101, Fat, Media, Sweet Machine

Pants, meet fire extinguisher

In the spirit of two very different body acceptance moves — Isabelle Caro’s bold anti-anorexia campaign and Joy Nash’s Fat Rant — I have another challenge for you.

Stop lying about your weight.

That’s it! There’s no time limit on this dare, no expiration. You might not find yourself in a position to lie about your weight any time soon, but I’m sure you have in the past. Whether it’s on a driver’s license, or while you’re caught in a gaggle of diet talkers, or if it’s just in your own head, stop rounding down. Stop fudging your clothing size. Stop thinking of yourself as the size you used to be. This body you live in? It’s you. It’s you today. It will not be the same for your whole life, and that’s fine. Part of fat acceptance is accepting who you are right now, this very moment. If you have never lied about your weight, or if you’ve already stopped: congratulations!

What happens when we lie about our bodies? Well, for one thing, people who tell the truth aren’t believed. As Meowser pointed out in comments last month, the headless fatties attached to obesity-scare articles are almost never the same size as the actual humans discussed inside:

I guess the pictorial rule is: When you’re writing about women who weigh 160 pounds, you illustrate the story with a woman who weighs 500 pounds. When you’re writing about 500-pound men, you illustrate with a man who weighs 200. But goddess forbid, in either case, you illustrate with the actual person you’re writing about. Because all fatasses are interchangeable after adjusting for gender.

No wonder trolls on FA blogs always imagine that anyone over 250 pounds must be confined to bed. Could you guess the weight of the person next to you in line at the supermarket? I’m betting you can’t, because we so rarely see honest representations of what body sizes look like.

I first saw Joy Nash’s Fat Rant video linked on a friend’s Livejournal. In the video, as you all no doubt remember (if not, go watch it again!), Joy states that she weighs 224 pounds. One of the first commenters on my friend’s LJ said something like, If she weighs 224, then she must be at least 6’2″. Well, Kate and I have met Joy Nash, and while she is lovely and charismatic and charming and, yes, tall, she is definitely not that tall. So why did this commenter assume she was a giantess? No doubt he’s never met a woman who admitted to weighing 224, so it seemed like an astounding number to him. In the world I like to call reality, he certainly knows someone who weighs 224 and is not 6’2″, but he probably thinks she weighs at least 50 pounds less.

Remember: the number is just a number. It has no intrinsic moral value. It doesn’t control you. It doesn’t say anything about your worth as a person; like the word “fat,” it’s just descriptive. So why lie?

There are a couple of good reasons to tell the truth. One is for yourself: if you stop thinking of yourself as someone who’s “temporarily” at your current weight or size, you’ll be taking the first step in the long march to non-disordered thinking about your body. If you stop lying to yourself, you can stop yearning for that mythical other you, and you can start enjoying the actual you. If you’ve had times in your life like that — when you genuinely didn’t think of yourself as a deviation from some normative you that could have been — you know that it feels awesome. That’s reason #1.

Reason #2 is for the rest of us. If we want to live in a community in which people are not vilified for the size and shape of their bodies, then we have to be part of creating that community. One way of doing that, as I know many readers have seen for themselves, is by speaking up when you see fatphobia in action. Another way is to deflate and correct unrealistic expectations that are imposed upon us — doing a scaled-down version of what Isabelle Caro has done in the anti-anorexia campaign: telling the truth when we expect to see lies.

153 thoughts on “Pants, meet fire extinguisher”

  1. This is why those guess-your-weight games at the fair are always so surprising and why it is so damn hard for the average person to guess.

    Makes me want to post a picture of me and ask people how much they think I weigh.

  2. Nicely done! You’re kicking butt today.

    And for anyone that wants to know: Joy is a modest 5’8″. Sorry to burst the bubble of the people that think she’s uber-tall: Maybe she’s got some muscle over all of those curves.

    As for me: I’m a dude. I’m 5’11”, and 160 at best. I’ve been fluctuating between 135-170 for the last 8 years, but my habits haven’t changed much (Minus a moderate addition of running). The biggest thing that attributes to my now lower body weight (Or should I say apperance) is puberty. I grew eight inches, but I’ve showed up my peers in fitness even when I was the little 5’3″ , “chubby” freshman kid. I did my first side split back when I was chubby too: Holy crap.. it defies societal assumptions! ZOMGZ!

    Thanks again Kate.

  3. Jon B., this one was Sweet Machine, so she deserves the thanks!

    Not owning a scale, plus having gained weight since the last time I did, makes it hard to say what I weigh. I’m guessing 175-180, at 5’2″ — so I’d be illustrated with a 450-lb. headless fatty. :)

    My driver’s license says 165, though that wasn’t necessarily (again, no scale) a lie when I got it.

    I’m a straight 16/18, or a 16W petite, most days.

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever lied about my weight, and I had never been one to check it obsessively. The only reason I know it now is because I’m so often in the doctor’s office and hospital, and I’m curious because of the steroids I’m on and the way they affect my appetite.

    Anyway, last week I weighed 240lbs, and I’m 5′ even. I’m an 18/20 or 22/24 for most clothing. I just submitted this picture to the height/weight chart – I’d can’t believe I’d forgotten about that site. Thanks for the link, Rotund.

  5. I weigh about 302 lbs (as of my last dr appointment) at 6’0″. Funny enough, most people guess that I weigh between 200-220 lbs.

    The BMI (what a load of crap!) says that I should be 180 lbs. I can’t even imagine what would look like. I think I was was 180 somewhere toward the end of elementary school when I had almost topped out on my height.

  6. LOVE this entry!

    For the longest time I never said a number. Even though I knew the number didn’t actually change the way my body looked. I was that weight regardless of whether or not I said the number out loud. I hated how much power that stupid three-digit number had over me. So I’d say it out loud when I was alone; in my room, in my office, in my car.

    “I weigh 508 pounds.”

    Then I decided to do the hardest thing ever and write it in my blog. And I typed the number dozens of times until it filled half a page.

    508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 508 …

    And the world didn’t end! And people didn’t stop liking me! Everything just went on like it always had before. Except that three-digit number suddenly didn’t have any power over me. And that was pretty damn cool.

    P.S. 530!

  7. That was the blog post where I found you, Heidi! I will never forget that!

    Also, the comments around here keep reminding me of Lorrie Moore short stories. There’s another one in Birds of America — “Real Estate,” I think — where there are two full pages that say nothing but “HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA…” Incredibly striking in the context of the story. Your 508 post reminds me of that.

  8. I am 5’6″ and weigh 165lbs.

    I need to have my driver’s license corrected. It says I weigh 200. Same as I told the DMV I weighed when I was 300lbs.

  9. I was actually in bed with a new lover just recently, when he mock-threatened to pick me up bodily. “You’d better not,” I said. “I weigh about 200 pounds.”

    “Really?” was his reply, and then we moved on to other things.

    I still can’t quite believe I said it. Almost as much as I can’t believe that I weigh 200 pounds.

  10. I’m 5′ 10″ and I weigh 240 pounds. I’ve been thinking a lot about how the numbers in my life affect me. Particularly how I feel when the different numbers fluctuate, especially when that fluctuation is out of my control. So much so I’m writing a post about it. Thanks for the impetus :)

    (BTW.. it’s my first time commenting. HI! Love the blog, love the discussions. You’ve helped me learn a hella lot about Size Acceptance and HAES and given me ways to battle my own weight demons.

  11. I’m so glad UK driving licences don’t have weights on. For one thing I’ve changed weight down and then back up again between getting my provisional and then passing my test.

    But I wouldn’t have lied, it’s one thing I’ve always told the truth about, and been more inclined to tell people about than is normal to be honest. And they’ve always been surprised. I’ve liked to think it’s because I’m moderately fit and hence look a bit slimmer than your average person at my weight/height (whatever that’s been) but perhaps it’s because no-one’s used to knowing the real numbers for most of the people they see. Though surely some of them know what *they* weigh? Hmm, perhaps it’s people who are shorter than me who are particularly astonished? That might make sense.

    Anyway, 5’6″ and currently 240 lbs (which obviously being British I think of as 17 stone 2).

    And more worried that that’s temporary because I’m still getting bigger than because I’m ever going to be smaller though.

  12. I’m 5′ 3″ and weigh about 13 stone-ish.

    The reason why I’m a bit vague is twofold. Firstly, I threw away my scales at the age of 26. Part of my own dieting mindset /pathology was that I allowed the number on that scale to dictate the way I felt about myself for the remainder of the day. 1lb here or 2lbs there meant the difference between “Sinner”, (ugly, socially unacceptable and generally damned), and “Saint” (lighter-on-my-feet, successful, attractive, etc.). As a Sinner I might choose to punish myself by starving, or else by comfort-eating while feeling lousy about it. In Saint-mode, I had the choice of either boosting my saintliness by, (you guessed it), starving myself, or stuffing my face with impunity, because, hey I had a couple of pounds to spare. Either way, not exactly healthy or sane in my book.

    I decided, once I hit the FA trail that, since it was a major trigger, the less I knew about that number the better. On the rare occasions I might be weighed in a hospital, (which seems to be standard procedure regardless of the complaint that’s brought you there), I have always instructed whoever was taking note of the number to keep it to themselves. Last year I had my first thorough medical check-up since leaving school. (Given that my school had been instrumental in my self-hating fat parents putting me on a diet before I even hit puberty, you may best believe I felt ambivalent about it). Fortunately I wasn’t bullied and it all went fine but I did, during the course of events, find out how much I weighed – 13 and-a-half stone – which was about 14lbs over what I’d imagined. It truly was a measure of how far I’ve come that this only freaked me out for a day or two. I just kept telling myself I was exactly the same person I’d been the day before I knew what I weighed. Still took the same size clothes, looked the same, felt the same. I calmed down in record time.

    Since then I’ve lost about half a stone. I say “about” because I still don’t hold with scales. My clothes are just looser. I have slightly raised cholesterol and made a few changes to my (non-WL) diet. I also made a concerted effort to step up my activity levels since I hate the gym, and being a writer, don’t exactly get a lot of exercise. Curiously none of the changes I made, including the unintentional weight loss, (surely the cure for every ailment under the frigging sun), have had the slightest effect on either my LDL or HDL cholesterol levels. My body, as my (lovely, HAES savvy) doc assures me is simply efficient at manufacturing the stuff.

  13. I’m 5’9″ and sport 280 lbs, rocking the size 24’s. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thrown down my stats and people have said, “::GASP:: I can’t believe that!” Believe it, baby.

  14. Maybe she’s got some muscle over all of those curves.

    Wow, way to miss the point.

