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Health by numbers – the fitness blogger who’s technically obese

“Numbers can’t always define our health,” says fitness blogger Lucy Mountain (@thefashionfitnessfoodie), whose recent Instagram post saw her categorised as ‘obese’ according to her waist to hip ratio.

The blogger documented her lightest and heaviest weights over the last 10 months, which is to say, a change in muscle mass, body fat and a 4kg weight gain. She then offset it against the World Health Organisation’s abdominal obesity definition - a waist-to-hip ratio of more than 0.85cm in women and 0.90 in men.

on May 2, 2018 at 12:18pm PDT

What the blogger, who appears nothing other than perfectly slim and healthy, highlights most of all in her pictures is simply that health cannot be defined merely by a blind adherence to generalised numbers.

Increasingly, we have started to become aware that weight is not necessarily an accurate measure of health (especially given the oft quoted point that muscle weighs more than fat), not to mention the much more obvious truth - everybody’s different.

Other numbers that have come under fire include the Body Mass Index. In 2017 The Independent reported increasing findings that highlighted discrepancies in the BMI mode of calculating someone’s health by numbers. The method was first created in the 1800s by a Belgian mathematician called Adolphe Quetelet and by the late 1900s, it had been adopted by governments across the world as a way for people to work out if they were over- or underweight. The article pointed out that “crucially, BMI doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle and studies have found it unreliable.”

Back to Mountain and her clarifying Instagram account, the blogger, she says that she has long since learned not to let the numbers dictate her mental wellbeing and how she feels about her body, preferring to feel fit and well in herself instead. She says “I don’t often weigh myself. Not because I find it ‘depressing’… it’s just not a marker which I use to determine success. I consider myself neutral to the number.”

She finishes by saying: “It once again proves that numbers can’t always define our health - that numbers can’t define our self-worth - that gaining weight isn’t the end of the world… Detach yourself from labels, detach yourself from numbers, and don’t let bs define you.”

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