I have a problem: I do not know my body type. When I look in the mirror, this is what I see: I see my face and that my hair is in a ponytail, but I gloss over the rest of me. I don’t want to look at it. I’m no supermodel, that’s for sure.
I know roughly the size of clothes I wear. It depends what store I walk in. If it’s a shirt, I’m usually an M. If it’s a dress, I’m typically an L and sometimes an XL.
Some days it’s hard to go shopping. All the 0s and 2s are placed in the front. I have to push everything forward to get to the back. It’s depressing to see all of those smaller sizes get passed by.
I once went into a United Colors of Benetton. I didn’t see any Ls hiding behind the cute XSs and Ms there. When I asked the associate, she told me bluntly, “We do not carry your size.” Wow. At least, I made it out of the store before I cried. (This was when I was ten pounds lighter, too!)
I probably could lose a few pounds*, but I shouldn’t have to. I’m not fit, but I think I qualify as active. I’m a tall woman. I’m also a healthy weight. I’m starting to come to terms with what I am, a real woman, but I’m not fully there yet.
So when the flyer came in the mail to sign up for the Cecil Jarvis 10K in Clarksbrug, West Virginia, imagine my surprise when they listed the starting weight for “overweight” women at 140 pounds. I can’t remember the last time I stepped on the scale and saw that number – early high school perhaps. It was another depressing reminder that I don’t meet our society’s expectations of beauty.
According to the BMI index, you’d have to be under 5’3″ and weighing 140 pounds in order to be classified as overweight. But that’s flawed too since it doesn’t take into account muscle and body fat.
I texted my friend who is fit, about what she thought about that flyer: Sad.
The men’s overweight category starts at 225 pounds – a startling 85 pound difference.
No wonder so many women in this country have body issues and self-esteem problems. No wonder I’m one of them.
*What I’m actually needing to do now is gain, ha!