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Old 04-14-2014, 01:27 PM   #1
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Question Frame Size and Self-Perceptions

"Karen, you're just big-boned."

Yeah, I heard that a lot, especially from my mom as a teenager. And I didn't doubt it! I'd become taller than her sometime in junior high, and heavier too. I reached 250 pounds by the time I was 14 and eventually got slightly taller than my dad at 5' 8". Which isn't super-tall, but moreso than any of my female peers at the time. I just felt huge all over. I wore a size 10 on my ring finger, I wore size 10 shoes. Choker necklaces didn't fit me (and some regular ones fit me like a choker), neither did ladies' watches (I had to wear mens' watches). I felt oversized and a misfit in every aspect of my life; even the "blossom" hats that were so popular at the time were too small for my apparently chunky head!

So yeah, I was admittedly fat, but no doubt I was big-boned and/or had a large frame to match, right? Well, I'm not so sure anymore.

The more weight I lose, the more misproportioned I appear to be. My wrists have gotten incredibly tiny (to me, anyway!) at 6". My ring size is now a 6. My hip bones are now findable and much more narrow than I expected. My collarbones have finally appeared as well (OMG, I have collarbones!!!). And the weirdest part of all to me is that I've lost a shoe size, and not because of the width, it's all because of the length. Yeah, I get it . . . I weigh less now so my foot bones aren't so spread out, but it's not something I'd ever considered. So while I've still got a misproportionally-large waist in comparison to the rest of me that I'm working to whittle down (44" still, WTF?! ), I got curious and took some measurements to plug into a site that estimates your frame size. I thought it might be medium rather than the large I'd always assumed, but it came up as small!

Now I'm not putting any real stock into this, but it's just kind of mind-blowing for me to even consider after spending all my life thinking I was huge in every aspect, and more importantly, that there was really nothing I could do about any of it. This is yet another reminder of how I have no clue what I look like under all this fat, and that maybe I'm even off with my goal weight. I guess time will tell?

And it's not as if there's anything wrong with having a larger frame, other than letting my overly-negative assumption about it be yet another excuse to write off trying to lose weight. But it's kind of a mindf*uck to figure out I'm not physically the person I thought I was my whole life, that my identity is changing. It's difficult enough to wrap my mind around possibly not being plus-sized anymore, now there's a whole other aspect to adjust to. I'm not complaining, mind you, I'm just . . . bewildered, I guess.

Tell me I'm not alone in this?
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Old 04-14-2014, 02:05 PM   #2
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You see, and I get the opposite, "Uh-huh" kind of looks when I do say I'm big boned. Like, "That's what ALLLLL the fat girls say" kind of look.

But some of us ARE big boned (raising hand here!)... and... with all the measures I've taken - even at my lowest weight of 165, I was measuring large boned. And I truly am... My soon to be 9 year old is not overweight, but he is freaking HUGE in height and build. Guess where he got that? Not from his Daddy! I have bigger wrists (even at my lowest weight) than my 6'1" tall husband.
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Old 04-14-2014, 02:09 PM   #3
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This big-boned boy also turned out to be pretty tiny. Especially my waist (29 inches now, down from a 44).

My dad was big so the assumption for most of my life was that I had to be too.

But one day (rather late, I must admit) I noticed that my mom and brother were incredibly slim. And one of the many reasons my journey started was a self-experiment to see if I was really like dad or like them.
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Old 04-14-2014, 02:27 PM   #4
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Oh, I should also add, we've had two different pediatricians tell us that our youngest son will probably never fit on the BMI charts and not to worry about it. As long as he keeps a similar curve to where he is now, then he'll be fine.

he's turning 9 in a week and he's 4'10 1/4" tall, and weighs 90 pounds and I think his new shoe size will be a men's 7 and he's not fat or overweight at all.
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:10 PM   #5
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I'd love to fantasize that under all this fat is a petite frame, but I don't see that happening. My feet have shrunk from a 12 to an 11, and I've lost a ring size, but I don't see any of that going much further. My family is huge. I've actually gained an inch (probably just from being able to stand up straight), and I'm 6'1 with what is a MASSIVE frame for a woman. My wrists and hands are markedly bigger than my bf's.

That being said, my big frame will look a lot better to me and everyone else once I get the rest of this weight off. And, being this big means I carry 375 pounds a lot nicer than if I was a petite 5'7.
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:20 PM   #6
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At 6'1" I have an "extra small" frame. My rings are mostly 3.75 or 4s, and there is no bracelet anywhere that can stay on my wrist (5 1/4" around)...they just slide over my hand and off. My wrists look like "bird bones" I'm told. (And I have "long skinny alien fingers" according to friends)

The problem with all of this is that you have to weigh a LOT less than you might think in order to look thin. For example, if you see people shorter than me that weigh MORE than me, they often look thinner. It was a mind boggling thing for me. I could never figure out WHY. Then one day I realized that most weight charts don't work for me because they don't account for frame size. So the "average" weight chart says I should weigh more than I should. That's a little depressing. I still look "Fat" at 150lbs

ETA: Also complicating having such a small frame...I was in a car accident last year. The EMTs and the ER staff were unsure what to do when they realized that they didn't have a neck brace that would work for my long thin neck. On the bright side, turtle necks are never tight on my neck.
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:24 PM   #7
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I have a small frame, too. I'm amazed at how when I lose weight it comes off and there is still plenty of curve underneath. My shoulders are narrow the weight comes off last between my mid thighs and waist. Every extra pound hangs on me and really looks better not on me.

