To feel depressed by this DM article re size 16

(286 Posts)
Rachtoteach Tue 18-Jun-13 07:21:09

After 37 years on this planet I have finally developed something I wish more women could have - an acceptance of who I am and the ability of being happy in my own body..... even though - shock, horror - I am 5ft2, size 16, 11 something stone. Anyway, I don't cry in the changing rooms anymore wink. I exercise 3 x week, eat a balanced-ish diet, don't smoke, blah blah blah.

It just makes me sad and mad that the DM have taken 4 size 16 women who each turn out to have some health issues, and declare (effectively) all us size 16 women a picture of ill-health! On the results of four women?!! And implying, or least leaving the reader with the impression, that any other (smaller sized) women would conversely be in tip-top health - all of them, simply based on their size!

AIBU to think that there must be some healthy size 16 women out there and probably some not so healthy smaller women? If I am BU then I may as well give up now as I know I am unlikely to ever be much smaller than I am now.

bettycocker Tue 18-Jun-13 07:25:05

YANBU. When I was a skinny smoker, my size 16 friends were definitely healthier than I was. Nevermind the fact that I was doped uo to the eyeballs on pain killers and had serious health problems.

StuffezLaYoni Tue 18-Jun-13 07:28:05

Yanbu. When I was 18 I was a 16 and was really active. I would kill to have that shape back now I'm 28. Stupid article though, but then we all know how the Mail loves to make us Laydeez feel shit about ourselves, don't we?

Lovelygoldboots Tue 18-Jun-13 07:32:59

I am size 16, cycle and swim and cycled 30 miles on Sunday. I have never felt better. Yanbu.

pigletmania Tue 18-Jun-13 07:37:33

What about getting 4 unhealthy size 8 I am sure there are them out there. Oh yanbu

YANBU. I'm 5'10" and a size 16 and I'd say I'm pretty healthy. I could exercise more, but I doubt I've got any major health issues. I'm healthier now than when I was a size 12 (which at 5'10" is really quite slim) smoker that's for sure.

Just because someone's "skinny" doesn't automatically mean they're healthy...they're just more acceptable to the media peddled idea of "attractive"

I've been an unhealthy 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20.

I'm just unhealthy, weight and size had nothing to do with it. I'm stuck with a lifetime condition now that kicked in when I was a 16 an helped me into 18 and 20. It affected my weight but its trigger was my age. Its a family curse and the skinny mins have it just as the fatsos like me (well, I'm a 16 again now so not so fatso).

Dackyduddles Tue 18-Jun-13 07:43:26

I feel depressed by DM full stop.

tiggytape Tue 18-Jun-13 07:44:24

I think YABabitU.
I only skimmed it but I got the impression some of them only had 'potential' problems and had lung age etc lower than their real age – the issue was more that, whilst young and healthy now, some were more at risk of future problems

Depending on how tall you are, a size 16 might make you are obese or only just slightly bigger than ideal so it is reasonable to conclude that, whatever your dress size, if you are in the obese category then you do have either immediate or potential health risks. The correlation between excess weight and many serious health problems is recognised. Just as if they'd found 4 size 10 smokers, they'd all have problems or potential problems too

I love the way they describe all the "bad" BMIs with the correct term - overweight or obese, and yet Belinda's which is "healthy" is described as "borderline"


Don't read the DM, you'll be much happier

javotte Tue 18-Jun-13 07:45:53

YANBU. I was a healthy size 22 (to my GP's dismay, my blood sugar / cholesterol / liver function etc. were perfect). I am a very healthy size 14 now (thanks Jillian!).

Hannah's should technically be "borderline" as well shouldn't it? It's only 0.2 out, so closer than Belinda's (0.3)


<<far too picky for this time in the morning>>

CelticPromise Tue 18-Jun-13 07:46:38

YABU to take any nonsense in that ridiculous rag seriously. smile

sparkle12mar08 Tue 18-Jun-13 07:47:36

The problem is that if we look at the national, societal level, it is undoubtedly more likely that a size 16 will have more significant health problems than a size 8 or a size 10. And I say that as a size 16 woman. Individuals vary, but it is very easy to forget just how slim we can be and still be medically and unhealthily overweight. We've forgotten as a society and have come to accept that whilst 16 may now be the norm, that norm IS NOT HEALTHY for the most part. Because we desperately don't want to believe as individuals that we may be unheathy ourselves, and making poor choices for ourselves. But all the will in the world doesn't change medical fact.

BlackeyedSusan Tue 18-Jun-13 07:49:15

just shows how stupid they are to think that anyone can draw conclusions from such a small sample size.

pigletmania Tue 18-Jun-13 07:50:06

Javotte is tat jillian michaels 30 day shred btw, I'm doing that

morethanalltheteainchina Tue 18-Jun-13 07:52:10

Well, unless you are incredibly tall and/or muscular, chances are that if you are a size 16, then you are over-weight. Broadly speaking, being over-weight is unhealthy in that it gives you a higher chance of certain cancers, heart disease blah blah blah.

However, it is wrong to assume that people who are under-weight or bang on the recommended weight for their height are automatically healthier than over-weight people. I know several very slim people who would be incapable of running any more than about 500m, swimming more than a few lengths, walking up lots of stairs etc.

For all the people who say they are very active etc yet still over-weight, unless you have a health issue that makes it hard for you to lose weight, how can you truly be healthy in the general sense of the world? If I am going to the gym regularly/running a lot etc, then the only way I would be over-weight at all would be if I counteracted all the activity by over-eating or eating/drinking lots of very calorific food, and this by its very nature is very unhealthy?

CinnamonAddict Tue 18-Jun-13 07:52:13

Sorry, can't (won't) open this article, just wanted to say yanbu, it's not about dress size.
I have been a size 16/18, am a size 10 now and have just as many health issues. Had high blood pressure having just lost 5 stone. Doctors were a bit baffled, but it was stress related, not weight related. I'm back to my normal really low bp now btw.

Well done for being happy in your body, that's what is most important, regardless of dress size!
(DM, who cares what they write)

Pozzled Tue 18-Jun-13 07:54:31

Yanbu. I am size 8-10 but am very aware that I am not in any way fit or healthy. I should be making serious improvements to my diet and getting more exercise.

HeySoulSister Tue 18-Jun-13 07:58:39

Depends how you are measuring 'health'

Tend to think a size 16 is on the bigger end of the scale.... To me bigger means more fat. Fat isn't good.

I'm 5 11 and when I was a 16 I had very visible fat

humdumaggapang Tue 18-Jun-13 07:59:50

YANBU. Fuck off Daily Fail is my usual response to these things. If I was a size eight, company director earning megabucks while managing to raise three well adjusted children who I always have plenty of time for so they have no need for nasty damaging childcare, and a perfect devoted husband earning just slightly more than me but not much, I might just about be acceptable in the DM world. Mysogynistic rubbish.

Lovelygoldboots Tue 18-Jun-13 08:00:36

Oh, here we go. Yes I may be able to cycle a long distance, swim 40 lengths front crawl in 45 minutes but I am clearly not doing enough and am still an unhealthy fatty secretly stuffing my face with pies hmm

Lovelygoldboots Tue 18-Jun-13 08:04:26

Why is it only overweight people get judged? It's hard enough to get started because of confidence issues. I have managed it because my partner has been immensely supportive in ensuring I have the time to exercise.

I agree with Sparkle and I am bigger than a 16 but gentle working on it. I have low cholesterol, normal fasting blood glucose etc. so I have no obvious health problems. However, my back is stiff and my knees twinge a bit - the warning signs are there. Ultimately my weight will affect my health or quality of life.

Still think the DM is the turd of Satan.

Shenanagins Tue 18-Jun-13 08:10:50

Heysoul makes a good point in that it's more to do with fat.

you also need to take into account your bone structure. I have a friend who is the same height as me but if she weighed the same as me would be fat, yet i am a healthy weight for my height. Likewise if i weighed the same as her, i would look ill.

so in some people a size 16 will be about right whereas in others it will mean they are at an unhealthy weight.

RhondaJean Tue 18-Jun-13 08:12:45

Yabu I think as a society we have lost track of what we are supposed to be like. Size 16 is quite large for most women it means carrying a fair bit of body far and like it or not it increases your chances of many illnesses.

Whether we like to face it or not

HeySoulSister Tue 18-Jun-13 08:13:04

Can I also say that every shops size 16 seems to vary

Next is guilty of this!

HeySoulSister Tue 18-Jun-13 08:13:45

rhonda I like that you don't mince your words!!

