To not understand why being underweight is considered by many to be 'dangerous', while being overweight is considered 'curvy'?

(103 Posts)
EnterWittyNicknameHere Wed 30-Jan-13 11:49:46

This has something that's really annoyed me recently.

In newspapers/magazines i see artcles about dangerously ill supermodels/people because they are underweight.

In the same newspapers/magazines, i see articles glorifying overweight people for being curvy.

My weight has fluctuated over the years between 8 and 12 stone. For my height, a healthy bmi is a weight between 8 1/2 stone and 11 1/2 stone. So i've been half a stone over and under before.

During my 'under' days, almost everyone would criticise me for my weight, saying i was unhealthy and a bad influence on dd. I was sacrificing my health, i could drop dead with heart failure etc. I need to stop being selfish.

I was eating very well, had cut out all chocolate/sweets/white bread etc and was exercising daily. I wasn't starving myself at all, just being stricter than usual.

During my 'over' days, people were complimenting me on my shape. I heard comments like 'it's better to see a bit of wobbly skin than bones', 'you're setting a good example to dd that looks aren't everything/you can be curvy and attractive', 'you look much better now than before.' 'be proud of your body.'

I just don't get it!

I'm now a slightly wobbly size 12, almost 11 stone, so considered a healthy weight. However, i am extrememly unfit and untoned.

I mentioned last night to my friends that i was thinking of starting up my old regime to lose a stone, and they totally freaked out.

My two best friends are overweight. One posts those picture things on FB almost on a weekly basis such as 'real men like curves', or pictures of a skinny supermodel next to a plus size model which reads "i know which one i'd rather be."

It just feels so confusing and unfair. They're really being hard on me for wanting to lower my weight, yet when i mention their weight they make out that they're happy, and being curvy is better than 'looking like a boy'.

sad

irishchic Wed 30-Jan-13 11:53:33

hmm. I think this is because being overweight and fit, (as opposed to morbid obesity) is healthier than being underweight, for all sorts of reasons, some of them down to having a better immume system if you are carrying a few wxtra pounds i think.

forgetmenots Wed 30-Jan-13 11:53:35

YANBU, although you could also rephrase this saying 'AIBU to wonder why underweight women are considered beautiful and overweight women are considered ugly?'

Women are wrongly judged on their appearances, whatever their size someone will be sniping at them. Turning on each other won't change it.

forgetmenots Wed 30-Jan-13 11:55:05

Also, the same newspapers berate women for gaining a pound, so the 'curvy' girls don't win, in the end. The misogynistic press do sad

NotHerRealname Wed 30-Jan-13 11:57:17

Well its obvious that neither extreme is healthy isn't it? I would worry more about the strain that yo yo weight loss and gain can cause to your body.
Your overweight friends may be in some kind of denial. Of course they want to glorify being overweight (or curvy). It makes them feel its acceptable.

Let's be clear that being overweight or obese is never healthy. But then neither is being underweight.

Also in my experience, suprisingly men don't all go for the same type of women. Just like women (shock horror) I have found that they go for all different body types. The ones worth being with go for a lovely personality!

Branleuse Wed 30-Jan-13 11:57:39

it has always pissed me off too.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Wed 30-Jan-13 11:58:14

Being a little overweight is not as dangerous as being underweight so YABU. Being underweight is more akin to being obese in terms of it's affect on your health.

NotHerRealname Wed 30-Jan-13 11:59:19

Also just to add, your overweight friends may not have your best interests at heart. Maybe they want you to join their club.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 30-Jan-13 12:00:53

Do you think they are jealous that you can lose weight so easily and envious of you when you are slim.

Unfortunately you put that your friends "think they are happy" which i predict is going to turn this thread into a "your size doesn't dictate your happiness" argument. And "how dare you say curvy people aren't happy!" That's my guess anyway.

Personally i agree with you. People in general have lost sight of what a normal healthy size is so when they see slim they think you look ill. My weight has gone up and down over the last few years due to babies etc but when I've been slimmer I've had lost of compliments from people except from one person who said i look gaunt. That person is obese. I did wonder if it was jealousy that i was able to lose the weight of it was just her view of what healthy should look like.

Out of interest how tall are you?

Just be the size that you think is right for you. Don't discuss it with others if they are going to react in a way you don't like, and if they comment anyway just say that you don't recall asking for their opinion on your body. Or less confrontational would be to just look uninterested and ignore, walk off or something. You don't have too convince anyone else of anything, your choices are yours and theirs are theirs.

creighton Wed 30-Jan-13 12:01:43

i don't believe overweight people are glorified in the press. most pictures of women are of thin celebrities who are praised for having 'bikini' bodies. there are few pictures of fat people and there is no praise alongside them. the only time thin people get negative comments is when they are thin to the point of looking ill. other than that, thin is seen as good.

EnterWittyNicknameHere Wed 30-Jan-13 12:03:23

I'm just dreading the inevitable comments my weight loss will bring. I'll still be within a healthy weight range if i lose a stone, but apparantly (in their eyes) i'll look 'ill' and 'anorexic'.

However, if i were to put on a stone - putting myself in the overweight category - i'll be complimented.

EnterWittyNicknameHere Wed 30-Jan-13 12:06:33

I'm 5'7.