    I had meant to do a post about weights on driver’s licenses, Laura, you stealer! I still might… EVENTUALLY. I would like to point out right now, though, that my ABSURDLY inaccurate weight on my driver’s license (it is upwards of 40 lbs off, and at the time it was probably 50 lbs off) is because they actually didn’t ask me. They put the weight I had told them last time I lived in this state (at which time it was only about 10 lbs off). Nobody had any cognitive dissonance when they looked at me and then looked at a screen saying “180.”

  15. I’m rocking the size 24s too, Jane. But I tend to fluctuate between 250 and 275 lbs in my 5’9″ frame- depending on the season of the year. More in winter, less in summer, since I’m out doing more and eating fresher foods. And every year, when I start to lose a few pounds in the spring folks around me start to ask if I’ll “stick to it.”

  16. I’m 5’11 and weigh between 115 to 120 kg (which is about 253 – 264 pounds). I can’t tell you my exact weight because I threw out my scale a looong time ago.

    I have never had a problem telling somebody my weight or clothing size – it’s not like you can’t see that I’m fat. :-) Most people are surprised when they find out how much I weigh, because OMG 120 KG. *rollseyes*

  17. BTW, I’ve been thinking of submitting a pic to the height/weight chart, too. I think that it’s a great project!

  18. 5′ 2″ and around 220. I, too haven’t weighed myself in years because of the obsessive weighing issues, but when I weighed 200 I was a 16, and now am an 18-20.

  19. I’m 5’7 and I weigh 190 pounds. This post was so timely..a few months ago I went to a new gynecologist for the yearly exam. The first thing the nurse said was “You don’t look like you weigh 190 pounds!” Gasp! “Well, I do.” “Well, you don’t look it.” OK, well, a number is not really why I’m here or anything. (I’m sure she was waiting for me to say Thank you or something equally idiotic. You know, for not “looking” like I weigh 200 pounds, which I took to mean by her gasp meant she thought I was on the threshold of expiring. Now that she knew everything she needed to know about me: in regards to my health: the number. Then she told me I should really “take care of myself and lose that weight”. Its just so wearying, isn’t it? I weigh 190 pounds.

  20. Most men have no idea how much women way. If you look at personal ads with weights listed, they never seem to understand what most women weight–like asking for someone to be around 5’6″ and 115 pounds–no way do they realize that this is extremely thin and very few women would naturally be at that weight and that height. And the ones that are, sure aren’t gonna have those double-Ds they’re requesting. It’s really pretty laughable when you read through the requests. (Though I should say that many men are not as piggish as those whose personal ads stand out to me, I am dear friends with them. They, for the most part, still don’t have a clue what real women way).

  21. I took Joy’s challenge this summer and announced my weight and size to my sister and her daughters. The kids didn’t flinch but the mom did. Oh well.

    I’m 5’9″ and 260. I wear either a 22 or 24, depending on the cut. I need tall jeans; a 33″ inseam is great in most styles but if they have a 34″ inseam I’m thrilled because it allows me to wear heels better.

    I was 225 pre-pregnancy (the child is now 5) but size 20 was often a little snug. I know it’s more about the garment than its size tag. I KNOW that. But it can be hard to find a 24 that isn’t too large somewhere. I know I am a fitting challenge because of my mushy middle. It’s a fat distribution that really isn’t accounted for in fashion, and maternity wear doesn’t count. I do sometimes think about a tummy tuck, but if I actually had the $6K it would cost, I’m sure there are other more life-affirming things I would do with it.

    It feels good to tell people what you weigh and what you wear. I highly recommend it and I thank Joy for being the one who spoke to me about it in her _Fat Rant_.

  22. I am a performer, and often have to put my weight down on audition applications. I’ve tried not putting anything down (because it’s none of their beeswax) and you don’t get an audition. So I lie, because the whole business is run by gay men, and if I put 290 on the form, they would think they had to get the stage reinforced. The whole system is seriously fucked up.

  23. TR: I linked to the photo chart in the post, but I think most people missed it. Thanks for highlighting it!

    FJ: Haha sucker! You should still totally do that post. Now that classes have started, I can apparently only post on the spur of the moment, no planning whatsoever.

    Bobette: Bra size is a whole other can of worms, something I definitely plan to do a post on sometime. Earlier this year, I got fitted for the first time in years and found that I wore a 34E (and my clothing size was US 12/14). While I was browsing for bras in Nordstrom, this pair of women next to me held up a 32E and started making fun of it because only “tiny girls with boob jobs” could wear it. I sooooo wanted to go up to them and say “Do you think I’m tiny and ludicrously stacked? Because that’s almost my size, lady.” As we all stop lying about our weight, we should all also get fitted for a proper bra. :-)

  24. Ack, bra sizes. It’s another one where people have no idea how the sizes actually relate to what people look like.

    For years and years I’ve thought of myself as big breasted in comparison to my bestfriend, mainly because I hit puberty about three years before her, so I now find it really wierd that we actually wear the same bra size.

  25. I’m 5’7″, and approx. 220-240 pounds. I’m not really sure, since I refuse to get on a scale. The moment I see my weight, I start weighing myself every day, at different times of the day, and it becomes a total obsession. I currently wear a size 18, and I have fluctuated between a 16 and an 18 for about 10 years now. Nobody in my life knows my size or weight other than my mother, and I don’t think they would believe me if I told them. To be honest, I wouldn’t have believed it a few years ago. I remember when I first hit 200, in high school, I spent days crying because I weighed more than Mike Tyson XP

  26. Heh, I wear a 34G or a 32GG and I am far from a tiny little thing! And my boobs are all real. But most women wear a band size that’s one or two sizes too big, so I can see why people would have the idea that 32 is a teeny tiny size.

    Anyway… I’m 5’1 and I don’t own a scale, but last time I was weighed I was 160 or 165 (can’t remember). I think I’ve gained some weight since then, so probably 170 or 175.

  27. Oh man, yeah, bra size. I think I put too much stock into that as part of my value. Sometimes more than my weight. When I was a few years younger, and just escaping the throes of a ridiculously long puberty (9-14/15, natch), I had double Ds, and even though my weight was only 10 or so pounds less than what it is now, it didn’t matter to me, because I felt that “At least I have big boobies.”

    Now, I’m down to a 38 D, and 160-ish at 5′ 4″ and now I worry all the time that I’m a complete loss because my boobs aren’t huge. As if being fat is only acceptable if you also have huge knockers. It’s ridiculous, and I need to get past it.

  28. I’m 5’4″, somewhere between 230-240 (I don’t own a scale on purpose, so I’m not sure; I wear an 18W, US size). People have always assumed I weigh far less than I do, and when pressed about it, the answer has usually been some variation on, “You don’t carry yourself like someone who weighs that much.” Sigh. Talk about a mindfuck of a comment.

    And yeah, when I passed the 200 mark several years ago, I was devastated. It was some magical odometer in my head I thought I could never bounce back from, either weight-wise or emotionally. I still struggle with it, but at least that number isn’t bouncing around in my head lined with neon lights anymore.

  29. I am 6′ tall. If you had asked me a week or so ago I would have said I weighed around 290 pounds, which is how much I weighed last time I weighed myself, but last week I went to the gyno and it turns out I now weigh 330 pounds (22 pounds more than my last trip to the gyno.) I seriously cried when she told me I had gained that much weight in a year. And then I felt bad for crying because I know I’m not supposed to care, and I don’t want to care. But I can’t get over how upset I am that I gained all the weight back that I had once lost. (Via Mono, not via diet, SHOCKING that that didn’t stay off, isn’t it?)

    Although, my boyfriend didn’t believe me when I told him, which made me feel a bit better. Still upsetting though, I’m working on it.

    I wear a 26 on bottom and a 22 on top (Although I think I can also wear a 20 I’ve never tried because a size differential of 6 is just to ridiculous to contemplate.) It makes buying anything that is one peice nearly impossible.

    Which reminds me, I need to find a long black gown for a wedding next spring, if anyone knows of a good place in chicago for plus size gowns PLEASE send me an e-maill. (I can hardly wait to stand next to a bevy of 5′ tall asian women…thank god the bride is sensible enough to let us pick our own dresses.)

  30. So much of it is down to the way we’re built. For instance, I notice I’m an inch taller and weigh approximately 35lbs less than sophiabrooks – yet we take exactly the same dress size. (Unless she’s a Brit, in which case I’m a size bigger). Am I then the “big boned” fat girl of myth that trolls the fatosphere over love to pour scorn on the notion of? If you go by the width of my swimmer’s shoulders, absolutely – but not if you look at my tiny-wee wrists and ankles. Am I overly muscular then? Only from the knees down really. The fact is it’s impossible to tell what someone weighs just from looking at them because we all carry our weight differently. That’s why height/weight charts were every bit as arbitrary and useless as BMI as a measure of health or anything else.

    Related and also on the subject of numbers, I think the reason why those fortunate enough to be able to shop exclusively in non-plus size stores so often gasp, “but you don’t look like a size 18/20/22/etc.!” is because their day-to-day shopping experience has convinced them they’ve you drop off the end of the world once you can no longer squeeze your arse into a “normal” size – something that’s further compounded by those pictures of headless, cheeseburger-munching 500lb people illustrating articles about people who weigh in at 200lbs. They’ve no yardstick because their shopping experience generally doesn’t bring them into contact with a size 18 garment, let alone a size 18 shopper. Ergo, in their minds, the 500lb headless person must be a size 18 because that’s what happens when you drop off the end of the(ir) world.

  31. Hi! 5’4″ and 175lbs. I wear between a 12/14 depending on the clothing type.

    My office is filled with dieters and so called health authorities. My boss gets up at 2:30 in the morning EVERY morning to run and has restricted her diet for a number of years. This has all made her very thin. But GEEZE eating nothing but chicken broth for lunch every day would freaking drive me insane. It is fanatic and it is an eating disorder. But, who gives a crap because DAMN she looks good.

    I recently read somewhere on the internet that up until the 19th century women rarely weighed themselves. Clothing was also custom made to fit their bodies. This struggle with a number in both weight and clothing sizes is relatively new, but so so devestating.

    Anyhow, I am learning to stop lying, to accept and to love myself. I am a slave to fashion and have learned to allow myself to wear things I love without fearing that someone will feel that I am too “heavy” to wear it. My life is too short to be spent on pleasing people I don’t even know.

  32. Something I’m seeing coming up here already, which blew my mind on a similar thread at Fatshionista a while back, is that women can be the same height, vastly different weights, and still wear the same size. Especially for taller women, there can be a difference of several dozen pounds, and yet the clothing size is the same. As Celeste said, fat distribution makes a huge difference in how clothes fit. Not to mention amount of muscle, bone structure, etc.

