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Topic 2 - Body Weight Ideals

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Old 06-20-2007, 01:03 PM   #16
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Oh, one more story to relate about this. I was in high school when Titanic came out. I have a vivid memory of sitting with friends looking at a picture of Kate Winslet in a magazine and them all saying "OMG, she is SO FAT." I remember saying to them something like "Wow, if she's fat I must be REALLY fat. I must weigh at least 40 lbs more than her." Then their response was "Oh, but YOU'RE not fat." or "You don't LOOK like you weight that much." ??? Of course conversations like that degenerate into "I'm so fat," "oh no, I'm so much fatter than you," etc. I have a very good childhood friend who recently said she was upset since she had gained 5lbs since starting med school. A month or so later she and her roommate were doing a rotation in psychiatry and working at an eating disorder clinic, and it turned out my friend's BMI was LOWER than the hospitalized anorexic patient they were treating who was in serious health danger. I guess my point is that women of any weight nowadays feel like they're "fat," not just the ones who are actually overweight.
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Old 06-20-2007, 05:28 PM   #17
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I believe that we struggle because "ideal body weights have become unrealistic".

Mostly because I readRethinking Thin, I have come to conclusions similar to those of Ladyinweighting. Her story is similar to mine, and I think I may need to revise my goals. Healthy is more important than skinny.
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Old 06-20-2007, 05:49 PM   #18
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When I started my weight loss journey I really had no sense of what would be an attainable weight for me. I kind of hoped I could get to 220 -- a weight I'd been at for a number of years. I got there relatively easily (to the extent that this is easy!), and kept going, not really knowing what to expect.

I've been in the 170's since last November I think. I've gained back a few pounds to get to the upper reaches of that range and would like to get back down, but overall, my weight goal is much higher than that of many other people. While I'm enjoying buying "misses" clothes, my biggest motivations are my health and ability to DO things I couldn't do before. Things like going through turnstiles and fitting in booths and airplanes, are becoming normal. And my abilities allow me to take long bike rides and easily carry 20 pounds of birdseed. These are my goals, and while I DO care about the scale, I am trying to take the focus off of the scale and figure out my fitness goals.

But it's funny. Right now my "after" weight is higher than many people's "before" weight. I can see that I have a lot of fat left, and yet, I also see how I've changed. Sometimes I'm so proud of myself, and other times I see so much room for improvement.

In the end, the scale doesn't matter. How I feel and what I can do matters. If my goals lead to greater losses, great. If I stay here, I think I'm okay with that -- most of the time. I don't want society to dictate my weight. I want to have some control over it. For so long I didn't, so this is a real victory.
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Old 06-21-2007, 11:42 AM   #19
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Wyllenn, I'm pretty much in the same position as you right now. I'm maintaining at a weight that causes many people *arrive* at weight loss forums crying how fat & ugly and disgusting they are. So much of it is perspective.

After weighing 340lbs, 170 is a gift. I don't have memories of being thin and attractive to men to mourn the loss of. I don't have memories of athletic prowess or cute butts to be sad I no longer have.

I pass for normal these days. I don't worry about teenage boys snickering at me. I don't worry about airplane seats and restaurant booths. I can run and buy something that fits in any store. I'm healthy.

Anything I lose from here is pretty much vanity. Not that vanity is bad, but confusing vanity with self-worth is, and that's what the crazy, too-low body ideals of our current society does.
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Old 06-21-2007, 01:14 PM   #20
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Heather, here's me at my lowest: in the mid-160's - down from 240 - and wearing a size 10-12. I am 5'4" and frankly, I'm not sure I'd want to be much thinner (though in some parts of my body I would ), but I lose so much in my face I start looking my age (62)!

