Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Do I Look Fat in This?

American women are fat. We hate our bodies. And, we spend too much time and money trying to make ourselves look like the 2% of women who fit the current standard of beauty. Instead of striving for genuine physical health and self-acceptance, we settle for the quick-fix "lose ten pounds by Saturday" crash diets and superficial approval from others.

  • The average American woman is 5'4" tall and weighs 140 pounds. (Yes, I feel like a freaking Amazon). She wears a size 14. (okay ... feeling a little more normal).
  • The average American model is 5'11" tall and weighs 117 pounds. (Cripes! Just slice me in half and make two of them!).
  • Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women.
  • According to a 2002 CDC report, average adult Americans are about one inch taller than they were in 1960, but nearly 25 pounds heavier. The average BMI (body mass index, a weight-for-height formula used to measure obesity) has increased from 25 in 1960 to 28 in 2002.
  • 80% of us say we are dissatisfied with the way we look.
  • Every day, nearly half of all women in the U.S. are on a diet.
  • The incidences of eating disorders triple that of Schizophrenia. I’ll do the math for you ... that’s almost 7 million people. (One million of those are men and boys … yeah, some of the guys are getting sick wondering if those slacks make their ass look fat too).

We spend over 40 BILLION dollars a year on dieting and goofy shit to help us diet. I could spend that kind of money so much better. We could have an International Hot Chik Shoe Convention … with scantily clad hottie House Boys to bring us cocktails while other scantily clad hottie House Boys deliver gorgeous shoes. Or we could feed the poor, cure a disease, help clean up the Gulf Coast, or something else worthwhile. What's the point of throwing our money away if we continue to hate ourselves and get fatter and fatter?

The only way to get healthy is to like the stuff on the inside of our skin. Take it from a girl who’s gained and lost and gained and lost 80 pounds (yeah, I meant to type that twice), self-loathing is short-term motivation. Even worse, it's a mean and nasty way to treat your Hot Chik self. The road to wellness isn’t found in wonder pills or silly late-night infomercial contraptions. We don’t need to look like runway models to be healthy. And most of all, we don’t need to wait for a magic number to appear on the scale in order to feel good about ourselves. Accept who you are right now. Don’t compare yourself to air-brushed, computer-morphed fashion magazine images. You’re beautiful because you are. Cherish and care for that beauty. Maybe once we Love and accept the inside, Loving and accepting the outside will happen naturally.

Next time I’m fretting about my fat ass, remind me I said all this stuff!


Sources: Crowther et al., 1992; Fairburn et al., 1993; Gordon, 1990; Hoek, 1995; Shisslak et al., 1995., US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC Obesity Report, 2002.

15 Comments:

At 11:56 PM, Blogger A Lesser Grace said...

Here's the problem. None of the above examines that fat weighs less than muscle. I'm 5"11 weighing 148lbs.... according to the government, I should only weight 127lbs, but I currently wear a size 4. If you're happy with yourself, and healthy- isn't that all that really matters?

 
At 12:12 AM, Blogger theresa said...

I read an article earlier today that said according to the insurance industry, Brad Pitt is over weight and George Clooney is grossly obese. However, the insurance industry, and the government can't set standards for health and happiness.

 
At 12:29 AM, Blogger nosthegametoo said...

I always have mixed emotions about health and body image.

This year will be my second full year without my beloved Godfather. The ultimate cause of his early death was his weight.

Body image is one thing, but we do need to watch our health and that means losing weight. Sometimes I get the feeling that we're making excuses for our inactivity. Sometimes I get the feeling that we're trying to find a reason to justify our poor eating habits and find an identity in it.

My Godfather was "comfortable" with his body. But he's still gone and I don't get to finally have a beer with him on Thanksgiving. If he could have seen his funeral, he might not have been so "comfortable" with his body... or concerned about its image.

Theresa... as always you've delivered a fine post that made me think. You definately have my favorite blog.

Peace and Love you lovely lady.

 
At 12:48 AM, Blogger theresa said...

nosthegametoo - I'm very sorry you lost your God Father. It's always hard to lose someone you Love, and even harder if you know it was preventable.

I agree with what you're saying. As a culture, our obsession with "image" is making us sick. It keeps us from caring about ourselves enough to be healthy.

