Meta Weight Loss's blog

What does "Normal" look like?

I have been reading the comments on the article in the January issue of Plus Size Magazine featuring Katya Zharkova on Facebook.  I could hardly avoid it, since the link is plastered on the walls of many of my friends.  The fact that on every wall, there are comments on this article saying that the modeling industry shouldn't promote obesity either.  The implication being, I assume, that Katya Zharkova is supposed to be obese.

Funny, I look at her and I don't see obese. In those pictures, she looks either normal or slightly overweight.  She could probably stand to lose some weight, but not that much.  I did some research and she's about 5'10" and wears a size 12.  That would seem pretty normal to me, not obese.  But to those women, she looks obese.

So what does normal look like?  I am using the medical definition of normal here - a BMI of 18.5 - 24.9.  I can find that definition of normal pretty easily and it's what most doctors use to assess weight-related health risks.  What I care about most is being healthy, so that seems to be as good a measure as any.  Oddly enough, what I can't find is what normal looks like.  Nowhere on the web can I find a clear example that states this is what a BMI of 18.5 - 24.9 looks like on a woman of any height. 

You can't find normal in the fashion magazines or pictures online of models or stars either.  First of all, they are all photoshop'ed (I'm not sure that's a word, but let's go with it).  And more importantly, the average BMI of most top models is 16.3 (From the National Eating Disorders Association Website).  That is, by definition, not normal.  It is underweight. Severly Underweight.  So severely underweight in fact that Spain passed a law in 2006 requiring models to have a BMI of at least 18 after 2 models died.

Most plus-size models, oddly enough, often aren't.  Plus-sized, that is.  Most are a minimum of 5'9" and range from a size 6 - 16 (ish).  I got this from several sources, including the original Plus Size Magazine article.  The entry on Wikipedia was much more vague.  The plus-sized models are certainly closer to the average American woman.  The average American woman is 5'4", weighs 140 pounds and has a BMI of 24.  That is normal.

Mind you, it's a little hard to picture "normal"  when you're constantly being bombarded by messages that you're fat.

We'd have to go back to Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe to get some idea of what normal might look like.

Or even, better, start looking in the mirror. 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

What are you grateful for?

Can I Accept Myself and Still Lose Weight?

I believe that in order to lose weight easily and permanently, and not be completely neurotic like Monica on Friends, you need to love and accept yourself as you are now.  That includes your fat and everything else you may not like about yourself.  

That's a really hard thing for most people to do.  We have this belief that we have to be perfect or at least perfectly thin in order to like ourselves.  We will only be able to like ourselves when we are finally thin and then everything will be wonderful.

I think the reality is the exact opposite.  We have to like and accept ourselves just as we are now IN ORDER TO BE THIN.  The more we beat ourselves up, the harder it is to lose weight. 

Try liking yourself and forgiving yourself when you screw up - notice how much better you feel and how much less you need food to make you feel better.

When you truly like and accept yourself, it's a lot easier to find things that are better than food.

5 Strageties for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

The holidays are coming up and most people typically gain weight over the holidays.  You can avoid this weight gain (and maybe even continue losing) with a few simple strategies to avoid temptation and lower your stress, not to mention really enjoying yourself!


1.  Plan ahead:   Just even thinking through your schedule and anticipating where you might run into trouble can help you avoid it.  For example, if you know you're going to a party right after work, pack some healthy snacks to eat at work before you leave for the party so you're not starving when you get there.

2.  Eat Very Slowly - and really taste and enjoy what you're eating.   Take the things you really like, but take half of what you ordinarily would and just eat it very slowly and really taste what you're eating.  Pay really close attention to your food, especially if it's something  you really like.  It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full, so if you eat slowly, you give your brain a chance to catch up with your stomach.  Plus, you will actually enjoy your food more.

3.  Exercise More - Adding a little exercise here and there (perhaps a 5 or 10 minute walk around the house, office or outside if the weather is good) can really help lower your stress level and help keep you happier and less likely to overeat in the first place.

4.  Don't Overbook Yourself or have unrealistic expectations.  Pick and choose a few parties and events that you and/or your family would like to attend rather than trying or feeling obliged to go to everything.  You and your family come first.  It's okay to say "no."  Really!

5.  Most Importantly - Concentrate on Other Things Besides Food or alchoholic drinks that you enjoy this season.  Spending time with friends and family that you don't see daily; decorating the house; outdoor activities and anything else that you really enjoy about the holidays.  Sit down this week and make a list of everything you like about the holidays that doesn't include food or drinks and really focus on those - see if you can add a few more things to the list this year.

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