    I have tiny bones, for instance, and although I’ve gotten a lot stronger over the last couple years (thanks, yoga!), I’m sure I still have more fat than muscle. Which might explain why sophiabrooks upthread, for instance, wears only a slightly bigger size than I do at 220 and the same height, and wore the same size as me when she was 20 lbs. heavier than I am now. On a 5’2″ person, 20 lbs. is a really noticeable difference — but between two different 5’2″ people, it might not be.

    Also, the 5’2″, 200-lb. person on the photographic height/weight chart (whom I recognize from around the fatosphere — hi, if you’re reading this!) looks quite a bit like me, body-wise — and I’ve seen pics of her on fatshionista where I think she looks thinner than me. I suppose it’s possible that I weigh 200 lbs. these days, but I’m basing my estimate on what my body looked like at various weights when I was still keeping score. At my heaviest, I weighed 190, and I’m not quite as big as I was then. (I’m also not quite 5 years out from the last diet, so I might very well end up there again.) And at 190, I wore an 18/20, just as sophiabrooks does now at my height and 220.

    And yet, people are still stunned when I tell them what I weigh. I swear, half the population really believes that for women, if you’re kinda fat you weigh 150, and if you’re really fat, you weigh 200. There are no other weights. *headdesk*

  33. Bra sizes: the usual calculation (measure underbust in inches and add 4 or 5 to get an even number) puts me at about a 46 maybe 48, I don’t have a tape measure handy here at work.

    If I go to Bravissimo and get the lady to fit me they use the same guidelines as for thin women, and keep trying smaller and smaller band sizes, because you can still easily lift a gap between my skin and the bra in the middle at the back. They fail to take into account that this is because they’ve just squished me so much I’ve got extra back cleavage, and will get an angry red band round me if I wear it for more than 5 minutes.

    So I wear something in between. I’m just finding that 40DD is a bit small in the cups though and I probably need a 40E or 42DD really. I just buy what I can find that looks nice and more or less works.

    It’s interesting that weighing in stones instead of lbs means that 200lbs just wasn’t a big deal to me. 15 stone was worse, and then each stone above that has seemed bad – I’m still wishing I was just under instead of just over 17 – but 14 stone 4 didn’t seem all that significant :-)

  34. Kate: you’re right about the weight distribution. I wear a UK 22 at the moment though my waist size suggests in most retailers I should be a 24 or bigger, but if my weight weren’t all on my waist I could probably be a 20 or even 18, without weighing any different. So because people see the overall size and not the huge waist they’re often surprised I need such big clothes.

    Hell, a friend of mine whose little boy is nearly 1 is still shedding pregnancy weight, and said she just dropped from a 24 back to a 22, and I was surprised, because I think of her as slimmer than me, and she certainly weighs about 10-15lbs less than I do, and yet she’s still in the exact same gap between sizes as I am.

  35. This is so excellent. I keep reading books where a woman is listed as HUGE–probably TWO HUNDRED POUNDS!! And I’m like: *head exploding*

    Or those “lost weight” things where the before and after weights are probably BOTH lies.

  36. I just weighed myself as a lark at a friend’s house and it turns out I weigh 136 lbs, at 5’3. Which is tiny, but since I fall into the flat-chest (34A) big-butt (size 8 or 10 US) (relatively speaking) mold, I’m used to thinking of myself as ‘fat’ or at least overweight. No . . . I’m just not built like current fashion.

    One of my friends used to be a personal shopper at Nordstrom’s and he took one look at me when I said I was size 8-ish and he said, “I would totally have guessed a size 4.” So yeah, there’s a disconnect somewhere.

  37. I don’t know who the 5’2″ 200 person is, but I know the 5’4″ 200 one (she comments here, on fatshionista, and on another board I’m on, and is singularly level-headed, which on the other board is very much appreciated). I LOVE using that photo to illustrate what 200 lbs looks like when people start talking about their friends who are practically! bedridden! 300! pounds! Because she’s so incredibly gorgeous, and has such a classically beautiful figure… it really gives people pause.

    I don’t have a classically beautiful figure, but I think people would still be surprised that I weigh around 225 at 5’7″. I can’t really tell you what my size is, though. Generally, the data points assort around a size 18. I think that’s part of why we see such a variation in size/weight correlation — obviously body shape and composition makes a huge difference, but so do definitions. I have size 16 things that fit, but I would never say I was a size 16, for instance… but someone else might.

  38. I’m 5’5″ and I weigh 215 last I checked. I got into this whole SA thing and I put the scale away so I can’t be exact. I feel good about myself but like someone else said, the minute I step on the scale, it all comes back and I’m again thinking of my worth in relation to a fucking number. So I don’t want to do that anymore.

    I agree with the concept though. I’ll happily share that I’m (probably) 215, I usually wear a 22 (though is Lane Bryant vanity sizing or what? I wear a 14/16 in their tee shirts!) and my bra size is 42H. Oh, and I’m 38. Women feeling they need to lie about their age is another pet peeve of mine for another day ;-)

    I love cockeyed.com :-D Go for the height/weight chart, stay for the how much is inside, the science, the light sharpener, etc.

    Oh! One more thing. I posted a link the The Fat Rant on a site I’m on and various posters responded that “she’s not fat”. Yes, they mean it as a compliment but again – missing the point!

  39. I am 5’6″, and I weigh 205 pounds. I am exactly the same size as Kate, apparently, as evidenced by our co-Red-2-ness. :)

    I spent a lot of time thinking of 200 pounds as this epically huge size, starting back when I was 12 and weighed about 90 pounds. (I was a late bloomer.) I had one friend at the beginning of my seventh-grade year, a girl who was an outcast because she was poor, badly dressed, unkempt-haired, and fat. I was poor, badly dressed, unkempt-haired, and scrawny, and we bonded over our shared outcast status.

    She told me, in hushed tones, that she weighed 200 pounds. She was the first girl or woman I’d ever met who admitted to weighing 200. (My dad did, but he was a man, and over six feet tall, and as it turns out he thought he was fat. He eventually developed an eating disorder and got down to about 120 for a while. It was scary as hell. But that’s a story for another day.) So I got the idea that this girl was what 200 pounds looked like.

    Looking back, with a better perspective on what different sizes look like, I think my friend was about 400. My point is not that 400 is “bad”, but that our society is so messed up that when you say “200 pounds,” most people picture 300 or 400. Imagine how shocked I was when I did hit 200 and didn’t look anything like the “200 pound” body I remembered.

    Gloria Steinem did a column a while back about admitting she was sixty years old. The same principle applies there: we think 60 looks older than it does because by the time someone says “I’m 60,” often times they’re 70.

    This also reminds me of something that ticked me off on LJ a few years ago. A lovely woman posted semi-revealing pictures of herself. She was not fat, and this was clear from the pictures. Everyone commented to tell her she was hot. Then she mentioned in a comment thread that she weighed 200 pounds, and suddenly the same people–the people who had seen her pictures and said she was “hot” five minutes earlier–were telling her she needed to lose weight. I dropped in a comment to say that she was clearly not fat (again, not to bash fat, just to clarify that this woman was not) and that no one had asked her how TALL she was. I think she was probably about six feet tall and very muscular, and of course one is going to weigh a lot with that body. It just irked me that the NUMBER made her magically fat, when her actual body hadn’t appeared fat to any of the commenters.

    Bah, I’m rambling. I need more coffee.

  40. I don’t know who the 5′2″ 200 person is, but I know the 5′4″ 200 one (she comments here, on fatshionista, and on another board I’m on, and is singularly level-headed, which on the other board is very much appreciated)

    Shit, that IS who I was thinking of! Had it in my head that we were the same height. So that blows my argument a little, but not too much. :)

  41. I go to school in NY and I’m so jealous that people out here don’t have their weight on their driver’s license.

    I lied about my weight the first time I got my driver’s license (at 18, I failed the test 4 times :o ), but then when I got a 2nd one I corrected it. And then life made a liar out of me when I lost 20lbs just through living better, but that I can deal with. I’ll just adjust it next year when I renew it.

    But I’m still proud of myself for putting my “fat” weight on my driver’s license. It was only 140, which at 5′ 1″ is technically overweight but really not by too much. But it still felt good to stop pretending and to stop being ashamed of my little bit of chub.

  42. though is Lane Bryant vanity sizing or what? I wear a 14/16 in their tee shirts!

    Definitely weird sizing, if not vanity sizing. The Red 2 jeans fit like they were made for me. But the 14/16 shirts and dresses are actually too big. Which bums me right out.

    Trentacosta deliberately eschews the double sizing (14/16; 18/20) so common in plus sizes, and their site says that’s because, among other reasons, you have to cut the shoulders and armholes big to theoretically accommodate two sizes at once. That’s precisely my problem with LB 14/16 tops (which usually fit my boobs great), so maybe that explains it. Someone with exactly the same torso as me but broader shoulders would probably do fine.

  43. Anyone who would put a “qualifying” height and weight on their personal ad is a control freak not worth bothering with, IMHO. It’s like putting a “qualifying” level of income. Sorry, folks, but those things don’t stay static; maybe height does to some degree, but everything else is “fluxable,” and not always in the direction you want it. Even if I “qualified” I would never have answered such an ad.

    And yeah, these guys who want giant balloons on a stick and nothing else will do, are double control freaks! They remind me of Bill Murray’s character in that old SNL parody of Betty Rollin’s First, You Cry, who was in anguish because Gilda Radner had to have a mastectomy and remove her beautiful boobies. Even Murray was aghast when he first read that script; he said to anyone who would listen, “Do you know what it’s like to go out there and play something that’s going to make everyone hate you?” Everyone, I suppose, except the Dude Nation guys who’d probably dump Gilda too.

    Oh, and (approximately) 5’2-1/2″, 200 pounds. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. And I’m a Red 2 Petite too!

  44. Yes, Kate, I suspect the shoulders are precisely the issue you’re having. :) I have BIG shoulders and their 14/16 tops usually fit me fine, and I love them for actually being long enough for my Long Torso of d00m. (I’m a 5’6″ person with the legs of a 5’2″ person. It’s aaaall in my waist.)

    But occasionally, especially with some of the ornate empire-waisted tops, my rack doesn’t fit into a 14/16 and I have to get an 18/20. Then, even I have the shoulder problem; the shirt slides off my shoulders all day, shows my bra strap to the universe, and the armhole comes too far down my torso.

  45. 5’1″ – 235lbs. at the doctor’s office last week… Generally speaking on sizes, I’m stuck in between an 18 and a 20 on bottom and I wear 22/24 (3x) on top (44DD bra).

  46. But occasionally, especially with some of the ornate empire-waisted tops, my rack doesn’t fit into a 14/16

    Yeah, actually, I’ve found that with the empire-waisted tops, too. Too small in the boobs, too big in the shoulders. AWESOME.