Annakin31 Tue 18-Jun-13 08:38:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ParadiseChick Tue 18-Jun-13 08:40:10

Ah the daily mail, never faltering on their mission to make women feel shit.

bettycocker Tue 18-Jun-13 08:43:28

If you're a size 16 and you feel healthy, you should ignore the Daily Fail. In fact, you should just ignore the Daily Fail anyway. grin

ballinacup Tue 18-Jun-13 08:47:47

But isn't it more unhealthy to be underweight than slightly overweight? I'm sure I've read/heard that somewhere, however I accept I may have imagined it.

FasterStronger Tue 18-Jun-13 08:48:42

if you are an average height woman and average weight (size 16), you are at greater risk of many health problems.

if you are young they probably wont affect you, but you are still storing up risk, unless you change.

also if you are size 16 and not loosing weight, you are probably eating more calories than the average women, as the high weight will mean faster metabolism (according to the NHS).

LuisSuarezTeeth Tue 18-Jun-13 08:58:05

Oh the DM. Never fails to make women feel shit. DON'T FEED IT.

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Jun-13 09:00:12

I agree with FasterStronger

Imo it's better to keep your weight down because for example if you're overweight aged 30/40, that weight is more likely to increase as you get older and your metabolisms slow down.

lottieandmia Tue 18-Jun-13 09:01:14

The only real problem you have is that you read the DM - just stop reading it! The DM is a very misogynistic publication. I never even look at it - if I read it every day I would have wrinkles from screwing my face up! wink

Samu2 Tue 18-Jun-13 09:06:03

I agree Rhonda. Size 16 is overweight for a lot of women. I t being the average size doesn't mean it is healthy.

Most women who are a size 16 are carrying too much fat which is unhealthy. Sure, there are exceptions, some can be a size 16 with a low body fat percentage but they are very few and far between.

We have lost sight of what a healthy weight is.

Tweasels Tue 18-Jun-13 09:19:45

I don't think anyone is saying that some women who are a size 16 aren't overweight or unhealthy.

They are saying that being a size 16 doesn't automatically mean you're unhealthy.

Either way the DM have again found another way to bring women down.

mercibucket Tue 18-Jun-13 09:21:43

wasnt the last article about underweight people being more likely to drop down dead?

a lot of those stats looked normal then they made up some crap eg liver function is normal but i bet if we scanned her liver it'd show satty deposits. well, why didnt you scan it then, and whats the point of normal liver function as a test result if you then say 'yeah but'

the other results were mostly about cholesterol - after all, there is a multi million pound statin industry to support

GingerPCatt Tue 18-Jun-13 09:25:35

So much of health is down to genetics. You can be a size 2 or a 22, but if you have the genetics predisposition for certain illnesses it will affect your health. Yes being overweight can exacerbate certain conditions.
I'm lucky. I'm overweight (16/18) but I have good genetics. My blood pressure is lower than my very healthy active DH.

WildlingPrincess Tue 18-Jun-13 09:41:30

When I was a size 10 I wasn't healthy at all. Never exercised and didn't eat. Booze, fags and drugs were all the nourishment I needed. Size 18 now and I may be bigger but at least I eat and exercise! Still drink and have the occasional fag so not super healthy mind.

specialsubject Tue 18-Jun-13 09:42:41

dress sizes are random.

a size 16 tall women could be very slim and fit.

don't read crappy articles written by journalists who know sod-all sicence.

HeySoulSister Tue 18-Jun-13 09:44:41

but if you had taken up exercise at size 8 then your body may well have built its fitness levels quicker and more efficiently than at size 18....your overall fitness wasn't hampered by fat stores.

a lot of people say they 'exercise' many do it properly??

Spero Tue 18-Jun-13 09:51:14

It's the proverbial having the courage to change what you need to change to accept what can't be changed and the wisdoms to know the difference isn't it?

I don't agree with 'fat shaming' but nor am I happy that the pendulum seems to swing so far the other way with people demanding respect for their 'choice' to be unhealthy.

Being overweight is generally unhealthy. I want to lose weight, not because the Daily Mail tells me so but because I don't like it. I have only one body and I would like it to be as fit and strong as I can get it. What's stopping me is my predilection for bourbons.

Rosa Tue 18-Jun-13 10:00:08

I am a size 18. I do cardio( properly btw as the instructor is bloody good) for 50 mins twice if not 3 times a week . Watergym / aqua aerobics also twice a week. I walk everywhere . I eat small portions and pretty healthy , drink enough water low fat diet pretty much .blood tests fine BP low .after money on dieticians and them basically not beliving me ..( one I met at a fitness day and I did 6 sessions she did 5 she believed me then) so my problem seems to be I need to eat more ..yes more !!!! More so that my metabolic rate goes up.. The think is I get full and I really don't want to ..I am happy with a tuna salad and a banana for lunch or whatever. But it looks as if the only bloody way I am going to get this weight off is to eat more. I have fat and underneath a good muscle tone ... it is frustrating and I won't read the Dm article as self esteem is one thing large people often don't have.. i know I find it hard to look at my self.

Op I'm a size 6 smoker, only exercise is walking with the toddler and I eat a lot of junk. You are probably a lot healthier and fitter then me.

They should have pictures if unhealthy size 6/8's too but they won't

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 10:09:33

I absolutely despise the 'well I'm a size 20/26/32 but I 'm healthy because I eat lots of fruit/walk everywhere' etc pov.

Carrying too much body fat is NOT 'healthy' no matter how many apples a day you eat.

For the majority of women, size 16 is overweight or obese. I agree with a pp (Ronda?) in that as a society I believe we have lost sight of what a human being us supposed to look like.

FutTheShuckUp Tue 18-Jun-13 10:15:40

Why do you despise it? It's true in a lot of cases. Why is an overweight person automatically unhealthy whereas if you see someone of a normal weight you assume they are healthier without knowing sod all about their health behaviours- they could eat too much fat drink excessively and smoke.

HeySoulSister Tue 18-Jun-13 10:16:36

yes,i hate the 'I walk everywhere' excuse too

don't forget,the fat around your organs which isn't visible (visceral fat?)

Chunderella Tue 18-Jun-13 10:17:05

What does size 32 have to do with this discussion? Size 16 is as close to 0 as 32!

Startail Tue 18-Jun-13 10:17:51

90% of the side bar in the DM is arrivals about women's weight or appearance it's an appalling rag.

Yes I'm a 16 and probably not that healthy because I don't get enough exercise or eat my five a day.

I could rectify both these things and I'd probably be 11 stone something not 12.5, and feel happier in myself and my clothes.

I'd still be a size 16! To be less would mean a real diet and loads of exercise and that would make me stressed and miserable, not healthy.

FutTheShuckUp Tue 18-Jun-13 10:18:15

Which people who look thin and 'healthy' on the outside can also have...

HeySoulSister Tue 18-Jun-13 10:18:35

and since when has eating fat been a bad thing??? i'd say all those dodgy 'low fat' products are worse for you than full fat

I've just lost 4 stone 3 pounds (so far) following biwi low carb threads

your body needs FAT

It is unhealthy though.

I'm a size 12 (Well I was before I got pregnant, 34+4 weeks and weight less than I did before I got pregnant so don't have a clue really) at 5'2" and feel really pretty overweight. I have low BP but it still feels unhealthy even though I don't eat much crap, I don't eat much at all really.

My ex though, was 6'3" and weighed about 10 stone and massively over ate loads of junk and never anything healthy and I think he was probably more unhealthy than I am.

Spero Tue 18-Jun-13 10:19:22

I don't assume anyone is healthy just because they are thin but I do assume that people carrying excess weight are unhealthy. It is an extra strain on joints to carry around excess weight at the very least.

I get very uneasy about campaigns to respect fat people, widen airplane seats for eg.

We should not bully or shame people but nor should we celebrate being fat.

FutTheShuckUp Tue 18-Jun-13 10:19:30

I think in these kind of debates many people who are for some reason disgusted by fat people and think of them as lesser beings seem to dress it up as a 'concern' about their health.

Surely weight is only one indication of health though and that's the point. I also thought that being a bit overweight didn't really matter as long as you ate well and exercised....the problems only really start once you're into "obese" territory don't they?

I may be wrong.

I'm not particularly happy the weight I am right now, because I was always slim and I yearn for my pre-baby body, but I don't think my "weight" is unhealthy.

Spero Tue 18-Jun-13 10:21:05

Maybe some do. I don't.

Very little 'disgusts me. But I think you have one time on this earth and one body and you should treat it as well as you can.

FutTheShuckUp Tue 18-Jun-13 10:22:07

So you do that then- leave others to make their own choices. There are numerous unhealthy things people do every day, being a size 16 isn't necessarily the worst.

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 10:23:30

I wouldn't assume that a healthy weight person is completely healthy JUST because of their weight.

I despise that kind of justification because it normalises an unhealthy body weight.

I get that people don't like to hear they're overweight. It's not nice. But it is fact. Carrying to much weight/body fat is a huge risk factor for many illnesses.

