Why do I think I have the body I had 5 years ago?
July 23, 2011 10:48 AM   Subscribe

Am I suffering from some sort of body dysmorphia? Or do I just have a slow-so-adjust sense of self? (yanmd/t/p)

I am female, 25 and 5'3". My BMI is in the Obese Class II. However, I do not think of myself as a very obese person. I live a somewhat active life, I bike to school and work (apx. 5 miles a day), mainly work on my feet and go to the gym when I have time. My cholesterol, heart rate and blood pressure are all in the healthy ranges. I wear a size 16 and can shop at "regular" stores. I realize there has been a lot of size inflation Yet, I recently found out that Roseanne Barr was approximately my weight, at her heaviest! I don't think I look anything like Roseanne! On one hand, I know I need to lose weight. Definitely, 100%. On the other hand, I don't think the situation is as dire as the numbers seem. I feel like I should be more worried about myself.

Some history: My freshman year of high school I was around 160lb. By learning about eating better and joining a gym with my best friend, I was able to leave for college around 115lb. Even at being at my "ideal" weight for my height, it took me a long time to adjust to thinking that I could wear tank-tops, bikinis, or dare to wear short shorts. Before trying on clothes, I would be apprehensive that they would be unflattering, but then be pleasantly surprised when I could pull it off.

I maintained the weight loss for a few years, but eventually after a combination of unmedicated depression, laziness and being busy with work and school; I gained the weight back...and more. Now, however, I go to buy clothes and am not(!) pleasantly surprised when I try on a cute sundress. When I think of a mental picture of myself, I think curvy, perhaps like Joan Harris. In actuality, I'm probably more rubenesque than that.

So, half of this question is: Is this some form of body dysmorphia? Two days ago I was talking to my husband about my lagging sense of self, and he said he had never experienced a sense of not knowing ones true size (body wise, not clothes wise). I had been thinking all along that this was a common thing.

The other half of the question is: how can I motivate myself to lose weight without destroying the my otherwise high self-esteem? Earlier when I wrote "I feel like I should be more worried about myself", I almost wrote "I feel like I should be more disgusted with myself"


tl:dr: When I was skinny, it took me a while to stop thinking of myself as fat. Now that I'm fat again, I still think like I'm a thinner person. In some ways I wish I thought of myself as I am, so I would be more motivated to lose weight.

(not to already babysit the comments, can we please not discuss issues such as BMI being just one measure of a person, or that the scale is just a number, or about the actual mechanics of losing weight? I am aware of these issues, and would like help on body image, please :) )
posted by lizjohn to Health & Fitness (36 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
I can't really speak to the weight issues, but I always think of myself as taller than I am (I'm about 4'11"). I'm invariably shocked when I see an adult who is at eye level with me, because they're so tiny.

Again, I know this is much different than weight, both because of cultural standards and because I can't change my height, but my point is that I don't think it's unusual for your inner perception to not match your outer self.
posted by desjardins at 11:00 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't really have an answer to this, but I just wanted to say that perhaps this isn't terribly uncommon. I'm about your height/weight and size in clothing and I don't really think of myself as fat. Perhaps it would help to get in better shape and see where that takes you? I have a goal of running a Zombie 5K this fall and that seems to be making me lose some weight even though I'm not really trying.
posted by youcancallmeal at 11:01 AM on July 23, 2011


Concentrate on health, not dress size. Health at Every Size is applicable up and down the scale--I hit a point in my early 20s where I decided that as long as my eating and fitness habits were up to my own personal standards, I wouldn't worry about what my ultimate size/weight ended up being.
posted by availablelight at 11:02 AM on July 23, 2011


...and FWIW, I've ranged from a size 0 to 8.
posted by availablelight at 11:02 AM on July 23, 2011


I wouldn't want to speak to the body dysmorphia thing, but I've been thinking about doing something for a while and maybe you'd find it helpful: taking photos of myself in my current clothes, maybe front/side/back/sitting, so I actually know how they look and what to buy/not buy in future. If it's in somewhere with good lighting and a contrasting background, there's what I look like and how I need to adjust to seeing myself, pros and cons.

(Frankly, it might be pretty upsetting to do this and I am currently exercising a lot so I'll defer it for a while, at least.)

