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What Is Fat?

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I’ve been (unsuccessfully) trying (not very hard) to lose weight the last few months (years). My thyroid isn’t helping, but neither is getting 5 hours of sleep or eating ice cream at midnight.



This is me in 2008. I was committed to being healthy.

This is me in 2008. I was committed to being healthy.

In the photo above, I weighed about 137. I wasn’t the slimmest I’ve ever been, but I was the healthiest I’ve ever been. I felt good, physically, and I felt happy and proud of myself.


Me, two weeks ago.

I know I won’t ever dip into the 120s, but if I could get to 140, I think I’d be pretty happy. As long as I was healthy and felt good. I don’t think I’m being unrealistic.

I have been working on being healthier. Baby steps.

In my quest to find the best way to go about this, I’ve read a LOT. I read something recently that really stuck with me. Our generation is fatter than ever. The obesity rate in the US is (according to Gallup) 27.7% in 2014. In the 50s it was 9.7% (Livestrong) and in the 80s it was 23%. This seems like a big jump, doesn’t it?

I’ve been reading about health and weight standards over the century. Here’s how things have changed in the last 80 years:

(For reference, I’m 5’6.5″ )

The median weight  for a woman my age and height from 1922-1934 is 149.9. This seems to me more of a collection and analysis of data rather than an ideal set by doctors or an insurance company. At this point in time, I weigh more than that.


Photos from a family wedding, 1935.

Photos from a family wedding, 1935.

In the 1950s, insurance companies and doctors started using a “desirable weight” chart for how much people should weigh, or perhaps rather what is healthiest or optimal for people to weigh.


My darling grandparents, in the 40s.

My darling grandparents, in the 40s.

They had women report their height in 2″ heels, which seems really odd. Also, they had you measure your wrist to find out if you’re small, medium, or large framed.

I am exactly between small and medium, so I’ll call myself medium.

From 1950-1958 a medium framed woman who is 5’8″ in heels is 137-147 lbs

In 1959 a medium framed woman who is 5’8″ in heels is 128-143 lbs.

In 1983 a 5’6″ medium framed woman is 130-144.

All of these are pretty close to one another.

According to Weight Watchers, my healthy weight range is 128-155. That seems like a much bigger range than before, and allows us to be a a little heavier (from 7-12 lbs heavier). And yet there was less obesity overall in the past.

Maybe it’s because the women had so many chores to do she didn’t sit down all day and just burned all her calories. Maybe it’s due to less fast food, and less processed food. Maybe if I clean all darn day that’ll work. (It sure won’t be much fun, though!)

I see and read about people losing weight and they always say “don’t eat fast food” or “stop drinking soda.” I do fast food very rarely, and I never drink soda, so that’s an “easy fix” that won’t work for me.

So, I’m trying to put more steps in my day – whether it’s going for a walk or playing “Just Dance” or “Wii Fit” games with the kids. I’m making more meals at home instead of going out to eat a lot. I wouldn’t call myself fat (and I definitely wouldn’t in front of my kids), but I am dipping my toe in the “Overweight” category on the BMI scale (yet another measurement for “ideal weight”). According to all the charts listed above, I’m more than my ideal.

But more than that, I want to FEEL better.

I want to fit into my closet full of clothes.

I want to be a good role model for my kids.

I want to have more stamina.

I want to have less back pain.

And yes, I want to look good naked, as Lester Burnham would say.

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 9.06.50 AM


I’m only speaking for myself.

Be whatever size you want. It’s your health. I won’t tell you what to do and you don’t have to tell me what to do.




Awhile back, I posted something in a private group about not attending a formal occasion, partly because I didn’t want to buy a new (bigger) dress. (There were other reasons, too, that I won’t go into, but that was one small piece of the picture.)

This group wasn’t happy with me.

In fact, half of them accused me of having body dysmorphia.

According to the Mayo Clinic, body dysmorphic disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which you can’t stop thinking about a flaw in your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. But to you, your appearance seems so shameful that you don’t want to be seen by anyone.

When you have body dysmorphic disorder, you intensely obsess over your appearance and body image, often for many hours a day. Your perceived flaw causes you significant distress, and your obsession impacts your ability to function in your daily life. You may seek out numerous cosmetic procedures or excessively exercise to try to “fix” your perceived flaw, but you’re never satisfied. Body dysmorphic disorder is also known as dysmorphophobia, the fear of having a deformity.

When you have body dysmorphia, you are thin, but see yourself as fat.

They couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t obsess about being deformed or thinking there’s something wrong with me. I don’t obsess at all, in fact, and I don’t let it affect anything except how I feel in a bathing suit and when I step on the scale. I also don’t see anything different in the mirror.

Just wanted to clear that up. At first I was furious and hurt. Now, I am past it. I know that isn’t me, and clearly if people are going to think that about me, they don’t really know me.





3 responses »

  1. For me, I’ve found that I don’t enjoy working out as a chore, but if I have an end goal… I get all over it! Silks worked for me, because having less fat on my body and more lean muscle means that I have an easier time on the ribbons and can achieve my goal of drops, cleaner climbs, etc. I’m not a huge fan of running, but running on non silks days means I’m leaner and silks are overall easier. So if you find something you really want to do, say, learn to dance tap, then you’ll find yourself shaping your life around being a better tap dancer.

  2. Back in 2012 I couldn’t lose weight to save my life…I counted calories and everything. As you know, I also run, a lot. Nope no weight loss. So back in early 2013 I made one small change. I have no idea if it’s the reason for the weight loss (between 10-15 lbs as the last 5 lbs fluctuates a bit) but I didn’t change anything else. What I changed was my morning meal from a carb to a protein. I switched from a bagel with butter to a Pure Protein bar. Same calorie count but different caloric make up. I’m still eating the protein bar every morning for breakfast (except on weekends when I still eat my bagel before runs). I didn’t change anything else. Still eat carbs (lots of them because I run) and still eat snacks. But it worked. I read a running article that said that more protein in the morning to kick start metabolism.

  3. Thanks so much for replying, ladies!!

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