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Why do I not weigh less?

By Anonymous March 31, 2009 - 6:24pm
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I look good. I eat perfectly. I don't touch sugar, I don't eat meat or milk products. I eat endless organic fruits and veggies, fish and other super healthy things. I do about 45 minutes of cardio a day and weight training three times a week. I barely drink.
The why oh why do I sometimes see a woman at the gym who looks bigger (as in fatter)than me, who weighs less?
I wear a small size (about a 4) but weigh about 137 lbs at 5 foot 6.
I know that this is fine and average but I work so hard that I want to look a little better than average. I am very healthy and am youngish(36). I have not had children.

My measurements are chest 35", waist 27" and hips 36". Are these decent measurements? Should I not weight less? Why does a woman who looks bigger than me weigh ten pounds less than me?
I am irritated as no matter what I do, I never seem to gain or loose, I stay at almost exactly the same weight even when I throw in a few extra workouts or try dancing or whatever.
I am so frustrated as this makes me think, what's the point!? I will never look the way I want to.
I read an article at the gym (of all places) about an actress who weighs 131 lbs at my height(5 6") who thinks that this is too heavy and wants to be 115 lbs. So I am not the only one who is unhappy with a "reasonable weight".
Please advise me.

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EmpowHER Guest

Muscle weighs more than fat. Weight loss should be measured in inches not pounds, then you could appreciate your accomplishments. I am 5'5" and weigh 134. I would like to weigh less too but I have a very athletic build. I run 15-20 miles per week and eat very healthy.

November 12, 2009 - 1:54pm
HERWriter Guide


Thanks for your comment, although no-one was "reprimanding" the first Anon.

Weight could be caused by any of the "physiology" scenarios you mentioned. While "big boned" or "small boned" isn't really a mitigating factor in weight, muscle weighs a lot more than fat so this can cause a very physically fit, muscular person to have a high BMI and classed as over-weight, when in fact, they are in good shape.

We also need to make sure that we don't equate "thin" with healthy. I think that's a mistake that many of us make. Someone with a healthy BMI might be in terrible health, not exercising, eating empty calories and the like.

Genetics also play a factor. Leg shape and hip size can be handed down from our parents. Not much we can do about it.

And since we can't always tell the size of a person's frame (by how they dress etc) or what kind of muscles they have, we can't always tell "why" they weigh less/more.

And while it's important to keep an eye on our weight, fussing (or beating ourselves up!) over a few pounds isn't worth it. Since there could be any number of reasons (as stated above) for why one person weighs a few pounds less or more than a person of the same height, we need make sure we don't make comparisons that may be wrong and would require a full analysis of why one person is one way and another person is another way.

Unless we're fifteen-twenty or more pounds over-weight, our emphasis needs to be on health and fitness, not fitting into a certain dress size like a Hollywood actress or comparing our bodies to someone else's because there are too many variables to make a correct assumption.

October 14, 2009 - 2:17pm
EmpowHER Guest

I don't think the person who wrote this is looking for a reprimand. I think it is a legitimate comment. I know woman that look bigger than me and weigh less or wear a smaller size. Are we talking about bone density, body type, muscle....I don't understand it either. Do certain peoples muscles or fat, weigh more or less than others? Maybe that sounds stupid, but I'd be curious of the answer that isn't based on all the "psychological" issues and one more on physiology.

October 14, 2009 - 1:35pm
EmpowHER Guest

I don't eat a lot. I eat small healthy portions throughout the day. I know that I am not fat. I am not suffering from body dysmorphia or anything like that. I am just curious as to why I weigh what I do. Maybe I am more muscular than other women. I have decent biceps and am pretty solid.
Also, I am very active all throughout the day. I cycle, walk, swim and workout too. I don't have an office or sit down job. I also bartend which burns a lot of calories.
I just wonder why I don't weigh a little less since my measurements are good(see above). I can wear a size 4 to 6 usually.
Your advice is great, thanks. It is perhaps, silly to get hung up on numbers...but I am curious. My measurements are now even better than they were in the past when I weighed less. I am guessing that it is muscle.

