Yesterday I did some searching on the internet for “ideal body weight” charts and calculators. I have done this in the past, but usually if something asks me to put down my laptop, get off the couch, search through my townhouse for measuring tape, and then do some complex looking mathematical equations based on the measurements that I got after following their confusing instructions to get said measurements, then finally be able to use their chart/calculator to get my “ideal body weight”, I usually click “back” on my browser and look for something more simple. Like a chart that only asks for my height. I think I can handle remembering out how tall I am, although, I have gotten conflicting measurements for that before as well…
But yesterday I found a site that started out by asking me to go and locate my measuring tape to get a measurement of my wrist, but then they also provided a handy little shortcut that didn’t involve me getting up and didn’t involve any math skills on my part. All I had to do was was wrap my thumb and middle finger around my wrist and see if they could touch or not, and then based on that I could finally confirm what I’ve thought for a while. I have a large body frame.
Armed with this new found knowledge of my body frame size I went and clicked on many links to many different charts and calculators… and found that pretty much every different site I went to had their own unique idea as to what my “ideal body weight” should be. Some of them were similar, but I still ended up with many conflicting numbers. The ones that only asked for my height and didn’t take my frame size into account, the old school charts basically, told me that I still needed to lose a pretty good amount of weight before I would be at my “ideal weight”. The lowest number I saw for my height of 5’6″ was around 114 pounds! I would have to lose 38 more pounds before I would hit that weight. But these are the charts that I’m used to, the charts that I remember from back when I first got married and was being gently prodded by my doctor that maybe I might want to “become more active and lose a little bit of weight”. These are the types of numbers that I have had in my head for years when I think about how much I “should” weigh. Admittedly, some of these charts have a range of numbers for what my “healthy weight range” would be, but we all know that all we tend to see is the lowest number connected to our height. Well at least if your brain works the same way mine does anyway.
But when I moved on from the “old school” charts and started to take into account my large body frame, I was shocked to find that they all pretty much say that I am already in my healthy weight range. Some of them say that I am just barely in it because my current weight is the lowest number listed on that weight range. Some of them say that I’m right in the middle of it. But pretty much all of them say that I am already at a healthy, ideal weight.
Which completely shocked me.
Because I still had the old charts in my head. I was convinced that I still needed to lose at least 20 or so more pounds before I would actually be at my ideal weight.
I have spent years, really ever since I was a teenager and my obsession with my weight began, thinking that I needed to get down to a ridiculously low weight in order to not be “fat”. And the old charts didn’t help with that at all. Because, until yesterday, the thought that my large body frame might mean that I shouldn’t look at the lowest number on the chart connected to my height never crossed my mind.
When I was in high school it never even crossed my mind that different sized body frames were even a thing. Even though for a while I was really quite skinny, I always felt fat because I wasn’t as small as some of the other girls. Back then someone saying they were “big boned” was looked at like an excuse for not losing the weight that they needed to to be super model skinny. How different things might have been for me if someone had actually told me that I was “big boned” and that it didn’t matter how skinny I got, that was never going to change.
But now that I know, maybe I can start to change the way that I look at myself. Maybe I can start to give myself a break.