Personally, I always find strength/distance an easier motivator than weight loss, because weight loss feels less like victories for me and more "oh god, still so much to do!", while "check out my awesome calf muscles!" is just exciting. Currently, my challenge is to spend a year exercising regularly so that it can be engrained as a lifelong habit, and distance/speed/etc cover my daily goals but turning up at all is actually the big goal. And I am losing weight, steadily and significantly.
posted by carbide at 11:06 AM on July 23, 2011


Ingrained. Sorry, but damn, that's embarrassing.
posted by carbide at 11:07 AM on July 23, 2011


I'm my healthiest at a size 16. I'm by no means anywhere near what the experts say I should be, but when I was a size 16, and weighed about 160 I felt great. If you feel great, then who cares what size/weight you are? If your cholesterol, heart rate, and blood pressure levels are normal, what else do you want? As long as you're healthy and you feel good about yourself, that's the main thing - right?
posted by patheral at 11:10 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


You don't have to hate your body or feel bad about the way you look in order to work to make yourself healthier. I think its wonderful that you can look at yourself in a sundress and like the way you look. Please don't work to loose that.

If you feel you should try to loose weight I think you should do it by adopting healthy habits that are lifestyle changes born out of a wish to lead a healthier life not out of a disgust for your own body. Set goals that aren't weight related. Cook four healthy meals a day, pick up a sport you've always wanted to try, bike x km per week.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 11:12 AM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's not uncommon. I picture myself in my mind's eye smaller than I am...because for the majority of my life, if you count childhood, I was!

For you to have a diagnosis, your failure to appropriately perceive your size would have to be disrupting your ability to function at work and in your relationships. Seriously, you would be defending your viewpoint vociferously and ignoring what the BMI is telling you. You would think the scale was broken.

On the question about getting motivated to lose weight without having to feel bad about where you are now, this is what works for me: buy some fabulous new clothes, at your current size, that you feel good in. Then start by working on your posture...standing up straight is powerful...look for exercises that support posture. Start noticing foods that make you feel sluggish and stop eating them. Don't look in mirrors---you don't have to be motivated by shame. Instead, concentrate on getting strong and enjoying how that feels.
posted by vitabellosi at 11:15 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


And what patheral said--- when I lose weight and get between a size 14-16, people start worrying about me. But the BMI suggestion is much lower---I would look gaunt.
posted by vitabellosi at 11:18 AM on July 23, 2011


I'm my healthiest at a size 16. I'm by no means anywhere near what the experts say I should be, but when I was a size 16, and weighed about 160 I felt great.

It is just amazing to me that I can weigh almost 50lb more than you, and yet still wear the same size. I think this helps illustrate my confusion between my weight, and how I look/clothing size. The few people to whom I've told my actual weight, in recent years, are always shocked at how much I actually weigh. How can I be so (literally) heavy?
posted by lizjohn at 11:22 AM on July 23, 2011


How can I be so (literally) heavy?

Clearly, you're very dense. I mean that literally. The old saw about muscle weighing more than fat is true, after all; it's possible that you have a lot of muscle mass.

If you can maintain your desired level of activity, if your cholesterol, blood pressure, and fasting glucose are all good, and you have no medical concerns. . . I don't see an issue. I'm a hundred pounds overweight, and recently got all my metabolic and cardiovascular numbers into a really good place with exercise and some dietary modifications, and my doctor said "With these kinds of numbers, I don't care if you never lose another pound or another size. You're healthy, full stop. Keep it up."
posted by KathrynT at 11:26 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is just amazing to me that I can weigh almost 50lb more than you, and yet still wear the same size. I think this helps illustrate my confusion between my weight, and how I look/clothing size. The few people to whom I've told my actual weight, in recent years, are always shocked at how much I actually weigh. How can I be so (literally) heavy?
posted by lizjohn at 1:22 PM on July 23 [+] [!]


Well, it all depends on where the weight is... I can wear a size 18 pants but have to wear a size 22 shirt or dress (right now - I'm at 195 right now) because all of my weight is in my hips/ass and they cut dresses to fit the waist. If your weight is distributed more proportionately then you can wear a size 16 and weigh more. Also, muscle supposedly weighs more than fat, so there's that - you're way more active than I am. ^_^
posted by patheral at 11:28 AM on July 23, 2011


I totally know what you mean. I'm much bigger than you and I still feel like my 14year old self inside (I'm nearly 29 now!). Not having any full length mirrors at home helps with my 'delusion' (not intentional as such, we just never bought one). I do know what I look like but that's not how I feel. TBH I also feel like I could do cartwheels and backflips - even though I never could, I did gymnastics for years and couldn't even master a handstand ;) Like you, I have healthy blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol etc - and I think that's part of it. If you're healthy and you're looking after yourself its hard to feel like a big fat lump, even if that's what you see in the mirror.