I have a size 5 1/2 or 6 ring and tiny wrists, I need small bracelets or they slide off.
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by MauiKai View Post
At 6'1" I have an "extra small" frame. My rings are mostly 3.75 or 4s, and there is no bracelet anywhere that can stay on my wrist (5 1/4" around)...they just slide over my hand and off. My wrists look like "bird bones" I'm told.

The problem with all of this is that you have to weigh a LOT less than you might think in order to look thin. For example, if you see people shorter than me that weigh MORE than me, they often look thinner. It was a mind boggling thing for me. I could never figure out WHY. Then one day I realized that most weight charts don't work for me because they don't account for frame size. So the "average" weight chart says I should weigh more than I should. That's a little depressing.
And it gets depressing the other way. I can just barely fit on the normal BMI range for my height if I am thin and fit and extremely diligent.

I totally didn't get it when my doctor told me eons ago that 160 was an ideal weight for me. But that was so 'fat'. Well, fat on who?

You are probably the first person I've "met" who has said that the BMI range is probably too heavy for you. There are outylers on BOTH sides of those ranges, but most people won't admit they should probably be thinner than the chart says.
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:32 PM   #9
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That being said, my big frame will look a lot better to me and everyone else once I get the rest of this weight off. And, being this big means I carry 375 pounds a lot nicer than if I was a petite 5'7.
That is so true and NEVER lose sight of that as it can get discouraging as you see someone else of similar height weighing way less on the scale. I totally wish I would have realized this as a teen.

I was a very lean teen, but felt so fat because the scale said I weighed more than what my same height peers weighed. My 155 seemed ENORMOUS compared to their 125.
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:53 PM   #10
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That is so true and NEVER lose sight of that as it can get discouraging as you see someone else of similar height weighing way less on the scale. I totally wish I would have realized this as a teen.

I was a very lean teen, but felt so fat because the scale said I weighed more than what my same height peers weighed. My 155 seemed ENORMOUS compared to their 125.
I cried my eyes out at 16 when I lost a bunch of weight and thought I looked really good, but the scale said 211. My friends were all 130. It took me a long time to accept that "onderland" was never going to be my ideal.
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:02 PM   #11
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I cried my eyes out at 16 when I lost a bunch of weight and thought I looked really good, but the scale said 211. My friends were all 130. It took me a long time to accept that "onderland" was never going to be my ideal.
I know... I hate the freaking scale in what people "read" it to mean. It's not the whole story.

My mother in law doesn't realize that and she's a doctor for crying out loud (though never really a general practicitioner).

She and I are the same height (though she was a bit taller before osteoporosis) and she has a bit gut and, extra "fluff" everywhere, thought not really "fat", but most people would probably say, if describing her, as a little overweight. She wears between a size 12 and a size 14 and weighs 164.

When I weighed 165 (the lowest I got 2 years ago) I was wearing size 8s and looked pretty darn "on target" (except with loose skin issues). NO ONE would have EVER said I was a bit chubby. And they probably also wouldn't have guessed I weighed 165.

My thin 6'1" husband weighed 170 and we probably looked almost equally sized (though it's hard to tell, my big boobs made me look big on top always!).

Found this photo. I was 171 here. My stomach is NEVER flat and I had loose skin. I don't think I looked fat (big boobies yes!):

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Old 04-14-2014, 04:18 PM   #12
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Definitely not fat.
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:40 PM   #13
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Thank you for all the responses, I know we all go through our own struggles and it helps to hear different points of view.

I think what's getting me the most right now is if I really do have a smaller frame to work with, my goal should be closer to 130 rather than the 150 I've always had in my head. Not that I'll know for sure until I get closer, it just seems so impossibly thin and I can't imagine my body adjusting to that. I'm at the smallest I've ever been and already have so much loose skin. And if my stomach is the very last thing on me to go (and I suspect it is), I'm guessing I'll be stuck with a pot belly until I get to that lower end.

Sigh. I often read about other women at 5' 8" and around 200-220 pounds wearing size 12's while I'm currently 205 and in a solid 16. I'm guessing I'll need to lose another 20 pounds or so before I can get to a 14. The thing is that I've never considered my frame size, just that I'm an apple (with a built-in muffin top!). It's gotten better over time, but it's so frustrating when I find jeans that fit "right," they still fall right off me simply because my waist is still so much bigger than my hips.

I don't ever expect to have a flat stomach, and in all honesty I never expected that I'd be able to stay anywhere under 250 pounds. But I do want more even proportions with a waist that curves in from my hips instead of out, and I think I've got more work ahead of me than I realized. And don't get me wrong, I appreciate how far I've come. I even love being on the tall side. What I need to do is stop worrying so much about numbers, continue with my plan, and trust the process.

Thanks for letting me vent.

