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What’s in a Number?

March 9, 2011

I love magazines.  Always have.  When I was little I used to read Highlights and the kid’s version of National Geographic World (what on earth was that called)?  As I hit my awkward pre teen years I gravitated towards Seventeen and a magazine called Sassy that I don’t think exists anymore.  In high school I devoured Cosmo, Glamour and Mademoiselle.

Now, my tastes have matured slightly.  I love Real Simple and (of course) tabloid magazines.  But I tend to prefer women’s health and fitness magazines-Women’s Fitness, Self, Shape, Fitness.  I love great new workout ideas, recipes, trends and fashion. 

However, I was really disappointed with the newest issue of Shape.

I love that Sofia Vergara is the cover model-there is something so real about her, which makes her easy to relate to.  Those curves!  Those boobs!  She’s a really woman (and funny too).  However, there was something in this month’s issue that rubbed me the wrong way. 

On page 67 it says "At 5’7", Sofia’s ideal weight is 125."  Says who? 

I think a broad, sweeping statement like this should not be in Shape or any magazine, or should be clarified with something like "with her frame, this is the ideal weight."  I am 5’7" and if I get anywhere below 145, people start asking me if I’m eating enough and if I’m having problems.  At 145 or anywhere below, I look emaciated and unhealthy.  I couldn’t imagine being at 125, especially if that is the "ideal" weight for someone who is 5’7"!  I’ve always been muscular from years as a collegiate swimmer and I embrace that body shape.  Sure, for some people 125 is the ideal weight for 5’7”, but not for everyone.

At 5 months post partum, I weigh 3 pounds less than I did before I got pregnant with Aaron.  I still want things to tighten up a bit more, but overall, I’m happy with my body.  Things are slowly but surely tightening up, I’m currently training for a half marathon, doing yoga twice a week, strength training twice a week, AND taking care of my beautiful son. 

I’m healthy, even if I’m not at an "ideal weight."  At my current weights, some of my jeans from pre pregnancy are too big and I no longer have a muffin top that I used to fight before my pregnancy.  I look good and most importantly I feel good.  People tell me all of the time that I look so skinny!  So I just can’t understand why I should aim to be 125?
 
Just like I think BMI is generally a load of garbage (technically, based on BMI Tom Brady is overweight!), I think saying a certain weight is ideal for height is a load of garbage too.  I really hope in the future to not see such broad, generalized statements in magazines, though I don’t think that will ever happen.  I think statements like this mess with people’s heads and cause problems.  Striving for something that’s not ideal can only lead to problems I think.

While I don’t exactly know why this bothered me so much, it just did.  I think people are too focused on an ideal and a goal that is arbitrary and not right for them.  People strive for a goal weight because it sounds good or skinny, not because it’s the healthy or right weight for them.  It’s hard not to compare yourself to models, movie stars or even your friends but it’s just not realistic!  We need to stop focusing on numbers and embrace who we are!

Do you think statements like the one in Shape promote unrealistic expectations?  Do you focus on “ideal” numbers or care more about how you look and feel?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 9, 2011 10:35 am

    Completely agree with you. And you look amazing! Would never know you had a baby 5 months ago!

    We should go shopping…my prepregnancy pants are too big too. I blame breast feeding.

  2. March 9, 2011 1:33 pm

    That is such a ridiculous generalized statement to make. And real people like YOU who balance it all on their own are so much more inspiring to me. You rock!

  3. March 9, 2011 4:16 pm

    i agree; 125 would be freakishly skinny!!! i know the more i run, the more weight i gain actually from all my leg muscles. so much for running getting me back to prepregnancy weight! since i started running more (on a schedule) i’ve actually gained 3 lbs.

  4. March 9, 2011 8:51 pm

    Umm, yeah. I once weighed 135 (I’m also 5’7) and everyone who knew me thought I was too skinny and was worried about me.

  5. March 10, 2011 1:42 pm

    Nope, that does not even follow anything an RD would use because there would be a range to start going out from a desirable body weight…so that would be a number +/- 10% to account for variances and a not one size fits all number. Let’s see what the BMI shows…BMI of 19.6 which is cutting it close to underweight and at risk for health related conditions associated with being underweight. Does not seem healthy and this is a reason why I make my students look at everything they read to see who comes up with this stuff.

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