Sorry, i didn't mean anything negative saying that they make out they're happy. It's just because i know they aren't always. They go through stages of dieting/gym etc, but after a few weeks stop and say they're happier being curvy.

carabos Wed 30-Jan-13 12:06:42

So much of this is down to aesthetics. Some people prefer the skinny / thin / slim aesthetic and others prefer the fat/plump/curvy aesthetic. Both groups look to spurious "medical" or "health" claims to justify their preferences.

Fact is, there are many, many more unhealthily overweight people in the UK today than there are unhealthily underweight people. It's quite hard to become unheathily underweight, and unhealthily underweight is really very thin indeed, whereas unhealthily overweight is surprisingly "unfat" iyswim.

As has been said before many times on this forum, we are normalising obesity at enormous cost to our health and to NHS resources.

PrincessBellaBoo Wed 30-Jan-13 12:11:43

Yanbu

Neither extreme is healthy. I have always been skinny despite eating like a horse. I have filled out a bit since I hit my 30s though and actually didn't think I looked good in my really skinny phases so I'm glad to be a size bigger now (an 8 instead of a 6).

It could be that you do look better with a bit of weight on you (like me) or it could be you look so great skinny your mates are just envious?!

Also overweight and curvy are two different things. A size 6 can be curvy as can a size 18. Curvy is about the ratios between your bust, hips and waist IMO so just carrying excess weight does not make you curvy!

As long as you eat healthily (but not extreme) and exercise (but not extreme) who cares?

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 30-Jan-13 12:13:34

Seeing as they try to lose weight themselves and fail then i would say their comments are most likely jealous.

I see the occasion ridiculous picture trying to convince everyone that 'curvy' is better than skinny, but in all honesty, my experience is the opposite for the most part.
I get far more snide comments about my appearance now than I did when I was slim. The overwhelming majority of media and peer opinion is that Skinny=Attractive.

WorraLiberty Wed 30-Jan-13 12:15:32

You have some very vocal judgy friends OP

I'd shed them before your weight.

I have found the opposite to be true.

I was serously ill (i nearly died) and dropped underweight, i was in hospital, the doctors were concerned, my body did not have the resources to heal itself.

I always look heavier than i am, so i was still around a size 10.

Everyone, outside of my medical team was saying how well i looked and my illness had done me a favour.

Now i am overweight, partly because of my health.

My doctors tell me not to worry about my weight, it does not effect my long term health in any way. Everyone in my personal life (and on here if you read the "fat threads" has a different opinion.

Being overweight does not mean reduced health, it is individual, but underweight is always a cause for concern.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 30-Jan-13 12:16:38

My BMI is 20.5 and I feel great.
The people who say I am too thin tend to be fatter and much less fit than I am.
I ignore them.
When my Yoga teacher tells me to stop losing weight I listen.

Europe and the USA have developed a very distorted view of what a healthy weight (in humans and their pets) is.

Size ten jeans have a waistband four inches larger than they did 30 years ago.
its all kidding ourselves that fat is good. But its not. For us or the planet.

PrincessBellaBoo Wed 30-Jan-13 12:21:04

Also yes I do hate the way it's acceptable for my size 14 friends to say I look too skinny / ill ....... But if I dared to say that I think they look overweight all hell would break lose!

And men like different things. Some like skinny, some like plump......

A slightly overweight friend of mine always reminds me that "men don't like skinny women". I think that's a rude thing to say to someone size 6/8. I would never dream of saying men don't like chubby women!!!! I always remind her that I am skinny and have never struggled on the boyfriend front

wanderingcloud Wed 30-Jan-13 12:21:16

I don't think you can win this one OP.

Whatever weight you are there will be some people looking to criticize and who make ill-judged remarks on it.

This is said as someone who has been every size from a 6 to 22 over the years. Now somewhere in the middle and just ignoring everyone's comments. Oh and I NEVER read magazines, they totally mess your body image.

pourmeanotherglass Wed 30-Jan-13 12:24:20

maybe your overweight friends are jealous?

MarianForrester Wed 30-Jan-13 12:27:36

YANBU. I am a naturally sturdy type, but would never dream of commenting in the way you describe.

I really dislike the way it appears to be ok to remark negatively on thin people.

Magazines in particular are bad: I have stopped reading those in which Celebrity X "celebrates her curves", which is really just mag speak for "look at the fatty"

All horrible.

I would not wish people to comment on my weight, and it must be really soul destroying to get this all the time.

PiggyPlumPie Wed 30-Jan-13 12:28:35

Have to agree with Princess , I have a pal who always used to greet me with "Hello you skinny bitch!" Wish I'd had the balls to say "Alright you fat cow!"

I am 5 ft 10 and weigh 9 and a half stone. My Dad is like a skeleton with skin. I can't help it!

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 30-Jan-13 12:45:43

Princessbella and Piggy. That's so rude!

Hammy02 Wed 30-Jan-13 12:48:25

I don't see how size 10's are bigger than they used to be? When I was younger (20 years ago) there was no such thing as a size 6. The slimmest girl at my school was an 8.

PrincessBellaBoo Wed 30-Jan-13 12:49:04

Yes why do some people think its acceptable to be rude to skinny folk?! I was bullied terribly at school for being thin so I am self-conscious

PrincessBellaBoo Wed 30-Jan-13 12:50:57

My mum and I both used to be size 10 about 15 years ago. Now we are both size 6/8 but weigh the same. Sizes have got bigger

TalkinPeace2 Wed 30-Jan-13 12:52:52

Hammy
Size 10 is bigger than it was because they have changed the measurements.