April 2, 2009 - 11:33pm

I wanted to provide one more thought for you, ignoring the body image issues.

As far as losing or gaining weight...you can eat "healthy", organic, fruits, veggies, no meat, no dairy...and still gain weight. What matters most is the amount of calories you burn versus the amount of calories you consume. A person eating healthy can consume the same amount calories via healthy food as she is burning, and remain the same weight. Now is probably not the time to start counting calories when you are concerned about your body image, but just another piece of the puzzle for you.

Also another thought: are you working out hard at the gym or trail, then are sedentary the rest of the day? You can be generally active throughout the day, do an official "workout", and burn more calories than if you sit at your job, sit at home, and then "workout".

Does any of this help? I would think it would be a great help to see a physical trainer AND a Registered Dietitian...let us know if you need help finding recommendations, and your health insurance may cover some of the costs.

April 2, 2009 - 5:15pm

Your comment, "I read an article at the gym about an actress who weighs 131 lbs at my height(5 6") who thinks that this is too heavy and wants to be 115 lbs. So I am not the only one who is unhappy with a "reasonable weight". On the other extreme, you are comparing yourself to a "chubby girl who weighs less", and this thought is making you feel like you should weigh less. These two extremes are red flags for me...I used to work with women in their 20s and 30s who were living with body dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders and body image issues...the entire range of the continuum of body dissatisfaction, despite their current healthy weight.

You may find Jenni's story inspirational, called Finding Me.

I was scared when I read that you are comparing yourself to a model, who's ideal weight is considered a health RISK! If she is 5' 6", and wants to be 115...that gives her a BMI of 18.6. A BMI of 18.5 or less is considered dangerously underweight.

Can you think of more positive role models, who look great, have lots of energy, and are a healthy weight? What if you did not weigh yourself, so you are not so concerned with a number that fluctuates, but rather enjoyed healthy food, enjoy exercise..and focus your energy on more positive areas of your life. If you are unable to do this, please read the links above, and consider talking with a Registered Dietitian or Therapist about your body concerns.

I'm so sorry that you are depressed when you see a number on the scale that does not meet the criteria that you have set for yourself. I am currently trying to lose weight myself, and know how frustrating it is to not see progress. Perhaps you used the word "depressed" casually, but I took it as a serious description. Getting fitter and healthier are great goals, but can not control your emotions...when you are seeing a woman in the mirror who does not meet the pre-determined criteria that is based on ???, then this is when there is a body image issue that is a concern. We are hear to talk with you more about this.

Take care.

April 2, 2009 - 2:50pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks for the positive comments. I am aware that I look pretty good but I actually am an actor(or trying to be) and on film, things are always a litte more obvious when they are not 100% perfect.
The numbers just don't make sense to me. Is it because I am more solid that I can weigh more than a chubby girl who at my height weighs less?

That's a good idea to meet with a trainer a couple of times. I would be into tightening up my thighs a bit more and though my stomach is pretty flat, it could be a little tighter.

I have always been a little body obsessed. You are right that I should "pat myself on the back". I DO work very hard and a life without ANY sugar can be hard.
My rewards are always something like a new pair of shoes, never food.

My goal number is 125. I don't even really know why. When I was around 22 i weiged this. Maybe that is why. I know that I am not close to 22 anymore but my frame is the same though probably back then, I ate very little.
I get a bit depressed that I am over ten pounds form my goal. I am on the birth control pill(ortho tri cyclen). Might this be responsible for being heavier?

April 1, 2009 - 10:07am

Hi, Anon. Your question is a great one.

In addition to all the great points Susan made, I wanted to mention a couple of things.

I can tell you are a perfectionist (it takes one to know one, LOL). I have been where you are, and I can tell you this: You're not taking nearly enough pleasure from the things you are accomplishing.

The fact that you eat well and exercise regularly is so great! So many people never do this!! And you have fabulous measurements -- I can tell that you have a gorgeous hourglass figure from the measurements you gave. And yet you are focused on what you aren't.

