Today’s Read: For the Physicians

TW: Fatphobia

I’m considering carrying copies of this article to every medical appointment I have. I never want to hear about BMI again. If you’re in the medical field, tell your coworkers about this, please. It’s not a secret. It’s not new information. I’ve read about this repeatedly.

BMI is bullshit. Weight is one’s relationship with gravity. BMI is length plus width. They’re literally just numbers. They don’t tell anyone anything about health.

To be clear, I’m not saying one’s body size has zero impact on health. On the contrary, I know how my body size impacts my health. I’m saying we cannot limit our understanding of health to BMI, weight, height, or any combination of those numbers.

For instance, my doctor’s main nurse called me to tell me I’m pre-diabetic. (My chiropractor later said, “Technically, we’re all pre-diabetic.”) Instead of asking me about my diet, she said, “Stop drinking sugary drinks entirely.” She did not ask me how many sugary drinks I have in a day, how many ounces, how often, etc. I could tell the assumption was that I drink soda often. I typically don’t. I drink yogurt, chai, sparkling water, and filtered water. That’s usually it. I might have a week where I drink a soda once a day, and then I’ll go months without drinking soda at all. I rarely exceed one chai in a day. I simply don’t drink a lot of sugar, but that was the recommended medical advice.

The relationship here is this: Obese + pre-diabetic = bad eating habits.

But consider this as well: I learned recently I have severe sleep apnea. Maybe I consume carbs a lot because my body is in need of quick energy because I sleep like shit. So, why wasn’t my medical care team asking me about my holistic health instead of giving me impersonal directives? Why weren’t the questions: What’s your sleep like? How much energy do you feel like you have in a day? Are you often tired?

The relationship is actually this: Sleep apnea –> Poor sleep –> Low energy –> heavy carb consumption –> Higher than average blood sugar

Now, I’m willing to acknowledge my body size might contribute to sleep apnea. But we don’t know. Thin people also have sleep apnea, so weight is not an obvious, universal factor. What might the underlying concerns be, and why aren’t my doctors asking those questions?

We pay far too much money in office visits, health insurance, and pharmaceuticals to be given one-dimensional answers based on two-dimensional measures for three-dimensional bodies. We cannot all agree that bodies are different, then use the same measuring stick for everyone. The medical industry makes too much bank to sit on old, flawed, useless knowledge. It’s time for them to change. Ban the BMI.

Today’s Read: Get Tested

If you’re concerned about having COVID-19 (the ̶L̶o̶k̶i̶ Lambda/Delta-Plus/Delta variant), you can do a home test! I ordered one because I’ve been having odd symptoms. The website makes it super easy. As for doing the test and returning it, I’ll let you know once I get it.

Stay safe out there, friends. The pandemic never ended.

Today’s Read: Free Books

This is for my fellow readers. It’s called PDF Drive, and they have a bunch of free books and previews of books. Now, I don’t know about the legality of this, and I certainly question the financial support for authors. So, I want to add an additional resource. If you find yourself enjoying something you downloaded, I recommend purchasing the book through Semicolon Bookstore and Gallery, a Black woman-owned independent bookstore in Chicago.

Please remember to support authors. It’s incredibly difficult to make a living on writing.

Today’s Read: Sleep Test

Sometimes, I’ll use my experiences as the resource. 🙂

I did an at-home sleep test a couple weeks ago, and I got my results last Friday. I have severe obstructive sleep apnea, which my sleep specialist also thinks is REM-specific sleep apnea (meaning it gets worse when I hit the REM stage of sleep). She also believes I have delayed sleep phase syndrome.

Combined, I struggle to fall asleep, and when I do fall asleep, my sleep is shitty. When I say I’m tired, I truly mean it. I never wake up feeling refreshed.

I’ve also commented to both my husband and my therapist that I think it’s a miracle I’m still alive. My oxygen saturation levels got down to 83%, called hypoxemia. Fun.

The thing is . . . the number of health issues I have that could be connected to this is obnoxious.

  • Pre-diabetic? I consume a lot of sugar just to stay away and have energy.
  • Weight: Connected to the lack of sleep and sugar consumption.
  • Fatigue: Duh.
  • Body aches: From fatigue.
  • Anxiety: Probably because my brain isn’t getting enough rest.
  • ADHD: Possibly because my brain isn’t getting enough oxygen.
  • GERD: Possibly because anxiety has me in constant fight or flight mode, which is because I don’t get enough rest.