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Old 06-21-2007, 02:34 PM   #21
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I've spent a good deal of my life unhappy with my weight and body image. Survived some eating disorders, too. After I had my second child (she's now 35) I went on a real "starvation diet" - ate one meal a day, usually a small steak and a salad with no dressing, and exercised like a madwoman. I actually got TOO thin; my mother ultimately came to my house and forced some homemade soup on me, and I started eating a little more normally, although I stayed thin (but never FELT thin). I know this from pictures taken back then. After my last child (now 26) I went on the Atkins plan (I had gained sixty pounds with my pregnancy and lost only about ten when my son was born), got down to 130 and stayed there for seven or so years until I got tired of eating the same things all the time (a LOT of meat, a few vegetables, and never much else) and binged my way up to @ 165 or so. I've been losing and gaining the same 15 pounds, it seems, ever since. Until a year or so ago, when I balooned up to 194. I NOW know that I actually look (and feel) my very best at @ 150, so that's my goal. THIS time, though, I have learned to eat healthy foods in the right quantities (not restricting anything, really...just being careful about what I eat and keeping track of it) and EXERCISING. Yep. I started bike riding after having not been on one in over 20 years (was initially scared to death that I'd fall off and cripple myself) and am up to a 45-minute a day bike ride after work on weekdays, and hour-long rides mornings and afternoons on most weekend days. And a few other bending and stretching exercises at home. I'm sure that genetics does play a role in which of us stay thin and others gain weight much more easily, but I think that a conclusion that some people CANNOT maintain weight loss even when they are actively engaged in an ongoing exercise program and an ongoing commitment to healthy eating is a case of starting with a hypothesis and then picking and choosing the results, or elements that support that hypothesis. It's just as easy to prove the opposite hypothesis by picking and choosing the "facts" that you want to include. And YES, our weight ideals, as a society, are WAY out of whack for sure! Emaciation, which may look okay on camera looks pretty awful away from the lens, and I DO think that EACH of us has a particular weight at which we look our best...and that that's the weight that's right for US, not anybody else. Sometimes it just takes a while to figure out, eh?

Sorry about the long-windedness...

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Old 06-21-2007, 03:33 PM   #22
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Amen to perspective!
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Old 06-21-2007, 04:21 PM   #23
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What about the notion that the author is comparing apples to oranges when it comes to her surveys?

Of the 40 some percent who are overweight, how many think that Kate Moss is ideal? Of the folks who buy and drool over Glamour magazine, how many are morbidly obese? Of the 60 y o's who are overweight, how many want to look like Nicole Kidman?
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Old 06-22-2007, 01:27 PM   #24
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Since most runway and magazine models are up to a full foot taller than I am, I haven't given them much thought as to what my body should look like compared to them.

For the most part, I think they look too boney. Plus they're all teenagers. Really women don't look like that.
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Old 06-26-2007, 06:26 PM   #25
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I think that for a lot of people A leads to B. They cant get to or maintain the ideal and so give up entirely. "If I cant be thin I might as well enjoy my food".
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:02 AM   #26
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I was about 16 when I discovered fashion magazines. I wanted to look just like the models but, despite dieting to a weight of 106, just couldn't manage it.

Then I saw the height and weight of a Cosmo cover girl posted inside the magazine. She was 5'11" and 120 lbs.
That was my first "aha" moment. I was at my adult height of 5'4" so I would never look like them, no matter how little I weighed.

I started looking elsewhere for the ideal to follow. The women in sports looked a lot healthier than those in fashion/acting/etc. They were muscular and fit, rather than wan and bony.

I think that, until we each have our own moment of illumination, we can't really begin to be comfortable with a reasonable goal for ourselves.

Someone else already pointed out that the ideals given us as examples are so unattainable that most of us set our goal weights way too low. Then our bodies rebel and we fail.

The diet "industry" wants us to fail. If we suceed we no longer need their products and they don't make any more money from us.

Celebrities/models don't get work unless they are skeletal. They are rewarded for being thin and pressed on us as ideals so that we will continue to spend money to look like them.

How to break this cycle? I don't know.

Dagmar
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Old 08-17-2008, 02:58 AM   #27
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I am of German and Russian heritage, I am tall, I wear a size 11 shoe. I am a big girl. I'm not trying to cop out of being fat by saying, "Oh, I have big bones." I am painfully aware of how fat I am. But, nonetheless, naturally, I am a big girl. My parents divorced when I was pretty young. My mother, who is also a big girl, has been on EVERY diet known to man. One of my earliest memories of her is of being on the banana and skim milk diet. I think my dad decided not to marry another woman with such severe body issues as my mom. My dad married my stepmother when I was eight years old. She was 5'7" wore a size six shoe and weighed 105 lbs. By the time I was nine, I could wear her clothing and shoes. By ten, her clothing and shoes were too small for me. After a lifetime of watching my mother hate her body (we are built just alike), I moved in with my stepmother and dad. I was 12. I was 5'4" and 125 lbs. My stepmother continually told me how fat I was and sent me to aerobics almost daily. (To this day, I won't do an aerobics class.) She must have been right, obviously my mother was fat otherwise she wouldn't be dieting all the time, and I was way heavier than SM and she was taller! I mean, SM had the body you saw in the magazines. I hated myself. I hated my body. I thought I should have weighed under 100 lbs. and tortured myself because I didn't. I carried my distorted body image until I was in my early twenties. I was 5'9" and weighed about 155. I finally realized that to weigh 105 lbs, I would have to cut a leg off. At 155, there was no more weight that could come off. So, after a long and boring and completely unrelated story, I say body image and trying to attain the unattainable is the problem. But thanks for listening, it was really quite cathartic for me.

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