On the other hand, its possible your self image isn't as warped as you maybe think it is. Based on your follow up, you're approx 210lbs? I read Roseanne's heaviest was nearer 360lbs. Also if you browse a site like http://www.mybodygallery.com/ you'll see photos of women who are supposedly the same height and within a few lbs of each other weight-wise but the difference can be quite remarkable as to how they look. Looking at picture of my height and a little bit overweight (bmi-wise) there are women who look noticeably chubby and some look like they've barely a lb to spare. (compare this with this and this... all 3 are supposedly a similar weight and height (and overweight!)

I don't think feeling disgusted with yourself would be a healthy motivator for weight loss - especially not long term.
posted by missmagenta at 11:31 AM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am borderline obese, according to my BMI. You would never know it to look at me. I have a bit of a belly and a bit of roundness around my neck and in my cheeks.

We all carry our weight differently, and BMI is a pretty bad measure of how you're carrying your weight, or even how it effects you. Be concerned with your health and your own comfort level with your body. As long as you're healthy and all right with the way you look, you're fine.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:35 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


See what other people of the same height and weight and/or size look like here.
posted by thinkingwoman at 12:12 PM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I get weighed at the doctor every two weeks, and every time the nurse does not believe me that they have to set the bottom weight at 200lbs. They roll their eyes at me because they think there's no way I weigh 200, despite the fact that I'm pushing 250. Almost all of the clothes I was wearing at 200lbs still fit. So weight does not necessarily = obvious size.

Body dysmorphia is a serious condition and I don't think that just because you can't accurately picture yourself in the mirror that you have it. Think more like people who think they are fat when you can count their ribs, and even while they are looking in the mirror AT THAT MOMENT and can see their body, they are still convinced they are fat.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:13 PM on July 23, 2011


To keep it real, weigh yourself at the same time each night and take your measurements. Just the facts, ma'am.

Self-esteem is self-esteem, weight is weight. Don't mix the two.

Have the intention to lose the weight, and you will. It's not that hard.
posted by tel3path at 12:15 PM on July 23, 2011


In addition to what everyone else has mentioned re clothing size vs weight another important variable is height. At 5'3 and 160 one will look significantly different than someone 5'8 and 160. Of course, the where your weight sits and how muscled you are also plays into that. I weigh between 136 and 140 depending on the week, and I'm usually a size 4. But I have NO hips. And my legs are seriously muscled. So, I think the comparing to others is less than useful. On the "dysmorphia" angle specifically, I think it's really common to not see yourself as you are-it's a common story that people are spurred to weightloss (good or bad) bc of seeing themselves in photos and being SHOCKED.
posted by atomicstone at 12:16 PM on July 23, 2011


I feel like I should be more worried about myself.

That may or may not be a cultural consciousness kicking in, depending on where you live. If in the United States, this is most likely the case. Weight is a "BIG IMPORTANT THING!" here. On the one hand, you're kind of comfortable with who you are. On the other hand, it seems as if you're still feeling the pressure to lose weight and fit within the socially "acceptable" ranges of appearance. There is a socially-trained disgust of fat and bodies that don't "look right" (and many know what that means). So it's really hard to get rid of the self-loathing, which seems to not go away unless the object thereof disappears even though self-loathing makes that hard. Does that make sense?

As for how to deal with the mental disconnect: you have some options. Your mind has yet to really embrace your physical form. You can try to lose the weight and satisfy what your mind demands you look like (for whatever reason that may be). You can reinforce positive messages about yourself and your current body. Or you can even lose the weight but ditch the impulse to lose because you're disgusted with yourself, while reinforcing whatever makes you feel happy, healthy and strong.

In 4 years' time, I went from a size 10 to a size 18. The adjustment's still pretty harsh and the body dysmorphia is painful, but I've found that small baby steps to self-acceptance have both helped me (slowly) lose weight AND reduce the negative self-talk. Don't try to look at yourself in the mirror naked just yet; but on your "good" days when you're feeling badass, OWN IT.