HeySoulSister Tue 18-Jun-13 10:25:20

so there does seem to be more disgust these days at being disgust at smokers,the same for larger people too.

FutTheShuckUp Tue 18-Jun-13 10:26:25

I think fat people get far more stick than smokers these days tbh. Its like smoking has been forgotten and now its Oh Emm Gee obesity is a KILLERRRRR!!

HeySoulSister Tue 18-Jun-13 10:27:55

has anyone ever tried to sustain 'clean eating'? in our western world its very very difficult to eat as nature intended. as a human being we were not designed to have a diet of processed food and sugar......I tried clean eating for a recent 2 week food challenge. I lost 6.5 pounds,and felt amazing

impossible in this society to sustain tho.....

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 10:28:44

Nobody is disputing that there are other unhealthy things you can do to your body. hmm

This post was about size though, hence why it is focusing on size/weight.

Just because you don't smoke/drink excessively/eat fast food every day...that doesn't (health-wise) make it ok for your body to be carrying so much excess weight. They don't cancel each other out.

A lot of other unhealthy behaviours are also criticised e.g. smoking, excessive drinking.

I am obese and I know that it is probably going to damage my health if I don't do something about it even though it hasn't done any harm yet. Even if it doesn't damage my health it will probably restrict my options / mobility as I get older and less able to "carry it off".

Consequently, I've taken a close look at my diet and made it healthier. I want to be able to run around after any grandchildren I might have.

LessMissAbs Tue 18-Jun-13 10:30:58

But what is your weight at 5 feet 2 OP? I realise it is basically not allowed to suggest on mumsnet that size 16 might be on the heavy side for your height, but simply because you have not yet developed problems associated with weight gain such as type 2 diabetes, circulatory problems, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, joint problems, angina, heart disease, etc is not representative either, because medical data indicates that there is a strong correlation.

I run, and its pretty obvious how much even a half stone weight gain affects not only your speed but the way your body moves. So while you may still be able to do exercise, particularly non weight bearing exercise like cycling or swimming, it is unlikely to be fast. You don't see any overweight successful athletes. Its so easy to let weight gain happen as you get older and say the things you said about being happy with your body. I don't see how being happy with your body necessitates putting on weight though.

Slim people are not necessarily healthy, but for the normal, average person if you both exercise and watch your weight and don't let it creep up, you are more likely to stay healthy for longer. I must also admit there is a vanity issue in it for me too - I simply look a lot better when I'm not overweight.

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 10:31:47

I think talking about sizes is very misleading. I am only 5 ft 4 and after having the DCs I was a size 14 but well over what is considered a healthy BMI. I think 10 st 7 is the top end of normal with 8 st 5 being the bottom, 11st something is the top end of 'overweight' for 5 ft 2.

However I am not silly enough for one minute to believe the DM article to be a true representation of women at this weight but there is no getting away from being over or under weight can lead to serious health problems, it is not about being fat or being a size 10, extra weight can lead to lots of issues, I was 10 st 13 and had a bad back which got better once I had lost a stone.

I fully understand the limitations of BMI but there is a large range for each height and I was still over it!

Someone who is 5 ft 10 is unlikely to be overweight if they are a size 16. My friend was that height and looked a size 6 at most but she was actually a 12, I was a 12 too but she was a lot slimmer than me.

I can't see why anyone would be disgusted at someone being overweight, it is everyones own choice and I think that would be cruel to think that way.

HeySoulSister Tue 18-Jun-13 10:34:36

i'm 5ft 11 and size 16 for me is overweight.....very

ephemeralfairy Tue 18-Jun-13 10:36:16

I'm 5'7, weigh 11 stone 10, size 14-16. I have a very wide ribcage and shoulders. Most people assume I'm around a size 12 because I'm tall and apple-shaped rather than carrying weight round my hips and thighs, and we have been conditioned to think that size 16 is fat. We all know that women's clothes sizing is a dark art anyway anyway.

I go to the gym two to three times a week and went on a 12-mile walk to the weekend. Balls to the Daily Scum.

Minifingers Tue 18-Jun-13 10:39:05


If you are heavier than you ought to be you ARE at increased risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. And that's true even if you exercise and eat healthily.

And 36 is young.

Wait until your metabolism changes (as it often does when women go into their 40's and 50's) and you start to go through menopause, and that 28 lbs of additional fat that you are currently carrying around turns into 35 or 40lbs of extra fat.

And by the way, I am overweight myself. I was a size 10/12 until I hit 42, and then I slowly started to put on weight because of problems with my thyroid. I now weight about 11 and a half stone and am a solid size 14. I am doing everything I can to bring my weight down, because I have seen the misery that diabetes and heart disease can cause first hand in my family, and feel it's my duty to my children and my DH to do all I can to help myself reduce the risk of these illnesses.

Seriously - I don't give a flying fuck about my looks or what other people think of them. At 47 I have no intention of returning to the sort of mentality I had in my teens. But I do care about my health, and so should you.

In fact we all should - we owe it to the NHS.

Spero Tue 18-Jun-13 10:42:52

Er, smokers get a lot less stick now because smoking is unlawful in public places. I rarely see smokers now. But I see a lot of overweight people.

I think smoking is also very unhealthy.

I have recently put on a stone and I hate it. I hate the fact that I get out of breath more easily and I struggle to put on my clothes. I don't give a shit what the DM thinks about my body.

But I do get irritated by this mantra that fat is beautiful. It isn't. And to dislike something does NOT equate with disgust.

Minifingers Tue 18-Jun-13 10:42:59

"we have been conditioned to think that size 16 is fat"

In my experience most women who are a size 16 are carrying around about 2 stone of extra fat.

The average height of women in the UK is 5ft 4 inches. The idea that all these size 16's are amazonian women with lots of muscle and big bones is bollocks. Some are but most are not.

ephemeralfairy Tue 18-Jun-13 10:43:47

Then again I am probably at the top end of acceptable weight range for my height but I really don't think they take build into account. I've been a stone or so lighter than this before due to depression and I looked gaunt and rickety, so much so that people commented on it.

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 10:43:54

Heysoulsister - I think it does vary from one person to another, sorry I was being very generalised in saying someone who is tall wouldn't be overweight at a size 16.

I think I looked overweight when I am a size 12 for ME (not based on BMI or other peoples opinions) as I am only 5 ft 4, size 10 looks normal, size 8 a bit skinny. I have friends who weigh more than me and are a size 8-10, it is just their build.

ephemeralfairy - I actually think its the other way round - as a society we have been conditioned to think that a size 16 is normal/healthy or on the thin side when it isn't necessarily.

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Jun-13 10:44:59

I don't think we've been conditioned to think a size 16 is fat

If anything I think people are being conditioned to think it isn't...purely because it's the average UK size now.

There will always be some size 16 people who are not fat that we can use as examples.

But considering the average height of UK women is 5ft 4.5in, the majority of size 16s are going to be fat.

Some people might not like that and they can keep saying things like "oh well I know loads of size 10 women who smoke/drink/eat junk"

But that attitude isn't going to help them lose weight and it's odds on that as they get older, they'll end up gaining more.

LessMissAbs Tue 18-Jun-13 10:45:13

ephemeralfairy and we have been conditioned to think that size 16 is fat

I think its the opposite. I think we are being conditioned to think that size 16 is "normal".

Yet Britain does seem to have larger people than other Northern European countries. As in more overweight people. In Holland, if you are even a little overweight, your friends will tend to tell you that you are a bit too fat, or similar. Rather than all this vitriol about size 16 being "curvy" and normal.

I think what you see around you affects how you perceive your own weight. Many of my friends are competitive athletes, and I'm often shocked when I go into a supermarket and see so many overweight people about. Its not just their weight, its their skin. You can literally see that they have inefficient circulation and poor liver and kidney function in their skin, even if it hasn't yet manifested itself in a health condition.

And I'm sorry, but doing a long walk 12 once a week is not what I consider exercise. At least not in a young person. The trouble is that most people lead such sedentary lifestyles and have pretty much unlimited access to food, so they try to justify creeping weight gain by normalising it.

ChubbyKitty Tue 18-Jun-13 10:46:37

I am a 12 and if I am a picture of perfect health then god help everyone else.

I have a cold. In June. A COLDhmm

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 10:47:00

ephemeralfairy - BMI is VERY limited and doesn't take into account lifestyle or build but given that there is a huge range of weight from bottom of healthy to top of healthy the majority of people fit into it. The top end of healthy is fine for health, some people look better at that weight whereas I find as I have a very small build I look overweight.

My friend is a personal trainer and boxer, she has a higher BMI than me but looks much slimmer, she is very muscly and toned.

ephemeralfairy Tue 18-Jun-13 10:48:20

Well yes, but the other point is that talking in terms of sizes is arbitrary anyway, because they vary so much from shop to shop. I am a size 16 in Primark and H&M and a 14, sometimes a 12 in Marks and Spencer.