* * *

And Melissa, you look awesome in that photo, definitely not fat! And hooray for big boobies!
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:56 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by berryblondeboys View Post
And it gets depressing the other way. I can just barely fit on the normal BMI range for my height if I am thin and fit and extremely diligent.

I totally didn't get it when my doctor told me eons ago that 160 was an ideal weight for me. But that was so 'fat'. Well, fat on who?

You are probably the first person I've "met" who has said that the BMI range is probably too heavy for you. There are outylers on BOTH sides of those ranges, but most people won't admit they should probably be thinner than the chart says.
Oh I fully admit that I should weigh less than the "charts" say. I was told (at the Mayo clinic) that because of my tiny frame I should *realistically* be in the upper 130s or low 140s. While I would certainly like to see that, I'm not sure I could ever get there in a healthy way. Even as a teen the closest I got to that was at my wedding, I was 145 or 147, something like that. I realize that it is somewhat unusual to be as tall as I am still wear "children sized" rings and such. Most of the gals I have met that are my height have much larger fingers and wrists etc than I do.

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Originally Posted by Elladorine View Post
Thank you for all the responses, I know we all go through our own struggles and it helps to hear different points of view.

I think what's getting me the most right now is if I really do have a smaller frame to work with, my goal should be closer to 130 rather than the 150 I've always had in my head. Not that I'll know for sure until I get closer, it just seems so impossibly thin and I can't imagine my body adjusting to that. I'm at the smallest I've ever been and already have so much loose skin. And if my stomach is the very last thing on me to go (and I suspect it is), I'm guessing I'll be stuck with a pot belly until I get to that lower end.

Sigh. I often read about other women at 5' 8" and around 200-220 pounds wearing size 12's while I'm currently 205 and in a solid 16. I'm guessing I'll need to lose another 20 pounds or so before I can get to a 14. The thing is that I've never considered my frame size, just that I'm an apple (with a built-in muffin top!). It's gotten better over time, but it's so frustrating when I find jeans that fit "right," they still fall right off me simply because my waist is still so much bigger than my hips.
On the first bolded point, do NOT make that decision now. Stick with your 150 goal. When you get there, maintain for a while. See how it feels. Then if you feel like you can and should, you can reassess and set new goals. Don't pressure yourself now!

On the second bolded point, I will share my weight vs size dilemma with you. At 180lbs I am a solid, nearly tight size 16. At 170 I am a 14. At 150 I can usually wear a 10, though it might be a bit tight. If I were 200 I imagine I would be in an 18 or 20.
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:00 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Elladorine View Post
Thank you for all the responses, I know we all go through our own struggles and it helps to hear different points of view.

I think what's getting me the most right now is if I really do have a smaller frame to work with, my goal should be closer to 130 rather than the 150 I've always had in my head. Not that I'll know for sure until I get closer, it just seems so impossibly thin and I can't imagine my body adjusting to that. I'm at the smallest I've ever been and already have so much loose skin. And if my stomach is the very last thing on me to go (and I suspect it is), I'm guessing I'll be stuck with a pot belly until I get to that lower end.

Sigh. I often read about other women at 5' 8" and around 200-220 pounds wearing size 12's while I'm currently 205 and in a solid 16. I'm guessing I'll need to lose another 20 pounds or so before I can get to a 14. The thing is that I've never considered my frame size, just that I'm an apple (with a built-in muffin top!). It's gotten better over time, but it's so frustrating when I find jeans that fit "right," they still fall right off me simply because my waist is still so much bigger than my hips.

I don't ever expect to have a flat stomach, and in all honesty I never expected that I'd be able to stay anywhere under 250 pounds. But I do want more even proportions with a waist that curves in from my hips instead of out, and I think I've got more work ahead of me than I realized. And don't get me wrong, I appreciate how far I've come. I even love being on the tall side. What I need to do is stop worrying so much about numbers, continue with my plan, and trust the process.

Thanks for letting me vent.

* * *

And Melissa, you look awesome in that photo, definitely not fat! And hooray for big boobies!

First, thank you, but second, you don't need to aim for perfection. I think we tend to get into this mind set of "all or nothing". It's harmful thinking.

For sure, you are way healthier now - for now and for your future at your current weight than at your top weight. You have no doubt in that right?

A change in 20 pounds, for most people, is not going to make you way healthier or way unhealthy. The pounds are the least of the matter (when close to ideal). Other things matter tons more - diet and exercise.

So... dont' set yourself up for perfection by the charts. Set yourself up with what you can live with.

That's what I'm doing this time around. My husband told me that at 175 I should be satisfied and try to maintain that. I wasn't. I wanted to get under 25% body fat. I wanted to get to 160. I was trying so hard, but it was so hard to get to that point and for what? Vanity... that's it. My doctor wasn't telling me to lose more. Nothing. I just wanted to get to perfection (even though my body hardly looked perfect!).

In the end, I think part of my mental cave-in was trying to reach perfection on the scale and the toll that took on me mentally as I struggled for a year up and down 10-20 pounds.

Well, I would have been a lot better off if I would have been satisfied 175-185 than to let myself balloon back up to 241.
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