Good Luck. Feel free to MeMail me.
posted by Ashen at 12:27 PM on July 23, 2011


I don't think you have body dysmorphia. I have frequently gained weight and not realized it until I go to put a certain pair of pants on and can't get them up past my thighs. I think this is common when you've been a variety of sizes throughout your life.

I'm not sure if you want to motivate yourself to lose weight, or get a better sense of what you really look like? If it's the latter, I have a couple of suggestions...

I second the recommendation of MyBodyGallery.com. Looking at those pictures really helped me to get an idea of what I looked like. Of course, it's just an idea...heights/weights look very different based on muscle mass, etc., but it was still good for me to see that what seemed like a terrifyingly high number to me was actually quite normal-looking.

I think it would also be great to take frequent pictures of yourself, or have others take frequent pictures of you. Make sure other people are in the photo too.

There's also a technique they do sometimes in eating disorder recovery (NOT that you have an eating disorder - just a technique that might be useful to you) - take a large piece of butcher paper and trace what you imagine the size of your body to be. Then lie down on the piece of paper and have someone trace your actual shape.

Note that NONE of these practices should be done in a spirit of shaming or self-hating, but rather in the spirit of getting a real sense of your own physical body. I think part of being healthy for me is being IN my body rather than in my head and disconnected from my physical form. Having a good sense of your own physical shape is part of that. I think it's so important to be honest with yourself about where you are, but not to beat yourself up about it either. You are where you are, and you can either take steps based on that information or not.
posted by LizzyBee at 12:41 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I actually think what you're experiencing is a good thing. I have the opposite problem, in that I always feel fat and am shocked when people describe me as anything but. It sounds to me like you're comfortable with who you are and you like yourself, and I think that's the most important thing.
posted by canadia at 12:42 PM on July 23, 2011


Photographs are good. I make do with a full length mirror. The trick is to really look. Don't just stand at the most flattering angle (I do this without thinking). Check as many angles as possible. Use a hand mirror to see your backside. Look from straight on. Look from the side. Jump up and down a little, see what jiggles (or doesn't). See what pokes out (or tucks in). Stand "relaxed" (I slouch, so much). Stand tensed up, see what's muscle. Do this regularly, even if you think you look the same as last week..

I'm not down on healthy body fat, but you can have a healthy amount of body fat and still have a whole lot less fat than I've got.
posted by anaelith at 12:54 PM on July 23, 2011


My experience of body dysmorphia is of mis-recognition, but in exactly the opposite way; a five or ten pound change in my weight registers to me as an enormous difference, even when I appear quite thin to everyone else. I've gone up from a size 2 to a size 4 recently, and the difference appears enormous to me. I was talking about this with a friend last night, and she confirmed that the difference is totally invisible to anyone who isn't me and that I still read as thin, so I know that I'm objectively wrong, but that doesn't change what I perceive.

So this sounds like it's manifesting in a similar way, but in a way that sounds really healthy and awesome (assuming it's not getting in the way of your health, which it sounds like it's not, since you are exercising, eating well, etc.). Maybe we can call it body eumorphia?
posted by dizziest at 1:17 PM on July 23, 2011


At my heaviest I was a size 20 and I weighed 265 lbs. Now I'm a size 6 and I weigh 150 lbs. I'm nearly 5'7". I have never really had an accurate sense of my own size. When I was big, I thought I was smaller than I was, and now that I'm thinner I still feel like a fat girl. I think my mental image is and has always been about a size 12.

Anyway, I don't think you have body dysmorphia. And you are definitely not Roseanne shaped. As someone said earlier, she was significantly larger than 210 lbs at her heaviest. In fact, she probably weighs 210 lbs right now.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:44 PM on July 23, 2011


I said this in a totally different question thread yesterday but it applies here as well - I think we have this sort of mental idea that once we're adults, we're just DONE being formed and that's it, that's all, we are who we are - treating ourselves consciously or unconsciously as static beings.

Of course, this is false. We are always changing, sometimes small incremental changes over the years and sometimes big life changes, and it's hard for us to adapt our self-concepts to the "new norm". This is why you might not realize you have wrinkles until you see yourself in the harsh dressing room light, because your self-concept doesn't include having wrinkles so you didn't really notice they were starting to happen; or you might take a long time to realize that actually you've learned how to be more patient when you think of yourself as a fundamentally impatient person, etc.

