Is it possible to be overweight and not know it? Is perception reality? Can you lie to yourself about your weight and believe it? In my opinion (and experience), the answer to all three questions is yes---up to a point. A better question would probably be, “how long can you really deceive yourself about your weight?”
The “perception of body weight” question was the target for researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. From their research, they reported that nearly 25 percent of overweight and 16 percent of normal weight reproductive-age women misperceive their body weight. This is the first study to examine reproductive-age women's weight-related behaviors associated with self-perception of weight.
It is interesting to me that 16 percent of the normal weight women perceived themselves to be overweight. That is a problem that I will discuss in a future article.
Dr. Mahbubur Rahman, assistant professor at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health stated, "What we found reflects the 'fattening' of America. As obesity numbers climb, many women identify overweight as normal, not based on the scale but on how they view themselves."
The study analyzed more than 2,200 women 18-25 years old based on survey questions pertaining to sociodemographic variables, height, weight, weight perceptions and weight-related behaviors. Women with body mass indexes (BMIs) below 25 were considered normal weight and those with BMIs of 25 or more were considered overweight. Overall, 52 percent of the study participants were considered overweight or obese.
According to the research, overweight and obese Hispanic and African American women are significantly more likely than white women to misjudge their weight, categorizing themselves as normal. The researchers also found that overweight women who perceive themselves as normal weight were significantly less likely to report weight-related behaviors, such as dieting.
I realize that you can take numbers and make them say what you want. In my profession, we work to help solve the weight issues of the overweight and obese.