Fat, Fillyjonk, Self-Image

Weight and identity

In between battling evil for my day job (don’t expect to see me around much through November — bet you thought I’d come back when the wedding was over, huh?), I’m currently filling out forms to alert people to my name change. The decision to change my name was initially simple — “his is easier to spell” — but became more complex as I really thought about how much of my identity is bound up in my name. I’ve never felt particularly attached to either of my names, first or last, and I’ve gone through a number of nicknames, often seizing or at least intending to seize on the opportunity to reinvent myself. But it’s hard to avoid the fact that a name change is a change of identity, whether you really identify with the old identity or not. And when you’re filling out the form to change your name on your identification card, it’s even harder to get around that.

Which is why I’m also taking this opportunity to change my weight on my ID. Currently my driver’s license says 185, which is thirty pounds off, because when I went in to get my license they used my vital stats from the first time I’d gotten a license in this state. At which point a) I was in my teens and b) I was lying. I can’t imagine a situation in which anyone uses your weight on your license to identify you, and it’s quite possible I look more like people’s idea of 185 than their idea of 215. But this is my identification card. And I identify as a person who weighs 215 pounds, because that is what I weigh.

It’s important to me that my sense of my “real body” matches up with the body I’ve got, and putting my real weight on my license feels like a manifestation of that. Part of it is the importance of owning your weight and thus countering people’s misconceptions of what 200 pounds or 300 pounds looks like. But part of it is related more to the Fantasy of Being Thin. As long as the person on my driver’s license weighs 185, is there part of me clinging to that slightly more idealized identity? Maybe that’s silly, but I want to nix that possibility. I’m not waiting to make my driver’s license a reality, the way I used to do when I lied about my weight. I don’t think of myself as a size 12 who happens to be wearing a 16/18. At this point, I truly identify with my size — I identify as a fat girl, as a 16W dress, as 215 pounds (more or less). Those things are me, along with of course a number of other things that have nothing to do with weight. Putting that on my state-issued ID is just a way of codifying that.

I remember writing something when I was a little kid, maybe fourth grade, about how if my name had only been Ashley I’d be thin and good at gymnastics. The teacher’s gentle comment: “I don’t think that has much to do with your name.” But it had to do with my identity, who I was; if I could only change what I was called, I’d be free of the limitations of size and clumsiness that brought me so much shame. Now here I am changing my name, for good, and while parts of my identity will change — for instance, someone meeting me at a party will not be able to go home and Google up the articles I write for work under what is now my maiden name — I find that the things I once wanted to magically get rid of are a strong part of who I am.

What does your driver’s license say you weigh? Is it the same as what you weigh? Do you identify with your weight, or are you waiting to move into your real body?

175 thoughts on “Weight and identity”

  1. wow..never thought about that. I was so excited when I lost enough weight to be close to my 200 pounds that has always been on my license. Why is that ideal so hard to let go of? For me it has always been, “everything will be fine if I can get back to 200”..I never have. So I think putting all of my two hundred and thirty four pounds on my license is a good idea. A difficult idea, but a good one. Why does no one understand there is so much more to weight than calories in and calories out…

  2. Ooo that’s a good question. I think my weight on my ID is probably WAY off.

    I love your story about the “Ashley” name thing. I always wanted to be named Michelle because it was such a pretty name and then I would be blonde and svelt and popular. :)

  3. I need to update the weight on my license, having only recently (thanks to a misclick on my Wii Fit) learned what my “accurate” weight is. My license says 200; I currently weigh about 270. And part of the reason I need to update is that it is apparently against the law in NV for your driver’s license weight and actual weight to be more than 50 lbs different.

    That said, though, changing my driver’s license from a California to Nevada license was a huge traumatic thing for me – even more traumatic than updating the weight will be – because my self-identification is Californian and has been up until the last year or so.

    In other words, I understand.

  4. I always wanted to be named Michelle because it was such a pretty name and then I would be blonde and svelt and popular.

    Hilariously, I was blonde and thought that if my name were Ashley I would be brunette, which I desperately wanted at the time.

  5. Just went to check my DL…

    Ha! Texas doesn’t even put weight on the state driver’s licenses. That’s, like, the most progressive thing I’ve ever encountered here :) (but I will say that I lied about my height by one inch)

  6. Ahh, 185. The magical “Yeah, I’m fat, but I don’t want people to know just how fat” number. I’ve been 185 on my driver’s license since high school… and I don’t think I’ve ever actually weighed that much in the time I’ve had my license.

    I weigh just about 300lbs right now (although 2 of those belong to a growing baby)… I’m usually 290ish. This is the highest I’ve ever been, but I’m also the happiest I’ve ever been (and I hope that’s not just pregnancy hormones talking).

    I don’t identify with my weight, but I’m trying to. I’ve finally come to the point where I’ve realized I CAN love my body for what it is–big, capable, healthy–and stop hating my body for what it isn’t. I’m allowed to love myself and accept my body. That doesn’t mean I always do, but giving myself permission to try it sometimes was a big step for me, personally.

    I think that by the next time I go to renew my license, I’ll be ready to fully own my weight and write the real number down, whatever that happens to be.

  7. My ID says 190lbs, and while I haven’t stepped on a scale in a year or so I’m probably about them same (give or take 5lbs)

    For a LONG time it said 145… which was just not true at all… I changed it in ’04 when I was getting my new license the guy asked if all my information was correct and for some reason I don’t understand I said “nope, change the weight to 190”

    I always wanted my name to be Crystal. I thought it was super glam (really? Alexis isn’t glamorous enough? what weirdo)

  8. Mine’s way off.

    I don’t feel that bad about it, though, because I *don’t* think it’s relevant. There is no reason why the state needs to know what I weigh, and I think it’s silly and offensive that they ask. Especially because, as you guys point out so often, people have no idea what a given weight looks like anyway.

    It is probably also true that having an ID with my actual weight on it would make me hate my ID any more than I already do.

  9. AM1 – it’s SUPPOSED to be relevant because it is a physical identifier. Like, if they found a body with your id on it, they could use that as an identifier to confirm it was you. I don’t say that to be morbid, just practical.

  10. I’m reminded of how Anne of Green Gables wanted to be called Cordelia because then she’d be beautiful. Of course, she also wanted to be plump…

    The other day I asked my boyfriend if he’d consider changing his name to mine. His response: “Maybe…” Which is what he usually says when he thinks I’ll get mad if he says no.

    I hated my name for different reasons – because it was really easy to make fun of. I seem to remember wanting to be called Alexandria, which is actually kind of like Cordelia now that I think about it.

  11. Eve, there are actually only a handful of states that make it easy for a dude to change his last name as part of a wedding. The hubs and I planned to both of us hyphenate but Florida won’t let you do that without a whole lotta court nonsense and so I just didn’t change my name at all.

  12. Wow – I have to say that I’m kinda glad that none of the ID I possess (UK and Australian) lists weight on it. Particularly since people have such vague and inaccurate ideas of what a particular weight actually *looks like* on a particular person, it seems like a really unhelpful piece of information when trying to identify someone.

    Tangential, but for some reason, when I was a kid I could never picture myself growing up to be an adult who looked anything remotely like the way I did then. Whenever I imagined being ‘grown-up me’, I just somehow *knew* that one day I would be tall and thin with blue eyes and straight blonde hair – which is all kinds of fucked up, considering that both then and now I remain resolutely stocky, green-eyed and curly-black-haired (and have gone from being a tall child to a short adult).

  13. About a year ago I started gaining weight after weaning my son and switching anti-depressant meds. I gained thirty pounds in three months. I’ve since gained another ten. I’m still having trouble identifying with and accepting my body. I keep thinking that only if I exercise more and eat healthier I’ll lose weight, or at least size. It’s hard to let go of that myth and adjust to my new self.

  14. filly, it’s really interesting to me to find this post here today. Yesterday I weighed myself for the first time in years, the first time since I put on a substantial amount of weight over the last 5 or so years. And I have to say THANK YOU to the whole FA movement, particularly Shapely Prose, that I was able to do so in the spirit of neutral inquiry, without a lot of emotional baggage. I had prepared myself for what the number probably was, the amount I’ve been programming into aerobics machines at the gym—my best guess; I was pretty close. It’s probably my top weight ever, but I accept that reality and, while I have self-image issues regarding my weight as it related to my self-perceived worth and attractiveness, my main goal was just to be informed and not be afraid of the number. And I’m not.

    However, my driver’s license weight is about 50 pounds less. You can blame that on the fact that I haven’t gone to the DMV to renew it in several years, because I’m a Safe Driver and just got a sticker to put on the old license.

  15. It’s funny about names and identity – my husband legally changed his name to Ferret because that is what he answered to for 10 years. Only his family calls him by his “original” name and even then, sometimes he gets confused when they call him that. “Ferret” is who he is – goofy and unique.

    Even though we’ve been married 7 years, I don’t identify as “Mrs. Lastname”. I do identify as Penguinlady Lastname, but not as a “mrs.”

  16. My weight and height are accurate now. Some years the weight is an overestimate, sometimes an underestimate. It’s funny, now that I think of it, my weight on my driver’s license actually might just be my SETPOINT.

  17. My license doesn’t have weight on it but I had to check to see. I’m neutral on the subject of weight and identity. I think that’s because I know at any given time almost exactly how much I weigh. I have to take my weight weekly for my doctor because I’m chronically ill and weight fluctuations can be dangerous. It’s annoying, but it gives me a sort of disconnected view of my weight. It’s just one more thing to keep track of for the doctor. I don’t really pay attention any more unless it drops substantially and then it’s time to go in for a visit. As long as I’m healthy nothing else matters.

    As far as names go…there were no cute nicknames for Rachel so I wanted to be anything but. I probably cycled through wanting to be all the preppy girl names of the 90s.

  18. Oh, and as for last names, I changed mine without hesitation when I got married. I thanked my lucky stars that I had been given a choice and then made it without looking back. I would give this thing up to share a name with my husband and my children. They will give other things up for me.

  19. Up until a few years ago, mine said 130… or whatever the kilogram equivalent is (b/c I’m Canadian). That was, approximately, my honest weight .. well, my honest approximation of my weight, and more or less accurate.. when I first got my license, when I was 24.

    I think what they do here at our DMVs is that they let it slide unless there’s an obvious discrepancy. And then they ask. I gained approximately 45 – 50 pounds between ages 25 and 35. A few years ago, when I went to get my license reviewed, the woman looked me up and down, looked at my old license, and said, “And what do you weigh NOW?” Lol! What does it say about me, I wonder, that I laughed… and that I told that story to half a dozen people, to make them laugh? I’d like to think it was a self-accepting sort of laughter, but really it’s probably something else entirely.

    Anyway… I just looked at my license, and it says 75 kg, whatever that means. That’s about 160, right? So that must be what I told them, and I guess it was believable enough. Really, I was off by quite a bit even then… I think I actually vary between 175 – 185 … but at the time, I was heavily (no pun intended) into not weighing myself. I didn’t weigh myself for about 10 years.

    I didn’t pick ‘160’ out of hat, though. I knew I had gained weight, and I thought that was what I ‘must’ weigh because it was my maximum acceptable. It was the highest number I could contemplate for myself without my head exploding.

    I wonder what I would say now? I wonder if I will ever buy a scale, so that I actually know? I think, sadly, that I would still let the 160 remain, if I was allowed to get away with it. And I would probably be flattered that they allowed me to get away with it.

    Oh, and once.. well, I was applying for a payday loan, and the first time you do that, apparently, the person behind the counter fills in a little physical description of you, not asking questions, but just based on ttheir observations. And I came across mine at one point, and they had overestimated my height (5’5 instead of 5’4) and underestimated my weight (160), and, you know what? I WAS flattered. I was thinking along the lines of “well I must not look that bad, then”.


    Although, come to think of it, they might have been copying off my driver’s license. Maybe I really am 5’5, and I just haven’t been able to decipher the centimeters to find out.

    No, seriously. I love reflecting about these things, but when I go to write, I always feel like I’m talking on and on about myself in an absurdly self-reflective way. That’s why I’ve been lurking here all summer, and have only posted once before. But I always so enjoy reading other people’s reflections, and I just felt like adding my own this time.

    I feel like I’m at a very very elementary level re: all this self-acceptance stuff. But I am learning, and it is, to a great, great degree thanks to this blog, and the great pictures and posts on fatshionista. For one thing, I actually know how to find clothes that fit me now. That is WONDERFUL. Oh, sooo good. My size 16 jeans are so comfy, I never want to take them off, and I actually feel ‘thin’ in them… or, what I used to think was a the feeling of ‘thin’, which actually, I think, is the feeling of my clothes not pinching me.

    I didn’t know that before. And I had been squeezing into 12 and 14s, and worrying when they just didn’t fit right anymore, because I thought I was coming to the end of the sizes.

    To the END of the SIZES. Lol. That is what I thought. How could I have thought that?? I mean, I knew about plus sizes, sort of, but they existed in a hazy ‘other’ place above my invisible glass ceiling of acceptability.

    I’m sorry… I know those might be annoying things to read for people who have had their eyes open all along. I think it’s just me. I have a long history of startlingly skewed perceptions about size and clothing. Until I was 19, I thought jeans – any jeans – weren’t made in sizes that would fit me.

    That’s when I was about 125 pounds.

    Enough said…I will shut up now, and listen and learn.

  20. Mara, I agree with you on the jeans. I just bought a pair of 16s (I said, “screw it!! My pants should fit!”) last weekend, and I feel I look better in them. I know I feel better in them than in some of my other pants.