    I swear, I am just about to give up and stop buying anything not made of some form of jersey. That’s the only way to get a reasonably correct fit on my whole body — I can buy a size that fits my waist and shoulders, and let it stretch over the boobs and ass.

    Also, hee hee about the negative weight. For whatever reason, WordPress turns two hyphens into a single one (or, possibly, an en-dash; I’m not measuring here), unless you put spaces on either side, in which case it becomes an em-dash. That’s why my posts always have spaces around the em-dashes (which I wantonly abuse), even though it pains my former-copy-editor heart.

  47. Kate wrote: “I swear, I am just about to give up and stop buying anything not made of some form of jersey. That’s the only way to get a reasonably correct fit on my whole body — I can buy a size that fits my waist and shoulders, and let it stretch over the boobs and ass.”

    Yep! I also miss those horrid dresses I wore in the tenth grade, back in the early nineties. Remember the ones? They always had some matronly floral print on them, and big shoulder pads, but they were big in the bust and ass, and had either a tie or a clip at the waist so you could make them as tight or as loose as you wanted. They can bring those back anytime, especially if they make them in solid colors and ditch the shoulder pads.

  48. Not only don’t I lie about my weight, I noted it in a public livejournal entry. I used 208, which is an approximation. I rarely weigh myself, but whenever I get weighed at the doctor’s office, I’m usually between 201 and 210, generally in the 207-208 region.

  49. I’m 5′-2″ and about 250 lbs. (I never know exactly because it varies within a 10 lb. range over the course of a week.)

    I don’t think I’ve lied about my weight since high school, though people don’t usually believe me when I tell them. Once one of my co-workers was moaning about her weight (I think she was like 140 lbs.) and since I’d run out of patience with the human species about ten years earlier, I snapped that I didn’t want to hear about it until she’d at least reached my weight of about (then) 200 lbs. She refused to believe I weighed that much, so I took her to the stockroom where we had this ginormous shipping scale and got on it. Yep, 200 lbs. Even then, I don’t think she really believed it. 200 lbs. is piano-sized, don’t you know. 200 lbs. is grease-the-doorways-so-the-fatass-can-get-through. God, some people are morons.

  50. Shoulder pads. ARRRRGH. Until recently, you couldn’t buy a damn plus-sized top or dress without them, and shoulder pads make me look like Bronko Nagurski. OK, a shorter Bronko Nagurski, with maybe a smaller neck. Whenever I put them on, I felt like tackling someone.

  51. When I was a size 18, I told a co-worker at the bar where I bounced what size I wore and she shook her head, and told me, “No way! There’s a woman at my dayjob who says she’s a size 16, and she is way bigger than you!”

    I think people lying about it totally alters the public perception of weight.

    My friend Caren actually made the same comment about age. Both she and I frequently get, “You’re 36? OMG, No WAY! I would have guessed 25!” And while I ascribe it to people being butt-kissers, she ascribes it to the tendency of women to lie about their age, so that no one really knows WHAT 36 looks like anymore.

  52. I’m 5’2″ and 210 – 225 depending. Tops and dresses are a size 22. I wear a Yellow 4 and I was so happy to find jeans that fit the fat waist, skinny leg type. I gain weight in the belly and have always had big breasts. Because I’m so top-heavy people have never believed I weigh what I do. I think the eyes stop at the cleavage and never go any lower!

  53. That’s why my posts always have spaces around the em-dashes (which I wantonly abuse), even though it pains my former-copy-editor heart.

    I feel your pain, heh. My biggest client recently decided that all their publications are now to be in APA style. ARRGHHH!!! I’m a typography geek by trade and it’s driven me close to tears on more than one occasion.

  54. I’m 5’5″ and somewhere in the ballpark of 315lbs (no scale).
    I truly wear a 28 or 30. I will never squeeze myself into clothes again.

    I’ve always been honest about my weight, but rarely does someone believe me. My driver’s license says 275lbs which was accurate at the time and I actually had a fight with the DMV about it because the clerk refused to believe it was true.

  55. I really hate double sizing. Evans sizing especially annoys me as they don’t start doing it till they hit size 22. This never bothered me when I was a 22/24 but now I’m betwixt a 20 and a 22 on top, I’m stuffed. A size 20 gapes over the girls and clings to my stomach, while a 22/24 hangs off me like a sodding marquee.

  56. I just looked at my Florida driver’s license and, rock on, no weight is even listed!

    Weight on the driver’s license is supposed to aid in identification and the way people lie about it really does render it a useless tool.

    It’s really interesting to see the guesses I am getting on my entry.

  57. I’m 5’7″ and currently 347 lbs. I never lie about my weight or my age–although the DMV does insist on keeping the 300 lbs on my driver’s license that I put on there when I turned 21 (um, 13 years ago). People are always astonished when I bust out those numbers. That look of disbelief on another’s face is my favorite response to my honesty.

  58. My friend Caren actually made the same comment about age. Both she and I frequently get, “You’re 36? OMG, No WAY! I would have guessed 25!” And while I ascribe it to people being butt-kissers, she ascribes it to the tendency of women to lie about their age, so that no one really knows WHAT 36 looks like anymore.

    Yep, and as always, I think Hollywood makes it that much worse, since EVERYONE lies about their age and weight there. Despite how very thin many actresses are, I think a whole lot more of them are claiming to be 5’7″ and 115-120 lbs. than actually are. Which, of course, makes girls and women think that’s a normal weight for that height* — which might not even be the actress’s real height, let alone weight.

    I have a friend who gave up trying to make it as an actress around age 27 or 28, for a lot of reasons, but one of them was that every script she got was either for 15-year-old characters or college-aged characters. And when she was 27/28, casting directors thought she looked JUST too old to play 15 (which she’d been doing until a couple years previously) and TOO YOUNG to play college-aged.

    She’s young-looking, granted. At 31, she could easily pass for 25. But she sure doesn’t look younger than college-aged, and she didn’t then.

    Same friend also, for a time, had a minor celebrity for a stepmother. Said stepmother was considerably younger than friend’s dad, but when another friend (age 39 at the time) said, “OMG, I just discovered on the internet that your stepmom is younger than me!” the original friend said, “Bullshit. I was the one who had to talk her off a ledge when she turned 40.” She added that, when reading an actress’s age in print, one can pretty much ALWAYS safely add 5 years.

    I don’t even want to think about how many pounds one could safely add.

    *ETA: I’m not suggesting it’s not a perfectly natural weight/height combo for some people. Just saying, people with bodies that thin are rare, so it’s absurd for most women, even relatively thin ones, to think that’s an achievable weight for them.

  59. I’m 5’7″ and 196 pounds at last check. I wear a misses 14 or 16/L or XL depending on the garment.

    This is a great post. I have all those same issues with the way “200 pounds” or “300 pounds” is portrayed in the media, and the inability of most people to accurately judge others’ weights (contrasted with their absolute certainty that they know right away who is overweight or obese just by looking). I always try to be completely accurate (to the best of my knowledge) when asked my weight, like when I give blood or whatever (regardless of whether I weigh what I weigh now, or a little less, or a lot more, all of which have been the case at various times). It really is just a number.

    On a somewhat less significant subject, can I bitch for a second about people who think they can divine a celebrity’s size by any means, but especially by looking at a photo, and ESPECIALLY especially by looking at a single paparazzi photo where there is nobody else in the frame?? Those horrible blog posts with photos of Kelly Clarkson have like HUNDREDS of responses from posters “diagnosing” her as overweight, obese, a size this, a size that. People. YOU DON’T KNOW ANY OF THAT. Even in the course of more “reasonable” discussions you get people trying to make accurate judgments of America Ferrara or Kate Winslet’s size at a given point in time. I think we just have to accept that it is really impossible to know unless you sneak up behind her and look at the tags of her clothes. Moreover, it really doesn’t matter.

    To me, it is all kind of part of people thinking they completely understand others’ bodies and know what’s best for them. Or, in the case of celebrities, people get to thinking that they know what’s “normal” by calibrating only against celebrity bodies, so they figure that the Designated Curvy Celebrity of the Day must be a 10 or larger because she’s “plus sized” in comparison with Mary-Kate Olsen or Jennifer Aniston. It’s the same phenomenon that some people mentioned in the other post, that we only see Courtney Thorne-Smith-sized TV “moms,” so that starts to look “normal” and anyone who is larger than that gets pegged with the curvy or plus-size tag even though they wear a size 6 or something, and before you know it people’s assumptions and expectations about what size people “should” be and how much they “should” weigh are completely divorced from reality. I don’t care what size anyone wears, but the distortion is just incredible. It drives me nuts.

  60. I’m 5’4″ and I weigh 204 pounds as of yesterday (I’m still trying to break my scale habit).

    This is the first time I’ve ever admitted my weight to anyone outside of any eating disorder community. And I just checked out the window, the sky has not fallen :)

  61. I’m reminded of Kirstie Alley now, and some of the press that she got while she was losing weight. I remember seeing pictures of her and seeing next to it a headline proclaiming her weight to be about 200 pounds, and thinking, “No way.” Because I know a lot of people who are around 200 pounds, myself included, and Alley looked larger than any 200-pound person of any body type that I’d met. Plus she’s really tall, so even if she was smaller than she looked in print, that extra height would add some pounds as well.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass what she actually weighed, I just wish she and the press had been honest about it, because all those sensationalistic tabloid stories about how huge she was at “200 pounds” were insulting both to people the size she was and the size she claimed to be, and helped normalize this perception that 200 pounds is some kind of mythical boundary and no one ever really weighs any more than that.

  62. I’m just waiting for Lane Bryant to do real size tops now. Ones that are by cup size and belly shape or something. I’m, relatively speaking, not that well endowed. I wear a D cup, but with huge shoulders, huge hips and a belly that sticks out, my boobs are the smallest part of my body. So while I’m wearing a 22 or 24 on the bottom, the 14/16 tops are too big in the chest. But if I buy anything other than a knit, like a button down top, I’d need a 22/24 to fit my shoulders, and wherever it meets my hips, and then I’d have to have the arms and chest altered so much it would be ridiculous. I haven’t worn anything but knit tops in at least 12 years.

  63. I’m sure I still have more fat than muscle. Which might explain why sophiabrooks upthread, for instance, wears only a slightly bigger size than I do at 220 and the same height, and wore the same size as me when she was 20 lbs. heavier than I am now. On a 5′2″ person, 20 lbs. is a really noticeable difference — but between two different 5′2″ people, it might not be.