I was just trying on old clothes (charity shop run time)
I am a Sainsbury's size 6
A Next size 8
A 1990's Easy Jeans size 10
A 1980's FU Jeans size 10 but only just

The waist on a pair of size 10 jeans is now 4 inches larger than it was in the 1970's
supporting article www.economist.com/node/21552214

givemeaclue Wed 30-Jan-13 12:53:11

Unfortunately they are jealous so are trying to make themselves feel good about being fat by calling it curvy

Kewcumber Wed 30-Jan-13 12:57:18

Have you been hiding under a rock?!

The explosion in obesity is banged on about perpetually in the media!

I think you are just sensitised to comments which are more likely to apply to you than those who don't. Don't pay any attention to what your friends put on facebook in order to rationalise why their weight problme is OK - they're entitled to think what they like, you don't have to agree with them.

"Yes why do some people think its acceptable to be rude to skinny folk?! "

I think the real question is "Why do some people think its acceptable to be rude" - is there really any need to start comparing whether people are ruder on average to skinny people or fat people - is there any mileage or point to this.

Being called a "Fat bitch" by a stranger hurts (bitter experience) and so I've no doubt would being call a "Skinny bitch". I have only noticed being rude about fat people is more prevalent becasue fat people are more prevalent!

Susan2kids Wed 30-Jan-13 13:01:58

Nope utterly reasonable. People and society is largely too fat and unhealthy, however because of the whinging of the fat its become UN-PC to mention that someone is unhealthily fat whilst its still OK to attack very thin people. shrug I ont think you can change this though.... sad

Procrastinating Wed 30-Jan-13 13:07:10

Maybe you just look better when you are bigger.

degutastic Wed 30-Jan-13 13:10:27

Whilst I agree with you that it is as unacceptable to criticise someone who is underweight as it is to criticise someone who is overweight, I think using the BMI as your guide may cause issues. The BMI is highly unreliable, because people are different shapes and thus their healthy weight is not solely dependent on their height.

If I were to have a BMI of under 18, I would be very underweight, but with a BMI of 25, I am just slightly wobbly round the edges - simply because I am broad shouldered, wide hip-ed and generally stocky. Obviously if you carry more muscle, you will also have a higher BMI despite not being healthy. Obviously this works both ways (if you're tall and skinny) and you can be a healthy weight despite a very low BMI. That could explain why in an individual case, such as yours, you got such a different response to your weight.

I also don't think that genuinely overweight people (ie not by BMI) are applauded for being curvy - certainly the press have no qualms about making derrogatory comments about larger women.

That said, personal comments about weight are never acceptable in either direction, and I have seen examples of larger women dominated advertising being very offensive to smaller built, slim women.

Kewcumber Wed 30-Jan-13 13:12:40

"its become UN-PC to mention that someone is unhealthily fat"

Really? No-one else apart from me has watched Embarrasing fat bodies or The Truth about fat, Fat fighters or that dreaful Gillian McKeith programme?

No-one else fat been called names apart from me then? I'm surprised.

And no I'm not a "whinging of the fat" though I object to a total stranger randomly commenting on it - its rude and not relevant to them unless I'm spraying my half eaten pasties over them.

Themobstersknife Wed 30-Jan-13 13:22:08

I think the exact opposite is true. I can't think of any overweight celebrities whose weight is glorified, but I can think of many, many, many clinically underweight celebrities who are celebrated as having the 'perfect' body. Quite often, when a celebrity is reported as being curvy, they have gone from a size 6 or 8 to a ten!
I do agree however, that being overweight seems to be the new norm in the real world, and that we need to do something about it.
I suspect your friends are a little jealous and being defensive about their weight. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. Certainly do not dwell on it.

SomeKindOfDeliciousBiscuit Wed 30-Jan-13 13:28:08

People have no right to be rude.

On why people feel more nervous about under than over, I'd guess it's evolutionary. We haven't been able to get fat for very long without being extremely good hunters/living in a very lush area. Then I'd guess it was still only the few who managed it. Whereas too thin has been a sign of illness for ever. That's my guess.

Viviennemary Wed 30-Jan-13 13:29:38

I don't think too much either side of recommended weight for your height is a good thing. And being underweight isn't healthy as your body probably lacks certain nutrients and it can compromise the immune system. But being overweight is not good either. I need to lose weight. But I don't try very hard.

noviceoftheday Wed 30-Jan-13 13:36:10

I sympathise OP. a few years ago, I changed my lifestyle and dropped 2 dress sizes from a 12 to 6/8 which I have maintained. I barely touch 5'2" so at 8 stone I am we'll within the healthy range. But the comments I got angry, mainly people accusing me of not eating. No, I just stopped eating the same portion sizes as 6 foot dh! Anyway, I just find it easier not to engage in any conversation and just lightly bat back stonewall any comments about weight.

Susan2kids Wed 30-Jan-13 13:37:25

Kewkumber

You quote me I said....."its become UN-PC to mention that someone is unhealthily fat"

YOu said......"I object to a total stranger randomly commenting on it - its rude and not relevant"

That entirely proves my point. You see it as un PC. shrug

halcyondays Wed 30-Jan-13 13:38:09

It's not just down to your weight and height, it's your bone structure as well. Two people might be the same bmi, but the one with a small build will look slim and healthy, while the other may look unhealthily skinny because they have a larger build. BMI is just a rough guide, if you're thin and you feel tired and lacking in energy, you may be too skinny, if you feel well in yourself you're probably fine.

