Wednesday, October 26, 2016

My Big Fat Voice

I dig this quote:

''I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear: I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go. Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever. Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.'' ~ Brené Brown

 I did something brave yesterday. I attended a focus-group for my employer-paid healthcare. It was a candid discussion of our wellness incentive program. If you qualify for the program, you get something like fifty bucks deducted from what you pay for health insurance. I'm no financial expert. I don't really understand all the details, but basically it goes like this:

You go to the doctor for a biometric screening during your annual wellness exam. They draw your blood for lab tests. They test your glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure--the usual suspects. You discuss your lab results with your doctor, who signs a form that you return to the HR department. If you "pass" three of the five tests, you get a discount on your insurance. If you don't, you can sign up for health classes and explore alternative ways to prove you're trying to save Big Insurance the most money possible by being a good little employee and letting a corporation dictate how you live your life.

The reason I wanted to attend the focus group is because I wanted to argue that they eliminate one of the five tests: your BMI or waist-circumference. BMI is just bad science. One of the other focus group attendees pointed out that because a couple of her co-workers were muscular, their weight put them into the "obese" category on the BMI scale. I pointed out that as county employees we're required to take harassment training in which we learn that it's inappropriate to discus our bodies at work, and yet having our wellness program focus on our bodies, specifically those of us who have big bellies, causes anxiety in the workplace for many of us.

I talked about the book Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon. I've written reviews of the book and talked to individual people about it, but this was the first time I talked about it in front of a group of strangers. I was scared. I was brave. I'm glad I had the opportunity to let my big fat voice be heard. It felt good to show up and be seen.