Hello. This is me. My whole body that I dragged up to 10,000 ft back in August. I worked hard for that view.
And here is my BMI as of a year ago.
(It’s definitely higher now because I’ve gained 5-10 pounds during this long, dark winter.)
According to the state of Colorado, having a BMI over 30 constitutes a high-risk health condition called obesity, and this means that I will be vaccine eligible starting on March 19th.
BMI is an extremely flawed metric that is in no way indicative of a person’s overall health. It’s literally a math problem involving height and weight. Do you know any meatheads who are, I don’t know, really into Crossfit and wear their shirts a size too small to make their muscles look bigger? Guess what? Their BMI probably also says they’re obese. Because BMI is very much bullshit.
As fully stupid as this measurement is, I will absolutely use it to get the vaccine, and you should, too. If your state says you are eligible, you are not skipping the line, and you are not taking someone else’s spot. We’re trying to vaccinate 330,000,000 million people here (give or take).
And please don’t get in your head about it. While I have definitely never been a small person, I am healthy and pretty active (although starting a new, more demanding job at the onset of winter, when it’s dark before 5pm has not been helpful for my overall activity level), and I am fortunate that I have a doctor I trust who always looks at the big picture and not just my weight. But she is not every doctor. It is unfortunately not out of the realm of possibilities that weight could impact someone’s quality of care should they get sick.
Trust me, I get it. My gut reaction was to say “Fuck you, state of Colorado. I’m not high risk. I’m young and healthy damnit!” It’s taken me a long time to develop an appreciation for my body and to (mostly) ignore what metrics like BMI tell me about myself.
And that was also the reaction of people I told about this. Multiple people said something along the lines of, “I don’t want to fuck someone else over, so I’ll wait.”
Okay a couple of things. First of all, what are you actually going to do then? Because if your plan is to just sit around and think you’re helping by keeping one appointment open, you’re giving yourself a whole lot of undeserved credit. Waiting if you are eligible could actually hurt people, and your solitary open appointment will not create some seismic shift that allows all the most vulnerable people to suddenly get the shot. So respectfully, get the hell over yourself. Harrison and I spent the last week helping someone he works with who is over 60 and has asthma find a vaccine appointment. I get that this process has not been ideal or easy.
If you’re concerned about equity gaps or more vulnerable people not getting vaccinated, then good grief, help them or pressure your local officials to initiate more community outreach and vaccine sites where it matters. But make yourself an appointment, too. It might take a while to find one, anyway.
Second, there has been plenty of guilt and shame in the last year. Am I supporting local businesses enough? Am I donating to the right causes? Should I be wearing 2 masks instead of one now? And is it okay to still like Justin Timberlake’s music? So stop shaming people you don’t think are “deserving” or feeling guilty yourself about finding an appointment for yourself. Getting the vaccine means you are actively becoming part of the solution.
It’s a shot in an arm, and ultimately that is a good thing.