CoteDAzur Tue 18-Jun-13 10:49:16

"To be less would mean a real diet and loads of exercise and that would make me stressed and miserable, not healthy"

You would be surprised. Hormones will kick in when you start to exercise (properly, minimum 45 minutes of cardio several times a week) and you will feel elated. And when you start losing weight, and you keep on losing weight, you will be very far from "stressed and miserable".

Don't lose weight if you don't want to - I'm all for loving your body and doing whatever you like with it. But just don't say you would be miserable if you started dieting & exercising.

(Btw I take "dieting" to mean eating sensibly, with far less carbs, butter, and oil, and much more vegetables/salads. The only "diet" that will work in the long term is permanently changing the way you eat.)

FasterStronger Tue 18-Jun-13 10:49:41

justneed - of course BMI is a simple tool for people of average fitness.

but does anyone think your PTer is overweight?

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 10:51:08

exactly, I think the trouble is people are saying well I'm only a size xyz and that is average so I am fine. It really isn't the case.

I cannot fool myself into thinking I am really a size 8 because Next clothes come up a size/size and a half bigger than other places, I know my measurements and what they really equate to. I am aware what is healthy for me and I want to stick around that weight. I have no disrepect for people who don't but I know I want to be healthy as its important to me for both health and my confidence.

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 10:53:31 this is interesting as shows clothes sizes varying by 2 sizes from shop to shop

VinegarDrinker Tue 18-Jun-13 10:53:50

I'm 5'9" and pre-pregnancy was a 14-16 despite a healthy BMI (and cycling 90 miles+ a week).

I carry weight around my hips and thighs - classic 'pear' shape. Even at my slimmest - BMI 21/22 - my bottom half never gets smaller than a 12-14.

Dress size is a totally rubbish way of trying to classify healthiness.

CoteDAzur Tue 18-Jun-13 10:54:19

"big bones"

I don't understand what that is supposed to mean. Have any of you ever seen skeletons? Bones of one skeleton can easily be longer than the next, but they are hardly much thicker.

slug Tue 18-Jun-13 10:55:55

<<sigh>> I get these comment all the time. "You're not exercising properly though" or "How much do you really eat?" or "You can't possibly be fat and fit"

To which I usually point out my body fat is the result of genetics and PCOS. Underneath my fat I have huge muscles and big bones. You can track this tendency through my family, many of whom find it difficult to find hats to fit our large skulls or shoes to fit our massive feet.

My fitness is something entirely different. I was a size 20 when (briefly) a sporting international and competing in triathlons on the side. I find it incredibly patronising when an unqualified person suggests I'm not really as fit as I think I am or when they suggest my diet is poor. I had access to national coaches, doctors and dieticians, all of whom accepted that my body shape was inherent rather than acquired.

I'm actually smaller now than I was at the height of my mad sporting years. I put this down to an improvement in my PCOS. I'm still bloody fit though

<<flexes meaty bicep>>

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 10:56:09

Cote I have no idea how it works but I have tiny hands, feet, wrists and ankles. I generally weigh less than my friends who are the same height and size.

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 10:57:37

Slug - I have no doubt that you are fit and healthy but I really don't think this is the case for most people. I have lots of friends who are bigger and they may go for a run once every few months but drink and eat lots.

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Jun-13 10:58:53

People always mention athletes and super fit/exercise mad people when the subject of BMI is brought up...but they are not your average person on the street are they?

So why does it always come up? confused

No matter what your BMI is (and imo it's quite a generous marker anyway) just take your clothes off...stand in front of a full length mirror and use your eyes and your honesty.

If you are fat, or you're carrying too much fat in an area that's likely to do some damage (i.e the stomach area) then no matter what your BMI is, you'll need to make adjustments to your exercise routine/diet.

If you don't want to that's fine, but you're quite likely increasing your risk of developing some quite nasty conditions.

HeySoulSister Tue 18-Jun-13 10:58:54

I don't get the 'big boned' excuse either!

CoteDAzur Tue 18-Jun-13 10:59:57

slug - I don't know about you personally, but I do know many people who think they are following brilliant training programs in the gym while slooowly riding the bike while reading a book or walking on the treadmill, getting their heart rate up to maybe 110. That is what I was thinking when I said referred to "proper" cardio exercise (which leads to releasing happy hormones).

FasterStronger Tue 18-Jun-13 11:05:25

slug To which I usually point out my body fat is the result of genetics and PCOS. Underneath my fat I have huge muscles and big bones. You can track this tendency through my family, many of whom find it difficult to find hats to fit our large skulls or shoes to fit our massive feet.

we have massive head and feet. its nothing to do with big bones. it to do with being veeery intelligence.

big brains.
big feet to we don't fall over grin grin

slug Tue 18-Jun-13 11:09:09

OK By 'big boned' I mean, in my case at least, that the measurement, for example, across my shoulders is bigger than the average female. Even if I had no fat or muscle on my body at all I would find it hard to get into a size 10 simply because my shoulders wouldn't fit. Added to this I have a larger than average skull, huge hands and large, wide feet. Even as a scrawny teenager with no body fat, before the PCOS hit, I wore a size 12 or 14 jeans as my hip bones are also wide. I'm 5 foot 7, so I'm tallish but not particularly so.

My large shoulders, hands and feet of course, give me the frame to be a damn good swimmer. Take a look at Rebecca Adlington. I have similar proportions, though sadly not the flat stomach. (curse you childbirth!) However thin she is, she will also probably never grace a size 10 top either.

TheSmallClanger Tue 18-Jun-13 11:09:46

Some of it comes down to physiological things we can't really help. I've had periods of being very, very thin in my life, and even then, I still had a podgy stomach, which is apparently the mark of Healthy Living Satan and punishable by early death.

Then there is my aunt, who has been seriously overweight for most of her adult life, and puts on weight very easily. She is very active, and has the heart and lung function of a much smaller person, and quite low blood cholesterol too. She freely admits to eating far, far too much, but professionals don't believe her and assume she is lazy.

Bambi27 Tue 18-Jun-13 11:10:07

I'm a size 10-12 and it made me feel bad about myself...think it was the way it was worded!! Xx

TheSmallClanger Tue 18-Jun-13 11:12:05

It's true about bone sizes as well. Some people do have bigger bones than others - bones vary in thickness and density, up to a point. It is partly genetic, and also can be the result of intense activity from an early age, injuries and other pathology.

slug Tue 18-Jun-13 11:12:24

Ha FasterStronger. I used to tell my students I had the brain the size of a small planet. What didn't fit in my massive skull had to be accommodated around my waist.

LessMissAbs Tue 18-Jun-13 11:12:30

Worraliberty People always mention athletes and super fit/exercise mad people when the subject of BMI is brought up...but they are not your average person on the street are they? So why does it always come up?

Just because you aren't an athlete and have friends who are athletes doesn't mean to say that other people don't. I don't think mumsnet is representative actually - sporty people are generally out and not on the internet, and you would think there were more SAHMS than there actually are as well, because most people don't have the luxury of spending their spare time on here.

Do you have any idea how popular running is? Our local park run is full of the "average person on the street", getting up at 9.30am on a Saturday morning.

I don't believe a lot of what I read on mumsnet. I will be accused of stealth boasting, but I tried on a size 14 pair of cycling shorts at the weekend by mistake. They gaped so much around my middle that they wouldn't stay up. Am I seriously supposed to believe that, as the same height as the OP, putting on the extra fat around my middle (ie around my organs) and even more to get to a size 16 would make me "normal" and keep me just as healthy as I am now?? Ridiculous.

And the trouble with size 16 is that any more weight gain at all and you are into the verging on obese category.

Dahlen Tue 18-Jun-13 11:13:27

The biggest single thing you can do to affect your general level of health is not smoke. THe second is pay attention to your diet and exercise.

BMI and weight are guidelines, not facts. Some professional athletes, for example, can fall into the slightly overweight category because they've bulked up as a result of all their training. Likewise, very slim people will have a low hip to waist ratio, yet this is usually an indication of a weight problem. There are always going to be people who don't fit the rules, but as a generalisation they hold true.

It is perfectly possible for a person to be up to 2 stone overweight with no affect on their health as long as they are eating well and exercising regularly. In fact, a little excess weight helps the immune system and is a valuable defence against illness.

Beyond that 2 stone or so, however, the chances are that health IS going to be affected. Most people who claim otherwise are in denial.

I know quite a few people who are overweight who regularly exercise and eat a good diet, but it is obvious (to me, at least) that where they're going wrong is the sheer amount of what they're eating. Portion sizes count for a lot, and they've got bigger as a result of food being more available and cheaper than at any time in history, and the fact that we tend to measure them against portion sizes as provided by manufacturers (all of whom are making their portions bigger to encourage more spending - family sized bags of this and that, and extra large ready meals, etc).