EuroShagmore Wed 30-Jan-13 13:47:27

I agree OP. I am currently the biggest I have ever been, with a BMI of 22 (following fertility treatment). I feel flabby and unhealthy. I feel best when my BMI is 20-21, but someone will always tell me I look skinny then!

LessMissAbs Wed 30-Jan-13 14:09:02

I suspect its to do with ingrained attitudes towards how women should appear and aspire to look, rather than being tolerant of individuals. Both extremes are equally dangerous - I'm a size 8/10, I'm pretty sure if I went up to a 14, I'd have high blood pressure and diabetes-risk, because it runs in my family, plus dangerously high cholestorol.

I think what is tragic is that people don't consider the functionality of their bodies as much as appearance. I run competitively, so am very much aware of how much an extra half stone slows you down.

tbh I couldn't give a toss if some random man somewhere prefers "curvy" size 14s to someone my build (I have curves too, but not big ones...). I'm not a model, I don't make money out of appealing to random men and my DH finds me attractive. So why would I care? But DH is an athlete too. What is going to appeal to Mr Random who has always dated size 14s/16s is going to be different. I think the perception of what your body can do has been lost somewhere along the line that women should think no further beyond what men find attractive and whether or not their fertility might be slightly damaged by some esoteric, exaggerated risk.

I never get called too skinny yet I sometimes fit into a size 6. Its ridiculous. Clothes sizing is all about vanity sizing now, as there is no way I am a size 6.

btw am I the only one who prefers the still alive and healthy Eva Herzigovina (now) to Marilyn Monroe, and her early death and possible drugs use/risky lifestyle?

Kewcumber Wed 30-Jan-13 14:39:09

Susan2 - I assume you read no other post I wrote. I think it is rude to comment on someones weight (regardless of whether it is too high or too low) unless you are their health professional or a close friend or relative. I fail to see how that translates to political correctness. We call it politeness in our house.

FellatioNels0n Wed 30-Jan-13 14:54:02

The simple fact is this: the difference between a 'perfect' weight and being seriously underweight to the point of being in very real danger of dying imminently is pretty small in percentage terms. Whereas the difference in a 'perfect' weight and being seriously overweight to the the point of being in very real danger of dying imminently is really quite huge, in percentage terms. Many people live for thirty, forty, fifty years being really seriously overweight. They are not very fit, it's true, and they may not be very healthy either, but they are alive. They tick along.

Whereas anorexic people can only drop below a certain percentage of the minimum recommended BMI before their bodies start to eat themselves, their organs shut down, their bones crumble and they die. And it doesn't take thirty, forty, fifty years. It's much quicker than that. Being thin may be healthier and more desirable tham being fat, so long as you are within the healthy BMI range. But if you are outside a healthy BMI range, on balance it's probably safer to be too fat than too thin.

lashingsofbingeinghere Wed 30-Jan-13 15:00:16

This study is interesting and seems to suggest the smaller your BMI is (within the healthy range), the longer you live.

Lexagon Wed 30-Jan-13 15:05:33

Hmm. I think one of the issues here is "curvy", when used in a positive context about celebrities, etc, has a very narrow meaning. Essentially, big boobs, slightly wider hips and bum - certainly nowhere near "overweight". But when applied to people in general, it is largely applied to (seemingly) overweight people, as opposed to the "perfect hourglass" shape I assume it started off as referring to. I've seen horrible things from both sides - of course there is a horrendous amount of prejudice against fat people; but seeing things like "only dogs like bones", etc etc is hardly genial and supportive.

Latara Wed 30-Jan-13 15:08:36

YANBU. Lose the weight & get fit & toned if it makes you feel better; ignore the jealous 'friends'.

theoriginalandbestrookie Wed 30-Jan-13 15:13:46

Arf at Kewcumber dropping her half eaten pasties over unsuspecting members of the public !

I would never comment on a strangers size - incredibly rude, in fact I tend not to comment on peoples weights at all. I have a friend, she is lovely and she is significantly overweight. We went on holiday and she struggled to walk for long distances or be active because in the heat her weight stopped her. The quality of her life would be improved quite a lot imho if she lost weight, but she is not stupid I am sure she knows this already so its not up to me to say it.

FellatioNels0n Wed 30-Jan-13 15:13:55

This always makes me laugh when we get all het up about stealth upsizing of clothes. We are much bigger than we were 100 years ago. Ever seen Victorian ladies gloves and shoes? They are minuscule. Most ten year old would struggle to fit them. We are taller, broader and our feet are bigger - it's not just about fatness. We could just ignore that and have the very average woman wearing size 20 clothes and size 9 shoes, but I somehow doubt that would be very popular.grin

I think the fashion and clothing industry adjusts itself over the years to make sure that most high street mid-range shops cater to the largest middle band of consumers, whatever size they are. We can't keep going up in size number to represent the 'standard' as there is pretty much no limit to how fat the 'average person' can and will get, but we can easily go down in number (hence the advent of sizes 4 and 6 and the infamous size 0, which never existed thirty years ago) because there is a very definite limit to how thin people are likely to get. No-one is going to go below size zero ans still need clothes. Harsh and unpleasant though that may be, it's true.