    I look very similar in body to pictures I have seem of you, although you are more hourglassey . I, personally, have always weighed a lot for my size, or have been perceived to. One of the first indications to me that weight was very strange is when my doctor was asking me to lose weight when I was a size 4 or a 6 petite. I weighed 140-145 at that size, and I guess that is considered enormous for us shorties! I think the perception is that someone of that size, who is as short as I am would weight less than that, but it is hard to tell because so many people lie about their weight.

  64. Sophiabrooks, when I was a 4/6 petite, I weighed 113-130ish, depending on the brand and whether it was 4 or 6. So yep, you are apparently just prone to weighing more than I do, even if we look alike. Fascinating.

    I’d also like to point out that that means you were clinically overweight at size 4/6. (I wasn’t until I got to be an 8.) *headdesk* yet again. (Also, I just realized I wrote a post a while back where I said I was “overweight” at size 6, but now that I’m thinking of it, I guess I was wrong. But you prove the same point!)

    And like Laurie said way back when, she is clinically “overweight” right now. This is what “overweight” looks like.

    (Oh, and I fixed your tags and deleted your other comment, sophiabrooks.)

  65. When I recently renewed my driver’s licence, the woman at the DMV asked me if I wanted to change the weight listed…which by then was about 30% higher. I was dumbfounded that she even asked – what’s the point of having a figure written down that’s so wrong?

  66. This is such an awesome thread. It took me until recently trying out yoga with my husband to realize just how complex the difference between bodies is (we always thought I was more flexible, period. Turns out we’re just flexible in different ways).

    I’m 5’4″ and weighed 197 a month or two ago (I usually weigh myself at the gym, and haven’t gone in awhile. If I decide I want to start running again, I’m going to make it a personal goal *not* to stop at the scale every week). I wear a 16/18 on the bottom, and a 14/16 on top. Buying shirts is always a pain, because Lane Bryant is almost always too big, and most tops in other stores are too small.

    It’s so weird. Talking about my weight gives me this powerful desire to go to the gym and weigh myself, to see if not dieting is “working” for my body (i.e., making me weigh less!). Dammit…

  67. I’m 5’9″ and I weigh 180 (ish) lbs. That was the reading I got at the doctor’s office last year and I don’t think I’ve changed much since then, but I don’t own a scale and don’t ever plan to. I have never once met someone who thinks I weigh what I actually weigh.

    Clothing is an eternal mine field for me, because while I have no ass and no hips at all, I have a muscular build, with really thick calves and thighs and large breasts. That means that from the same clothing manufacturer, I can wear a size 8 skirt and a size 12 pant. My shoulders, ribcage, wrists, fingers, etc. are far bigger than what designers seem to think is acceptable, so jackets and tops are often in the 14/16 range. Plus sizes are often too big around the middle, but non-plus can often be too small just about everywhere. Wrap dresses are basically the only ones that will fit without making me look like a sausage or a tent.

    Until I found figleaves, I didn’t think I’d ever find a bra that fit. I got fitted recently and went from incorrectly wearing a 38DD to an actually supportive and comfortable 36FF. My mom gasped when I told her that measurement a few weeks ago which really irritated me. Hi mom, you know I have big breasts. You’ve known this since I was 13. Why is me finding a bra that fits so horrifying?

    My wrists are bigger than my husband’s wrists, and my shoulders are as wide as his. I’ve actually worn his tuxedo jacket to a formal event when I wasn’t in the mood for dress bullshit and it looked amazing. I’m okay with that and so is he, otherwise he wouldn’t be my husband.

    Weight, height, size – they’re all variable depending on any number of ways in which that particular human body is composed. My ideal “healthy” weight is supposed to be around 145, which I couldn’t even acheive in high school when I was running every day, dancing, and playing basketball. The standards by which we are supposed to live are no longer unrealistic, they’re flat out unhealthy for many people.

  68. I’m thrilled to see so many other people who have decided to ditch the scales. I got rid of mine. My mother was absolutely aghast that I had no scale and insisted on buying me one, ostensibly to weigh my father when they visit. (Granted, Dad is chronically ill and deals frequently with congestive heart failure, so, they do have to watch for weight fluctuations.) Thing is, my father visits my house at most 2X a year and always drives, so he really could bring his own scale. When my Mom left, she put the scale right in the middle of my kitchen.

    Hint much?

    The scale is now living happily in a box in the closet. I’ll take it out if/when my father visits again.

    Oh, and I’m 5’3″ and weigh between 250 and 260. I normally wear around a 24.

  69. Awesome post. And really nice to see everybody throwing out their stats. Talk about a broad (puns totally intended) cross-section of sizes and body types! Yay! Oh, and I’m 5’9″ and somewhere around 325 (again with the lack of weighing). I’m a pear-ish 26/28.

    Someone in this thread (I’ve now forgotten who – sorry!) mentioned that “standard” sizing is a fairly recent development that’s contributed to obsession with weight and size. I totally agree; I was recently looking up some hand-sewing techniques, and stumbled onto a sewing primer from the late 1800s that talked about making your own patterns – and included hints for tailoring for “stouter figures” without any judgment. It just laid out instructions and suggestions for how to fit the clothes to the body – what a completely novel idea!!

  70. I just happened to weight myself the other night because I was weighing a mirror we wanted to put on the wall. ;-)

    Without the mirror, I was approximately 265 pounds. I’m 5’9”, and constantly get, “But you don’t look that big!”

    (I’ll confess to lying on my driver’s license a few months ago, but I won’t do it again. Promise.)

  71. Tari, I’m a new knitter and just bought this pattern book called _Big Girl Knits_. They say to just get a measuring tape, take ALL of your measurements, and just get over the numbers because they are just numbers. What’s mind-boggling is finally figuring out how much control we give some numbers over how we are going to feel.

    They’re just numbers. They measure. No more, no less.

    And how exciting to think that I could actually end up with a sweater that fits and flatters!

  72. 230 lbs., 5’6″

    I have never lied about my weight. What I do get, however, is the statement along the lines of “You can’t” or “No, you don’t” or “You don’t look over 200 lbs”

    Once I was 180 and a size 12/14, before health issues acted up- and even then NO ONE BELIEVED ME!

    Why lie about my weight? No one believes me when I tell the truth….

  73. Laura, Kate, fillyjonk with a mysterious real name that I still don’t think I understand, You make my life so bright and shiny.

    I love love love this discussion- How fanfriggintastic to take note of our differences and not cry some rivers.

    The photographic height/weight chart is AMAZING!!! And 5’2″ 200lbs is Kelly Bliss!!
    She’s fabulous and rips MeMe Roth a new one every time she turns around:)

  74. Celeste, I’m excited about buying Big Girl Knits. I’ve heard good things about that book!

    I’m 5’4″, around 200 pounds (? I threw out the scale a few months ago, thank goodness). I can wear anywhere from a L to XL to 1X, or a 16, 18 or 20 (depending on the store) and I love my new Lane Bryant jeans which are Blue 2 Petite.

    This is very liberating–and it’s also fascinating to see how people with different heights/weights wear similar sizes. It’s amazing how much sizing can vary from place to place and even garment to garment! Just another reason to remember “it’s just a number.”

    Oh, and I’m 29. 30 in about 5 months!

  75. Commenting again, now that I have read- I am a Red 2 as well, but an 18/20 on top. Lane Bryant’s 18/20 are too loose in the torso, and too tight in my arms and shoulders- which just tells me that I am built like a line backer- but I have no boobs.

  76. I brought up the personal ads, but just want to clarify–I would never contact any of those jerks that put limits for weight (plus I have a lovely femnist boyfriend), but I have a lot of friends that check out craigslist just for the fun of it–some ads are great, but a lot of them are horrifying, which is why I don’t read them myself.

    Also, on bra sizing, I was told I was a 30A “but we don’t have that, so you can get a 32A, it’ll still fit”–what is that!? Also, I’ll say I’m petite, but my size is not *rare*, I see women of similar bustitude (or smaller) and frame size often, so why don’t they have my size (maybe for women on the smaller end, they tend to buy too big? and on the larger end, buy too small)? And when they size you in the store, is it usually correct? This was Vickie’s Secret (which I dislike, I just went for the measurement), they whipped out a tape measure and did it real quick. When I did it before that (4 years and about 20 pounds greater, so I can’t directly compare), they did it carefully in the fitting room with just a bra on. So I’m not sure what to think… (meanwhile, I can clearly get away with shelf bras in tank tops). Do a post on bra sizes!

  77. Joy, actually, you know my real name and you know my real butt size, because you bought some skirts from me on fatshionista. :) (And I have no doubt they look utterly smashing on you.)

  78. Bobette, most women across the board wear a band that’s too big and a cup that’s too small. And if you’re actually a 30A a 32AA will fit you better than a 32A, but you’re best off shopping around until you can find one in your size! I’ve heard good and bad things about VS measurements…. I went to a local place for a fitting, and she didn’t actually measure me at all, just brought me bra after bra until we found some that fit me.

    And since I didn’t put my size when I posted above, I’m a 14 or 14W in pants, usually a L in tops (at 5’1 and 170ish). I’m very petite when it comes to bone structure, and I find plus sized clothes really fit me poorly…. all the ones I’ve tried on seem to be made for someone with a much bigger frame than me. It’s really frustrating… makes me hope I don’t gain more weight so I can keep wearing regular 14s.

  79. FJ: I only said that because people don’t believe she weighs what she does at her height, and some people have argued that she isn’t heavy enough to fight for fat/size acceptance. Sorry for the confusion: I’ve fought for her a couple times with some people that shouldn’t be making such determinations.

    She’s fat and foxy! Like Kate. ^_^

  80. Wow, I go to campus for the day and 90 comments spring up! I am so delighted that people are getting so much out of this discussion.

    Kate, I have been astonished at the clothing size vs build thing, too — it also plays out in how much slight weight change affects clothing size. Somehow, on my frame, 10 pounds up or down ends up necessitating different clothing sizes, but I’ve talked to many women who say they didn’t have to change sizes till their weight changed by two or three times as much. It’s all so fascinating!

  81. I’m 5’3″ or 5’4″, and the last time I was weighed I was 170lbs, although I suspect I’m a bit lighter now from how my clothes fit. Can’t check at the moment, because I moved and the scale is still packed. Bra size is usually a 34H, but I think I’d do better in a 34I if that wasn’t even harder to find than an H.

    I sort of wish Lane Bryant would fit me, because they have cute stuff. But the smallest things are a little to big. Likewise, the clothes at “normal” stores are generally a little to small. Luckily, I do work where I can pretty much always wear jeans and a t-shirt.