I also know quite a few people who eat excellent healthy meals, but counteract it by eating between meals. Apparently one of the main reasons diets fail is because people consistently underestimate the calorific content of their snacks, even though they may go as far as weighing the ingredients of their main meals.

VinegarDrinker Tue 18-Jun-13 11:15:13

'Big boned' may be a misnomer but there are very real genetic and environmental factors that affect eg adult pelvic diameter.

Worra I think I'll trust BMI over your method ("do you, subjectively, look fat") until you've done the research to back it up. Yes there is some evidence that central obesity (apple shape) is proportionally more risky but I think saying a visible inch of fat anywhere on your body = unhealthy is bollocks.

VinegarDrinker Tue 18-Jun-13 11:19:27

" And the trouble with size 16 is that any more weight gain at all and you are into the verging on obese category."

If you are 5'2" maybe.

I'd have to gain at least 20 kg to get into the obese range.

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Jun-13 11:19:59

LessMissAbs I was referring to the post about the personal trainer.

It seems that quite often when the subject of BMI is raised, some people will always come on and say "Well I know someone who's an athlete/bodybuilder and their BMI makes them obese...therefore the whole thing is stupid".

But all that does is take the spotlight off the issue...which is the obesity pandemic.

It's like me saying, "Well I know an 85yr old who smokes and she's as fit as a fiddle".

All well and good, but hardly an advert for smoking.

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Jun-13 11:24:42

VinegarDrinker you've confused me with another poster if you think I said a visible inch of fat anywhere on your body = unhealthy

I have in the past looked in the mirror whilst naked and seen my large belly that quite frankly made me look around 3 months pregnant.

However my BMI was well within the healthy range.

All that Visceral fat around my organs was unhealthy so I made sure to step up a vigorous exercise routine.

Remember BMI is a guide and many other things need to be considered.

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 11:25:56

Worra - I didn't mean it like that, I was explaining the limitations but totally agree with it as a guide for normal people. I really didn't think I had worded my post to sound as if that was what I wad meaning!

VinegarDrinker Tue 18-Jun-13 11:27:42

Except.... if the fat Is visible in front of your muscles then by definition it isn't around your organs.... (although I agree that central obesity is Not A Good Thing in general).

Latara Tue 18-Jun-13 11:28:32


But i never worry about dress size. I wear a size 12-14 on my bottom half and a size 14-18 (depending on the shop) on my top half. So i don't know what size i really am; i go by weight (2 stone left to lose) and measurements instead.

MrsGSR Tue 18-Jun-13 11:28:41

Clothes size is a very flawed way to determine health. BMI is accurate for most average people, but again is far from perfect. Body fat is a much better measure, especially as there are some people who are very slim but with a high body fat %. It's also accurate for those who weight train and have more muscle than average, which BMI doesn't take into account.

The DM will always generalize, although the majority may not be, you can be healthy at a size 16.

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 11:32:03

on the website is says you are at a higher risk of health problems if your waist measures over 31.5inches if you are female or 37.5 if you are male. You are at risk of even higher problems if over 34.5 inches or 40 inches for men.

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 11:34:54
justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 11:35:16

clearly my spelling is not important!!!

noddyboulder Tue 18-Jun-13 11:36:29

Clothing size has also changed dramatically in the past 20 years - as has been pointed out, a current size 16 is more like a 20 in old money.

Compare yourself to these old measurements:

I am a 12 there, but have increasingly found myself wearing size 8 clothing now, despite the fact that I weighed 9lbs less at university - and wore size 12 clothes back then. I am sorry, but GB is kidding itself that it doesn't have a problem. And I say this as someone who has recently lost a stone myself after I went on a work trip to south-central Africa and realised I looked like a butterball compared to everyone there.

VinegarDrinker Tue 18-Jun-13 11:42:30

Waist-to-hip ratio is useful in predicting T2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems, probably more so than just looking at waist measurement.

(Not hugely useful in pregnancy though!)

LessMissAbs Tue 18-Jun-13 11:44:11

Worraliberty LessMissAbs I was referring to the post about the personal trainer. It seems that quite often when the subject of BMI is raised, some people will always come on and say "Well I know someone who's an athlete/bodybuilder and their BMI makes them obese...therefore the whole thing is stupid"

Again, I read things on here that I simply don't see in real life. I have never seen any of those supposed size 14/16 top athletes either. I don't see them at the running track or on tv. I didn't see them when I did triathlon either - I did see a few slightly larger athletes, some of whom were not bad, but they were not at the front of the field. The hard truth is that in sports where moving fast under your own body power is the ultimate goal, its all about power to weight ratio. You want to have the lowest possible weight for the maximum power output, and that means no excess fat other than the basic you need for enzyme function, body health and so on.

I guess in activities such as aerobics classes, you might get participants who are larger, or certainly in rugby etc where large size is a benefit. But your average runner on the street will nearly always go faster if they lose any excess weight they are carrying. Ditto your average cyclist.

I'm pretty muscly, but I've never managed to go up a dress size because of it! In fact, I was putting on a bit of weight last summer and when I lost it, it was amazing how much came off my shoulders. In terms of dresses being tight around the shoulders and then fitting. This coincided with my taking up triathlon training again and hence plenty of front crawl swimming.

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Jun-13 11:44:18

Also, as much as there will of course be some people who are size 16 and not's worth remembering that almost half the women in the UK who are of childbearing age, are overweight or obese.

So I'd guess there are far more people who wear a size 16 who are actually overweight.

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 11:44:53

I don't quite fit into the old style measurements as I have small hips/tummy but not a tiny waist. They are still probably 2 sizes out from the link i put on thpugh, however I am not sure how accurate they are in comparison to what was sold in stores. I have trousers in a size 10 or 12 from years ago and they still fit (just), I am not quite as slim as I was but probably more toned.

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Jun-13 11:46:36

This coincided with my taking up triathlon training again and hence plenty of front crawl swimming

I'm out of breath just reading that grin

ILikeBirds Tue 18-Jun-13 11:48:28

"I have never seen any of those supposed size 14/16 top athletes either"

The argument is that they have a high bmi, not a big dress size. My bmi is just tipping into the overweight category but I wear size 8/10 and my waist is 26.5"

LessMissAbs Tue 18-Jun-13 11:52:13

Reading the article itself, one of the subjects is 36 - I can't believe that. She is 11 1/2 stones at 5 feet 6 and describes how eating one digestive biscuit can turn into a whole packet. How on earth can anyone eat a whole packet of biscuits in one sitting? And why would you do that to yourself?

And it may be harsh, but 11 1/2 stones is a weight I would associate with a medium sized man.

Another subject is 14 1/2 stones at 5 feet 7! My husband is 6 feet 1 and weighs much less than that, yet on here I am supposed to be believe it is a healthy normal weight!

Yes, they don't look too bad because they have been photographed in soft lightning in those wraparound dresses.

The medical advice is generally to exercise by "brisk walking" - I would hope I would be in my seventies by the time I have to resort to bloody "brisk walking" as an exercise. I found that whole article really shocking. It is as if those women have given up on maintaining their weight. I know women of 50 who look 10 years younger than every single subject in that article (including the one of supposedly 36).

Really, really shocked. As I say, most of my friends do sport of some sort or other, or if overweight, admit they are unhappy with it and would love/are trying to lose some. Its like some kind of parallel universe.

CoteDAzur Tue 18-Jun-13 11:57:02

"I would hope I would be in my seventies by the time I have to resort to bloody "brisk walking" as an exercise"

I agree, wholeheartedly.

My dad is 73 and walks 6 km in 1 hr several times a week. That is pretty "brisk" imho.

Remotecontrolduck Tue 18-Jun-13 11:57:55

I would say the vast majority of size 16s are overweight, which broadly speaking is damaging to health. I am short and would be grossly obese at size 16.

If you feel fine and like your body then that's great, but ultimately long term it's likely to cause you problems even if it isn't now. If you're willing to accept the risk that's fine, and of course a size 8 can be unhealthy too, and you can be struck down by anything at any time, at any weight.

Spero Tue 18-Jun-13 11:58:10

Sadly, I can attest it is quite easy to eat an entire packet of bourbon biscuits in 20 minutes.

ILikeBirds me too! My BMI is at the top end of healthy, but I'm a size 6/8 because I'm only 5ft tall.
Waist measurement is a bit of a flawed tool too, as taller people will have broader waists. Mine is 24", though on the vintage measurements I was still an 8 at that!
I think it comes down to overall health, and no one measure can adequately assess health risks, as people have too many variables in their lives.

Oblomov Tue 18-Jun-13 12:04:26

They all do look very glam.
I suit wrap around dresses, but I sure don't look like any of those 4 ladies.