FellatioNels0n Wed 30-Jan-13 15:15:48

Yes lashing but 'within the healthy range' being the all-important phrase. Outside the healthy range I think it will be another story altogether.

lashingsofbingeinghere Wed 30-Jan-13 15:30:11

Agree, Fellatio, but the healthy range is quite large:18.5 - 25 and there seems to be a growing assumption that being at the lower end is not as healthy as being at the upper end, or even above it (ie overweight) and this study suggests the opposite.

maddening Wed 30-Jan-13 15:45:18

Tbh I think it's the other way round - it is probably a perspective thing.

I see overweight people as vilified - even on mn.

Where someone is dangerously thin they are pitied.

sarahtigh Wed 30-Jan-13 15:46:28

the healthy BMI range is 18.5 to 25, apparently being nearer the lower end is healthier when younger but as you get older it is better to be nearer the top end, very thin older women tend not to be as healthy this is not suggesting BMI should go upto to 30 but that 23-25 is better in retirement than 18-20

underweight is more dangerous per point than overweight so someone with BMI of 27 has a minor slight risk but conversely a BMI of 16 is quite dangerous

unfortunately some people just have to comment saying if you put on 7 pounds oh you are getting podgy or you look much better then when you lose 7 lbs they say mustn't get too thin or you looks loads better

it is better to be fit with BMI of 26 than have BMI of 22 and smoke and binge drink, and live on crsips and chocolate, BMI is a guide not an absolute rule not everyone with normal BMI is truly healthy neither is everyone slightly outside the range automatically so unhelathy they are risking death that is why overweight has different categories but all underweight is considered dangerous, ( i think previously BMI 18-20 was considered slightly underweight) and below 18 more worrying

ShephardsDelight Wed 30-Jan-13 15:52:35

In a sense OP you've sort of contradicted yourself in your OP, the fact these girls are models to begin with means that a large part of society deems them 'beautiful', overweight women are always under scrutiny.

lashingsofbingeinghere Wed 30-Jan-13 18:37:13

Sarah, that is interesting. What research are you basing this information on?

I have read that being thin due to excessive dieting creates risks such as osteoporosis, but that long term leanness with no underlying restriction of food groups is not associated with any increase.

LouMae Wed 30-Jan-13 18:50:22

Why can't all women be a bit kinder toeach other and stop this body hate and scrutiny of others? It makes me sad that women both big and small pull each other apart.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 30-Jan-13 20:17:09

Not body hate.
Body awareness. Many people do not realise how much they do weigh and how much fat they are carrying and therefore how ill they will be later in life.
The people who are now very old (80+) ate healthily [there was little choice when they were young] for the first 50 years of their lives.
The people who are now 60 have not and statistically they will die younger than their parents.
And the children are even more unhealthy.
It is not hatred to make people look at themselves as they truly are.

sarahtigh Wed 30-Jan-13 20:38:56

I read quite a few dental/medical journals and off the top of my head I can not remember which one but it was in the past few months,

I do remember that over either 70/75 in women that general health was better in women with BMI nearer to 25 than 20, it did suggest reasons for this but allowing for statisitcal variations etc it did conclude that being towards the top end of healthy range was better in older age, it was not concluding that overweight was better just that being very slightly heavier at 70 than at 30-40 was not a bad thing

I do not think that the old always ate healthily my aunts are both close to 90 and have never eaten that healthily, when they were young it was mostly bread and potatoes very little fruit apart from apples as they grew in garden and would be wrapped to keep to feb/march then in summer there would be rhubarb but they would have had onions and carrots, peas etc would have been for just 6 weeks in summer, they have always put salt on stuff like it was going out of fashion, and they eat about 3 portions of fruit a week, they share half a banana and then have the second half between them the next day my dad's family seem to have healthy genes my grandfather was one of 11 very poor born 1897 but apart from one who died in accident about aged 5 they all lived to mid 80's, however hearing and eyesight problems do run in the family

yaimee Wed 30-Jan-13 20:55:53

I imagine that this has been said multiple times but there are millions of pounds spent on govt initiatives to help people lose weight, we are bombarded with tv programs and articles about obesity and weight loss and when the media uses th word city what they mean is size 12+, they certainly aren't referring to obese people who are often ridiculed.
I'm not saying that underweight people have it easy and they deserve the same respect and sensitivity as anyone else, they shouldn't be singled out but it's important to emphasise that both body types can potentially be dangerous.

forgetmenots Wed 30-Jan-13 21:06:00

Exactly LouMae.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Wed 30-Jan-13 21:14:11

For me it was the reverse, I lost 3 stone when pregnant, I felt awful, totally shit
pregnancy did not suit me at all.
and yet everyone said that I looked so well, aka thin, I was 3 stone lighter the day I gave birth than the day I got pregnant.

over all I think you are right, though, somehow a stone underweight does look scarier than a stone overweight.

drjohnsonscat Wed 30-Jan-13 21:15:26

gosh I honestly do not see the phenomenon you see OP.

Obeseness and just being overweight is about the very worst thing you can be in our culture - not just from a health pov (which for the obese is understandable) but because we are obsessed by the "healthy" body image of the stars. That's why we get told that Giselle is "curvy" and a role model for women who are less than skinny angry. Our whole world view has been skewed by the fear of fatness and if some people try to compensate for that by not banging on about the problem to their fat friends, then they are nice people, not delusional people.

