I had a thought-provoking conversation with a few college women yesterday about weight, body image, and doctor’s visits.  Most of the women expressed that when going to the doctor for an annual check-up, their doctor has talked to them about losing weight.  They didn’t share if these types of comments came up from the perspective of being healthy, so I am not sure in what context the concern was expressed. I was impressed to hear one woman mention that BMI is based only on weight and not muscle to fat ratio, and is not always an indicator of health.  Another woman is already trying to lose weight and is tracking what she eats, but she didn’t share this with the group.  Her self-consciousness over the issue was already at the forefront of her mind and she didn’t seem comfortable sharing.  They all were frustrated with health care professionals who encouraged them to lose weight – even if they felt like this was something they already knew themselves.

I shared with them that when I went to a new doctor here in Massachusetts and expressed concern over my own weight, she told me that every one has a weight that is right for their body, and if I am experiencing a plateau then that might be a comfortable body weight for me and I shouldn’t stress about losing the weight.  What is it about knowing something ourselves we want to change, like needing to lose a few pounds, that feels so much more critical when it is pointed out by someone else? And yet, it feels strange to be accepted, especially by a doctor, on such a touchy topic. The women I was talking with noted that they wished “their doctor had said that” – which just reminded me that at the end of the day, we all just want to be able to love ourselves and have others accept us just the way we are!  And most of us are not motivated by others to make the changes we need to make in our lives, but instead it has to come from within us.