Rosa Tue 18-Jun-13 12:06:20

Heysoulsister and pretty kitty if the 'I walk everywhere' excuse is aimed at me where I live you have no bloody option but to walk simply as we have no cars, bikes, and a bus is taken only as the pavement ceases and its either that or swim.
I tried the no processed refined organic food for 2 weeks cost me a fortune and lost 1kg fat and gained 1.5kg water (hmm)

Rosa Tue 18-Jun-13 12:06:40

Opps wrong brackets!

I am an overweight size 10 (size 8 in some shops). I can't jog for more than a minute but can swim 1.5km without a rest. I was an obese size 16 but there are size 16s within the normal BMI range in the article. I don't really understand what their point is.

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 12:11:47

It wasn't really aimed at anyone. 'I walk loads' is the generic unhealthy-weight excuse that is massively overused in general.

Shenanagins Tue 18-Jun-13 12:16:02

"big bones" or rather differences in our skeletal structure needs to be taken into account but all too often it is used as an excuse for being fat.

elite athletes are a good example to explain this as they excel in a sport for their body type.

take chis hoy and Bradley wiggins. Both elite cyclists but completely different in bone structure. If for example they were the same height (i don't know if they are or not) and Bradley weighed the same as Chris he would most likely be overweight for his body type.

that said, for most people, a size 16 is overweight with a lot of people normalizing this size.

Samu2 Tue 18-Jun-13 12:17:07

I am certainly not disgusted by overweight people.

I was a size 16 and 5 stone overweight three years ago and work really hard to maintain my weight loss. I was there once too and know how bloody easy it to gain and how hard it is to lose and maintain. I work hard every day at it.

But we have lost sight of what a healthy weight is and I do think it is concerning that a size 16 is now average, especially when you take vanity sizing into account.

Of course being a size 10 doesn't automatically mean you are healthy but if you are an average sized women wearing a size 16 you are upping your risks and carrying too much fat is unhealthy full stop.

LessMissAbs Tue 18-Jun-13 12:22:49

Its not the weight I'm "judging" so much as the eating one packet of biscuits in one sitting and thinking its normal, or the thinking of walking as exercise Lovelygoldboots. tbh I think this whole thing probably over-estimates how interested people are in size 16s or above anyway, other than the medical profession. For me, my interest is sort of a shock at the way some people live their lives and consider it normal and then try to justify it by making everyone else feel bad. Even in my office, there is only one person who falls into that size category, everyone else is slim. Note slim. Not skinny. And the majority are over 45.

I would hope I would consider my life more important than a packet of biscuits.

OrmirianResurgam Tue 18-Jun-13 12:23:44

"Don't read the DM, you'll be much happier"

grin Exactly! According to the DM someone somewhere is always doing something wrong.

LessMissAbs Tue 18-Jun-13 12:26:48

Shenanigans actually coming from a triathlon background, I've often seen Chris Hoy and Brad Wiggins training. Brad has completely changed his body shape from when he was a track sprinter to now. He is almost unrecognisable, and he worked with British Cycling to do it. He was always considered too heavy to be a successful stage racer but he succeeded and retained his strength, which is an amazing achievement, and warm weather training camp gossip was often about how he was too heavy at the start of the season, etc..

Conversely, Chris Hoy used to be smaller and spent years building up his physique for the power to provide the acceleration needed in track sprint cycling.

It always, always comes down to power to weight ratio in the endurance sports.

froubylou Tue 18-Jun-13 12:30:55

I am currently 13 weeks PG and (just) gone up to a size 16.

I was a 12/14 before getting PG. I also have a huge bust (36e/f) and my weight at 5ft 5in was 11 stone on a very good day, 11 st 10lbs on a bad day. Its been an issue for me for about 5 years.

A change of job, complacency, more alcohol, less excercise (had a car instead of walking) etc etc etc have all contributed to me gaining weight. I just hope that the baby when it comes is a hungry little bugger and strips away all this excess weight BFing.

A size 16 in most cases is overweight. And we all know it. A size 16 in some countries and maybe 30/40 years ago would have been unusual rather than the norm.

At my bigger size 14 I felt worse than my size 8 smoking like a chimmney, running around like a loon and working in a physically demanding job. I have put on about 6lbs so far in the Pgy and can feel every lb when I walk or try and do something that would normally leave me slightly out of breath.

Shops are partly to blame I think. Before I crash dieted, worked out and smoked myself to a size 8 there were very few 'young' high street stores that catered to a size 16. And the size 14s were a bit unforgiving as well. A friend at the time was a size 16/18 and we were limited to Oasis and Warehouse if I remember to find her nice 'clubbing' gear. And even then it was only available in a few ranges.

However it is a lot easier and cheaper to eat badly. I for one would welcome the 'fat' tax that keeps getting banded around. If more people had to buy fresh fruit and veg, leaner meats and less bloody ready meals and takeaways as a nation we'd be a lot fitter and healthier. I agree with the PP re portion control too. I picked up a couple of ready meal pasta's for me and DD on the way home on saturday teatime reasoning it was healthier than a takeaway. Wish I had gone for fish and chips instead. Huge portion of pasta and cheesy sauce, over 1200 cals per portion. And it was for 1 person.

I am also shocked at how many very young women I see that are blatantly obese. 17/18/19 year olds at a size 20+. And flaunting it in strappy tops, hotpants and saggy tummys hanging over too small jeans in crop tops. Like some sort of perverse badge of honour.

With regards to size 16 people being more unhealthy than a size 8/10/12 person they probably are in the majority. There will always be a few exceptions to the rule. And always some reason why a very healthy person would be a size 16, as there are for a size 10 person being very unhealthy

When I want to slim down I use MyFitnessPal which is very good as it helps you understand the portion size and calorie and fat content of everything you eat, plus the calories you 'earn' from excercise. I was very shocked when I first started using it just how many calories I was eating 'in secret' from myself. I didn't class myself as a 'big' eater and blamed a slower metabolism on the weight that had crept on. It wasn't my metabolism that was at fault. It was me not giving it the right foods and enough excercise to keep it going.

The problem with today is there are so many labour saving devices, so much easy/quick/fast foods, too many desk/sitting down jobs and half the country is in denial about their health. We all need to take responsibilty for it. At a size 8/10 I look too thin, but at a size 14 I am too big. But its hard work to maintain my weight at a size 12, or a 20 BMI. But I need to be there if I want to remain as fit and healthy as I possibly can for as long as I can.

Its everybodies own choice how they look and feel about themselves. And whilst people may be happy and confident at a size 16+ I was happy and confident as a smoker. Stopped and feel much better. Despite denying otherwise whilst I puffed away, and coughed and spluttered every morning lol.

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 12:31:14

What I do find fascinating is weight and size ratios.

One of the women in the article was size 16 and 11 stone something.

At 13 stone, I was undoubtedly overweight but still only a size 14. At 11 stone something I am now a size 12. My lowest ever weight, 10 stone, saw me at a 8/10 with a v. Low body fat ratio. Yet my friend is an undoubtedly chubby size 14 at 10 stone (we are more or less the same height).

Different builds/bone density etc must make some difference...just not as much as some people try to make out.

Bambi27 Tue 18-Jun-13 12:31:39

Walking is a form of exercise or have a missed something? You don't need to be in a gym to be doing exercise! A good vigorous walk with the dog is a form if exercise! Stop trying to make people feel bad about their lifestyles! You must be 'super fit' to warrant this!!

Shenanagins Tue 18-Jun-13 12:33:34

Lesmis, i used those two as the most recognisable examples of the point i was making in relation to "big bones."

the point is that for some a size 16 is fine for their body type but conversely for most it isn't.

Bambi27 Tue 18-Jun-13 12:35:36

Pretty kitty same here! Around 11 stone sees me at 10-12. Around 10 half a small 10 weird isn't it!! How tall are you??

Apart from anything else, I can't see how all these woman are a 16 without some very carefull shopping. I am 5' 10", i've been losing weight since January - I am currently 12 stone 13. I am taller than all the woman and lighter than two of them. Whist I do have a couple of 14s I fit into and I also have a few 16s that are too big. I mostly take a 16.

I undersatnd what the article is trying to say, in that we are normalising being heavier than we should be, I also think they need to do something similar for men as it's not only woman who are carrying a bit too much weight.

I believe it is perfectly possible to be a 16 and healthy but tbf that is not likely to be the norm.....people of all sizes and weights are unhealthy but if you can reduce your health risks but moving a bit more and eating a bit less then that shouldn't be a huge issue should it? and I can see the irony as I am and clearly was overweight (i'm like a reformed smoker at the moment!) grin

HeySoulSister Tue 18-Jun-13 12:39:16

I think walking is just that,walking!! we all do it,some more than others. then there is power walking.