  21. I grew up in a state that didn’t list weight on licenses. And when I moved to a state that did, I put off getting a new license for almost 3 years, so it’s only been very recently that I had to tell the DMV my weight. I told them 160 (I think — or 165), and at the time, I think it was pretty accurate. However, it was also right around the same time that I discovered FA and quit Weight Watchers for good… so, in the short time period since then, I have gained about 30lbs. I spent some time in “diet rebel” mode. Have no idea what my setpoint is, but I will be really surprised if I get back down to 160 again (and to think, that used to be the absolute *most* I was willing to weigh!). I actually do wish that my license was accurate because I don’t want to be “lying” about my weight — but that’s not worth a trip to the DMV.

  22. Hehe, I also live in Texas where they were kind enough not to put our weights on the old DL, but my height is listed as the height lie I’ve been telling for about 15 years. I don’t even know if it is really a lie anymore, that is how often and consistently I tell it. :P

    I would like to say though, my mental image of myself (facewise) is literally nothing like I really look like. It isn’t better or worse, and I like both the way I look and the way I think I look, but they are really very different and pretty much always have been.

  23. Lu, I know! Our pants SHOULD fit.. screw it! And I think I definitely look better nicely contained in size 16 than half bulging out of a 14. Seriously, it was so, somehow, liberating for me to ‘discover’ size 16. For one thing, they fit, and some are even a bit on the roomy side. And for another thing… okay, this sounds stupid, but, when I take a size 16 off the rack, I take comfort in knowing I’m at the ‘beginning’ of a set of sizes, in most case. I really didn’t like being a 14 and feeling like I was at the ‘end’… like I was about to get squeezed out of the privelege of wearing clothing, or something. I love size 16!

  24. I’m within 10 lbs of the weight listed on my driver’s license, which is well within experimental error considering we renew only every 7 years. (I think it’s 7. It’s more than 5. Anyway.) When I’m up for renewal again I’ll reevaluate the weight number, and not worry about it until then.

    I don’t identify with what’s on my DL at all because it displays the World’s Worst Picture of me. This isn’t low self-esteem talking – I’ve had friends say “wow, is that REALLY you?!?”. When I first received it I wondered if they’d sent me someone else’s license by mistake. So I look at it as a card that allows me to do things I need to do, and don’t have any identity wrapped up in it. (Changing the picture would be at my own expense, and there’s no guarantee that the mug shot would come out any better.)

    My name, on the other hand, is a core part of who I am. Like many others here, I was sure that if only I changed my name to something prettier *I* would also be prettier, thinner, have that beautiful long blonde straight hair I was supposed to have, etc. But once I turned 18 and realized that there was really nothing stopping me from changing my name to anything I wanted, I didn’t want to change it – my name, in a way, was me. Is me. I kept my name when I got married because I identify very strongly with it. I still do.

  25. It never occurred to me to change my name. I mean, I respect everyone else’s decisions to be called whatever the heck they want, but this is MY NAME.

    And the “I want everyone in our family to have the same last name” impulse seems perfectly reasonable, but not when people automatically default to “…and therefore it must be the guy’s last name.”

    The biggest country in the world runs just fine, and has for hundreds of years, with married couples having different family names. If China can manage it, and the Spanish-speaking world can manage it, I bet the rest of us can, too.

    Which is not to say that anyone’s decision to change their last name upon marriage is a bad one. It’s just that it shouldn’t be an AUTOMATIC one, or that people shouldn’t feel browbeaten into it, or that it would be “too difficult” to keep their own name.

  26. I had to check my license too…it’s still about 25 lbs low, even though I adjusted it up when I got it renewed last winter. (It used to say 130…heh. Not since I was 19 and recovering from an eating disorder!) This made me realize just now that I’m still suffering from the Fantasy of Working Out Frequently and Thus Getting to the Lower End of My Range. Yeah, not happening; what’s the opposite of a gym rat? Especially for 3-4 hours a day. ;)
    Must work on that.

    On the other hand, I totally identify with the picture on my license; the camera was dreadfully out of focus that day and produced a wonderful soft-focus Glamourshots effect that I highly recommend. :P

  27. When I got my new Virginia license earlier this summer, I simply didn’t fill out the box that said “weight.” The eagle-eyed DMV clerk was not amused. I actually didn’t do this on purpose, though. Really. I just missed the box somehow.

    Anyway, I put the correct weight, or as near to it as I could guess. But it hasn’t always been that way. I’ve yo-yoed my entire adult life, and I’ve had a child as well. Even when I am utterly honest on my license the day I apply for it, it’s unlikely that I’ll be that weight for long.

    It’s so silly, anyway. Most people think I weigh 170 or so, when in fact it’s just over 200. I don’t “look like a 200 pounder,” whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean. So being utterly honest doesn’t seem to do the cops a whole lot of good with identifying information, either.

    One DMV clerk back in Rhode Island called me on my weight. I got my first license there at 16, then went in at 21 for a new, “she is allowed to drink” version. I’d gained something like 50 pounds in those five years, and I was still very, very, very sensitive about it. So imagine my mortification when I handed the old license to the clerk and she said, “obviously *that’s* not right. What do you REALLY weigh?” I wasn’t even trying to lie – like I said, I’d just yo-yoed up since I was 16.

    If the same thing happened today, I could laugh. Thank God for that.

  28. I don’t think FL drivers’ licenses list weight. I’m sure it would have spurred memorable neurosis in me by now if they did. *goes and checks* Nope. Just height.

    Oh, and slightly hysterical (of the edgy, not-hilarious sort) laughter over here… my name is Ashley. I am not thin and never have been. My greatest gymnastic accomplishment is the somersault — cartwheels are Right Out. Alas.

  29. Oh, and slightly hysterical (of the edgy, not-hilarious sort) laughter over here… my name is Ashley. I am not thin and never have been. My greatest gymnastic accomplishment is the somersault — cartwheels are Right Out. Alas.

    Are you saying some things I believed when I was 8 are not the case???

  30. I currently have a TN license, and they don’t list weight, but I’d undoubtedly have lied on it. Thanks to this website, though, I think if I had to include it, I would put the real number, just because…I mean, who cares?

    With the name thing…I have always hated being a Sarah, because a thousand other girls are named Sarah, so when I was dreaming up daughter’s names in my teens they were always really hippy, unique names (plus, I grew up in Vermont). I always used to create pen names for myself, when I was planning to be a writer (still want to be), and they were always really unique.

    I also have an extremely unique last name. I can honestly say that there is not another person alive in this country who has my exact full name. However, because my last name is also very hard for people to spell, I always jokingly said that I would have marry a Smith or a Miller or whatever. So, what’s my soon-to-be-fiance’s last name? Jones!

  31. I looked into changing my name when I got married. People assured me it would be simple. “Oh, just show the DMV and Social Security Administration your marriage license and it’s not a problem – they can move your car and ID to your new name”.

    “What about banks?” I asked. “Oh, just show them the new ID”. I call my banks. They want my new ID and marriage certificate. OK.

    Then I got a sinking feeling and called the brokerage firm where I’d rolled over a sizeable 401(k) into an IRA, and kept my emergency savings, and a few other investments. They had a special form which I’d need to get notarized and mail in.

    Then I called the county records office about the condo I owned. Turns out I’d need to sign the deed over to my “new” self and do a quit-claim as my “old” self.

    I estimated it would take a couple days to drive around to various places + notarizing fees and such. I think it’s obvious this women-change-their-name thing assumes women have no property of their own! And no – I did NOT change my name legally!

  32. My drivers liscense doesn’t list my weight, just my height (165), and I’m in Ontario. I’m pretty sure I weigh 180lb and wear a 14 pant, XL shirts.
    On identity, I didn’t change my name after I got married. My identity IS my name. I’m Jen ****. That’s who I’ve always been. That’s me and I’m not changing that just because I got married. My son, however, has his daddy’s last name to make it easier on both of them.

  33. My license doesn’t have my weight on it. Strangely, when I was a teen and first got my license, I rounded up a few pounds, because I was afraid that I would be lying if I rounded down, and someone would catch me at it and I would get in trouble. I probably weigh 100lbs more than that now, though it’s hard to say…. I haven’t weighed myself since January.

    I showed “A Fat Rant” (the first one) to a class I was in, and then owned up to my real weight and size. I was the only grad student in a room [that seemed] full of tiny skinny undergraduates, and it was so much harder to do than I thought it would be.

    Possibly related question: I probably weigh 240-ish on a 5’0″ frame. I know that I wear a size 24, give or take. How can so many people be similar in height/weight, and wear such radically different clothing sizes? I mean, I’m sure that it’s true. I’m sure that it has something to do with my Rack o’ Doom and the clothing industry. It just…. confuses me when people I identify as being “close to my size” in height and weight are like, yeah, I wear a size 18.

  34. Karen, body composition is so all over the map. It seems that it couldn’t be anything so simple but it really is – muscle to fat ratios and where it is all distributed can totally make two people who weigh exactly the same and are the same height two radically different sizes.

    Through in nonstandard sizing across (and even within) brands, and you’ve got an absolute circus!

    Fillyjonk used to think we were body twins, just based on pictures. But, funny, I have about a 100 pounds on her. Even funnier – I once bought an awesome long-sleeved black tshirt from her. It was too baggy on her and it is kind of form-fitting on me. But it totally “fits” both of us.

  35. oh, and names… for some reason, I have never been able to imagine changing my name… even when I was little, and, at that time, it was the norm for women to change their names when they got married. I thought I would get married, but I just know I would never change my name. And I haven’t. I even find it difficult to use a screen name that’s not my own.

    But, I always assumed that I would grow up tall and blonde. LIke Barbie. That’s what “grown up” looked like in my mind. I have dark brown, almost black hair. And I’m 5″4 (possibly 5″5). It took me a long time to really internalize that fact that that’s what “grown up” was going to look like for me.

  36. Well I went and looked and I’m WAY off. Best guess, I don’t think I ever updated it, because it still lists my high school “skinny” weight. Which is about 100 lbs too low. Yeah…that was 12 years, the end of compulsive over-exercise and dieting, a miscarriage, a baby, breastfeeding and Depo-Provera ago. Like there’d be a chance in hell of it being accurate!

    Meh, I have to get a new one sometime in the next couple years, I’ll fix it then (if I remember!). I am most certainly NOT going to the DMV for something non-critical. That is a special level of hell reserved for child molesters and people who talk at the theater. (I *know* someone will get that….)

  37. “I looked into changing my name when I got married. People assured me it would be simple. ”

    Oh man living400lbs, someone sure sold you a line! Unfortunately I was told the same thing….and changing your name (I’ve done it for the second time now) is NOT EASY! You have to change the SSN, License, Banks, Credit Cards, Passport, Utility bills, Registrations, GAH! Oh and I’m almost 2 years into my new name now and STILL need to change it on a utility or two…and my passport! *sigh*

    Karen ~ I think that the clothing sizes vary so much because not only are sizes inconsistent across brands but also because people usually have to shop for their largest part and hope that whatever item it is manages to look alright….you know? I had a friend in HS who was very slender but had large hips, and had to wear size 14 jeans to fit the hips…though the waist and legs were always too large and baggy for the rest of her size 8-ish body!

  38. I read an article in a fitness magazine written by a woman about the so-called “lightbulb moment” where she decided to lose weight (for health!!!1). She wrote that before, she had always viewed her weight as “an unreal number, like the national debt.” I think of my weight in the same way, as something that has very little to do with me. At least on my good days.

    On the name thing–as a kid, I always wanted to change my name. In fact, when I started high school I did change it–I started going by my middle name rather than my first (still do). I was convinced that if I changed my name, my identity would change completely. I think it was partly because I was very into celebrity biographies at the time, and people like Marilyn Monroe were always changing their names.

  39. I’m in Massachusetts, and I don’t drive so I have a State ID. It doesn’t list weight or eye color, just height and sex.

    I was at the doctor’s yesterday so I happen to know my weight RIGHT NOW. I got on the sale, saw the number, and thought we were done — but the technician kept futzing and futzing, and made me redo it and redo it. I was wondering whether she didn’t believe my weight for some reason — thought it sounded right to me — until she showed me something I hadn’t noticed, which was that that the sale was inexplicably showing negative numbers.

    I weigh minus 210 lb, my friends. The metaphysical implications are staggering.

  40. Oh and on the name thing….I didn’t bother changing mine, we got legal 7 years after we got spiritually married, and by then I just couldn’t see any value in it, our daughter was 6, had MIL’s maiden name hyphenated with her dad’s name (same as my stepdaughter), so we’ll not all have the same name any way. The school was already used to dealing with our jumble of names, etc. I just couldn’t be bothered, my husband didn’t give a flying fuck either way, so I didn’t. MIL is still pouting about it because “it’s just not right”. Yeah, she’s not so liberated *sigh*

  41. I had to check because I remember when I first got my CA id, I used the “fat but not that fat” number. But apparently I owned up to myself when I got my actual license because it currently reads 250. Which is close, but I’ve gained since that fateful day in line at the DMV.

    I always find it funny when I tell people how much I weigh, because the reaction has always been “No you can’t be, you don’t LOOK that heavy.” As if anyone in the 250-300 range must be all rolly-polly. I’m 6’1″ and currently sitting around 280. But I don’t look that fat. Or something.