  82. I am 5’6″ and 260 pounds. I haven’t been able to convince the ball and chain to throw away his precious bathroom scale and I feel incredibly guilty to look at my number but…but…can’t help. O well. Back when I went to doctor’s offices (haven’t found an appropriate substitute for my old doc), I weighed 235 but they would set the weight at 150 first, so there ya go about build and carriage. My license says 185 but I chose that because the purpose of having weight on a license is to identify the person and if I had put my true weight they would have constantly questioned me. But I can see how a true weight should move the conceptualization of “really large numbers” away from the Headless Fatteh.

  83. I totally lie about my weight on insurance forms because I have been rejected before *when I was about 228*. I’m now probably around 300 and I was just in an accident so I’ve been to a billion doctors in the past two weeks. Each time it feels great to just be like, “300, yup.” I worry thought that telling the truth might cause problems in the future regarding insurance eligibility.

  84. I’m not quite 5’2″. At my heaviest, I weighed 239 lbs. That weight, btw, is the weight that Homer Simpson was when he had his first heart attack. We all know Homer is seen as a big fatso pig, and I weighed what Homer Simpson weighed. It was depressing. I felt horrible.

    Now, I weigh between 217-222. I am actually trying to lose weight, because I need hip replacement surgery, and I can’t find a decent orthopedist who will perform the surgery until I lose weight. I know this is an issue Kate Harding and I have discussed over at Shakesville, so I won’t go into it any further, but let me just say that at my current weight, I rarely feel ashamed or embarrassed. I have no problem wearing a bathing suit on the beach, trying on clothes, and I think I look great most days when I leave the house.

    Size wise, I wear a 20-22.

  85. but let me just say that at my current weight, I rarely feel ashamed or embarrassed.

    To expand on this, it always comes as kind of a horrifying shock when people don’t see me, but just see my fat. A couple of years ago, a bunch of adult males were making fun of me as I walked across a parking lot. I was gobsmacked, and I was really pissed that they made me feel ashamed.

  86. I’m 5’1″, 220ish lbs (it fluctuates either way depending on hormones). The fat part? Whatever. But my height? What I wouldn’t give to be just a bit taller–not for aesthetic reasons, but because I can’t reach anything.

    My husband’s 6’1″, so he has to do my reaching for me. He also hits his head a lot, so I guess it’s not all wonderful being tall. Oh, and he’s about 170lbs. I guess he was fairly sticklike at one point, but he’s got quite a bit of muscle nowadays. I can still kick his butt, though ;)

  87. My husband’s 6′1″, so he has to do my reaching for me.

    Heh, Rio, Al’s a foot taller than me, too, and one of the first fights we had after we moved in together was because he kept putting things away on the top shelves in the kitchen cupboards.

    You don’t USE those! They’re decorative!

  88. Bobette wrote:
    “And when they size you in the store, is it usually correct? This was Vickie’s Secret (which I dislike, I just went for the measurement), they whipped out a tape measure and did it real quick. When I did it before that (4 years and about 20 pounds greater, so I can’t directly compare), they did it carefully in the fitting room with just a bra on.”

    I wouldn’t put too much stock in Vickie’s measurements, not only because they seem to measure pretty haphazardly, but because in my experience, their sizes don’t really run true. I’m a 40DD now and there’s not a damn bra in that store that fits me, but when I was a 38D, there were theoretically all sorts of bras in that store in my size, but they all seemed to be Cs despite the tag.

    I can still wear their undies, though I rarely feel like shelling out that much for a pair of panties. Yay for sales and gift cards, though!

  89. Yeah, Vickie’s is notorious for sizing their bras to make women think they’re a cup size bigger than they are.

    A while back — when I was near my thinnest, actually — I went in there looking for bras. In normal bras, I was a 34DD. So I tried on some of those, and of course they were too small. As I walked out of the dressing room, the saleswoman asked me how I “did,” and I said, “They were all too small.”

    Saleswoman: THE DDs WERE TOO SMALL?!?

    Like I must have been lying or crazy. Delightful.

    (I’m currently a 36G/H, btw. Smallest cup size I ever had as an adult was somewhere between D and DD, and that’s when I was barely eating.)

  90. Here’s a confession for ya: a few years ago, I told my boyfriend that my doctor advised me to lose a bit of weight because of a knee problem.

    I had gone to the doctor about a knee problem – it hurt when I was running on concrete, unsurprisingly enough – but she hadn’t mentioned my weight at all. I knew underneath that the only reason I was dieting was because I would look ‘better’ in the eyes of a lot of people I didn’t care about – but I’d convinced myself it was for health reasons and I wanted him to believe it too. How fucked up is that?

    This is extra weird because normally I’m utterly, utterly honest with my boyfriend – I can’t even think of another fib I’ve ever told him.

    160lb, 5’5″.

  91. Maurinsky–I just saw that episode and had the exact same response. Really? Enormous Homer who considers donuts and beer food groups weighs less than ME? I’m not so worried about the heart attack, though. Thanks to genetics and a fair amount of activity I actually have low blood pressure and cholesterol. But I’m I’m 5’2″ and 228. Which is less than I’ve weighed in awhile. Though no one but me, my doctor, and her assistant know my weight.

    This is such an interesting topic in part because it really speaks to just how different bodies are (and how difficult it is to capture that on charts). I am still a size 22/24–same as I was around 275. I have the shoulders of a linebacker and as I get a bit older my abdominal fat will stay just where it is, thank you.

    I obsessively check my weight but I have not looked at myself in a mirror in three years. For some reason that’s the hard bit for me. Ah, sweet vanity.

  92. You know, I’ve had issues with Vickie’s saleswomen nearly every time I’ve gone in there. They never believe me when I tell them that, no I don’t need help with their bras because not one in the store will fit me, and look at me as if I’m lying. Even when I thought I was a DD, the Frederick’s bras fit far better (after removing the giant pads – who wants padding at that size?)

  93. 5’2″ 230 lbs, I have never told anyone that, not even my mother. I wear a size 20-22 which I hide from all my friends and therefore shopping with people is very akward and stressful so I usually go alone. I am just realizing on a whole new level the ridiculousness of living like this. It doesn’t change anything, I will not implode or anything if I tell people how much I weigh, or just try to stop hiding. I need to get over the whole feeling of somehow being very wrong, bad, and immoral for being fat. It is just a number, just a descriptive and although it is a part of who I am, it does not define who I am.
    It felt good to say it.

  94. Lexxy, I only wish we could go shopping together! We’d have a ball :)

    It’s great that you are begining to realize that you are an incredible person and that your jeans size says NOTHING about who you really are. Flaunt your awesomenes sweetie :)

  95. Lexxy, bravo! Awesome!

    Now back to relative frivolity…
    Even when I thought I was a DD, the Frederick’s bras fit far better (after removing the giant pads – who wants padding at that size?)

    Had to laugh. I have a couple of Le Mystere Dream Tishas (Oprah’s favorite bra, don’t you know!), which have (non-removable) molded/padded cups. Molded/padded G cups. Yeah. I don’t mind that, because it does seem to help support-wise, and it gives my boobs a nice shape — though it does make them look ridiculously big, instead of just oddly big.

    Anyway, last night, Al and I were on our way to meet friends for dinner, and while standing on the el platform, I realized that one of my boobs had caved in. Bra was recently out of the dryer, and one part of one cup hadn’t popped back out to all its usual rounded glory. So I had to stand there on the platform, doubtless in front of 5 security cameras, squeezing my own tit until the bra righted itself.

    I thought everyone should know.

  96. OK, I hope I don’t come like those “but what about the mens?!” posters on feminist blogs. I’m posting because while I haven’t experienced anything near what many of you have experienced in terms of fat hatred, I’ve still been uncomfortable revealing my weight…

    120 (I’m 5’4″). It may sound silly, but I never thought of myself as thin, and have often lied about my weight. Once, a very thin “mean girl” asked and I told her the truth. She said, “If a model weighs that much she gets fired. And they’re 5’11”.” After that, I said 110. When I did online dating I said 110, because 120 sounded “average,” and I figured no guy would want me unless I was “slender.” At the height of my insecurity, I said 100 and was turned away from giving blood…until I whispered the real number to the nurse. I can’t even imagine how uncomfortable some of you guys have been made to feel about your “numbers.”

    Anyway, I hope I don’t sound like an asshole. It’s just that this blog is awesome and I thought this idea was cool for everyone!

    And Kate H. – you have not lived until the va-va-voom pad in your bra falls out on the street. On a date. (I suppose you don’t need va-va-voom pads, judging by your pic, but I personally am rockin’ the 34As and would otherwise need a training bra.)

  97. OK, I hope I don’t come like those “but what about the mens?!” posters on feminist blogs.

    AnotherKate, quite the opposite! Part of the point of this post and, shit, the whole blog is that body-shaming hurts EVERYBODY, particularly all women. I think it is tragic and totally relevant that our ideas about weight are so drastically fucked that even someone on the low end of normal feels the need to lie. 110 at your height is practically considered underweight, but that’s the weight you had to cite in order to not be judged? That is pure, ripe BULLSHIT.

  98. FJ, thanks. I couldn’t agree more — all women do get dinged with some measure of bullshit about weight loss, dieting, etc. (unless they’re naturally very thin and get faux-concerned anorexia comments from people who don’t know them from Eve).

    I’ve only noticed it on a very minor scale, of course. Frankly I think I’d be a fuckin’ vigilante by now if I’d had some of the crap thrown at me that I’ve read about on this blog. You guys rock for a million reasons, not the least of which is that as far as I know none of you have killed any haters yet. :-)

  99. 5 ft 5 in

    165 lb last I checked

    When I was in high school I thought if I ever hit 140 I’d have to take some drastic action.
    Hahah!…. youth…..

  100. I am currently 254lbs at 5’4″. I was 310+ last year. And I’m almost 37 and I wear a 44DDD. But I do want to point out that every style of bra fits differently and I have tried some styles on in every combination of band/cup size and determined that they just weren’t cut for my body.

  101. I am 128kg/282lb and 5’6″. I wear an Australian size 24 top and size 22-24 bottom.

    It is ironic that I thought I was soooo fat when I was 72kg/158lb…

    Even when I was 134lb, when I was 15 and had dieted (read starved) myself stupid, I still wore a size 14 jeans. I could wear a size 10 top and a size 12 skirts but had to have size 14 jeans.

  102. I am 5’10” and 210.5 (just weighed myself fully clothed). Size 14 pants are generally too big for me, but size 12 pants are generally uncomfortably snug or dig into my flesh around the hips. Annoying.

    Just for comparison, I was a size 8/10 at 165 lbs. I got down to 165 through near-starvation and a full-time retail job where I literally was on my feet for seven hours a day after already walking about a mile or two to catch the bus. Someone at work brought in a pedometer and calculated that she walked five miles a day just inside the store. I walked around a lot more than she did. (I tell this story to illustrate the amazing amount of exercise and deprivation needed for me to get down to 165–still considered “big” to many people!)