I always think that fatness is the last unacceptable behaviour, because it is visible. We pin all our dislike on it and disparage those who are overweight. Whereas the slim woman who goes home and downs half a bottle of wine every night without fail is not censured because a) nobody knows and b) she's not wearing it on her thighs the next day.

thezebrawearspurple Wed 30-Jan-13 21:21:15

Fat people want you to be as fat as they are so they don't look so bad. If you're surrounded by overfed, junk addicted, couch potatoes they will tell you that you look 'anorexic' at whatever weight they find themselves looking enormous next to you. They're jealous of you when you look good. Dump the sabotaging, unhappy people who are projecting their weight issues onto you and find some healthy, happy, active, normal sized people.

scripsi Wed 30-Jan-13 21:29:49

I have always been the lower end of the usual BMI (I was seriously into sports for school/university and often looked lighter than I actually am as I was a very wiry sprinter). I think the question isn't "why is it considered to be healthier to be curvy," the question is rather why do people feel very comfortable commenting negatively about the slim to their face.

This happened to me a few times and I remember a rather haughty woman queuing next to me for some clothes shop changing rooms with her slightly overweight daughter and commenting (as if I didn't exist) "you don't want to look like her, yuck, no meat on her bones, horrible".

Corygal Wed 30-Jan-13 21:30:09

AFAIK, underweight people die younger. That could be a reason for not being so keen on the skin 'n' bones look. Tall, thin people are notably shorter lived than others - I think it's a difference of about 5 years.

You've got to distinguish the issue of individuals angrily promoting their own shape as the ideal and/or being rude about others with the aesthetic points of view, and finally, the health facts. All these three change all the time.

ColgateIsBest Wed 30-Jan-13 21:30:19

I agree OP, I hate the it. I am a size 8 in most shops and have a BMI of 22, well with the healthy range and I am constantly told that I must not be eating, I look anorexic, it sets a bad example to my DDs, it's not healthy and all that jazz.

Apparently, as a slim woman, the socially accepted response to this is to nod and smile and take it on the chin.

If I were to point out that at size 14-16 they must be over-eating, they look overweight, its sets a bad example to their DC, it't not healthy and all that jazz then I would be committing social suicide, it would be considered totally unacceptable.

Why cant there be a simple rule: 'don't comment on my size, I won't comment on yours'

ColgateIsBest Wed 30-Jan-13 21:33:00

Forgot to say that the most annoying thing is that people seem to assume I am underweight because I am slim, I'm not. I'm a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet and do plenty of exercise, both cardio and resistance work. But because I am slimmer I get labelled as underweight and then get grief about it.
I dread to think the comments people who are genuinely underweight get!

FanFuckingTastic Wed 30-Jan-13 21:37:14

People focus too much on the aesthetics of a woman, rather than on the importance of health. For some it's one end of the scale, and others the other.

But we are women, therefore weight is somehow a big issue for us.

Perhaps these are the words of a bitter fat disabled woman, but I know right now I'd rather have my health than the perfect body - whether the person doing the biased judging say it be stick thin/curvy.

yaimee Wed 30-Jan-13 21:40:48

I think you should just have a think about what would make you the happiest and do that. Try to view your body image in terms of your own health and happiness and ignore comments whether positive or negative. Other peoples opinions of your body shouldn't matter, only your own!

ColgateIsBest Wed 30-Jan-13 21:42:07

You're right Fan, people assume that your weight is solely about the aesthetics, rather than about health. I've had colleagues comment on me saying no to wine and chocolate cake along the lines of 'she is scared of looking a bit chubby' but in actual fact it is nothing to do with how I look. I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle because I want to be around for my DC for as long as possible, not because I want to fit into a size 8. Being slim and toned is a by product of the lifestyle I work hard to stick to, rather than the reason for it.

garlicblocks Wed 30-Jan-13 21:42:46

Haven't read thread, just your OP. Anorexia can cause multiple organ failure. Obesity can cause a lot of bad things, but not sudden death. Overweight puts a strain on the heart; so does underweight. The people you refer to - models & celebs - tend to be anorexic (models) and/or to have been on a severe diet (slebs) when you see them being very thin.

Not to say some people aren't naturally thin and healthy, however this isn't what you were talking about in your OP. Generally speaking, underweight is more dangerous than overweight. As this goes against popular 'knowledge', I'm always pleased to see the media criticising excessive slimness.

mashpot Wed 30-Jan-13 21:53:08

I have a BMI of 17.5. I have weighed 7st 7lbs since I was about 17 (give or take a few pounds fluctuating either way now and then - plus major weght gain when pregnant!). I don't diet and propbably don't exercise as mush as I should, this is just the way it is for me.

People openly say say to me, put some weight on, and similar comments. I have had colleagues admit they thought I was anorexic until they shared an office with me and saw how much I ate! Unfortunately people will always have an opinion on other peoples appearances so you have to do what's right for you and ignore them completely.

Procrastinating Wed 30-Jan-13 21:54:17

This thread is telling me that thin people despise bigger people rather than the other way round.

FanFuckingTastic Wed 30-Jan-13 22:01:33

I thinking hating a person on aesthetics alone is weird.

Same as judging their health on it.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 30-Jan-13 22:04:53

Thin people die younger that fat people
Really? Link please.
Being underweight is more dangerous than overweight
Really? Link Please.