  42. Possibly related question: I probably weigh 240-ish on a 5′0″ frame. I know that I wear a size 24, give or take. How can so many people be similar in height/weight, and wear such radically different clothing sizes? I mean, I’m sure that it’s true. I’m sure that it has something to do with my Rack o’ Doom and the clothing industry. It just…. confuses me when people I identify as being “close to my size” in height and weight are like, yeah, I wear a size 18.

    Karen, I often marvel at this myself! I think it mostly has to do with the shape of your body and how much muscle you have, how big your frame is/dense your bones are.

    Like I weigh about 220 pounds and I usually wear anywhere from a 16-20 (Old Navy is my 20 spot). Often times though I see comments from people weighing significantly less than I do who wear about my same size and it always gives me pause. Though it probably gives me pause because there was a time when I wondered why I didn’t weigh less if I was wearing the same size clothes as people who did.

  43. I had to go get my driver’s license to check – and confirmed that it doesn’t list weight (or height, or eye colour, or any of that stuff.)

    Which is good, because I was eight months pregnant when I got my license, and it would have been a leetle inaccurate.

  44. @Scarlett:

    Tangential, but for some reason, when I was a kid I could never picture myself growing up to be an adult who looked anything remotely like the way I did then. Whenever I imagined being ‘grown-up me’, I just somehow *knew* that one day I would be tall and thin with blue eyes and straight blonde hair


    a short, chubby, blue-eyed, bowl-cut ash-blonde haired 7-year-old me used to dream of the things I’d do when I was an adult. adult in my mind meant tall, extremely leggy woman with curvy hips, emerald eyes and a long a luxurious mane of auburn hair.

    Apparently i was going to grow up to be Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”! ha!

  45. PA doesn’t list weight on driver’s licenses. WI does, so I have my weight on it as 160. I range between 160 and 170, so eh, close enough. Even before Depo, I ranged between 120 and 135, so I usually have a pretty broad range.

    I don’t like having weight on there. It’s variable.

    When the PA DMV measured me for my height (yes, really!), they came up with 5’6″, so that is what’s on there. It’s probably more like 5’5″ if a doctor does it, but I don’t mind sticking with the official number. (they only measure you the first time, and they probably take your word for it as a new resident… but if you’re a teen, you get measured)

  46. Once I put down my real weight, 210 at the time, on a new, Connecticut license form, and the woman working at the DMV counter winked at me and said I didn’t look that heavy and “adjusted” it to 185. I didn’t say anything and wasn’t particularly offended at the time, but it was an offensive thing to do.

  47. Jae — mine is almost the other way around. Like, if she‘s 5’0″-ish and 240-ish and gets to wear an 18, how come I can’t? Wouldn’t I be happier wearing an 18?

    No, my dear, weird brain. I would not. I am happiest wearing pants that fit and not caring about the number printing in tiny letters in side them. Bit of the Fantasy of Being Thin still living inside me :-P

  48. Heck, New Zealand driver’s license doesn’t have anything like height, weight or eye colour listed on it – it just has your photo, date of issue, date of expiry, date of birth, name, license number, whether you’re a donor or not, and the class of vehicle that the license is for. Though if I was asked what my weight was for my driver’s license, I wouldn’t have a clue! It’s been that long since I’ve stood on a scale (after all, why would I need to? It’s not like I’m trying to lose weight or anything :-D)

  49. My driver’s license lists my weight at 250. I think that was from 1994 or so, and I’m pretty sure I understated it then, but not by much– I weighed maybe 275. Though I get the impression from some people that I didn’t look like I weighed that much, and from that and other comments I started to wonder if a) I do not in fact look like I weigh as much as I do, or– more likely– b) people really have no clue what 250 or 275 or 300 looks like on different people.

    I’d probably list 300 now. A bit of an understatement, but it’s close enough.

    There was an incident about ten years ago that also got me thinking about this. I was walking home from work and passed some women going the other way. The middle one was somewhat taller than me, maybe about 5’6, and looked kind of rounded and maybe a size 16 or 18. She was saying something like “OMG, I’m up to 160 pounds already!” And I thought, holy shit, I’m 5’3 and I was *lean* at 160. This is when I really started to see that 160 or 250 or 300 can look completely different from person to person.

  50. Are you saying some things I believed when I was 8 are not the case???

    I still believed in The Tooth Fairy, Santa, et al when I was 8. Until that fateful day when I saw my cashed-in primary tooth on the counter by the phone. Boy, was I pissed!

    On the other hand, I also believed that I would be SO HAPPY if Mom would let me quit ballet and take piano lessons, and that actually turned out to be the case. ;-)

  51. I had to check mine. It said 200, which may have been an overestimate two years ago, but is currently an underestimate. I have tended to fluctuate around 200 for the last severl years. I guess it’s my setpoint.

  52. I just looked at my BC drivers license and it says I’m 86kg. I don’t even know what that is! I may identify distance and volume in metric, but I’ve always thought of weight in pounds and ounces.

    (..aaaand I just converted it online and the number is such a lie, I can’t even look myself in the eye.)

  53. I actually put slightly more than what i weigh, to give myself some breathing room. :-}
    Changing your name is an odd process. I got married last year but have found that it is kind of fun to be 2 people, my previous name and my new name.

  54. Sometimes Shapely Prose is my salvation. When I was 15 (and in the throes of anorexia– still overweight), I promised myself that I would kill myself if I reached 200 lbs. I’m now 220 lbs and am in an intensive outpatient treatment for bulimia. I feel very alone there often because the other women are “normal” weight or underweight and I’m fat. I guess I feel like I have to struggle in this additional way– I have to work on stopping my eating disorder behaviors and learn new coping skills, as well as work to find some acceptance with my body (which we all work on there); but I also have to work on the fact that society will never accept my body. I feel deep in that struggle right now, realizing how little respect I have for my body and my anger at it for being a higher weight than I want it to be. But reading blogs like SP and everyone’s comments helps. It helps a lot.

    So thanks ya’all.

    (The only other person who knows my weight is my nutritionist! It actually feels good to put the number out there).

  55. This reminds me of my mother, actually.

    She always tells the story of how, when she was 16 her weight said “116” on her license, and she always held that number up to be a “good weight”. So when, at 18, she was 120-something, she got upset. Now at 56, and somewhere between 150-70, she tells me this story. It really has affected how I view numbers as well. I look at my weight constantly and hold myself to my mother’s ideal of “116”

    However, what does it matter what she weighed at 16? I’m older than 16, and it makes sense that I *weigh* more than she or I did at 16. It makes sense that my mother has gained weight with age too: she has had 2 children, etc. I just wish she’d focus less on the numbers (and that goes for myself too).

    I wonder if she has ever lied about her weight on her license….

  56. How funny this topic is! I actually looked at my license to see and it says 170 – so, at the time I got it I lied by 8 pounds. I was pretty sure I’d told the truth (just got the license renewed recently) when they asked but I lied! Not by as much as I used to – I’ve always told them 140 or 145 or 148 (all of which are many years in the past when I was fairly slim), but I still lied. Jeez! Now I’ve probably gained another 5 pounds so it’s farther off – not that it matters that much.

    I went to a different doctor a couple weeks ago and they weighed me and I was 173 on their scale. I’m all, woo-hoo! I’ve lost 5 lbs without trying… A few days later it dawned on me that my clothes still fit the same. So, obviously the two scales at the doctor’s offices are different…duh! It really shows how much faith we put in a number on a scale. I can tell if I gain or lose by my clothes so if I had lost I’d have noticed but it still took a couple of days for it to filter through that I hadn’t lost weight.

    I’m getting better and you guys are helping immensely but obviously we ain’t there yet. Damn it!

  57. MI licenses don’t list weight now, but the old version did. I went up to the Secretary of State’s office on my 16th birthday and verbally answered the clerk’s questions. When I gave my real weight (180), she said “Oh honey, you don’t weigh that much. How about 150?” I kind of blushed and said OK. Then I spent the next two years willing myself down to that number. By the time I got married, Michigan had totally changed the licensing system, so I got a new license without having to say what my new weight was.

    MD licenses list weight, and in the same situation with a clerk at the DMV, I answered 230 without hesitation. At the time it was five pounds over; now it’s ten pounds under what I actually weigh, but that’s within my normal yearly fluctuation. I had typed that I wasn’t worried about it, but really I am; I like my body now and I don’t want to gain any more! :(

    Oh, and as a child I wanted to be named Sally. I tried to change, but my mom wouldn’t call me that. My birth name didn’t have a Y in it and I really wanted one! Which is one of the reasons why I love my married name: the English word for a small red fruit that grows on trees. My name comes with ACCESSORIES! I cannot even tell you guys how much I love this. However, I can say how much I hate it when my husband spells it on the phone and says “Just like the fruit!” EVERY. TIME. Wasn’t funny then, isn’t funny now. GRR.

  58. I just moved to another state, and had the opportunity to get a new license and put my real weight on. I think the one i had before that was pretty close to where i ended up, but was initially a lie when i filled it out? And the one i had recently before that (before i got married) was like a 30lb off lie.

    That story about wanting to be named Ashley is hilarious though–I remember in 2nd grade I tried going by Michelle (my middle name) in gym class since i desperately wanted to have a ‘normal’ name like all the ‘pretty girls’. It backfired because I could never remember that I switched so my teacher gave up after always having to remind me!

    And M.Marie–stay strong. I’m finding that the more I try to accept myself and FA the more abusive to my body I get and it’s really shameful and frustrating. Shapely Prose is such a great place to not feel alone in the fight! Thankfully I start a job with real benefits in a few weeks, so i can finally afford to get back into therapy. Best of luck:)

  59. My license says 5’7 150. Being that I’m an FA n00b, my weight has generally fluctuated from 130 to 170 every year. So when I put that on the license, oh I guess it must have been 9 years ago, it was an underestimate but at any given time it’s an overestimate, too. Suck. Haha. I don’t need a new license until 2014 so I guess I’ll deal with it then. As one of my first resolutions toward sanity (not yet am I at the owning of the weight point… soon?) I pitched my scale so by clothes I know I’m in the typical range somewhere but honestly couldn’t tell anyone my weight if they asked. I refuse weighings at my annual. Neurotic much? Yes.

  60. M.Marie: Thanks for sharing all that. I hear you and empathize with so many of your struggles. You are right; you are absolutely not alone here. You are also a precious individual unlike anyone else and deserve to be treated accordingly. I wish you the very best.

  61. Name changing –

    For a long time I wanted to change my name to LastName-Megatron.

    Then that stupid movie came out, now I have to wait five years or whatever, so I can wear my Dare to Be Stupid name with some pride.

    I really don’t know what I think about changing my name if I got married, mainly b/c I really don’t know what I think about getting married. Weren’t we just talking about this? Though, it would be really cool if my partner would like to add Megatron to his name as well :D!!!!

  62. UK driving licences don’t have height, weight, eye colour or anything like that.

    Photo, names, date and place of birth, issue and expiry dates, licence number, signature, address, and classes of vehicles I’m entitled to drive. Doesn’t even say if I’m male or female (though it does have my title).

    I weigh around 35 lbs more than when the photo was taken, having dropped 62 lbs and gained it again with interest in the meantime. I’m about 245 at the moment. [Aside, gosh, I’ve only just realised that the extra I’ve gained on top of my original weight was more than half of what I lost in the first place, now that’s a weird thought. Not sure what I feel about that.]

    However even back as a teenager when I thought I was horrendously fat and in fact weighed barely more than my goal weight on the diet I was always very upfront about telling people what I weigh. I still am. Even when I’m not happy with this weight I don’t seem to feel the need to lie about it, in fact I’m almost proud of it. Very odd.

    I just had to fill in a form for life insurance (to cover the mortgage we’re just taking out) and I honestly put the last number I got on my scales on it. Why lie? Especially since a lie in this case would invalidate the insurance! I’ll be interested to see if they turn me down because of it.

  63. I’ve always wondered why they include weight on driver’s licenses. The last time I had to get an ID that included weight, I lied about it; but after discovering FA a year ago (has it really been that long?) next time I’ll put my real weight, if I know what it is.

  64. When I got my driver’s license at age 16, the weight I wrote down was reasonably accurate – I think it was about 2 pounds less than my actual weight (why I did that is a good question, but not what I’m talking about). I gained weight after that – not much, but 10-15 pounds – just filling out.

    So I’ve always been about 10-15 pounds heavier than my DL weight.

    And then I developed an eating disordered and ended up almost 20 pounds LESS than my drivers license. The sense of disconnect that created was surprising – it felt unreal. That written weight on my DL has never really meant anything to me, but being well over it is somehow part of who I am. Being well under that weight was disturbing, like I wasn’t fully myself.

    So I can relate.

  65. I always wanted to be called Jessica. I thought it was an absolutely perfect name and I had a whole fantasy around who ‘Jessica’ was.

    I have to renew my license within a month and I was just thinking about the weight on it the other day. In BC licenses are good for 5 years, and I know I lied when I got this last one. This time, I plan to tell the truth. It’s just a number, after all.

    Mara, I love my size 16 pants too. :)

  66. Wow, this is exceptionally timely for me. I just got back from going to the DMV, having moved from a “no weight” state to one that makes me list it. Having made a new years resolution not to step on a scale (except at the doctor, and then without seeing what it says), I don’t know my weight and did not like to feel the need to know it. I very much wanted to leave it blank.

    I ended up putting my best guess, but as we were leaving the DMV, I started to have second thoughts. I mean, if anyone saw it, wouldn’t they already think I was knocking a few pounds off. So maybe I should, lest they think I actually weigh too much. Plus, no one was checking and I could totally get away with it. Fortunately, I was able to remember that it doesn’t matter and that’s why I don’t weigh myself anymore. I do wish I could keep the license with the state that doesn’t require it, though.

