Gym Class Heroes


At Roanoke College, where I am attempting to receive a higher education, all students are required to take an HHP class.

HHP: Health and Human Performance.

So, like, gym class.

I’m not overly opposed to this concept, don’t get me wrong. I am accepting it grudgingly, even though I detest having to walk around campus in athletic clothes instead of my preferred attire and a full face of makeup.

Today in my class we calculated body weight and percentage of body fat, and then had to classify ourselves accordingly. As in, underweight, healthy, overweight, and obese. And listening to everyone in the class talk about their results was disheartening.

Even if you are someone who claims to be confident in your body (like me), seeing numbers on a sheet that tell you that you aren’t in the ideal target weight range can bring your spirits down. I am classified as overweight, and as someone who has struggled so much in the past with coming to terms and being comfortable with my weight, seeing how much weight I “needed to lose” took me down a couple pegs.

This isn’t an argument against HHP classes. I understand the need to learn about fitness, nutrition and how to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. I can appreciate that! I just don’t think I was ready to see a series of numbers that told me how much I weigh, how much I should weigh, and a space for me to fill in how much I want to weigh.

I don’t have a “target weight”. I am not an athlete. I’m just a girl trying to get along, eat as healthy as possible, and fit into her skinny jeans. I don’t have a weight goal. I’m just trying to exist in a healthy way.

Now, at the beginning of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, it is so important to remember that numbers DO NOT define us. The numbers talking about our weight, our BMI, and our percentage of body fat are just that: numbers. We have to understand that while yes, these numbers have the potential to reflect our lifestyle choices, they also have the potential to negatively affect our mental health. Your weight is not the most important thing about you. We can’t let ourselves be disheartened by some little numbers on a sheet of paper.


Mental health is just as important as physical health, and we’re all just trying to be as healthy as we can.