I find the entire weight to clothes size differences really interesting too. I've slimmed back into a 16 and I am most definitely overweight still, and this is a combination of my bad habits and illnesses and pregnancies - but I've worked my way out of the obese category. I'm 12st 10 now. However I know people of very similar heights with very similar weights who wear completely different sizes both higher and lower. My mum has had to go into 16s recently though and weighs a lot more than me currently, shes also shorter than me.

Is far prefer something like this aimed at people in obese bmi category than a particular clothes size. There's far more variation in how we way clothes than there are for those that bmi doesn't work for.

FasterStronger Tue 18-Jun-13 12:41:34

^ for some a size 16 is fine for their body type but conversely for most it isn't^

bambi - please can you explain more about what you mean by that? do you mean if someone is very tall (5 foot 11) or do you mean something other than height when you say body type?

*wear clothes

Dahlen Tue 18-Jun-13 12:45:06

I think there's a very good case for revamping cookery classes in school to combat this.

The cost of ingredients for one meal is far higher than the cost an average family will spend. So children learn to cook 'special' meals but haven't the first idea about providing ordinary, healthy family meals on a limited budget.

People always trot out the line that it's cheaper to buy processed food than wholesome ingredients, but it's not true. If you give someone £4 and tell them to provide a meal for a family of four, then yes they will get a cheaper solution from frozen ready meals or processed stuff and probably have change left over. However, spend the whole £4 on ingredients and if you know how to cook you will not only have a meal for tonight, but you'll have leftovers and/or enough ingredients remaining to make another meal.

TurnThatFrownUpsideDown Tue 18-Jun-13 12:45:53

I'm 5'7.

Three months ago i had a BMI of 26. I was 12stone and a size 14-16.

I was overweight and felt horrible.

Now i have a BMI of 21. I weight 9stone 13lbs, and my goal is to get toned and weigh 9.7 stone, bringing my BMI down to 20.

I have worked hard at losing this weight and feel wonderful.


My 5'2 friend is a size 16-18. We were supposed to be in this 'diet and exercise overhaul' together. She gave up after a few weeks and has been criticising my weight loss ever since.

"You look terrible."
"Exercising every day is obsessive - it's not normal"
"A size 10 is unattractive"
"Men prefer curves"
"I'd much rather be curvy if it meant i was happy and could eat how i liked rather than calorie count everyday."

Blah blah blah.

The other day we were looking through photos of our visit to the beach last weekend, and i said something along the lines of "I'm so happy i can see my collar bone again - it's been years!"

My friend made a face and said bones aren't attractive. I look like i'm starving.

I am a healthy weight! I feel wonderful. She is the one who is overweight. Yet when i said "I'm much happier seeing a collar bone there than the fold of fat i used to have", she took it as if I'd said something personal against her.

Anyway, to summarise this rant...

i hate how we are slowly becoming accustomed to accepting being overweight as normal, and must not say anything against this lest we want flamed.

But overweight people can criticise slimmer people without the same consequences.

It's not fair. Every time i meet up with my group of friends (two are obese, one overweight), i have to sit there and listen to their criticism and celebration of curves, and am quickly put in my place when i dare say i'm happier now that i'm slimmer.

CoteDAzur Tue 18-Jun-13 12:46:04

Walking is a form of exercise in the sense that cleaning the house is a form of exercise - yes, bodily movement is involved, but your heart rate doesn't rise into the required band and stay there for a minimum of 45 minutes. That is the level of cardio you need to aim for if you intend to significantly change your body shape through exercise, rather than walking the dog for a bit, stopping while he takes a dump, then walking some more, then home in half an hour etc.

LessMissAbs Tue 18-Jun-13 12:48:40

Shenanigans Lesmis, i used those two as the most recognisable examples of the point i was making in relation to "big bones." the point is that for some a size 16 is fine for their body type but conversely for most it isn't

I see what you are trying to do but unfortunately in Brad Wiggins you picked the example who most disproves your theory. He is so well known in cycling circles for having changed his body type to become a TDF contender, and it took him years. He is completely different to when he was a track cyclist.

I think theres a lot of confusion on here about how to train and stay slim, or even what slim constitutes. While in the UK, there might be some Amazonian types, I don't think genetically there is much explanation in bone size to cause someone to need to be a size 16 for optimal health, unless they are very, very tall. You would be verging into the realms of gigantism, hormonal disorder, for that to occur. Its not as if huge Amazonian skeletons are found, and its not a recognised British phenomenon to explain the changing size of the average British woman in the past 60 or 70 years.

I would think it more likely that some people are more able to develop muscle easily, but there is still a huge difference between muscle lying on top of lean tissue and muscle lying on top of adipose tissue (fat).

Lizzylou Tue 18-Jun-13 12:50:03

That is not true Cote.

Tabata/HIIT/Metafit/Insanity, even Jillian Bloody Michaels get results from shorter bursts of intense cardio.

TurnThatFrownUpsideDown Tue 18-Jun-13 12:50:43

I just wanted to add that we should all be walking at least 5 miles (8km) each day anyway.

This should be considered normal and should be integrated into our daily routine.

OrmirianResurgam Tue 18-Jun-13 12:51:27

I walked 8 miles on Saturday. Does that count as excercise I wonder? I used to run. I did about 22 miles a week over 3 runs. But I got too many injuries which came back time and time again, so now I walk. It burns caloies, it gets the heart and lungs working. It's bloody exercise. Exercise doesn't have to tone and sculpt you to do you good.

OrmirianResurgam Tue 18-Jun-13 12:53:46

According to every build-size calculator I can find on 'tinternet I am a large build. if I was a man I would be a medium build. I have 7.5 inch wrist and I am 5'11 tall. I can apparently go up to 176lbs before I am overweight. So yes, bone-size is relevant to how heavy one is, and what dress size I 'should' wear.

LessMissAbs Tue 18-Jun-13 12:55:00

Cote D'Azur Walking is a form of exercise in the sense that cleaning the house is a form of exercise - yes, bodily movement is involved, but your heart rate doesn't rise into the required band and stay there for a minimum of 45 minutes

I agree. Walking is something I would do for exercise if I was very unfit, or old, or suffering from a debilitating illness. I would hope that my heart rate wouldn't rise much simply from walking.

I am honestly really shocked at what the average is considered to be on here. It must depend so much on who you meet in day to day life. Running and cycling are so so common to do as exercise now, you don't have to be a competitive athlete, although the occasional competition gives you something to aim at.

I do remember when I started out in competitive sports about 20 years ago though that it was more unusual, but times have changed, women's races are far more competitive, and even at the time, I remember thinking how old-fashioned attitudes to sport and exercise were from some people who found it unusual.

I have to say again I do not find mumsnet particularly representative, its nice, but doesn't cover a representative balance of the population.

LessMissAbs Tue 18-Jun-13 12:57:22

Lizzylou Tabata/HIIT/Metafit/Insanity, even Jillian Bloody Michaels get results from shorter bursts of intense cardio

Does that mean interval training? why the hell don't just call it that

Interval training has been around for decades. Most endurance athletes do two or three interval sessions a week, to supplement their long runs.

But do anything for long enough and you will plateau.

ILikeBirds Tue 18-Jun-13 12:58:13

I have put my 10 stone 12 photo on my profile. I could afford to lose some weight tbh but I don't believe my current weight is putting me at an additional risk although my BMI would suggest otherwise (I'm 5 foot 4) . I'm not big boned (I have small hands and feet) but I am heavier for my size than most imo. I don't know why that is but it's clear to me from friends/relatives that weight can vary a great deal between people of a similar size.

ILikeBirds Tue 18-Jun-13 12:58:48

I have put my 10 stone 12 photo on my profile. I could afford to lose some weight tbh but I don't believe my current weight is putting me at an additional risk although my BMI would suggest otherwise (I'm 5 foot 4) . I'm not big boned (I have small hands and feet) but I am heavier for my size than most imo. I don't know why that is but it's clear to me from friends/relatives that weight can vary a great deal between people of a similar size.

Samu2 Tue 18-Jun-13 13:01:59

Interval training is much better than 45 minutes of cardio by far!! You do not have to work hard for 45 minutes to get good results with HIIT/ interval training. I do two cardio exercises, both 12 minutes each, alternating one minute at max and then one minute slower followed by heavy weights. This is ideal.

While walking is great it just isn't a big calorie burner at all. Unless you are power walking. But even then, if your diet is poor exercising isn't going to be doing a great deal unless you are constantly exercise, most of us can't outwork a bad diet by exercise.

Everyone should be walking more for the other benefits though.

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 13:02:21

ILikeBirds - You do not look 10 stone 12, you look similar size to me and I am 9st. What dress size do you wear?

ILikeBirds Tue 18-Jun-13 13:04:46

I wear 8 or 10 normally.

