Am I really the “National Average?”
I just found out that the new U.S. National Average for women’s sizes is 14-16 (up from 10-12). That puts me right in the national average at a size 14 jeans/dress. But, what does that really mean?
At almost fifteen months postpartum I feel like I should not look the way I do. I walk around the wall hiding most of my body behind a fluffy (and comfortable!) sweater and my daughter’s stroller because all I see are thinner, tanner, smoother looking women staring back at me. When I order something in the food court I feel like all their eyes are on me; I feel like they whisper, “OMG Becky, she is so fat! Look at her… I can’t believe she is ordering that! Eat a salad you tub-o-lard!”
I should say up-front that I was never thin. My entire adult life (aka when my body stopped growing up and started growing out at 16) I have been a size 10+. The lowest I have weighed is 174lb and this put me in size 8 jeans (and I mean size 8 at Old Navy in stretch… which is really like a size 12 anywhere else). When I got pregnant in 2010 I was 196 pounds. Prior to having my daughter this weight did not look all that bad on my size 5’8” frame. I have always gained all of my weight in my thighs, butt, and arms. My stomach, despite my being “overweight,” has always remained very flat.
Flash forward to my postpartum body and I now gain all of my weight in my stomach, hips, and face. My legs seem to stay roughly the same and my waist is still less than 32 inches around. But my stomach and love handles absolutely hate me and have waged war on my physique.
I chose to do an extreme protein shake diet when my daughter was five months to when she was around ten months and I lost 45 pounds. I went from 225 pounds to almost 180 pounds. I dropped pants sizes and I felt like I looked normal. I stopped dieting so intensely and the instant I began a normal calorie diet I gained 25 pounds back. I now feel like I am disgusting again and again with every look in the mirror but no matter what I do I cannot drop the weight.
SOAM’s website has shown me that everyone has problems with their body post-baby. I see these other women and I think of how beautiful they all look, even when some of them are exactly my size. Lately, instead of focusing so much on losing weight and inches, I have been trying to eat healthier options (100% whole wheat instead of “wheat,” more fresh fruits/vegetables, less salt) and I go to the YMCA to swim. As a side note, the YMCA is a great place. Because of its friendly atmosphere I have not ever felt judged there and every woman looks like me!
A final note: We are all beautiful. We created a human and we should appreciate our bodies for the miracles they are!