    As for the last name, I think everyone should make his or her own decision, but I can’t even imagine changing mine. I have one of those last names that is more often a stage name than someone’s real name and I love it. It’s an identity thing, but it’s also a merit thing. My name is better. Therefore if he wants our names to match, he can have mine.

  67. I can’t believe I didn’t address the name issue, as it’s one of my own issues. I don’t really like my name, no matter how awesome other people say it is. When I was growing up the only other person who had the name was one of the neighborhood moms, a none-too-glamorous woman. Everyone else was Jennifer or Elizabeth or something like that. That’s not the only reason I feel my name doesn’t fit, though. I have never “owned” either my first or my last name; it’s just been something that I agree to as a legal descriptor for the entity that is me. I go along with that fiction. As a kid, I had a cute nickname based on my name, but that fell by the wayside. Now—decades later, as an adult—I find myself being known by various names in the various groups in which I travel, coincidentally and not through my own doing, though I encourage it. And online I use a number of diminutives based on the name of my late pet. Paradoxically as I now realize, I always thought it would be funny to name a pet after oneself. Huh!

  68. If my name were better there’s no way I’d change. For instance I’ve had friends named “Miracle,” “Medley,” and “Valentine.” You don’t give up last names like that.

    Unfortunately my last name, while well-represented in several worthwhile fields, is kind of phlegmy.

  69. fj: I don’t know…are you saying that the only real reason you want to change your name is that you don’t like it very much? Because I would imagine there’s actually a lot more than that going on. Just a guess, but…

  70. For years I did the thing where my state ID had the lowest weight I had been as an adult — I was like, “well, I once weighed this, so it’s not really a lie!” I never felt good about that and resolved a couple of years ago to correct it. Then I had medical trouble and the Great Shrinkening, and now it’s accurate again. There are too many layers of irony in there to dig out, I think.

    My most recent weird “stranger assesses me” situation was the guy carding me for beer telling me I looked 18. Uh, no. I guess he found me fresh-faced? Apparently my world-weariness is not showing this week.

  71. I got my license at 24, and I put my real weight at the time (250). I think I’m hanging around 285-290 these days, tho. I’d put my real weight on it if I had the chance (I think I renew next year, but I’m in CA…they’ll just send me a new one, amiright? I haven’t been in the DMV since I got the thing).

    As for my name, when I was a kid, I just wanted a simple name that people wouldn’t mispronounce (everyone in the whole world tries to call me mah-LEE-nah when my name is pronounced mah-LAY-nah). I went by Amy between grades 3-5, till I finally realized that having a unique name was kind of awesome. You see, when someone says my name, I KNOW they’re talking about me.

    Now, I just tell people “it’s like Helena but with an M” and they get it right away.

    I r smrt

  72. My Victorian (Australia) Licence has even less info than does the UK: just name, address, d.o.b., photo, signature, class of vehicle on it, number, expiry date and any restrictions (like automatic car on, wear spectacles). None of this title height weight eye colour sex thing.

  73. Delurking here…

    Is there anyone besides me who honestly has No Idea what they weigh? I suppose I could guess and be within 20-30 lbs., but really, I don’t have a clue, don’t own a scale, and haven’t been weighed at the doctor’s since 2004. (I would if they wanted me to, but it hasn’t been done.)

    I know that since early spring, I’ve gone from a 22 to a 16 misses (because I had to buy a whole new wardrobe), and no, I didn’t diet, I didn’t exercise more, I didn’t “change my lifestyle”, I didn’t try, and I didn’t even really notice until the pants started falling off my hips when I walked, which shows you how non-give-a-damn I am about my size. So now I *really* don’t have any idea, whereas last winter I could extrapolate based on my last weigh-in.

    Please tell me someone, anyone else out there is the same as me, and really doesn’t know.

  74. Mine says 160. I think I was about 175 at the time (three years ago). I also had spent basically my entire life from the age of 14 dieting. Stopped dieting, slowly made my way to 190, and then stopped. That’s where I am now.

    In other news, I told a new CA friend my actual weight today when we were discussing bodies and didn’t feel totally gross saying it and only freaked out a little about what she would think about me. So that was exciting.

  75. Yeah, my Georgia license said 190 even when I was up near 300…now I live in a state that doesn’t put weight on your ID card (thank you, New York), just height (which is fudged a wee bit, but only because they don’t put on fractions of inches). I don’t like having weight on there for a lot of reasons. Uno, weight changes a lot in many people, we go up and down. Even if I wasn’t lying when I was 18 and changed my ID to Georgia, by the time I left I had put on a hell of a lot of weight. Second, weight is relative, so if the idea is that you can describe someone as a 5’6″ 190-lb redhead with brown eyes and corrective lenses, not everyone will conjure up the same picture. To me, at my current 230-something weight, 190 seems small. Someone else might hear 190 and picture something more like what I was when I was in to 290s. And in actuality the appearance of two people at the same height and weight may differ that much. And C, I don’t like anything that forces people to think that much about the number on the scale. There were times when I’d get carded and purposely hold my thumb over the weight on my ID. I wouldn’t let people see it (and not just because of the lousy picture). I picked 190 because there is such a stigma attached to anything 200 and up. Which is why I have absolutely no qualms about announcing to the world that I wear a size 16, but I don’t mention my actual weight anywhere but the doctor’s office and size acceptance sites.

    As far as the Great Name Debate…if I ever get married I plan to keep my name (would consider hyphens if the mythical husband does too). First of all, I like it and I like the background it represents. Plus, I am a writer and have work published under my current name, so changing would be too complicated. And there’s the whole feminism thing that would probably nag at me if I changed it no matter what my reasons. When I hear that others change their names I try not to judge, and I like to hear that you have actual reasons and have put thought into it as opposed to simply “it’s tradition” (being carried over the threshold is tradition too and it’s basically a celebration of marital rape if you get right down to it, so arguing tradition doesn’t convince me of anything).

  76. My license doesn’t have a weight, but the form you fill out to get it asks for the number

    I said to heck with what others thinks, and I listed 300 pounds with NO shame.

  77. New York doesn’t do weight on licenses, according to the DMV person I asked because A) nobody can really gauge weight, as we all know, and B) everyone lies about it anyway. Of course, A and B feed off of each other. In other breaking news, the sky is blue. :)

    But I understand the whole issue, and I have to ashamedly admit I was terribly relieved when I moved here and found out I didn’t have to list a weight at all.

    As for last names, I gave up one of the most common in the English language for a weird one that’s hard to spell and everyone gets it wrong, so I’ve been on both ends. I never really felt like my last name was a special thing for my family because it seemed like half the world had it, so it wasn’t so hard to give up. I had to laugh at a story from a friend of mine, though – her sister’s work had a handwriting analyst come in, and though that whole thing is pretty much crap, he was right on in one respect. He immediately asked the friend’s sister if she was having problems in her marriage, which she was, and he said that particularly when a woman who has taken her husband’s name is having problems with him, the way she signs her last name gets distinctly different than the way she writes her first name. The last name gets sharp and scribbly and messy, as if she’s taking out all her frustration on that damned name. I have to admit, that makes sense, and I, um, then looked at my own recent signatures, and, well, yeah.

  78. Melena, I think I’ve been pronouncing Helena wrong all these years. That’s kind of embarassing. :-)


    Hey, I think all the Helenas and Melenas are better off then my ex boss. Her name was Helene (hell-EEN) and everyone tried to call her Helen (HELL-ehn)

    I am super conscious of pronouncing names right…cause…yeah, you know. ; )

  79. I don’t mind getting weighed anymore or telling my weight to people who need to know it. Took me a long time to get to this place. Unfortunately I didn’t have a scale the last time I went to the DMV and so guessed my weight at 260. Can you believe I was probably more like 330? Not that 330 is bad, just that my guess was off by 70 whole pounds. Because I fluctuate so much I’m now about 290, smack dab in the middle of what I really weighed back then and what my license says.

  80. I was first licensed at 18 in VT, which does include your weight in addition to height (5’6″) and eye color (BRO). I lied and said I was 135 when I was really more like 145.

    In MA, it only lists height, so I never had a chance to lie yet again when I transferred it back in 2000. If I had to fill it out today, I don’t think I’d lie, but I don’t yet identify with my weight. I’m always hesitant to admit this, and there are few people I’ll discuss it with right now, but I’m subconsciously waiting to move back into the body I moved out of several years back. Working on it.

  81. I did the same thing recently. I managed to lose my driver’s license (yeah, yeah, not good) and had to get a new one. When I went to the DMV, they re-did the whole hair color, eye color, height, weight thing. So, after finally deciding that my weight was no big deal, I changed the weight listed. No one blinked an eye. It feels kind of nice to actually be able to have my real weight on there and not give a crap who sees it.

    I have another interesting story about weight recently — I am applying for life insurance, and a medical examiner came by to take vitals and do bloodwork. He asked for my weight, so I told him “152,” which is about what I run in the morning. He gives me this “I don’t believe you” look, thinks for a minute and then says “okay, now you weigh 147.” I said “no I don’t, I fluctuate a little bit, but not that low.” So he explained that at my height of 5’4″, 152 is borderline for qualification for the best rates, and he wanted to make sure that I *did* get the best rates. I told him that the agent had told me that I was well within range (the agent said that 180 was the cutoff for the best rates), and the guy says “Usually people are happy when I put down a lower weight!” I’m owning up to my own weight; I’m no longer ashamed of the number. It’s just a descriptor. Of course, it’s hugely problematic that weight is an issue on life insurance anyway.

    And another interesting anecdote; my father, who is rather thin and doesn’t care if anyone knows what he weighs, stepped on a scale recently that was out in the open at his office. Apparently some of the women saw him doing this and were absolutely FLOORED that someone would be actually willing to weigh themselves IN PUBLIC. He didn’t understand what the big deal was, because it’s something totally disconnected from morality for him. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if men and women of all sizes would do stuff like that? I’m thinking about making a commitment to step on the next public scale I see as kind of a “f— you” to the association of weight and shame.

    Re: sizing and Karen’s comment — yeah, sizing is kind of insane. I wear about a size 8 usually, which supposedly is smaller than most people of my height and weight. I get these weird thoughts running through my head that say “maybe my clothes are really too small and I’m just fooling myself thinking I can fit into the clothes I wear” (which I’ve dissected to mean “I’m not worthy to wear the clothes I wear”) except the problem with that is that I actually DO fit comfortably into the clothes I wear.

  82. I don’t have my weight on my licence, either–just my DOB, Sex, Height, Conditions (like that I need to wear glasses while driving) and the type and class of licence. I did have to give my weight to my horse riding school recently, though, which was awkward–the woman looked at me and said “You’d weight, what, eighty kilos? Eighty-five?” and I had to explain to her that no, I was actually probably about 100 to 110. xD; In that case it was actually an issue of comfort and safety–I don’t want to get put on some little pony meant for some much shorter/thinner person, obviously, or on a draft horse more suitable for someone six inches taller than me–but it was still… embarrassing, to an extent. Flattering that she guessed so much lower, but embarrassing to have to correct her.

    I definitely understand the name issue. x_x I have two middle names, only one of which I use. The first is my mother’s favourite soccer team, Chelsea. I use that one occasionally. The second one, which I never use, is my father’s favourite football team. Tottenhamhotspur.

    If I could go back in time and strangle my father, I just might think about doing it.

  83. Ha — minus 210 pounds totally cracked me up.
    I just checked my driver’s license and here’s what it says:
    205 pounds
    5′ 1″

    My “real” current weight: 217 pounds
    My real current height: 5′ 0.5″

    When I got my license, I was in my second trimester, and was estimating a post-pregnancy weight. A highly unlikely post-pregnancy weight. It was what I weighed pre-pregnancy, but that was after taking Meridia , which I haven’t taken since — more than 4 years now.

    I would say that for the amount of activity I’m doing and the amount I’m eating, my weight is probably within 5 pounds above or below 220. I wish I could say that I’m just as relaxed and at easy with myself in those 5 pounds above 220 as I am in the 5 pounds below 220.

    I have rounded up my weight before to 220 when I weighed less.

    When I weighed 245 or so, I wore a size 24. Now I wear a size 18-20- sometimes a 22 on top thanks to ROD.

    And I have to brag — I swam 30 laps this morning before work (and got there around 8 a.m.) I’m going to do a mile swim next month. I am feeling crazily strong. These days I want to be super fit without caring whether I’m thinner. I want to fuck with people’s perceptions that by doing all of this exercise, I’ll automatically lose weight.

  84. Hmm, on weight and identity. I guess I can go both ways. How you look and how you function are part of you so it would be silly not to include them in the spectrum of identity and how you view yourself. And, certainly, I see no reason to lie about my weight or my size. They are what they are.

    But I don’t identify strongly as my weight or size, either. If I was bigger or smaller it would affect me of course, but I wouldn’t feel a loss of part of my SELF. In one of my journal posts I stumbled across a thought that has become important to me. Because people will ask, “what size are you?” or say “I am a size X.”

    Me? I am NOT a size fourteen. I am a woman who WEARS a size fourteen. I’m a person first. We all know what size Marilyn Monroe wears. Lots of people know what size Hannah Montana wears, and if you didn’t, I bet it wouldn’t be hard to look up. Does anybody know what size Antonio Banderas wears? Does he ever talk about it, or the press? NOPERS. If a man who is known mostly for being pretty doesn’t feel his size is that big of a deal to his identity, then shit, why should I? The only time I modeled and was paid for it, I was nude, so obviously my size and weight aren’t that relevant.