 
At 12:49 AM, Blogger littlefeet said...

at 5'2" and floating between 160 and 170, i am considered obese...however, i eat healthy and my lovers call me beautiful...

i have been under 130...and i did not look healthy at all...it was not a good weight for me...i have been at 200...but i was 40 weeks pregnant... :)

i have decided that the standards are not meant for me...isnt the only thing that matters is that i am healthy and active...that i am involved in my childrens lives...that i can join them in a game of tag or play with them at McD's playland...that my sex life is not lacking because of my size...that my lovers look at me with appreciation...and tell me over and over what a goddess i am (yeah, that really happens too...lol)

the standards dont apply to me...because they dont meet up with the standards that i have placed upon myself...and i meet those quite nicely... :)

peace...

 
At 1:09 AM, Blogger Larry Jones said...

Television and movies make it seem as if all women wear size zero, but smart men know that it's just eye candy. Real women come in all shapes, and they are the main course.

My challenge word for this: gxnxkvow

 
At 6:29 AM, Blogger crazysilver said...

Wonderful post. Applying it to daily life isn't easy.

After I had my daughter, I became very insecure about my body. Sure, I'm thicker than I would like to be but probably a very average size.

It took a lot to be comfortable with how I look. I won't lie, I could be healthier, but I am happy with myself for the most part.

My manfriend's ex wife has a movie star body, and I know she loves the fact that I don't. I thought this would make me insecure in our relationship...it didn't. That's how I know I am truly confidant in who I am, and how I look. There is a reason why he loves me and it's not in my pant size. That's reassuring.

 
At 9:27 AM, Blogger Laurie said...

well said!

I've done the yo-yo thing; I've weighed 120, I've weighed 200. (Currently, I'm at a comfortable, muscular 150) I've been on every diet out there, tried all of the "wonder drugs", only to find that the only "magic" is excercise and eating a balanced and healthy diet.

You do need to love and accept yourself, even if you are a few pounds overweight - but - there is a point where too much weight can cause serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease.

I hate the ad industry - it sets unrealistic expectations for very impressionable young girls.

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger Laurie said...

One more thing - the majority of men that I've talked to about this subject have emphatically stated that they would much rather be with a curvy, strong, robust woman than one of those frail stick-thin skeletons in the magazines.

 
At 10:02 AM, Blogger Kyle Stich said...

I believe the Kate Moss incident has finally exposed the danger of American standards of beauty. I found it slightly amusing that her chronic abuse of weight-shedding drugs stirred such controversy. It's no secret that the industry drives women to keep the weight off, no matter the cost to their health. And, there it is...health. Which is worse, being "obese" but fed or being "skinny" but starved and doped up?

 
At 12:40 PM, Blogger Blazngfyre said...

Because I was gestational diabetic while carrying Poot, I gained over 80lbs, so my current weight is NOT where I want it to be.
However, I DO still feel sexy.
Hell, even when I weighed 230 while preggers I felt sexy!

However, I have also been on the other end of this 'scale'; at one point in my teen years, I stopped eating. My weight dropped to 85lbs. I looked awful. I never did THAT again! I still cringe when I see photos of me from that time period.

 
At 2:44 PM, Blogger theresa said...

Monkey - Feeling healthy, active and sexy is what it's all about. You are a total Goddess!

When I was in college I got into some pretty scary compulsive eating and exercise behavior. I was about 50 pounds lighter than I am now. I looked like ET.

Larry - The main course, huh? There's an obvious response to that, but I'll just keep it to myself.

Crazysilver - I'm glad to hear that you feel good about yourself. That's so much more important than trying to live up to someone else's unreasonable expectations.

Laurie - You sound like you feel confident and healthy.

It's true about a lot of guys. I hear the same thing, especially from those over 30. Maybe experience teaches them something.

Kyle - Excellent example. Poor Kate. I hope she finds peace, and a great pizza joint.

Blaze - You are sexy, Babycakes!

 
At 12:14 PM, Blogger Julie said...

What an important post! How do more people not know these statistics! I'm usually pretty comfy with my body...until I go on an audition and I'm surrounded by tiny size zero teenagers...

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger Ron Southern said...

At 160, I've now lost 80 pounds myself. No small amount without trying! All I had to do was get diabetes. I don't recommend it, of course. Will I disappear, Theresa?

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger Ron Southern said...

Will I end up as one of those frail stick-thin women? Goddammit, I knew there'd be a catch.

 

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