BMI over 18 is NOT anorexic. It is lean on a light frame.
BMI over 25 involves carrying significant amounts of visceral fat which IS bad for you.

fatlazymummy Wed 30-Jan-13 23:12:27

Not neccesarily Talkingpeace. Someone with a BMI over 25 may have a higher percentage of muscle. And you would have to do a scan to determine where the fat was located. In fact it is possible to have quite a significant amount of visceral fat at a 'safe' BMI.

countrykitten Wed 30-Jan-13 23:37:32

We are surely normalising obesity in our culture and storing up huge amounts of trouble for ourselves and our children. People on here are just a tad over defensive about this I feel. Size 16 is our most common size isn't it? And that is pretty big but is now seen as normal.

I agree completely with those posters who live a healthy lifestyle and don't eat crappy processed food due because they want to be healthy. It does not have to be about aesthetics. Just good heath, fitness and taking responsibility for yourself.

Softlysoftly Wed 30-Jan-13 23:52:46

I agree with procrastinating the vitriolic few on here are thin aimed at fat not viceversa yes you zebra.

I think commenting on weight at either end of the scale is bloody rude and should be socially unacceptable.

When it comes to a medical pov unhealthily underweight women are seen as having an illness yet unhealthily overweight women are seen as greedy pigs. We need to combat the issues at both ends not listen to the gutter press.

countrykitten Thu 31-Jan-13 09:55:15

I agree that the gutter press are a disgrace - but you get the press you deserve and people keep on buying the Mail so it keeps on printing the same old crap.

I think that not commenting on or facing up to weight issues us not 'bloody rude' - it is pretty silly. Calling someone 'curvy' when they are unhealthily fat is not a positive thing and calling someone 'slender' when they are half starved clothes horses for major designers is also stupid.

laptopcomputer Thu 31-Jan-13 09:57:56

People do it because it makes them feel better about themselves. No other reason.

Softlysoftly Thu 31-Jan-13 10:29:39

country kitten government drives should promote healthy weights as a country, medical professionals should communicate on a 1:1 level.

The press and general friends/family , people on the street commenting is rude and should be unacceptable.

Do you really think fat/thin people don't know it? Do you think having it pointed out rudely will help in any way when the issue is a mental one? It won't it drives people further into defending their feelings by blethering on about curvy/slender. You wouldn't walk up to a drinker and expect "oi alchy" to stop them drinking would you?

Why do we have to talk about it at all confused

specialsubject Thu 31-Jan-13 10:38:40

neither is good. Dawn French is revoltingly fat, Victoria Beckham is revoltingly thin.

there are happy media, and there are extremes. Healthy weight is a range, but it does have limits at both ends.

countrykitten Thu 31-Jan-13 10:49:58

Softly, I am not sure that family and good friends (not strangers) do not have a responsibility to help out on this actually so I don't think I agree with you. People go around in denial about their weight issues and their loved ones are too scared of offending to say anything sometimes - not sure that this is helpful. I am not talking about being aggressively rude but gently help,support and encouragement will surely help?

Not facing up to things can often be counter productive - look at our massively fat nation as a whole. The obesity epidemic has been largely ignored until now and I fear that it's too late to fix it.

drjohnsonscat Thu 31-Jan-13 11:16:55

I think thezebrawearspurple proves my point exactly. According to her post fat people are couch potatoes, unhappy, jealous and sabotagers...

I would never talk about anyone like that.

FanFuckingTastic Thu 31-Jan-13 12:34:17

I don't think anyone would ever talk about my fat in such a direct way as they do on here. Same as I would never be derogatory to any of my friends about their weight or shape or most anything, because it's just not... well, nice?

Softlysoftly Thu 31-Jan-13 12:48:06

Countrykitten. If they are over either end of the scams to a degree where health is affected then yes a kind, supportive approach from those close is not a bad thing but I think that already happens. I disagree that we have been blind to or ignored the issue at all.

There are massive advertising campaigns, grants for healthy eating, processes in the nhs, weight taking in schools all focused on this and it's not recent. Ive worked in the food industry all my career and there were discussions and rules being put in place over 8 years ago aimed at reducing salt/sugar/fats, advertising to children, promoting in schools etc.

countrykitten Thu 31-Jan-13 13:04:50

So why is the nation obese then? Because we all ignore it maybe?

FanFuckingTastic Thu 31-Jan-13 13:17:05

I don't think it is an individual's place to tell people their obesity is a problem.

Let their doctor deal with it.

Society has changed the way our bodies need to work, and we are simply in that process of change, depression/obesity are all symptoms of societal issues not quite matching up to physical needs issues. It'll simply take time to filter down and sort out the problem. Things have been leaping forwards for a long time now, so to speak, and our bodies are victims in some cases to the times.

Obviously loads of people are trying to do something about it, derogatory encouragement is just going to make them mad or upset.

Kewcumber Thu 31-Jan-13 14:05:10

Random spiteful comments from strangers (or even people I knew) never helped me one jot when massively overweight. It didn't help me "face up to it" it made me miserable and contributed to my comfort eating.

What did help was a couple of very good health professionals who knew what they were talking about and some realistic targets and practical support.

Ironically as it was the effect of steroids prescribed for an life threatening illness which pushed my weight into the morbidly obese category, it was the side effects of the steroids which led to further health problems which kick-started my weight loss. None the less, reasons aside, it has been a concerted effort of me and a small handful of NHS people who have tackled it not pointless comments about how I look.