    And, of course, there’s the fact that I don’t keep track very often. I don’t care for the scale. It’s too triggering at the moment. I’m still struggling to make sure I maintain that separation of my weight from my identity, lest I be tempted to do another long-term fast. I’m getting a lot better at it. Last night when my mom made all those comments about my body, I felt more rage than shame or that I was a hideous person and maybe I should diet just to shut her up bla bla bla. No, never again.

    You know… I wonder how coherent that was. I really need some sleep.

  85. I think I’ve just gotten to the “to hell with tiny pants” category, in my journey towards accepting my own body, and loved that post.

    My DL says 175 which seems to be about 5 pounds below what I am discovering is likely my set point, and is not what I currently way. Not too bad really. In the past year I’ve been both over and under that weight. Probably is only accurate because I did not have a driver’s licence until i was 18 and therefore did not have one during my severely anorexic years.

  86. So, why do most US licences list height, weight and eye colour? You’d think that with photo ID, none of that would be necessary – mine (in Australia) doesn’t.

  87. You were clear as a bell, SugarLeigh.
    Rage is good — it just makes falling asleep harder. But it’s way better for you than depression, as long as you aren’t driving or holding any sharp objects or firearms. Come to think of it, those things aren’t very safe when mixed with depression, either.

    My folks were sure their lives would be better if they were thinner, so of course, they superimposed that on me, an adorable, chubby, bright, imaginative kid. I told them that talking about my weight was completely off limits (okay, so yelled is a better verb than told) when I was around 20. Not that it totally stopped them, but they mostly thought twice.

    Great point about Antonio Banderas, too.

  88. Thanks WellRounded. It just bugs me that the journalists and the rags and basically anyone who talks about celebrities all feel very free in replacing the name of a female celeb with “the perky size two debutante” or “the full-figured size ten harlot.”

    If anybody ever referred to Banderas as “the smooth size 30-34 heartbreaker,” I’ve yet to hear about it.

  89. What a wonderful post! You know, I don’t know what it says on my drivers license. I’m pretty sure I’m taller and don’t require glasses to see!

    It’s fascinating to me that weight is so wound up with self. Recently we had a boarder move into our house and he was commenting that he’s put on weight since having travelled overseas. I boggled. Men do this too?

    Is it weight in particular do you think? Or is it more of a ‘whole package’ thing?

  90. Here in NZ, weight isn’t required for licenses. The only times I’ve been asked my weight and lied, has been at doctor’s offices. Oh and I also used to say I was an inch taller than I really am.

  91. Two highly interesting threads here…

    On the changing my name thing:

    I changed my name when I got married, because I didn’t get to choose my name when I was born, and it was associated with a family of origin that I have some very negative feelings about. I liked the idea that I was changing my name by choice, to the name of the person I was marrying, as a signifier of my regard for him. There aren’t many other rituals in the modern world that do that.

    On the weight on the drivers’ license thing:

    I can’t think of any situation where my weight would be necessary to know, short of identifying my dead body in a car crash, and even then, knowing my weight might not be that much of a help — I doubt most of the people I know have any idea how much I weigh, including my spouse. The doctor would come out and go, ‘is your wife 5′-4″ tall, gray eyes, brown hair, 190 pounds?’ and he’d go, ‘I don’t know, got a picture?’ or ‘She’s about yay big around’ (with gesture).

    In other words, I’d like to live my life as if the weight of my body were as absolutely meaningless as it really is. Naturally, I achieve this less than 50% of the time, but it’s something I like the idea of. How much does sanity weigh?

  92. I wanted to be named Tracy when I was a kid. I also had thought about exchanging my father’s Italian name for my mother’s Italian name because I like her side of the family better. My last name and first name go together really well tho and after all I’ve been through with my name, I don’t feel like it’s my father’s name anymore. It’s my name and I’m keeping it and I’m going to give it special meaning by being an awesome person with that name.

    My weight on my license is about 40 pounds off so this post did make me think. I’m kind of toward the beginning of my body acceptance journey. I only just realized today in my dance class that I don’t compare my face to everyone else’s because it’s just my face. So maybe my body is just my body and it’s not inferior if I’m not shaped like other people. And when I weighed 135 pounds, I still looked at other girls’ bodies and felt like my hips were huge so being heavier doesn’t make any difference.

  93. My license says 160, I think, which is about 30 off. I lied, too, when I was 16, and never changed it. In a stroke of irony, I tried once to have it lowered when I actually had gotten down to 135, but they wouldn’t change it. That was downright weird. I’m just as glad they didn’t. I wonder if they’ll raise it next time if I ask them to.

    I feel bad that I lied back then, really bad. But, then, I was 16. What do you want?

    I didn’t change my name when I got married, and it still annoys me that I get mail addressed to Ms The Terrible (the husband is Sargon the Terrible). Why doesn’t he get mail addressed to Mr Darling?

    The whole name change thing pisses me off. If you do it, I assume you have good reasons and it presumably makes you happy. That’s fine, and I’m all for it. The EXPECTATION that I should change MY name based on who I’m married to, but that he doesn’t have to, is all kinds of fucked up.

    I asked, when I got married, if he could change HIS name to MINE, and the absolutely dumbfounded and blank looks I got were quite revealing.

    My name is much more important to me than my numbers. I’d just as soon replace the weight on my driver’s license with my favorite word. It’d be about as much use.

    (This week, I weigh “fenestral.”)

  94. My license doesn’t have my weight on it. But I did have to give them my weight when I got my license renewed, and I believe it’s actually about 35 pounds heavier than what I actually weigh, because I’ve lost weight between then and now. I lied when I first got my license, and gave my weight as about 40 pounds less than the reality, because I didn’t yet know that weight doesn’t get printed on licenses around here, and I was afraid that my parents might see it. There was a bit of an identity issue – I was uncomfortable identifying as someone who weighed 200 pounds – but mostly it was for practical reasons. If my weight goes back up over 200, though, I wonder if I’ll still feel comfortable giving my real weight. I hope so.

    As for changing names: I had always planned to change my name when I got married, because my mother didn’t and it caused all kinds of problems. She got called by the wrong name, people assumed she was divorced, she had trouble dealing with companies who didn’t know how to deal with a husband and wife who had different last names… Also, I kept getting called Zoe Momslastname or Zoe Momslastname-Dadslastname, which I hated. But now I know I’m going to keep my name, because I’m starting a writing career under this name and it wouldn’t make any sense to change it. Also, my name sounds horrible with his; we both agree on that. So I guess I’m going to have to deal with the same problems all over again. Sigh.

  95. I hated my father’s name and thought I would change it when I got married but it turned out that I hated the *complete and automatic assumption* on my in-laws’ part that I would change it *far more*.

    So I didn’t.

    My father-in-law argued with me about it on my wedding day.

  96. No id i have mentions my weight. I think if I had one that did, I’d have no problem saying what it was. But in all honestly, it’s a lot lower than it used to be, so I don’t know if I’d say the same if I still weighed what I used to. However, in a similar vein, I guess, when I discovered my hyperinsulinemia and started eating right for my body, and thus lost weight, I also lost the shame/guilt I’d felt about weighing so much in the first place. Not saying I should have felt shame/guilt anyway, of course, but knowing that this was just a matter of body chemistry and not my evil gluttony blah blah blah freed me from so much of the “i am fat i am bad” stuff I’d been carrying around that I stopped being embarrassed about what I *had* weighed, and was ok telling people. I’d like to think, having now discovered FA, that if I was still heavier I would also feel ok ‘owning’ my weight but I just don’t know.

    The name thing is interesting. When I was a teenager I sort of accepted it naturally as the way of the world that one changes one’s name when one gets married. So of course I’d try out my first name against the last name of whatever boy I had a crush on at the time, to see how it would sound. When I got older, and was in my early twenties and my friends began to get married, I felt truly annoyed that I had to start calling them by different names. So I suppose I felt the change of identity in other people, and it started me thinking about it, and I didn’t really like it.

    My first name is fairly boring but my last name is very unique. Anyone who has it is related to me somehow and can trace their lineage back to the same city, same country, same family. It’s also next to impossible to work out how to say it if you read it, so I suffered through various permutations and mistakes and teasing my entire life. But it was also the basis of pretty much all my affectionate nicknames I acquired from friends over the years. It is very much part of who I am. I really hated calling my sisters by their married names; that they didn’t have the same name as me anymore.

    I got married a year ago, when I was 34 already. The whole question of changing my name was tough for me to work out. On the one hand, I knew there was no way I was giving up my name; it might be difficult to spell and to pronounce, but it’s mine, dammit, and I’m proud of it, and I want to still be identified with my brothers and parents, even if I’m not automatically identified with my sisters anymore, through their choices. But at the same time, I did decide eventually that getting married also gave me a new identity. So I took my husband’s name too, because I am proud to be identified as belonging with him, and his family too. And I would like my kids to have somewhat of the same name as me. I didn’t expect my husband to take on my name as well; I knew he wouldn’t, and it didn’t bother me. I just didn’t want to lose *my* identity.

    Some people were very surprised that I wasn’t getting rid of my very awkward name for my husband’s oh so much easier one, but names have never been about ease for me. It’s part of my identity and it aint going away.

    I come from a fairly traditional world, so I have to keep telling people over and over not to just call me “Mrs B…” and that I now have two last names. It can be awkward, but hey, my name has always been awkward. And actually my dad is rather tickled at the fact that I have kept my name, which is kind of cute.

    I have to say though, that a year into a very happy marriage, i still don’t really associate with the newest part of my name. It sounds odd. But it easier now than it was the days and weeks after the wedding. And now it sounds/looks a bit odd when I just see my ‘old’ name, without the new name added. I haven’t changed my name at work, so all my work emails are still just addressed to ‘Deborah M’ and now that looks a bit wrong too.

    I guess it’s a process. When I’ve been Deborah M B a while longer than thirteen months it’ll get more natural!

  97. You know, atiton, I don’t exactly know what you think you’re being so cryptic about, but you know what? Even if I *had* said “I’m only changing my name because I don’t like my old one,” that’s a perfectly fucking good reason. I get to decide whether to change my legal identity based on whether I like the new one or not.

    And that’s going to be the last word anyone speaks about my personal decision — emphasis on the “personal.” I know people feel like they know us here because we dole out little packets of information about our lives. But it is absolutely inappropriate to hijack the conversation to tell me whether you think my stated reasons are good enough.

  98. The weight in my ID is so wrong it’s embarrassing. But it also sums up a lot about my past and my priorities. Anyway, when I first moved here about four years ago, I was much smaller at a size 8/10 because I had Achieved Weight Watchers Success and lost about 80 pounds over the two years prior. Then I went to law school, and gained weight SO FAST (because you cannot study that hard on 800 calories a day. Or at least I can’t) that I thought for sure I was pregnant (I wasn’t), so I went back on WW, or tried to but it was a struggle and I got depressed and it was just a bad time. Anyway, about that time, I went to get my IL drivers’ license. Not only was I much thinner then (at OMG size 10 so fat, I thought. Stupid WW) but I underestimated my weight and put my original goal weight on my license – 140 pounds. Even at my most enthusiastic and most disordered, I never got below 148 during that most recent weight loss stint.

    Anyway, to make a long story short, I kept gaining weight, found out about FA, stopped hating myself for gaining weight (I realize as I write this that I totally did! It worked!), and now, although I don’t weigh myself I recently estimated my weight to my doctor (who doesn’t weigh me either, bless her) as 230. It may well be more than that. I don’t care.

    So, my drivers’ license says I weight about 90 pounds less than I probably weigh. Not only that, but the picture is wildly inaccurate and looks like I borrowed my skinny sister’s driver’s license. PLUS the ID lady made me take my glasses off for the photo. And yet, despite working in the building where one goes to get one’s driver’s license, I just can’t be bothered to go change it because I hate hate hate hate dealing with that kind of crap. Hence the commentary on my priorities.

    But it expires in November, so I guess d-day (“d” for driver’s license) is coming. It will be nice to have an ID that actually IDs me, instead of my non-existent skinny sister.

  99. Zoe, I grew up with a different last name from the parents I lived with because of divorce and remarriage, and though there were a few annoying patterns of assumptions people would make, it wasn’t that big a deal in my experience. I think this is one of those YMMV things.

  100. I got a speeding ticket out-of-state a few years back. My state doesn’t show weight on the license, but the speeding ticket required it, and the cop guessed 200. I actually weighed about 270 at the time. It amuses me to this day speculating why he guessed that number. Did he pick a number large enough to indicate I’m fat, but small enough to not offend mem, perhaps even flatter me? Why not 199? Why not 300?

  101. fj: I wasn’t intentionally being cryptic. I wasn’t even questioning your decision. I did not single you out because you are one of the co-bloggers. I read what everyone says here and since something you said struck me, I made a comment. Others tried to answer for you. They may do that if they wish. I apologize if my comment hurt/offended you. Your decisions are yours.

  102. Driver’s License Weight: No idea what it says. I did correct the height a few years ago. After a breast reduction (10 lbs I was happy to lose!) I was able to stand a whole inch taller! When I was a teen I always thought life would be “perfect” if I were 5’7″ instead of 5″6″. You know, I would be suddenly height-weight proportionate (I was except for the boobs but didn’t know it), basketball players would want to date me, etc. Turns out I was 5’7″ all along and it just took a few decades of maturation to learn to enjoy me.