So I don't think this is a body dysmorphia thing - just more like a mental rut, kind of like when you forget what age you are because in your mind you got stuck at the age you were 3 years ago. Your concept of yourself solidifies and it takes a lot of reinforcement of the change for you to adapt to it and absorb it into who you are now, which will not be exactly the same as who you were a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago, etc.
posted by flex at 1:44 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks, all. This has been very helpful. Especially thanks for clearing up the Roseanne thing; I could hardly believe it myself when I heard it, but for some reason I took it at face value.

I've been thumbing through mybodygallery.com, and it's been really helpful. In fact, I even posted a picture of myself to help the project. This is one of my progress pics I took last year for DailyBurn, and here is just another random picture that shows in the gallery with the same search criteria.
posted by lizjohn at 1:55 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The truth is in the picture - even if you've gained 15lbs since that was taken, if I saw you in the street I wouldn't peg you as obese. With the right underwear you could totally pull off a Joan Harris look (I don't know how they can really tell its her from the pic but this is supposedly Christina Hendricks in a swim suit - if its legit, she's got some heavy corsetry going on to get into those red carpet outfits)
posted by missmagenta at 2:32 PM on July 23, 2011


It is a known shortcoming of BMI that it will mislabel well-muscled people without much bodyfat as "obese."

If you have a roughly average fat-to-muscle ratio, your BMI is useful information. If you have an above-average amount of muscle mass, it's not very useful after all.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:46 PM on July 23, 2011


I also found that my conception of myself at certain weights was out of line with what other people the same height/weight looked like. In my case it wasn't my body image being inaccurate, it was that my body fat percentage is a lot higher than them, due to my carrying a lot more underlying musculature than most women - I had less body fat so looked better.

So, get calipers and a measuring tape to check your body fat percentage for a more-useful measure.
posted by bookdragoness at 7:42 PM on July 23, 2011


First, yeah, when people change weights it can be very hard to adjust to what you now look like. Mirrors also lie, both for good and bad. I think everybody to some degree prefers to focus on the "good" they see rather than the bad--pictures can be an unhappy wake-up call. What other posters recommend about taking photographs of yourself is a good one--it's depressing, but revealing when we're at a body fat level that's unhealthy but our mind won't let us know. As you know, clothing sizes also lie--I am apparently a size 8-10 now, despite historically being at a size 12-14 at this weight in the past. And it's not from increasing muscle mass either, as my body measurements haven't changed. Vanity sizing is a tricky thing.

Part of it is as America becomes more and more overweight, our mind of what "fat" means has been changing. So "obese" 30 years ago looks normal now. You're posting pictures of yourself, so I'll give you my honest opinion--yes, you are obese. You have a significant amount of fat, especially around the middle reason (not good for future health prospects) and not much muscular development.* Look, your measurements may be OK now, but they're not OK for the future.

However--you have to recognize that your appearance, and your weight, should not be tied to your sense of self-worth. Dieting and exercise are not things we do to punish our body for what it looks like, they're something we do to enhance our own quality of life and because we love our bodies and want them to be happy and healthy. It may be that approaching fat loss from that perspective may be kinder to your sense of self-worth (and far easier to keep up since it's something you want to do rather than feel you have to).


*A woman who is legitimately muscular enough to have a normal body fat level at 200lbs is generally 6'0'' or over, a genetic abnormality, or on steroids. For example, see Hellga/Robin Coleman as what a well-muscled 200lbs woman looks like. Even she's not "super lean" and she's like 6'1''.
posted by schroedinger at 11:48 PM on July 23, 2011


Schroedinger, just to check, you know that only one of those pics was of the OP, right? The one of the woman in the purple singlet, who really--imo--*doesn't* have a significant amount of fat in her midsection.

OP, I think that a lot of people, especially women, experience exactly what you're experiencing. I have a friend who's 5'4" and weighs about 110 pounds soaking wet...and she recently admitted to me that when she sees herself, she's always taken aback by how pointy her face is. When I see myself, I always do a double-take, wondering who the hell that person is...and then I realize it's me.

