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!
8 thoughts on “Am I Really the “National Average?” (Misty)”
I, too, am 5’8″ tall and weigh around 205 lbs. Most of my weight is postpartum weight. I didn’t weigh this much after my last baby (9 years ago). Working the night shift has been the biggest culprit.
My weight is settled in my hips/butt/thigh, waist and arms. I am currently comfortable in a size 16, but can fit in SOME 14s if they are made “roomy”. I avoid stretchy fabrics because they are not flattering at ALL to my apple shape. (I used to be pear shaped).
I think that we ARE the national average, sadly. Fast food, obesity epidemic and all that.
Like you, I was never a size 2….but looked good and was considered thin when I wore a size 8.
The larger I grew the more I noticed that the size 12-16s are the sizes that are hardest to find when shopping for jeans/shorts.
I also struggle with how I look now, I find myself choosing all black clothing or clothing that hides my shape. I am self-conscious about what I eat (and how much) even though I do try to eat fairly healthy.
If this is your first pregnancy…I recommend that you DON’T do what I did…I chose to “wait til I was done having babies to get in shape”. I wish now that I had adopted a workout routine (nothing horrible or overly-strenuous) and taken up walking, then kept it up throughout my pregnancies.
Honestly, I think I would be perfectly happy in a size 12 – as long as I feel good and know I am eating right and taking care of my body. I truly do believe that if we eat right and exercise regularly, our bodies will respond.
We may never be a size 8 again, but we can still look good and FEEL good :)
Going on a crash diet is the most effective way to get weight off, but ultimately, since those types of eating habits aren’t what we normally do, it’s not going to be a lasting weight loss.
Your body is beautiful, and your choice to lose weight is yours alone, and that journey is one that is intensely personal. There are a lot of great resources (that are free) that can help you learn more about what YOUR body needs in terms of daily caloric values.
Honestly, just changing some daily routines, getting proper sleep, getting rid of white breads, sodas, deserts, and just reigning in a bit can help slim you up, little by little.
I don’t mean to preach, and I have no right to tell you what’s best for YOU. I don’t have the body I want right now simply because I haven’t made room in my life for proper exercise and eat more per-sitting than I should. There’s SO much advertising around diets and different “schticks” with them, that it’s so easy to start believing that this is the answer.
You’re body is beautiful, and as a spectator, I think you have an enviable shape. Don’t push yourself harder than you should. If you’re super unhappy, read up on what your age group tends to need in terms of exercise and diet, and see what might work for you.
I just want to say that going on any diet – that is a diet created to help someone lose weight – isn’t healthy. It can really screw up your metabolism and poor nutrition is never good for your body. Choosing a healthy lifestyle is the only healthy way to live.
I agree with Bonnie. What we eat should never be a “diet”, it should be a way of life. Eat lean protein (chicken breast, salmon, tuna, ground turkey), lots of veggies (the greener the better), complex carbs (oats, brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread), and fruit (berries are always a safe bet!). Do not be afraid to lift weights (for about 20 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week), you will not get bulky. Eat a food high in protein after every weight lifting exercise. Do about 20 minutes of cardio a few days a week as well (it can be something as simple as jumping jacks while watching TV, or dancing with the kids!).
Well I’m 5’8 and 175 and I’m still in a 15 so you go gril! I’ve got big love handles and my jeans won’t fit around them grrr so there huge on my legs and butt lol! I really dislike the way my shirts fit so I’m always in baggy t-shirts!
you look good! I always envied woman with a pear shaped body as opposed to an apple? top heavier shape. This is because I exercise a lot, not because I enjoy it but to eases my anxieties about gaining weight getting stretch marks during my pregnancy. Anyways I find that because I am a top heavy person running, jogging, and getting good cardio like that makes my already skinny legs, small bum even skinnier and smaller! I always thought if I was a pear it would be so much easier! Because having a smaller bum and legs I think emphasizes your belly which is where all my weight goes. I have good in shape body right now I am 15 weeks but I often get the comment omg! you are showing a lot already! Your going to be huge!! haha and I have only gained 5 lbs so far! so I am not huge but I guess I look like I am because of my thin lower body and bigger upper body, I have always had a bit of a belly and bigger boobs, and I am also 5’8 and about 150lbs. I have grown to love being tall and wearing heals! something I had a hard time with before.
The red striations on your belly are indications of Cushing’s Syndrome, which is related to obesity caused, in part, by high cortisol levels. I would get it checked out.
Thank you for this post!
I’m trying HARD to lose 10 -15 pounds and just reading that someone else my rough size has also had ups and downs is very helpful !!