    I am truly big-boned. I don’t mean that as a euphemism for fat. I have shoulders like a linebacker and pronounced, large hips even when I am noticeably thin. Anyone who says “big-boned” is a lie can kiss my formerly-bony-genetically-fat ass! :) And I am learning to like my body as it is, which is 210.5 lbs. and curvy and fat.

  103. I remember when our admin was ordering tuxes for all the men in our office for a formal event, and EVERYONE said they were 6’0″ and 180 pounds. She had to estimate for them so their suits would fit. I think men can be worse than us women sometimes.

    5’2″ 138

  104. 5’8″, 130-ish (haven’t weighed myself in at least 6 months).

    A few months ago, a friend was over at my house talking to her boyfriend, kind of teasingly describing me – “Yeah, she’s tall, wears like a size 2…”

    I wear a size 9. Granted, I wear my clothes a bit loose and could probably cram myself into a size 7 if I had to, but for chrissake, I’m 5’8″! I’m skinny, yeah, but I’ve got broad shoulders and wide hips; even if I was literally skin-and-bones I wouldn’t be able to fit into a size 2.

    It’s just bizarre, the way people really have *no idea* what weight looks like on a woman. And even other women do it.

  105. Hi! I know I’m late to the posting but I just discovered the acceptance universe yesterday – at a point in my life when I really needed it – and I think writing this down, even if no one ever sees it, is important.

    I am 5′ 6″ and was very close to 300 lbs. as of my last doctor’s visit in August. Everything I wear is 3x; 22/24 is tight and 26/28 is getting that way.

    Thanks to all you guys. I’ve never “talked numbers” with anyone – even my fiance doesn’t know. That’s probably because he doesn’t care.

  106. Thanks, Kate – I think I’m hooked for life! I actually got choked up after I hit the submit button last night and realized what I had done and what it signified to me. I figured if I was ever going to let my weight stop ruling my life, I had to “out” myself.

    I was talking some more with my fiance last night about the acceptance blogosphere and some of the concepts behind it – particularly your post on how we demonize food and it’s become “bad” to actually eat and how liberating it was for you to realize you were using someone else’s decisions to give you “permission to be naughty,” as those concepts both apply to me – and him.

    And then I told him about my post and then I told him I couldn’t post the information in a spot where, theoretically, the whole entire world could see it and not tell him too, so I did. And guess what – he STILL doesn’t care ; ) hasn’t stopped loving me, didn’t wake up this morning and ask for the ring back or say “Gee, I’d really like to marry you, but not like you look right now” as a previous beau had done back when I weighed about 185 or so and wore a size 18!

    This man seriously rocks and clearly is cosmic payback for the douchehounds I have put up with in the past. (Thanks for adding that word to my vocabulary, by the way!) I’ve felt guilty about keeping it from him – long ago we had talked about and supposedly shared all our deepest, darkest secrets, but I’ve always I known I was holding out on him in a big way by not telling him my weight and trusting him with the information.

    Thanks for hearing out my confessions, and for helping me to start the process of ceasing to feel guilty about being who I am.

  107. It can actually be good for the relationship — my boyfriend and I have loads of fun talking about how we can’t possibly be doing what we’re doing (riding our bikes to the farmer’s market, for example) because we’re totally fat. And now that another friend is reading the blog, it’s leaking out into our social circle — Tuesday night we spent some time discussing the nerve of HIV patients, going around surviving long enough to get all fat. Not only is it entertaining, but joking around about it makes all the taboos go kablooie. Incredibly liberating.

  108. I don’t own scales, so I don’t know! Last time I was weighed by a doctor I was 13 stone – that’s 182 in real money! – but that was a few years back. Although I know I’m about a dress size larger than I was (British 18, from 16 then), I have no idea how many extra pounds that actually entails on me. Probably not the same as it would entail on anyone else – the same height and weight can look completely different on two people.

    Bobette, what bugs me is when I’m expected to squeeze my boobs into a 38DD when they don’t make a 40D in that style. It works sometimes, but most of the time it doesn’t.. And 38 is so, so often the cutoff point for a bra range. Grr.

  109. Another article linked to this one, and just wanted to add that it made me smile.

    I recently told someone I’ve known over 15 years that I weight “about 400”. She blinked and said, “Where do you PUT it?”

    Height: 5’9″
    Weight: ~400 lbs
    Measurements: 58-57-67
    Clothing size varies depending on manufacturer. In Making It Big relaxed knit pants, I’m HR; most sweaters are 30-32.

  110. This is my first time posting and I felt like this would be a good place to start being honest with myself.

    ~sigh~ ok… Hi my name is ________ __________ (I filled this in in my mind) and I am 5’6′ and I weigh 290 pounds. And I am okay just the way I am.

    290 290
    290 290 290
    290 290 290 290 290
    290 290 290 290 290 290
    290 290 290 290 290 290 290
    (it does make me feel better :0))

  111. Late to the game (I heart reading archives in my spare time…I don’t want to miss a word!), but I wanted to do this.

    5′ 1.5″ and 177. Neat!

  112. Found this via a link – it was wonderful to read all the comments, and find I’m not the only one finding that people don’t have any idea about how the numbers correspond to normality.

    I’m 5’2. A few years ago, in high school, I weighed 170. I’ve never lied about my weight – but nobody seemed to believe the truth!

    Now I’m 130 – still very pear-shaped, so I still feel ‘fat’ – but I’m shocked to go shopping with friends and have them give me size 8/10 to try on, as I’m a solid 14 (UK sizing)

    For a long time I thought that at my height, 100lbs was ‘normal.’ It was very liberating to realize how unrealistic that idea was. (Yes, I’m aware there are people out there of that size who are healthy – I’m not going to be one of them)

  113. I’m 5’11” and weigh around 300. I have lied on my drivers license my whole life. I lied HARD – the one that expires this year says 180 (to be fair, I think I probably weighed 240 when I got it, so it was less of a lie. But still.).

    So this year, inspired by this blog, I went to renew my license, took a deep breath and wrote “300”.

    The new one came in the mail today (seriously, have I had the same haircut for the past 10 years?) and IT STILL SAYS 180.

    I tried to tell the truth, but they wouldn’t let me.

  114. Ha, that’s similar to the reason why mine says 180! They actually just didn’t ask me — when I went to switch to a local license, they assumed my weight was the same as it was the last time I had a license in this state, when I was 18. I would have told them the truth, but nobody even asked for my height or weight. I was actually thinking about doing a post on this, because my boyfriend just renewed his and it reminded me.

  115. Okay, now I feel like a freak. I mean, I also feel better reading everyone else saying these things we’re supposed to lie about, but comparing the hard numbers I realize I’m odd. :) I don’t actually know how much I weigh but I know it’s over 300. I’m 5’3″ (5’4″ when my back is tense, which oddly makes me slouch less and therefore be taller).

    I’m sitting here in size 22 Lane Bryant jeans that are loose enough that I have long undies under them, though I also have some 24s (that are annoyingly baggy). I wear 14/16 in LB t-shirts, 18/20 in woven shirts, 18/20 or 22/24 in jackets. Oh, and I have some grubby workpants from LB that are non-stretch and because they’re cut very straight through the hips are size 26, but have a drawstring so they don’t fall off because of being huge in the waist.

    I can wear anything from 0X to 2X in most Junonia stuff. A lot of their stuff actually doesn’t fit me well, though I like the materials and the quality; I just had to send back a lovely pair of wool trousers because they were sausage casing in the butt and acres too large around the waist in 2X.

    But I feel like I am one of those exceptionally-heavy-for-my-size folks. I have huge bones–shoulders, hips, ankles, wrists, fingers, wiiiide feet–and a lot of muscle for my size, but a smallish waist. I actually like that, I like my shape and I like that I am stronger than almost everyone (and I ride horses, so when my enormous ex-racehorse decides to get cute with me I’m glad I have plenty of strength!). I just feel like an outlier, which I guess we all are, since any possible version of “normal” is by definition a composite.

    And count me among those who *hate* the double sizing. I have wide shoulders, a huge ribcage, and thick, solid upper arms but no boobs (42B), so it’s impossible to find something I can get my arms into where the armholes aren’t so big they chafe or bind when I raise my arms. I want the underarm seam in my freaking underarm, DAMMIT! I don’t want to have to go up basically half a size just because otherwise I have to go down a size and a half and be bustin’ out. Nor do I want to go up a size and a half because going down a half size means wrinkles at the back of my waist.

    I think we should all go back to making our own clothes.

    No, wait…

  116. Oh, and all y’all who can’t find things big enough in the boobs? Guess how much it sucks when a garment fits everywhere else, but has a very shaped bust that hangs on my flat chest like deflated balloons? It’s just sad-looking. Especially in stretch materials.

    Trust me, those of you with big’uns aren’t just being ignored by the designers.

  117. Criss, I’ve been wondering about the same thing (weird sizing), but on the opposite end. As I said a couple of comments up, I’m 5’11” and 300 pounds – and I am SOLIDLY a 24 (at Lane Bryant), sometimes a 26.

    It’s just fascinating how bodies can be so different!

    Oh, and re: riding. I haven’t ridden in years, in part because I feel like I’m too heavy. I’m so glad to hear that you’re riding. I’d love to find a fat-friendly barn.

  118. thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. Before I looked at the numbers on the “what this weight looks like chart” I picked a picture of a lady and said, ok, if I can look like that, I’ll be happy. checked the corresponding height and weight and the woman weighs more than me, and she is beautiful. I will share this sight with many, many friends.

  119. May I drag this out of the archives once more?

    I’m reading Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City at the moment, and in one book, a plus size model enters. She’s described as an extremely sexually attractive character, and she has a personality, which is good. Some fat acceptance ideas are half-heartedly sprinkled throughout the book, with hardly any fat hate, which is fine for an 80s book I guess.

    How is she described? It starts on page one where her cleavage is compared to the “San Andreas Fault”. Of course, she eats something fatty in large quantities in every scene. Her “triple chins” are mentioned multiple times, they get their own small scene in the book. Her knees are like “big, round melons” and when she moves, she “sails through the room like a galleon”.

    Have a picture of that woman in your mind? Here are her exact stats given at her introduction: 5’8″ and 190 lbs. For comparison, she might look like this or, after a hearty meal, maybe like this. Or, if you compare BMI, maybe like Sharon or Ginny.

    Triple chins. Melon knees. Galleon. THIS is the reason we should stop lying about our weight. Women get hurt by this madness, thin or fat. Even I, fat accepting spheronaut that I am, will be looking for additional chins in the mirror very closely today.