That’s not even all of it. And to think . . . doctors always wanted to blame stuff on my weight.

To say I’m looking forward to a change in my sleep quality is an understatement. I’m getting an autopap in a week or so, and I’ll keep y’all updated on that process. I know it takes time to adjust to sleeping with any kind of apnea-assistance machine, but I’m happy to try it for as long as I need. After all . . . it’s not like my sleep could get much worse. (I should be careful what I say.)

Anyone else have this much shit with their sleep?!

Today’s Read: Our Bodies and Movement

How’s your relationship with body movement? Let’s chat in the comments!

This piece (“7 Ways to Heal Your Relationship with Exercise and Movement” by Louise Green) brings up a lot of stuff for me, and I have a feeling I’m not even close to alone. Can you relate?

First, my painful relationship with movement starts all the way back in elementary school. I distinctly remember hating gym class in the second grade. It wasn’t because I hated moving. It was because the cool, rich, mean kids dominated the class and had a lot to say about me and my body all the way back then. Everything from my hair to my skin was bad. Ah, racism. Even at age seven. It didn’t help that I started my period two years later, and the boobs came in long before anyone else’s did. I went from undesirable to undesirable freak. Fun times.

Second, I BADLY want to develop a course about all-or-nothing/binary thinking. Despite teaching critical thinking for two decades, most of my self-perception operates on binary thinking.

Third, working on body image, my relationship with my body, and my trauma about movement are all things I’m working on in therapy and have been working on for some time. But it took finding my current therapist to start. My first therapist’s attitude toward me and exercise was that I simply needed to get over it and do it. Not helpful. (She was also unable to see beyond her thin privilege. This is why it’s important to remember not all therapists are a good fit for you, but that’s a post for another day.)

Fourth, I’m listening to Billie Eilish’s new album, and I’m wiggling in my chair, which goes to show there is joy in movement.

Fifth, and this is the truly scary one for me . . . I’m starting personal training on August 3rd. This is the first time I’ve attempted movement in front of another person who doesn’t live with me in years. I’m scared and nervous, but I’m hoping my perspective has truly shifted enough to get me going.

Last, that perspective is this: I want to see what my body can do. There’s a lot of fear, anxiety, and doubt attached to that, but you’re coming with me on this, so stay tuned.

Today’s Read: “Why Abortion Doulas Matter”

“Why Abortion Doulas Matter, Even When We’re Just Showing Up” by Alice Markham-Cantor

I’m considering becoming an abortion doula. This is the first piece (and a powerful one at that) I’ve read that explains what it’s like. Weirdly, I forgot about the protestors. They’re the only factor that give me pause. But being there for a person who needs the procedure pulls at my soul, and I can tell this is something I need to do. It’s needed.

Today’s Read: Your Money + Your Values

Values-based spending is a major part of my business and personal life, so I wanted to share this article.

I do wish the article went a little further. Where you spend your daily dollars and doing the research on the businesses from which you purchase is huge too! All the times I’ve called out places on my Instagram account for not supporting Black Lives Matter or allowing sexual predators to go unchecked? That’s values-based spending too.

Do you practice values-based personal finance? Is it something you want to do but aren’t sure how to start? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!

Today’s Read: Say Her Name, Michelle Cusseaux

This is a summary of the police murder of Michelle Cusseaux. CW: Gun violence, murder

A few months ago, I watched this Ted Talk on intersectionality from the woman who coined the term, Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw. She opened my eyes to #SayHerName and the total silence about Black women who’ve been murdered by law enforcement. We know George Floyd. We know Tamir Rice. We know Philando Castile. But can we name any Black women who’ve died so unjustly?

I want to note the importance of knowing, saying, and sharing their names. This isn’t about Black trauma porn (i.e. think about why you’re watching and sharing videos of seeing Black folks die violent deaths). This is simply knowing that Black women die at the hands of law enforcement as well.

This is merely one woman’s name. This is merely one example of the abuse of power toward Black women (and the examples are all triggering as fuck). This is merely one case of so many ways in which the stigma against mental illness leads to unnecessary death.

There are more. Take the time to learn and say her name.