    First Name: My magic name was Bronwen. I read it in a book and it seemed Irish and suited my coloring if not heritage, but the best part was that I knew NO ONE who had that name. I hated that there were 6 Diane’s in my 6th grade class, and I’m sort of named after my mother (Anne Jo–Diane Jo). My mother cried when I told her I wanted to change my name, so I backed off. Later I used it as a screen name.

    Last Name: I found out when I was 12 that my last name was legally changed when I was 6 to “match” my mother & brother. I had the poor taste to be born before the parents married and at the time state law required them to give my mom’s maiden name. So mom made us all match–when she got the divorce! My father was, to put it charitably, not a nice person. I came to hate having his name. When I married the first time I considered hyphenating his name with my original last name, but it sounded silly so I used his. After we divorced I kept it to match the kids. Now I’m remarried– the compromise is I use his last name but I’m still “Ms.” But, I’ve never bothered changing my name on the property tax rolls, garbage bill, etc. I don’t know what I’m going to do when my passport with my former name and the update expires! If it weren’t for fears of Big Brother I’d advocate for some central registry that would notify the multitudes of a name change–it’s a lot of work!

  103. My name change story:
    I got married when I had just turned 23 — next anniversary will be our 17th (with a couple of separations in there for good measure, but we don’t subtract them from the clock).

    At first, I didn’t take Mr. Rounded’s name. I was very attached to my whole name for a variety of reasons, the first one being that I had wanted to be an author, and always thought of my whole name on a byline or book cover. I also went by my whole name, first, middle, last (my first name has 2 syllables and my middle name just one). We considered doing a combined name that preserved the elements of both names that we felt most attached to, but ended up feeling like that wasn’t going to work. (It was fun to generate all of the potential names, though). I also wasn’t sure if this was a “starter marriage” (both of us were in that place for the first couple of years, I think, as much as we loved each other, we weren’t positive it was forever, neither of us is romantic in that way).

    At some point, it became an issue with Mr. Rounded that I hadn’t changed my name. So, of course, I dug in harder that I wouldn’t change it.

    Then, I decided I was ready (finally, long after he was ready to be a dad) to get pregnant. And it wasn’t happening. So, in a symbolic move to “create a family,” I went about changing my last name to his after we had been married for more than 10 years.

    I like my husband’s last name. It’s not common, definitely not Smith, or Jones, or Cohen. It’s easy to pronounce and spell. It has allieteration with my first name, and my initials form a nice XYX pattern. I still go by my first and middle names, which I concluded, contained enough of who I am to not feel my identity was being lost.

    Eventually, I did get pregnant and have a little one. We are the Roundeds, which works well for us.

    My maiden name sounds like a Jewish last name to those who know about Jewish last names, but for those who aren’t familiar with Jewish names outside of Spielberg and Rosenberg, might sound German or something. My married name is hard to place if you aren’t familiar with names from that part of the world, but at least where I live now (the Pacific NW), people rarely ask me “what kind of name is that?”

    Sometimes, when I’m interacting with someone from the same part of the world that my last name is from, they look at me a little funny, because I say it in such an “American” way, and they say it in a more authentic way (which sounds lovely). They can identify which region of the country and ethnic group this name belongs to, and they are trying to figure out how this person in front of them has this name. It’s less confusing when we are all together, but the pharmacy is one place this happens with the greatest frequency.

    Little one looks really like a mix of both of us — so much like me in baby pictures but also like members of Mr. Rounded’s family, and has Mr. Rounded’s serious expressions, while I tend to wander around with a friendly, open face.

  104. I’ve recently stopped lying when I fill out forms and telling my weight. They also ask when I give blood at the Red Cross. Seriously, y’all, the last time when I told the truth the woman thought I’d said “115,” which I haven’t weighed since approximately the 5th grade. I corrected her and said, “No, 150.” She looked me square in the eye and said, “Where?” Which is just another example of how no one has any idea what XYZ weight looks like.
    It’s funny…now, I tell the truth about my weight, but I still won’t get on the scale when I go to the allergist, dermatologist, or OB. Last time when she said, “Hop on the scale,” I just said, “Oh, I don’t get on the scale.” Nurse didn’t blink an eye, just took my bp.

  105. I remember when I got my license I put my actual weight, which was 170. The DMV clerk (who was thin) looked me up and down and said “Really?” in a tone that said “Oh honey, you walked all the way up to my counter and you’re not out of breath! You can’t possibly be that fat.”

    Five years later, I had gained 15 pounds, so I updated my renewal license to reflect that. This time, a different clerk said “Really?” in a tone of voice that said “I can’t believe that not only are you putting your real weight on your driver’s license, but it’s heavier than your last one, fatty.”

    Next year I’m due for another renewal and I’m about 10 pounds heavier than what my current license says. I don’t think I’ll update my info, though, because I don’t want to deal with that again.

  106. I’ve actually been a little curious what “fillyjonk” means, and where it came from – is that a fair question?

  107. My DL is what I think my weight is, having not stepped on a scale since last December (I weigh myself once a year, at Christmas, at my ‘rents house. If that’s not a loaded sentence, I don’t know what is).

  108. As far as names go, neither myself nor my husband wanted to keep our names! I associate my name with my father, who I don’t particularly like. My husband has his father’s name, who he’s never met, and has nobody else in his family with the same name.

    We wanted to come up with a new name, created by a combination of our initials. Unfortunately you can’t make that kind of a change by marriage in NY. They said our best bet would be for him to make a legal name change to the new name and then I’d just take it when we got married. Unfortunately though we didn’t find out about it until there wasn’t enough time before the wedding.

    So in the end I took his name. We decided it would signify a new family name because he has nothing to do with the family it came from. So now it is OUR name and the name of our family.

  109. Zoe, I grew up with a different last name from the parents I lived with because of divorce and remarriage, and though there were a few annoying patterns of assumptions people would make, it wasn’t that big a deal in my experience. I think this is one of those YMMV things.

    Yeah, I haven’t shared a last name with my immediate family since I was seven years old. And I’m estranged from the branch of the family with whom I do share a name. But I’ve always been the weird one anyway, so having a different name sort of felt like an outward sign of that. I guess I should say that I loved always being the weird one, too. So definitely YMMV.

    I kept my name when I got married for mostly political and some professional reasons. And a little bit of not wanting to fuck with changing it. If we have a kid, the kid can have my husband’s name, and I will go back to being the weird one again. :)

  110. Aah..Very true what you say. The other day, I went with my husband to register my marriage and make it legal in he yes of the “law” And that is when I had this weird dilemma with changing my last name or keeping my name as it is. It was a hard decision. Because I really wanted to add his name to mine. But what is the difference? Whether I change my last name or not, I am his and will always be. And another reason was that I am very used to my name and believe in numerology according to which my name numerologically, has very “powerful vibrations”…
    So in the end, I decided to keep my name the way it was because I am his no matter what and I could forego all the complications that arise with changing the name.


  111. Aynthem, I’ve no idea what I weigh, and even though I’m pretty cool with my size, I prefer it that way. My best guess is somewhere around the 250# mark, but quite honestly it’s several years since I stepped on the scales, and even longer since I had any contact with the medical profession.

    Good to hear MA doesn’t insist you declare your weight for DLs / IDs. Whilst I kind of ‘get’ the ‘identifying-factor-in-an-accident’ logic, given that it’s such a sensitive topic for so many people it strikes me more as a form of subtle fat prejudice than anything else. Particularly considering that the practical applications of the whole thing are undermined by people’s tendency to understate their weight and for even an initially accurate figure to fluctuate over time. If it were so important it would be listed on passports, and to date I’ve never see one that does, probably for those same practical reasons.

    As others have pointed out, the UK DL doesn’t carry weight either, though discussions of displaying it (along with some identifier of an ‘unacceptable’ BMI, probably ‘OBESE’ in big red letters) on the proposed compulsory biometric ID card give me the heebie-jeebies, when one considers how THAT could be abused by future governments.

    And as a guy I suppose my perspective on the name change thing is slightly different. My first GF was adamant that she wanted to keep her name should we ever get hitched – something that with my relatively traditional upbringing and a mother who took my father’s name, seemed initially peculiar to me. However my ex’s convincing case coincided with my own awakening to gender issues, to the point that when my current fiancee recently told me she intended to take my name I attempted to persuade her to keep her own. Of course it should be a person’s own decision what they wish to be called – it’s their identity after all. And as an aside, we’d both be happy to dump our surnames due to unpleasant paternal associations, and hyphenation isn’t really an option as my name ends in an ‘s’ which to my ear sounds clumsy when appended to another that is similar.

  112. My CA driver’s license says 220; the scale at the GYN last Tuesday says 255. When I had to go in and take a new picture a few years back, I raised my weight to something that wasn’t too far off reality. I only know the current number because of the appointment.

    I’ve spent 48 years with my name and have come to terms with it. It took me almost half my life to learn to love my official first name (not until after I graduated college and went to work). If I do marry my long time partner, I will keep my name. My silly reason is that my surname is ahead of his in the alphabet, my real reason is that a name change is a colossal PITA and I’m a lazy wench at heart.

  113. When I started kindergarten I apparently convinced my teachers that my name was “Jessica” and the name they had on their roster was incorrect. They called me Jessica for two months until my mom & dad came in for parents night and were told, “We don’t have a Didee Lastname, but we have a Jessica Lastname.” Of course I don’t remember any of this but it seems I had quite the double life happening at age 4.

  114. Oh, and as to why your weight is listed — I think it’s for the purpose of identifying suspects, as in the ones fleeing the scene of a crime.
    As in, “suspect last seen fleeing the diet center storefront after comitting vast property damage with a bucket of hot pink paint. Suspect is five feet, one inch, and according to her driver’s license, weighs 205 pounds. But horrified dieters at the scene gave her weight and height as ranging from 4’10” to 5’6″ and her weight as between 175 and 250 pounds. They were all certain, however, that her BMI was at least 40.”

  115. Very interesting. I have been dealing with some of these same issues. This made me pull out my driver’s license to see what I put as my weight (pretty sure I put a lower number). To my amazement, TN doesen’t list your weight only height and eye color.

    I did have a hard time changing my “green” eye color to my actual “hazel” the last time I updated it, though. I actually have to go in before the end of this year and get mine renewed.

    Sister Coyote, I completely understand the California reference. It has just been this year that I’ve been able to say I’m from TN and I moved away from CA 15 years ago. In my mind I was still the California Girl that was born in Redondo Beach. That was a HUGE identity change for me.

  116. HAHA to WRT2….and i just got a license in PA a month ago, i was not required to list my weight, but would have done so with no regard. but my first license, at 17, in my home state, WV, required a weight. i had no idea, and i smudged it up badly on the application. i watched the clerks look me up and down as they tried to figure out what i was…they chose the highest possible amount. so nice of them. anyway, as far as a name, i don’t like my last name because it’s too small. say my name together quickly, sounds like one big word…i always wanted to marry a guy with a weird last name, just to even it out. i met the guy. getting married to him? EHHHH…ha.

  117. I actually feel like I’d be more inclined to change my first name than my last name – my last name connects me to my family/family history in a way I like. I wouldn’t mind my hypothetical children taking my hypothetical husband’s last name, but I do like what some friends of mine have done, which is to give their daughter the wife’s last name with the understanding that future sons will have the husband’s last name. Still goes all gender binary, but it does work as kind of a random way of keeping both names in the family.

  118. The last time I changed my license info, I was about one month away from anorexia. I was unhappy with some weight gain, but I had lost some, so I low-balled it by 5 lbs., because that’s the way to gain confidence. (HA!) And that weight ended up being 5 lbs. more than had been on there, so I felt this was progress. I went on to lose 20lbs. with anorexia (I have a very small frame), I recovered, and now I’m 5 lbs. over what’s on my license. (This sounds like a convoluted extra-credit math problem because I don’t like mentioning numbers.) I also added an inch to my height on my license, and I wish I hadn’t done that, either. If it were all accurate, yes, it would more accurately reflect my reality that I have worked so hard to accept.

    I’ve always liked my first name because it’s classic and it translates into several languages. I’m a Spanish translator, so it works out nicely. The only thing I didn’t like was that it was slightly common, but I’ve run into far fewer people with my name lately. As for my last name, it starts with a A, and I always hated being first alphabetically, and for some reason, I thought it was a nerdy name. I don’t care at all anymore, and I’m quite attached to it. I don’t want to get married, but if I did for some reason, I would definitely keep my last name, no hyphenation, even.

  119. I tend to give my heaviest weight from the last period I was regularly looking at the scale, which was the summer of 2007. I bought most of my clothes then, and I pretty much rely on still fitting into them to tell me where I’m at, probably because not having to buy new clothes is my main interest in staying my current shape.

    I also think it can be good for people to know what x weight and x height can look like, and not just for political reasons. Once I was out on a lake in a rowboat with a friend and noticed we were riding a little low in the water.
    Me: Hey, what’s the weight capacity on this?
    Her: Let’s see…300 pounds!
    Her: What?
    Me: Um.
    Both: ROW!

  120. I just thought of a reason why having your weight on your i.d. might be useful — If you’re injured and taken to the E.R., they can calculate how much medication you need, if you’re unconscious.

    Although, I’m sure they have scales in the E.R. If you’re on the brink of death, however, it’s probably better if they don’t have to take the time to weigh you.