  120. Thank you so much for this. I just weighed myself for the first time in over a year. Most of my disordered eating is in the past, but I still have trouble with the scale. I decided at the gym today that it was time. It’s just a number.

    I’m 5’4″ and I weigh 154 pounds today.

    I average a size 8 US, although the clothes that I wear on a regular basis range from size 4-size 11.

    Because of the *ahem* particular time of month it is, I might weigh less next week. Who knows? I do I know that I won’t be afraid to look out of curiosity now. Nothing changes in my life. I am who I am. My physical capabilities are totally the same — I’m running my 4th marathon next month, and knowing my weight won’t take this away from me. I can still lift weights, I can still dance for hours and still have energy. I still look the same as I did yesterday or last month. I know that I treat my body well as far as food and exercise is concerned — where I most need to improve most lifestyle-wise is in getting more sleep and learning to relax without guilt.

    It’s just a number, and it’s so freeing to know it and not be scared of it. Thank you.

  121. I’m 5’6ish (maybe 5’6.5″) and weigh 175 pounds. I weighed 155 in college, and I think that’s my “normal” weight. (I wasn’t really dieting to get down there, but I was more active than I am with the current desk job. Not having a car helped too.) Weight Watchers thinks that the most I should weigh is 145. I think they’re on crack.

    I go between a 12 and 14 in pants, usually leaning toward the 14s. I need to break out the tape measure and find out my “RealFit” size, because I’m way curvier on the bottom than I’m apparently “supposed to” be. I’ll have pants that are tight in the belly, butt, and or thighs but baggy at the waist.

    As far as the tops, I’ve got everything from S to XL, and have come to the conclusion that they’re just making crap up.

  122. So, I’m 5’3″ and weigh roughly 170 pounds, but that’s give or take about 4 pounds, depending on the time of day, how much I ate, whether I’ve peed, etc. I went through a phase over a year ago (definitely *before* I discovered FA!) where I was weighing myself several times a day every day on my roommate’s scale (thank god I no longer have one in the apartment). It was, however, reassuring to see how dramatically my weight does fluctuate over the course of one day. The most I once observed was a 6-pound difference from morning to night. So I can be “overweight” or “obese” depending on the time of day :P Most people guess that I am around 150 lbs. I am pretty muscular, but I still have *plenty* of fat! Though I have to admit, I’m always surprised by how girls who look similar to me tend to weigh less. In the last year, I gained about 10 pounds, but I hadn’t gained any weight in the two years before that (which is unusual; most of my adolescence was one long slow increase), so I figure I’m at a pretty decent weight for my body. I sure as hell would be a walking skeleton if I weighed under 140 like BMI tells me to! :P

    Depending on the brand I am a 10 or 12 in pants/skirts etc. If the company offers a “curvy” line of pants I can usually fit a 10, with the 12 being a little saggy. Non-curvy 12s fit okay, but generally give me horrible plumber’s crack because of how they are shaped. The odd thing is, I have pretty narrow hips – they’re only about 2″ bigger than my waist. But the curvy pants are shaped so that they allow my narrow hips to hold up the pants, whereas in normal pants they sag so that my round caboose is trying to do that job :P

    I have a pretty doomless rack (38B? 36C? not really 100% sure, I should get a better fitting), so I generally fit medium shirts well. But I have broad shoulders and very thick upper arms, so if I’m wearing long sleeves, I just get a large.

  123. Just my two cents, even though this thread is over a year old: it’s really interesting to see that women of such different heights and weights wear similar sizes – only goes to show that there is no such thing as “standard” or “normal”. I’m 5’10” and weigh 235 pounds, have a pretty doom-y rack (42E) and wear a size 18/22 on top and a 20/24 on the bottom (I like my clothes a little loose but it also really varies from one store to another).

    My goal weight used to be 165, 155 ideally – but it wasn’t until recently that I realised that I have never weighed that it my adult life. The lowest weight I’ve managed to maintain with some ease was somewhere between 175 and 185, but then came the repeated dieting, and the rebounding from a diet, et cetera. My personal “ceiling” appears to be 249 (which, surprise surprise, I didn’t “look” according to two different doctors). Never got above that, even when I was eating crap and not getting any exercise. Lately I’ve been eating better, more intuitively, and swimming, and I’ve dropped some weight, which makes me happier than it should, FA-wise, but at least I can feel pretty and like a big, strong, healthy, happy woman at this weight, something I never could’ve pictured myself feeling as long as I was above 200 pounds, and I have FA, but mostly Shapely Prose, to thank for that :)

  124. This is ancient, but I just have to say that I remember that Armistead Maupin book! Reading it was a rather formative experience at… uh… 12? 14? I remember being fascinated by the hugely fat woman and her battles with the makeup people who wanted to hide her chins. Since her fans are described in clear fat fetishist terms, I had always imagined her looking like someone who weighs 400-500 pounds. I guess I just totally missed the part where he gave that absurd weight! Poor fat fetishists: I think they’d be rather disappointed. She’s supposed to be this mountainous force of nature covered in Hollywood Cleopatra makeup. Sheesh. And here I was having some sort of pubescent Experience like the kid in Amarcord.

    I’m really tempted to post a picture to my livejournal and make people guess my weight now. That was always good for laughs in high school when I weighed 140 (oh, the looks of horror when people heard that!). Now that I’ve gained another 30 Lbs of T&A, the guesses would probably be even more hilariously off. (I’m 5’3″.) I always knew clothing was all too long for me, but it took me a very long time to understand that I can’t buy commercial pants because I have a huge ass, at least in crazy no-butt sizing terms. I was looking at some “curvy cut” lines the other day that proudly proclaimed that they had a full size difference between the ass size and the waist size… Oh, a ONE size difference. Ha ha ha. I am seriously learning how to use my god damn sewing machine. I’ve never had any particular weight issues, but I sure do hate the clothing industry, and I feel like crap just like everyone else when I go shopping and can’t find a single thing that fits. Thank god my tits stay up on their own.

  125. Hey, look, I just found a perfect illustration of how all bodies are different and why the BMI is stupid! I’m the same height as Kate (OK, half an inch taller), and we’re both blessed with abundant boobs, but at my heaviest – 185 – I was a size 12 and apparently she’s a 16 at the same weight. Why the difference? I have no idea, and neither does the medical profession as far as I can tell.

    So yeah, I was officially obese at size 12. And “overweight” at size 6 when I was super-fit and working out all the time.

  126. This is a great post! Love your blog.

    Hope I can play as a ‘too skinny’. I am 5’5″ and weigh 105 lbs, most I’ve weighed so far in my life (I have been putting effort into eating more and exercising and I put on 10 lbs in the last year). I look much ‘skinnier’ at this weight than people assume I ‘should’ (I am flat chested and most of my weight is muscle, I think that contributes). I am usually the smallest size in pants in ‘regular’ sizes. I have problems with tops and dresses fitting since I wear a 30 A/AA. Wish I could shop petites/children’s, but my limbs are too long.

    I second the commenter who said men have a really, really warped idea of what women weigh. A lot of it is due to media – women in porn, actresses, etc – their ‘statistics’ are all over the web and they are nearly 100% made-up as far as I am concerned. For many (shallow, silly) men the highest ‘acceptable’ weight of a woman is 120 lbs (no matter their height!), but they have no idea what that looks like. In fact I suspect many would criticize women of that ACTUAL weight as ‘too thin’.

  127. This is really old, but I wanted to post my weight and sizes. I am 5’6 and 222 pounds. :D i wear a size 20 in regular low rise jeans from old navy and a 22 in the plus size mid rise jeans from there. (idk why low rise fits me differently, must be the way my weight is distributed). i wear a xxl in their women’s shirts (some of them are too tight though) and “stretchy” type pants, and an xl in their guy’s shirts. i LOVE old navy guy’s shirts!! i’m about a 24 in lane bryant pants, 18/20 in (most) of the shirts, i haven’t bought anything from there in awhile, however (o dun like to pay the “fat tax” for ridiculously expensive clothes!) nothing in the women’s section of either gap or american eagle will fit me, but i like the men’s t-shirts there, and i’m an xl in those.

    even if no one ever reads this…wow, how liberating!

  128. hi all,

    have only gotten about 1/3 of the way through these but felt the need to write something. i weigh 199 lbs. i am a former rower, swimmer, etc. and gained 50 lbs in six months when i quit rowing my first year of college. i am now nearly 21 and struggling with everything i’ve got to drop some for my 21st birthday. i hardly go out because i hate the way i look. i haven’t had sex in nearly a year because i can’t even bear to look at myself, let alone have anyone else see me. doesn’t help that my best friend is a size 2 with DD’s. or that my father thinks less of me because i’m fat now. and maybe he has a point because i let myself get this way by losing my will to exercise and binge eating. who knows.

    some days i can’t get out of bed. i want to be able to feel sexy again. i want to feel happy and excited about my milestone birthday coming up — i want to WANT to take pictures that i can look back on to remember the occasion. my god i want to wear a bathing suit again without crying. i’m just lazy. i could be whatever i wanted if i could snap myself out of this depression and be healthy.

    sorry for the whining. i just needed to scream it somewhere. i just need to feel alive again. damn it.

  129. @struggling: I just wanted you to know that you’re not alone. Body image issues SUCK! Guess what? I’ve been fat my whole life. I remember being eight and visiting my grandmother and being put on a yogurt-and-cottage-cheese-diet. I lost some weight a couple years ago and was at 175 or so (I’m 5’5″), and I remember being SO HAPPY because I could fit into size 12 Gap pants! Seriously. Sometimes, I’d go try them on after work, just to make myself feel good.

    Then I moved, and quit smoking, and wasn’t coughing 24/7 anymore, and started eating more than one meal a day, and gained over 40 pounds, and I HATED myself. I felt fat everywhere. Shopping for clothes was a chore, and I’m not even middle-class in my income, so coughing up $100 for a dress is laughable. My solution? To hide in my apartment and only emerge for work. Naturally, I spent a lot of time being crabby and miserable.

    Here’s the thing: I have one pair of comfortable shoes, and I live in Berkeley now, so there are hills and walking trails everywhere. Walking is free. I’ve been reading about exercise- how a little is better than none, how it helps you feel better, how it quiets your emotional mind- it’s true. Every day I walk somewhere different. I try to walk a couple of miles, but if I don’t? Who cares? It’s no one’s business.

    Oh- and also? Not that you should befriend someone just because that person is fat, but having at least one friend who is larger has helped me, if only because I have someone to bitch to about the lack of affordable plus-sized clothes on the market!

    I don’t know if this will help you, or if you will read it, but I hope you’re well nonetheless, and that you start to appreciate your body as it is NOW, and for what it can do.

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