I would humbly submit that it's actually a really *good* thing to not be super worried about your weight and how you look. You sound pretty healthy; you sound pretty happy. Fuck the rest of it.
posted by MeghanC at 1:19 AM on July 24, 2011


As a whole our ideas of how-fat-is-fat have changed drastically over time. Most of this has to do with the people we see around us. In the short term, if you were surrounded by skinny people in high school (damn kids) and are now surrounded by people who have given in to the "faculty fifty" then that's probably also changing how you feel about your own body. I also think shows like The Biggest Loser haven't helped at all since people now think obese means that weight. You don't look like that at all, therefore to them you're fine.

Here's a fun game: Say you walk past 21 random people. If you're in the US, between five and seven of them are obese. Next time you're in a group of people, just look around and readjust your thought process. Remember, the guy on the far left is "ideal". (A variant is to do the same with pets. Here's a chart which will help. About 50% of pets are overweight or obese.)

Having said all that, you shouldn't feel bad about your body. You look fine. The differences in weight between ideal and overweight and obese are actually fairly small (as long as you're not getting into Biggest Loser territory--which you're not). It's easy to slide between them. It's like letting your room get messy or not studying enough, this stuff happens. You don't freak out over it or build your identity around it, you just grumble a little about how much freakin' work life is and start scheduling time to deal with it.

And... let's look at the people who are "obese" according to BMI because they have so much muscle. Professional football players. Professional basketball players (some of them). Competitive body builders. If you're one of these people, you've probably noticed by now. (Do people ask for your autograph? Do you buy body oil in bulk?) Yes, someone who is in great shape will have a higher BMI than someone with the same dimensions who is skinny-fat, but if you're in "wow you weigh a lot" territory you probably know why, be it tons of exercise or tons of chips.

Christina Hendricks... Some of it is genetics--her fat goes to her boobs and stays off of her face. Some of it is good quality undergarments and clothing (you'll never see her with a muffin top because all her clothes fit, you don't see her jiggle because she puts up with support garments). Some of it is good styling (always wearing skirts and dresses which conceal her thighs, lots of cleavage and butt-hugging dresses to keep attention on her best points). And honestly a ton of it is that you always see her from her best angles: her stomach is more front-to-back so we usually see her dead on, when she has a long scene from the side she carries her arm in front of her stomach and probably sucks in like crazy. On the other hand, when we see her in an un-posed shot wearing unflattering clothing we're kinda shocked.

Anyway, I guess the moral of this whole post is that looks and fat aren't as related as many people think. You could decide that you only care about looks and spend money on a really great wardrobe, get things tailored, and look pretty fab. You could decide you only care about being skinny, diet like crazy, and wear sweats with holes in them. Or you could decide that you care about being awesome and work on a combination of wearing flattering clothing, keeping up your exercise, and watching what you eat (life is so much work). (Or I guess you could not give a fuck, get a great job where no one cares what you look like, and be a tubby person dressed like a schlub, and still be successful.)

What do you want to be? Instead of waiting for motivation to hit, grit your teeth and go do it.
posted by anaelith at 8:57 AM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


lizjohn: "This is one of my progress pics I took last year for DailyBurn, and here is just another random picture that shows in the gallery with the same search criteria."

Wow, that's a huge difference. I'm 5'3 and looked quite more like the not you photo when I was at my heaviest at 209. Even now down 50 lbs I'm not sure I look like you do at 195. The eye is an odd thing.
posted by TravellingCari at 5:06 PM on July 24, 2011


MeghanC, I was referring to the OP's photo. Yes, she's obese. Our perception of healthy is now so skewed we think someone must be on the Biggest Loser to qualify, but truth is those people are CRAZY obese rather than regular obese--we're unhealthy enough on a large scale that we make those mental classifications. And as analaeith says, if BMI doesn't apply to you you're something special athletically. I compete in Strongman competitions, weight train 15 hours a week, and have the frame of an ox (7 inch wrists) and the BMI scale is STILL a good estimate of a healthy weight for me.
posted by schroedinger at 5:15 PM on July 24, 2011


Cartoonist Sarah Becan, who is an active, daily cyclist, a new runner, about your size, and in great physical condition, draws a great personal comic about the things you mention. If you start at the beginning, you can read her gradual process from body shame and self-hatred through acceptance to loving herself and her own physical presence.

I read her because she draws everything she's eaten since spring 2010 and I love her tiny lunchy pictures. She draws recipes, too.
posted by Sallyfur at 2:52 PM on July 26, 2011


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