I do not think society should ignore the explosion in obesity caused by our modern lifestyles and discussed it publicly at a general levels and some excellent science based programmes do look at helpful things we can all do (thinking of last nights horizon programme on exercise in particular) but personal pointless comments at individuals isn't helpful.

FanFuckingTastic Thu 31-Jan-13 14:13:19

I'm on steroids too Kewcumber. It's a bitch for losing weight on them.

Many people do not realise how much they do weigh and how much fat they are carrying and therefore how ill they will be later in life.

What utter bollocks. Women are NEVER EVER allowed to forget about their body-image from the time they are children. Show me an overweight woman who 'doesn't know how fat she is' and I'll show you someone who's lived under a rock without a mirror all her adult life. She might not want to gratify you by crying into her latte about how ugly and miserable she feels, but she bloody knows.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Thu 31-Jan-13 14:31:33

I didn't realise how much i weighed!

Kewcumberm My DH gained 3 stone in 4 months last year whilst on steroids and he was already overweight to start with. He is doing really well losing weight now by eating and excercising sensibly, but has been utterly miserable and depressed about his health and shape. A lot of it is because of awful judgemental remarks and 'jokes' that friends and relatives have been making. He still refuses to go to the gym or swimming because he's so ashamed of his appearance.

ShephardsDelight Thu 31-Jan-13 14:42:06

People who make comments about peoples appearances are arrogant and badly brought up, its a hugely inflated sense of importance that what you have to say overrides someones feelings.

Kewcumber Thu 31-Jan-13 14:55:57

I was on 75g of prednisilone for some time I find it hard to believe anyone could NOT put weight on at those doses. mind you I found the exhaustion of steroid withdrawal almost as bad.

I think I too put on about 3 stone in 6 months.

Not that any of that is relevant to this thread and I was hardly sylphlike to start with. just wanted to commiserate - steroids are a (life saving) bitch!

FanFuckingTastic Thu 31-Jan-13 15:00:48

Considering the steroids I get are to help with joints, it's no wonder I've ballooned, but I am on the wagon again and doing something about it. 4lbs off this week, and loads of physiotherapy done at the pool. People see you fat and think - they are lazy - how the heck do you know they aren't on the journey to health already and that your comments aren't going to be a major setback for them.

countrykitten Thu 31-Jan-13 15:58:28

Was the discussion centred around ill people though? It was more to do with people who are at either extreme of weight I thought. If you have ignorant and rude friends and family then don't bother with them - if they know a person is on steroids and then make comments about their weight then they are not to be tolerated full stop.

ErrorError Thu 31-Jan-13 17:02:59

I make a point of never passing comment on anyone's weight. I had a 'friend' in school who was naturally tall and slim, was complimented a lot on her figure, who never exercised and had an appalling diet (know this to be true as we used to be close and spent a lot of time together.) Whereas I fluctuated between size 8-12, played sports regularly, ate healthily and drank plenty of water, but as soon as I picked up a biscuit in front of this 'friend', she'd be right in there with some barb about me "eating so much crap, no wonder you've got thunder thighs."

I shed about 9 stone when I eventually dumped that friend!

Anyway, I don't have any fancy research to back up my claims, but the point of my story is that slim people are not always healthy, and some who look overweight are not necessarily unfit. Anorexia and morbid obesity are two extremes I don't have enough knowledge about to get into discussion, but obviously neither of those are healthy ways to be.

On a side note, I have another naturally slim friend who goes to the gym regularly and looks really fit. She knows she wouldn't necessarily pile on the pounds if she stopped exercising (some have told her she 'doesn't need to exercise' as she's skinny enough already), but she's also wise enough to know that she can't rely on good genes as she gets older. It's about inner well-being too.

Kewcumber Thu 31-Jan-13 18:02:09

No countrykitten this wasn't about people who are ill - hence my comment "not that its relevant to this thread."

But in reality the op appears to be not underweight herself but objects to her fatter friends deluding themselves that "curvy' is better than slim. It really doesn't matter why you are overweight or underweight in the vast majority of cases within the normal bmi range is healthier than outside it.

FlorriesDragons Thu 31-Jan-13 18:24:12

Your friends are jealous and afraid that you losing weight will reflect badly on them.

Anyone who posts those rubbish posts about being "curvy" is probably insecure about their size or why would they even mention it?

fridgepants Fri 01-Feb-13 00:10:29

I'm an hourglass shape. I've been underweight, and I'm now overweight - more than I'd like to be, to be honest. My 'curvy' shape stays the same, it's my size/measurements and my body weight that class me as overweight.

Clothing measurements have definitely changed - compare dressmaking patterns, for example. I take a 20 or 22 in vintage patterns but a 16 on the high street. Part of that is that I'm tall and my bone structure is such that I will always be a bigger than average person (I took a 14 in Topshop even at a stone underweight) but also I am a lot larger than the average 1950s woman.

Size zero is a UK4, isn't it? Gap used to do a 0 in the 90s as they ran on US sizing.

fridgepants Fri 01-Feb-13 00:14:10

A size 16 is a 40in bust. That's not huge, really - it's, what, a DD or E cup? Sizes are just measurements - there's no way to say that someone is large or small based on dress size alone.

I feel for you, Kewcumber - I take quetiapine and it makes you tired, hungry and feel like eating all the things.

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