You know the old thing about the glass is half empty or half full? Your fitness glass is 7/8 full and yet you're almost seeing it as empty because it's not all the way to 8/8. This is just wrong. You are awesome in what you do, and I want you to start patting yourself on the back for it.

I used to be the same way. And what I can now see is this: That the years in which I had the best body of my life were also the years in which I refused to see that -- and enjoy it. And now that I'm older and my metabolism and hormones make it more difficult to accomplish weight loss and body shaping, I can see how far from reality my body image was then. I saw only the flaws, despite the fact that I had a thin, lean, lovely shape.

Is it possible that your body image is off? Is it possible that while you look in the mirror and say "why do I weigh so much?" that others see you in the mirror and think, "wow, I wish I looked like her!" ? I'm guessing this is totally the case.

Which is not to say that we can't always work to improve things. It's just that I want you to see all the good things you are already doing as being more important. If you want to focus on getting more toned in certain areas, if you want something to fit a little differently, it may be that an appointment or two with a personal trainer will help. Or it may be that you need to adjust what you're eating a little -- more protein, a little monounsaturated fat, etc. Even if everything you eat is organic and good for you, the number of calories does count.

I think what worries me most is that you are concerned with what others weigh. In order to know this, you have to be watching someone step on the scale and watch to see how their number comes out. That tells me that, like Susan said, that number might be more important to you than all the good work you're doing. Think about that, and see if it's true. And if you need more reinforcement, come back here for a pep talk. We think what you're doing rocks!

April 1, 2009 - 9:51am
HERWriter Guide

Firstly, try not to let an actress be your frame of reference. Most will admit that being thin - usually thinner than their natural tendency - is part of their job. And all models (unless expressly plus-sized) are required to be very thin. Reality and a natural weight/height ratio is not a factor in their jobs - if it were, they would be fired. This is an unfortunate fact and you cannot use this mindset in your own life or you will set yourself up for failure.

However, you are not alone! At all! Many of us have a numerical goal in mind - it may be realistic or not!

You have a goal in mind and are determined to reach it which is good. What may not be so good is that your body is telling you that this is your natural weight - which leads to the question - if you work out, eat "perfectly" and are not over-weight - what is wrong with your weight, in your mind?

Your body is fine - it's your mind that needs a little assistance in this area.

You weight and height ratio (BMI - Body Mass Index) fall into the healthy range. You eat well, avoid all the bad stuff (I should take heed!) and the result is a natural, healthy weight. You are neither under nor over-weight. A doctor or dietitian would find your weight to be excellent, especially since you have such a healthy lifestyle attached - meaning you don't weigh what you weigh through excess dieting or exercise.

Put the physical aside for a while and concentrate on your emotional.

What is your perfect number? And why do numbers matter so? Your measurements are fine - are you a model? Is that why you want reassurance or do you feel that you are out of proportion? You are very proportionate.

Your emphasis is very much on a magic number. I understand that. We all know it's lovely to slip on a pair of size 6 jeans. But numbers don't really mean anything in your case.

When you say you will never look the way you want to - what does this mean? You are obviously slim - are you looking for a thinner, more model like look? Why is it that you want to lose weight - when, as you say, no matter what you do, you always weigh the same? Your body is actually doing you a wonderful favor - it is doing what it is supposed to do! It is responding very well to your lifestyle - and if you try to change it, it will rebel. If your natural weight falls at this level - why the need to change it, especially when that level is so healthy?

I think you are trying to change the physical, based on the emotional. And it simply won't work. I think also that society and our culture is what is convincing you that you need to lose weight, while nature (a much stronger force, believe it or not) is simply telling your otherwise. And unless you adopt a radical diet (don't!) nature will win out. It IS the nature of things.

Please don't let a number - or an unhealthy cultural obsession where underweight is not only considered beautiful - but healthy - make you feel that there is something "wrong" with you.

Which again leads to the physical being dictated to, by the emotional.

Why do you think this is happening?

March 31, 2009 - 7:27pm
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