  121. Hera: Yeah, I find this discussion interesting partially because I’m involved with MRI research on people. Any time someone goes into the scanner, we need to record a weight so that we can calibrate stuff and people don’t end up with radiofrequency burns. And we all participate in each other’s studies, so hypothetically, we could all know what everyone weighs. But I don’t think anyone’s paying much attention. I sometimes notice it if someone’s radically different from what I would have expected, or if someone’s female and close to my height/weight. I wonder a) if it’s less of a big deal because everyone knows what the purpose is, b) whether I’m deluded and it IS a big deal to some people, and c) whether some people lie on the form and put themselves at risk.

  122. Just had an age-related revolting medical procedure, and found that I am currently 211. Seemed better for the anaesthesia guy to have the right number than to be semi-conscious for twenty minutes of unpleasantness.

    In an effort to – I dunno, raise consciousness, own my own body, be painfully honest with myself – I try to mention my weight when I am in front of students whenever it is reasonably relevant; originally, I got a lot of reassuring “you can’t possibly” noise. After some months/years, though, the long-time students are generally accepting and it’s only newbies to class that raise their eyebrows and gasp. You’d think I’m revealing that I prefer sex with farm animals.

  123. The weight on my driver’s license reads 230 lbs which I was for about…20 seconds when I was in my senior year of high school. When I look at pictures of myself at 230 lbs and now, around 280 lbs, I don’t see much difference physically. I snicker when I look at my ID because I was so baked out of my mind on cold medicine the day I went to get my legal-to-drink license and wow, does it ever show in the picture.

    I identify with my real weight, absolutely. I find I tend to drop the numbers a lot in (message board) conversations because I think a part of me wants to drive home that idea that 280 lbs is not a death sentence, doesn’t mean I’m incapable of prying myself up off the couch, I’m quite able to prance and dance and do all those nutty things. But it’s also helpful in sussing out people who want to either concern-troll the shit out of me or who think I’m somehow disturbed because I’m not ashamed.

  124. Like others, I had to check my license. It says 275, which was true when I got it. And I remember the guy who was entering the numbers, actually looked up and asked. He was dumbsquizzled. I guess I didn’t look like what he thought 275 was.

    I weigh somewhere between 310-335 now, I honestly have no idea. But I don’t feel like the license is a lie, because it was true at the time. Next time I renew I’ll likely change it.

    I called myself Liza in 4th grade, actually wrote that on my homework. It sounded exotic to me. Liza was thin and wanted to sing in a “new wave” band.

  125. This is a tricky one for me, because I don’t know how much I currently weigh. Since I left home, I’ve never owned a pair of scales, so the only time I’ve been weighed is at a doctor’s surgery – and the last time was when I was joined the surgery before the one I’m at now, which would be be a decade ago. Back then, I weighed around 180. That doctor wasn’t bothered by it, and the current doctor has never weighed me. .

    And, every time I’m in the vicinity of a pair of scales, in someones else’s bathroom or in a drugstore, I wonder if I should ‘hop on them’, and I think, no.

    So, everything given to an insurance company in the last few years, or on my work ID (I don’t drive, and I don’t think weight goes on driver’s licenses in the UK anyway) has been a guesstimate…

    It’s not that I’m kidding myself I’m thinner, because I know darn well I’m not. (I would guess I’ve put some on. Not a huge amount, because my dress size hovers round what it was back then.) The point is really that I fear I’d have that number at the back of my mind nagging me. At the moment, the last time I was weighed is long enough ago that I don’t think about it. I don’t think I identify with my weight now the way I did when I was thinner, years back (and worrying about being fat a lot more). But, a part of me still wonders if this is really just denial. I suppose it’s a test of how comfortable I really am being fat…and I’m afraid to find out that maybe I’m not as comfortable with it as I thought.

    Re names, when I met my husband I still had my ex’s name from my first marriage. Part of me was just too lazy to have gotten round to changing it back, but I think there was also this subconscious feeling that going back to my maiden name was putting myself back under the parental thumb. (It was just after the divorce that my mother told me she’d envisaged me never marrying at all, but becoming her companion for life. Um…backing quickly towards the exit…)

    My full married name this time round is common enough to be un-google-able, which is handy – my maiden name was rather rare, easily mispronounced and lent itself to bad jokes.

    I desperately wanted to change my name at school – I didn’t feel it fitted, plus I was one of six Sarahs in a class at one time! – but I never found anything else that was more ‘me’. Still think about it, occasionally. If I ever found a name that made me go ‘Yes!’, I might just go for it.

    Something I do identify with, since I changed it a few years back, is my hair color. I’ve gotten so accustomed to bright red hair that old photos of me with it plain old brunette, and longer, look very weird and a bit staid to me. I think the attitude changed along with the hair.

  126. I wanted to be called Roberta when I was a kid mainly so I could use the nickname Bobbi. Oh yeah, that’s right, with an “i” that I could dot with a heart.

    rolls eyes at 9 year old self

    I lied about my weight on my DL when I came back into CA from VA 14 years ago. I got a renewal/address change 3 years back, but it was all done by mail and it still has the old pic (which is a surprisingly good one) and info on it. I gave 145 as my weight back then, Shoulda read 165, but the lady didn’t blink an eye when I said 145. That was 14 years and 100 lbs. ago, I have also let my hair go grey, but you can still totally tell it’s me.

    rolls eyes at present self

    I didn’t change my name when I got married, either. Just because I couldn’t be bothered to do all that paperwork. I’ll still answer to Mrs. Husband’s Last Name because I can’t be bothered to correct people who call me that. There, top that for laziness!

  127. I’ll still answer to Mrs. Husband’s Last Name because I can’t be bothered to correct people who call me that.

    @twincats, me too! I only correct them if it’s a legal document.

    Husband recently broke his dominant arm. Both in the ER and during the followup surgery, I was asked many times, “Are you medical power of attorney?” and would watch them sigh with relief when I’d reply, “I’m his wife.” I signed all the paperwork because he couldn’t.

    I think I said, “I’m his wife,” about a zillion times…

  128. but I underestimated my weight and put my original goal weight on my license – 140 pounds.

    Pretty much the same for me. I was at a relatively thin point after nearing the end of a diet (~145 pounds) and I put my goal weight (135) on my drivers license. Then I gained quite a bit of weight – near 200 pounds now, so it’s not even in the ballpark. I’ll have to update it when I go in to get it renewed.

    I don’t really identify as my weight or dress size – I think partly because I haven’t had a stable weight or size long enough to. But also because I’m a very non-physical (head in the clouds) type person, and it was only a tremendous amount of social conditioning that made me go against my nature to the point of caring so much about my weight and appearance. Fat acceptance has helped me reject that, which brings me back to my natural state of not even really noticing what I look like.

    I do identify very strongly with my name though, and so I have absolutely no intention of changing it when I get married. (When I told my mom that, she gave me this look of wide eyed shock, like she’d never heard of such a thing. It was funny, but exasperating – I’ve been a liberal hippie feminist my whole life pretty much, you’d think my parents would be used to it by now!)

    Aynthem, the only reason I know what I weigh is because I get weighed every year at the doctor. I want to ask though, have you seen a doctor about your weight loss? Losing that much weight with no explaination sounds like it could be the result of a medical problem.

  129. I lied about my weight on my CA ID card, but it was an accident, really.

    See, I haven’t owned a scale in my adult life and I’ve never had a doctor or nurse attempt to share my weight with me.

    So the last time I renewed my ID card, I took my best guess. The previous time I’d listed myself as 150 and I knew I definitely weighed more than 150 at that point. So I guesstimated that my weight was 175 and nobody blinked.

    A few months later I wound up doing some house sitting for friends who had to take an emergency trip overseas. Just for shits and grins, I decided to try the scales and see what I actually weighed.

    Huh. Turns out I was about 200. I might have been a lot further off. Still, I did feel bad about lying, even if it wasn’t on purpose. I like to be truthful and accurate.

    As for names…when Mr. Twistie and I were getting married, I girded my loins one day for The Discussion in which I would boldly announce that there was no way in Hell I was changing my name because it’s me and it’s my identity and I couldn’t imagine being someone else, no matter how cosmetic or necessary the change might seem to others, and there was no way in the world I was ever going to back down until he agreed.

    Poor Mr. Twistie. He just blinked and said ‘I never thought you would change your name.’ That was that.

    In fact, the only person who ever expressed a negative opinion about me keeping my name was – of all people – my father. He was usually pretty progressive, and I was keeping the name he’d given me, but he couldn’t understand why I decided what I did. Couldn’t quite figure out it wasn’t his decision to make, either.

    Mr. Twistie and I were both contented, the state of California hasn’t ever hassled us about joint tax returns in two names, joint property owned in both our names, etc, and nothing bad has happened because of my choice. I think a couple of his friends who had taken their husbands’ names felt like they had to justify themselves to me, but I honestly figured they had their reasons for their choice, just as I had my reasons for mine. Once people figure out I don’t care what they decide as long as it makes them happy, they tend to stop worrying about my decision.

  130. Another Texan here, so my DL has no weight. My height is rounded up by at least a quarter-inch, though, and at one point I had on my license that I had gray eyes because I thought it was cool and they are blue-grayish sometimes.

    Good thing–in the last five years I’ve had *plenty* of up and down. I weigh 170-something right now thanks to a recent bunch of stress eating/lack of sleep/too much Mickey D’s. I’m sure the fact that I’m on two meds known (one of them is *notorious*) for weight gain doesn’t help any. I’ve accepted the fact I’ll never be 120 again–I’m not 21 any more. I would like to get back down to something in the 140-155 range for health reasons and so my *tiny* mom won’t freak that I’m going to get type 2 diabetes from my weight and meds and have an even more complicated health profile than I do already. Also–yes, I would feel better about my body if there was less of it–I haven’t got to FA yet. And I never want to hear “You’ve chunked up a bit” from my mom again (first thing out of her mouth when she hadn’t seen me in months-it hurt bad) and I *know* I’m going to get a lecture the next time I see her if I’m still at this weight.

    Name-wise: Taylor is not my birth name or the name on my license. It has meaning to me, though–it’s been a nickname of sorts for a long time,and some of my friends know me only as Taylor. I have a variant spelling and pronunciation of a fairly common name, so my last name is usually mispronounced. I used to joke I wanted the Martinez side of my best friend’s family to adopt me so I could get a last name everybody in TX could pronounce/spell. If I ever get married, my current thought is to keep my last name, though.

  131. I loved this post.

    I was working in the ER recently and had to guess a patient’s weight for a referral to another hospital (I doubt that it really mattered for her admittance, but that is another issue).

    Anyway, I looked at her nurse and asked her what he thought she weighed. He had no idea. I suggested 250lbs. He looked astonished and said, “No way!”

    I told him that I weigh 200lbs and she seemed bigger than me. Of course he acted like I was lying and crazy and there was no way I could possibly weigh that much. Then he started examining my body with his eyes….which goes to show how people think about weight….

  132. I haven’t weighed myself for years – I already feel too defined by whatever size I’m wearing at the moment to want another number to deal with. My DL is old but I gave them an honest guess of my weight at the time. I am sure that I broke the 200lb “barrier” – that’s what it feels like to me – sometime within the last year, and I still am struggling to identify with it. But when license time comes, and I give my honest, over-200lb guess, God help any clerk who suggests I fudge and put my weight at a lower number. I think all 200-plus pounds of me would challenge him or her to a fight!

    It’s funny, though, when I’m reading all these comments from people who are size 16 or 18, I think, “oh, they’re not really fat like me – fat starts at size 20” (which is my current size). But of course, when I was a size 18, “fat “started there, and when I was a size 14, “fat” started there. I was a size 10 for two months, though, and legitimately felt thin. Probably because my poor body knew I was pushing it over the edge of instability with weight-loss supplements and carb-less diets.

  133. Oh, I forgot to tell all y’all about my crazy name situation.

    I wanted my husband and I to BOTH hyphenate our last names or have a double last name. But my husband was all against it – all the kids in his elementary school who had hyphenated last names had parents who got divorced. And he couldn’t deal with the fact that if our hyphenated last-name kids married other hyphenated-named kids, they’d have four last names to deal with.

    But we wanted the same last name. I didn’t want to just go all out and take his last name. Especially because it is a word that is a synonym for “disgusting” as well as “large” (hmm… wonder if that’s a sign of people’s fat-phobia). He said he’d take my last name, but I could tell he wasn’t crazy about it, and I didn’t want to have to deal with endless rude comments from people about “who wears the pants in that family” and that kind of shit.

    We talked about combining the letters of both of our names to make a new last name, but part of the reason I wanted to keep my last name was that family heritage and ancestry is important to me, so making up a new name would totally defeat that purpose. In fact, my last name is from my dad’s (Irish) side of the family, but I always regretted that I didn’t have any vestige of my mom’s Scandinavian heritage in my name.

    So… we finally decided to both change our middle names to my maiden name. And we both would have my husband’s last name. Since I was making a legal name change anyway, I decided to change my first name, too, so it reflected the Scandinavian part of my heritage. I added my MOTHER’S maiden name to the end of my first name, so it’s like a 2-word first name (like Mary Ann or something like that). That way, my middle name would be exactly the same as my husband’s – just my maiden name. My husband and I agreed to use our middle and last names together (like a hyphenated last name without the hyphen) in social situations, but on legal documents and at work and stuff, we’d just have his last name.

    Well, after all that, our marriage license reflects all the changes, but absolutely nothing else does! We are both too busy (or lazy?) to deal with it, so we go around by our own original names! We’ve been married almost 3 years. Even our taxes are still in our maiden names. When I write letters I sometimes write our names like we planned, but that’s about it.

