, which I have mixed feelings about.

You see, I feel good about who I am and where I am in my life; I truly love myself. I don’t work out because I hate that. I don’t think being active should feel like a chore. I like fun social activities and going to the theatre to see the touring musicals and drinking craft beer while playing board games, so yeah, I maybe don’t live the most active lifestyle. But in the past year I’ve gone skydiving, I’ve climbed up to over 11,000 feet above sea level, I’ve walked two miles home from a coffee shop just because it was a nice day out.

My dodgeball team in 2014. I’m in the pink hat in the front on the left side and probably weighed about 170.
Summer 2017 at the top of Chief Mountain, age 26 and about 177 lbs.

I’m more than what the chart says. I don’t feel unhealthy, and I like my curves. Yeah I have some self-consciousness about my belly some days, but even tiny girls have those insecurities. Just look at the media and the society we live in. It’s all about how you can be thinner and hotter and make men want you more.

Well I think that is utter bullshit. I think every body is beautiful, even mine. I have a fabulous butt and an awesome and uneven rack. I’m beautiful, just like every woman out there.

NYE with my boyfriend, 173 in a sparkly dress and killing it.

But then there’s the chart. The chart has me second guessing all those wonderful feelings about myself, just a little bit. Am I unhealthier than I think and feel? Am I fatter in the eyes of everyone else than I am to myself in my mirror?

And then I think about how all of this connects to my being a cancer survivor. Most people don’t know this, but about three years after the end of my 2.5 year long treatments, my doctor mentioned that my weight was steadily increasing and that because of all of my treatments I will likely struggle with weight more than normal people.

It’s been true. And at this wonderful point in my life, I’ve accepted that and learned to love myself despite the weight and the long term side effects none of my friends or significant other can understand.

So I’ll wait for a doctor to tell me I’m unhealthy based on the actual tests they run. Because the chart doesn’t represent how I feel or how others have even told me they see me. Complete strangers even. I’ll continue to make my own small efforts. I’ll continue to go to my dance fitness classes and hikes that aren’t too tough on my nerve-damaged ankle and go on long walks to and from the bars.

Screw giving up the things I love because of some damn chart, I refuse to make myself unhappy because of some stupid Pinterest post.

Cheers from Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest, 2017.
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