    My in-laws just can’t deal with any of this and always insist on addressing everything to just his last name and they never include my maiden name although I always include it on everything. Is that passive-aggressive or what?

    Anyone have a weird name situation like me?

  134. ya know, I don’t really know what it says on my drivers liscense. I can’t remember when I answered that question, even.

    My name, however, has been an interesting conquest. I have always been picked on about my maiden name so when i married my first husband, I was glad to be rid of it. Now, I have married again and loathe my new name. No one knows how to spell it or pronounce it and it feels complicated. Until I met my husbnad, I had never heard the name before and I never really thought it had a nice ring to it. As tempting as it was to keep my first husbands name, I did drop it and change it to my now husbands. reluctantly, very reluctantly.

  135. Completely off-topic, but I need to post it somewhere – reading a friend’s lj post about body acceptance, a commenter remarked that she should stay away from the fatosphere because “not only are they all drowning in their own neckblubber, their attitudes to weight/health are INFUCKNGSANE”.

    I physically recoiled. I’ve never really encountered that kind of vitriol so close to home, as it were. I nearly cried, actually. I wanted to respond thoughtfully, but gave up and made a snarky response about keeping my head above water and asked her not to be so insulting.

    (Said commenter announced she was 10-15kg overweight. *sigh*: FobT).

  136. I am absolutely shocked you have to fill in your weight on an ID card… (I’m Dutch, we don’t do that over here). I mean, it can so strongly fluctuate, what’s the use of it anyway?

    I think it would be a good idea if schools started body acceptance classes. I’ve always been very thin – for genetic reasons – but that doesn’t mean I’ve had it easy. I was bullied with my low weight for 15 years, all the way through primary and secondary school, and the number of times people accused me of having an eating disorder.. I really started to dislike the way I look. Then I took up bellydance classes with a friend at university, and that all changed. Our dance teacher taught us that weight’s not an issue for bellydancers, you can dance well regardless of your size, and that the most important thing is to love your body. I only wish someone would have taught me (and the bullies at school) that earlier.

  137. Zoe!: uh huh. Suggesting that people eat a reasonably healthy diet, get some exercise as and when they can, and stop worrying themselves sick about numbers on scales or clothing labels is INFUCKINGSANE, huh? Because that’s pretty much the “attitudes to health” I usually see here and on most other fatosphere blogs. Something tells me that commenter hasn’t actually read many of them (that, or she’s taking the “baby-flavored donuts” posts a little too seriously).

    Stuff like that always upsets me, too; it’s the combination of the sheer vitriol plus the frustration I feel when I see people make sweeping judgements with no actual facts involved, and knowing that getting into Internet Arguments over it will nearly always be a losing battle. I’m sorry you ran into that.

  138. I hate my first name. I always have and my middle name as well. I always wanted to either have a completely plain name or Zilla. Like Godzilla.

    Yep. I’m a dork.

    Perhaps it’s my name hatred that has caused me to have approximately 30 different aliases listed with the FBI. I’ve been so many different names, *I* can barely keep up with who I am. It was really chaos for one of my therapists, she was convinced I must have DID.

    My weight on my real ID is fairly accurate. I have issues with paranoia, so I have several with false names, addresses, from different states even. I have multiple endocrine problems and my weight can fluctuate wildly. Sometimes I’m 97 lbs, other times I’m 157, depending upon whether I’m having a flare or not. So as a compromise, I listed 136. At least the height is correct! 5’7″ and I’ve not started to shrink, yet.

  139. This post really hit home for me. I am a relatively thin person, but I still spent years with my driver’s license listing the weight that I wished I was when I was 16. I finally changed my drivers license to reflect my real weight when I got married. For me, changing my weight on my driver’s license was less a reflection of new self-acceptance and more a tentative step in the right direction. More of a grit-my-teeth-and-will-myself-to-accept-this kind of moment. I stood there with my pen in hand frozen for a for a few minutes and then took a deep breath and wrote down my best guess of my actual weight. I won’t lie, seeing my real weight on my driver’s license felt lousy. But I really think it helped me in the long run to get over the idea that “the real me” was hiding somewhere buried under 20 pounds I didn’t want. Oddly enough, I now weigh less than my driver’s license says. I certainly don’t care enough about that fact to make another trip to the DMV, and I kinda like seeing my old weight on my driver’s license. It is a reminder that I am braver than I think I am and that being honest about my body and size really isn’t so bad.

  140. I forgot what, if anything, was listed on my (RI) license. Pulled it out, and am disappointed in myself to see that I lowballed my weight. It was a “I was this in college, and may be it again after kids someday” number.

    However. Anyone else ever flown on planes so small they tally all the passengers’ weights? I do recall, at least once, giving the REAL number to the guy behind the counter. So I’m giving myself partial credit.

  141. weight: that’s an odd one, cos i spent so much of my fucking CHILDHOOD wanting/trying to be something other than i was (i.e., not a fatty). but by adolescence i’d discovered both feminism and cliche girly clothes-lust and has a bunch of fat-posi realizations (though didn’t know that’s what they were called at the time), and decided i cared more about wearing awesome clothes than if i looked fat in them. then when i got sick how i felt became more important than what i weighed, and fortunately my dr’s felt similarly. i was pretty dissociated from my body at the time, but that’s another story. by then i’d pretty much accepted that i was fat and that wasn’t changing and though i didn’t always have the best relationship with food, dieting was never in question. it wasn’t until 2 years ago when i mysteriously lost 20 lbs that i felt all weird and out of place in my body; i’m not meant to have visible hipbones. but on the positive side that proved that i’m not meant to weight that little without serious medical problems involved. to wrap up, i guess i do identify as a fatkid, in that it shapes how i interact with the world, but no more or less than any other identity politics; they’re real, but they don’t control things any more than i let them, usually.

    name: my parents were weird and named me something other than what they planned to call me. i went by a nickname derived from my middle name for years, which i grew to dislike cos it was uncommon, but so was my birth name. i played around with various nicknames and really disliked my birth name until i was 14 or so, when i realized it actually suited me quite well. when i questioned my gender identity i seriously contemplated going by a more masculine/andro name (but not the one i’d gone by in high school, that didn’t suit me) and even had a great one picked out (asher lysander, for those keeping score at home)…except my given girl name is so ME. which is nice to feel. oh yeah, even if i flip my shit and get married up, i’m never changing my last name. it’s ethnic and unpronounceable and also very me.

  142. I’ve got a question about the philosophy of HAES, and this post seems like a good place to ask it. Ever since I started taking a fish-oil capsule supplement in addition to the one tablespoon of coconut oil I take every day, I’ve been losing some weight in a gradual, healthy manner. I haven’t been doing anything else differently. Of course, I don’t have iron-clad proof that fish oil is has kick-started my metabolism, but that is my operating assumption.

    My max. ideal weight according to the conventional wisdom is 160#. My weight since 1998 has been about 260#. If I were to get down to, let’s say, 240#, I would probably be mildly pleased about that. If I were to get down to 220#, my high-school maximum weight, I would probably be very pleased. But at the same time, I certainly don’t want to throw the wisdom I’ve learned here under the proverbial bus. So assuming that one is not doing anything inherently unhealthy and finds oneself losing weight in a gradual and healthy way, is it against HAES to be pleased about the weight coming off?

    In my case, I accept the fact that I’m predisposed to overweight, simply because I have been my entire life. It’s just that when I inflated up to 260# thanks to a lot of unhealthy binge-eating eating while I was quitting smoking for the second time (I relapsed but then quit again for the third and final time) and then couldn’t lose it, I was like, “Geez-Louise, do I have to be this overweight?”

    [Though according to a neighbor in the white-trash neighborhood in which I currently live, I would lose weight if I would convert to Christianity, because the Christian God is punishing me for being a Buddhist by making me big and fat like a Buddha statue. Nevermind the fact that the fat guy is Hotei and not the actual Siddartha.]

    But I can tell that reading this blog has changed my attitude. I reported my experience and that I think fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids, which we need but tend not to get enough of in our society regardless of weight considerations) had something to do with it, on an alternative-health bulletin-board, and I found the response my post generated from the maintainer of the board to be stupid and insulting:

    Conratulations upon finding a part of your problem. Remember, though, as you age, your “goal” of 220 will no longer prevent your oncoming diabetes.

  143. BTW, the weight on my license reads 260#, simply because that was my weight when I renewed it (it’s an ID-only license, I don’t know how to drive a car), and what it had been for about the previous eight years. Interestingly enough, though, my ID picture is one of those rare “good” ID photographs! But my weight shows enough in my face in the picture that there really would be no point in lying about it by reporting a lower weight.

  144. Conratulations upon finding a part of your problem. Remember, though, as you age, your “goal” of 220 will no longer prevent your oncoming diabetes.

    As a Buddist you are probably disinclined from telling that person to fuck himself in the ear. Too bad, as he is clearly a preachy little fuck who doesn’t know the first thing about diabetes.

    Have you been feeling better in general since you started taking fish oil?

  145. As a Buddist you are probably disinclined from telling that person to fuck himself in the ear. Too bad, as he is clearly a preachy little fuck who doesn’t know the first thing about diabetes.

    The amusing thing is, his attitude about weight comes off as very Roman Catholic, in that I have supposedly made some sort of barely adequate start down a long and harsh road of penitence to which I must commit myself fully, or else I’ll suffer the damnation of adult-onset diabetes.

    My Buddhist attitude towards the fish-oil and weight loss is that the fish-oil is something I’m doing to just live more in balance, and if some weight-loss occurs along with it, then that’s simply appreciated as serendipity. (In the unlikely event that I ever become a drag-queen, I think that will be my stage-name: Sarah N. Dipity!) Making weight-loss into a goal after which I would force myself to chase would be the very sort of desire-based thinking that so often leads to bitter disappointment.

    Have you been feeling better in general since you started taking fish oil?

    I do have a fairly physically demanding job, and I notice that I feel less tired out at the end of the day. But I noticed a more dramatic improvement about a year ago when I began taking a tablespoon of coconut oil every day.

  146. Whenever men found out I weighed 150 they were always shocked and thought I weighed less….I told them that women lie so much about their weight that it would make sense they would think and average girl weiged 120 lbs!!!

    My license says 145, but I am probably 153 or so? Not sure since I have stopped weighing myself…..

    Love this site!

  147. Hey Alyce – this Liza has never been thin!!! lol

    Nor has she ever been in a New Wave band…though in 8th grade my friend and I had a “band” – I played keyboards and she played guitar, we alternated singing and neither of us was very good. We called ourselves the Madcows.

  148. Loveandlight, I might suggest you try truly disconnecting from the number – the weight on the scale really doesn’t matter if you are doing something that makes you feel healthier and better all ’round. It reads, and I mean this in a really gentle, considerate way, like you are still caught up in the idea that a certain kind of fat is TOO fat – the negative way that you talk about “ballooning” up to 260 and do you have to be THAT fat actually kind of stings because, at 300+ pounds, yeah, apparently I do have to be THIS fat and it isn’t bad, you know? Ideally, if you felt just has healthy and good at 260 as you did at 240 or 220 or whatever, the number would be equally fine. THAT is HAES – being more invested in how your body feels than in what the scale tells you.

    And, sure, you can be happy if it makes it easier to find clothes or because you feel more energetic or whatever. But if you are solely feeling happy because the number is less? That isn’t really HAES.

  149. the negative way that you talk about “ballooning” up to 260 and do you have to be THAT fat actually kind of stings because, at 300+ pounds, yeah, apparently I do have to be THIS fat and it isn’t bad, you know?

    {/me blanches}

    I’m sorry. One stereotype about gay men that seems to hold true is that it’s really, really, really, really difficult for us not to be at least a little bit vain. (If there are any other gay men reading who have entirely conquered this, then congratulations, dude, you’re a very rare bird indeed!) This has some positive manifestations such as compelling me to shave the “middle-age hairs” that grow in my nose and ears and making sure I don’t relapse into my teenage bad habit of neglecting my personal hygiene. But unfortunately it also tends to make me cleave to attitudes that may impair an entirely healthy and realistic approach to life.

  150. Loveandlight, it is totally a process, it is fine and I appreciate the apology more than you might realize. It’s so easy to get caught up, even when we are trying to be aware and to fight the cultural messages we receive, in the value messages about weight.

    I think it is important to keep in mind that, with HAES, weight is value-neutral.

    And Sarah N. Dipity would be SUCH an awesome drag queen name I can barely stand it.

  151. Here’s a cultural difference: in Britain and Ireland we simply don’t use a numerical weight to describe people. The *build* of a missing or wanted person might be described in a news report, but not their approximate weight. I’m baffled by American acquaintances who say, “oh, she was about 5’6″ , 150lb” — *how the hell do you know*? Unfortunately it’ a cultural difference that doesn’t make much difference to the discrimination fat people suffer.

  152. It’s so easy to get caught up, even when we are trying to be aware and to fight the cultural messages we receive, in the value messages about weight.

    When you start paying attention, you realize that society really does relentlessly condition people’s minds with a mechanical sledgehammer when it comes to weight.

    And Sarah N. Dipity would be SUCH an awesome drag queen name I can barely stand it.

    My porn-star name would be Phil Aishio. }:-D>

  153. The Dutch drivers license doesn’t have weight.
    What possible use could such a number have on you license?

    Mind that my current license is still the large paper affair, which has ample space to display all sorts of unnecessary statistics. Not the credit-card sized cards that the US uses (and we have recently introduced here).

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