FasterStronger Tue 18-Jun-13 13:05:47

ilike - I think you might need new scales.... in a good way!

Technotropic Tue 18-Jun-13 13:07:13

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 10:09:33

Carrying too much body fat is NOT 'healthy' no matter how many apples a day you eat.

For the majority of women, size 16 is overweight or obese. I agree with a pp (Ronda?) in that as a society I believe we have lost sight of what a human being us supposed to look like.

This. Dress sizes are pretty arbitrary as the actual amount of bodyfat will differ, depending on height, muscle mass etc. Bodyfat percentage is much more useful but is not as easy for the masses to understand. Thus specifying a dress size is much simpler.

OP I think you're being a little unreasonable as I think it's generally true that you will be unhealthy if you're size 16 - due to higher than healthy bodyfat. Fitness is not the same as healthy so is a bit of a red herring. Ideally you should be both IMHO.

ILikeBirds Tue 18-Jun-13 13:07:42

Nothing wrong with my scales, they weigh exactly the same as the scales at the doctors, and the hospital where I had my pre-op, and my friends house etc.

CoteDAzur Tue 18-Jun-13 13:08:11

Lizzylou - It is actually very true. I'm not going to know what you are referring to unless you explain what "short burst" means, but if you mean interval training, that also involves keeping your heart rate within a certain range for a minimum of 45 minutes.

For example, C25K is basic interval training. You run for a while, then walk for a short bit, then start running again. It's been a while since I did it but I remember being astounded that my heart rate wasn't going under 130 bpm even during the walking intervals.

This is a far cry from walking the dog, then stopping to wait for him to do his business etc.

CoteDAzur Tue 18-Jun-13 13:09:39

Samu - I would like to know where your information is coming from, to claim that 24 minutes of cardio is "ideal".

RhondaJean Tue 18-Jun-13 13:10:19

Walking will not give your cardio system the type of workout it should be getting. Yes it's good for you and it does burn calories but it's not exercising to the level you should be.

My point earlier was that we are actually conditioned to think a 16 is ok by our society. When I was little it was very unusual to see a really fat person. Now it's common place. There were heavier girls at school yes but they were probably today's 14/16 whereas there are lots of young girls now who are severely obese, size 20 plus.

Bmi is a crap indicator for many reasons. And of course not every size 16 is unhealthy. But there are a lot of posts on this thread which remind me of smoking apologists - it won't happen to me, I'm actually very healthy and a refusal to acknowledge that while it doesn't necessarily mean you will definitely become I'll you are drastically increasing your chances of doing so.

bettycocker Tue 18-Jun-13 13:13:14

I do HIIT training and I love walking too. I go on epic hikes with DP, sometimes 10 - 15 miles. Occasionally we've done more mileage.

If your walking in an area with steep hills, you definitely get a workout. I went to Cornwall earlier this year and walked 14 miles along the coast path. My god, there were so many steep bits. In fact, it was very much like interval training. My thighs turned to jelly and I am a hardened Jillian Michaels fan.

Lizzylou Tue 18-Jun-13 13:14:11

But Cote, Metafit classes are only 30minutes long (I am going to my first one tonight so have been reading up). You are supposed to burn 500-800 in that 30 minutes (bit hmm at that) and then your body continues to burn calories for 24hrs afterwards.
Same principle with Tabata/HIIT etc

You don't necessarily have to do the 45minutes, you can get similar/better results in a shorter timescale.

And I think poo pooing walking or anyone doing a 20minute run only etc is a dangerous game to play, we all have to start somewhere! Not everyone wants to be an athlete.

LifeofPo Tue 18-Jun-13 13:15:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 13:17:22

ILikeBirds - I have just taken a photo similar to yours and you look much slimmer than me (I am too embarrassed to upload it). I am not as toned as I would like to be but have a fairly flat tummy. I am a size 10 but maybe a 10-12 rather than 8-10 and am a 30HH boobs. My bones must be made of extra light material!!!

Lizzylou Tue 18-Jun-13 13:17:25

Lessmissabs, because that is what the classes are called hmm

People who don't want to be athletes and just bob down to their local leisure centre/stick on a DVD/look on youtube, that is what they will know of. If semi-rural Lancashire can hold Metafit classes am sure the rest of the country do too.

MerryOnMerlot Tue 18-Jun-13 13:20:40

I'm 5ft2 and size 10/12. If my 12's are starting to feel tight I know I'm overweight - and I look it. Size 14 on my taller friends and they look thin/healthy weight.

I'm afraid I agree with the others who say YABU in that just because size 16 is now considered average/normal, doesn't mean it's good or healthy.

I know we're all supposed to embrace our figures and love ourselves regardless, but I think this can delude people into thinking an unhealthy weight is OK.

Samu2 Tue 18-Jun-13 13:21:24
HeySoulSister Tue 18-Jun-13 13:21:48

my dd has friends with babies....teen mums....they all seem to say the same,and expect motherhood to make them and keep them,fat. its sad.

CoteDAzur Tue 18-Jun-13 13:21:56

Lizzy - Let us know what you think after your class. I'd be interested to hear it, although I agree with you, it it extremely unlikely that you would burn 500-800 kCal in half an hour. I burn less than 300 kCal while running for 30 minutes. (Of course, calories burned depends on body weight, so someone twice my weight might conceivably burn much more)

I'm not saying "It doesn't count if you exercise for 20 minutes". I am saying that people shouldn't say that they are exercising but their weight isn't shifting before (1) they start exercising for at least 45 minutes per session, and (2) their heart rate stays in a certain bracket (to be determined with a professional in the gym) during this entire time.

Of course, your metabolism is upped by the cardio exercise and you will continue to burn calories at a higher rate for the rest of the day. This is not specific to Metafit.

CoteDAzur Tue 18-Jun-13 13:23:32

Samu - Would you please link to just one reputable source that says 24 minutes of cardio is "ideal"?

Of course you burn calories while lifting weights. You also burn calories while talking, eating, etc.

noddyholder Tue 18-Jun-13 13:25:09

Strange that the Mail has pictures of Kelly Brook their favourite show pony in the same paper and she looks the same as the 4 size 16s but no calling her unhealthy she is curvy and all woman hmm

Samu2 Tue 18-Jun-13 13:25:19

You could google if you don't like my links.

This is nothing new, Cote. Ask any personal trainer and they will tell you the same.

If you are doing HIIT 24 minutes is fine. You don't have to believe me.

Technotropic Tue 18-Jun-13 13:27:34

Sorry Samu2 but you've bought into it big time. I think the jury is still out on the 'Interval vs cardio' debate.

MotherofDragons82 Tue 18-Jun-13 13:27:49

The problem is that people's definitions of "normal" have changed.
People think that, if size 16 is average, if walking at an average pace counts as exercise, and if biscuits/cake are everyday food, then they must be healthy.
But, as the DM article points out, they could actually be storing up health problems for the future. I hate the DM and everything it stands for, but this piece actually has a point. Which is that BMI is not nonsense in 99 per cent of cases, and being overweight and a size 16 does have health implications.

I've recently lost a stone, taking me from a size 12 to a 10. In doing so, I've knocked 7 minutes off my 10k PB. Now, that is huge. More than a minute a mile. I am absolutely convinced, more than ever, that weight has a huge impact on physical fitness - especially as I was training more when I was larger.

BMI is also a huge, huge bracket. At my height I could be anything between around 8.5 and 11 stones and still be healthy. However, at 10st 12, I was healthy and chubby. Now I'm 9st 12 I'm healthy and average - but still have a distinct roll of fat around my tummy.
If I was more than 11st I'd still be fit enough to run marathons, but that wouldn't make me any less overweight.

Samu2 Tue 18-Jun-13 13:28:10
Lizzylou Tue 18-Jun-13 13:28:53

Oh I realise that, Cote. It is all the same shit dressed up in different ways!

Thing is, for a lot of people starting out exercising 45minutes is a bloody long time and just not doable (whether that purely physically or mentally). That is why c25k is so good, training people up and keeping them motivated. How many people can now run for 5km/10km nonstop because they started with short bursts on an IPod? Bloody loads on MN and my parkrun at least.

We can't bemoan obesity and lack of exercise on one hand and then poo poo when people are making the effort to actually do something.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 18-Jun-13 13:29:53

The problem with cardio is the more you do the more efficient your body gets so it has less impact. It also burns not that many calories depressingly.

The more muscle you have the more calories you will burn at any point. I doubt that metafit burns 800 calories, but if you do it properly you will be close to puking, and its all strength stuff so your muscles will get bigger and you will burn more calories.

Samu2 Tue 18-Jun-13 13:31:28

Well I am happy to be corrected if that is the case, but from all my research and talking to personal trainers it seems that the evidence is pretty solid to me.

If there are studies that prove me wrong then I will happily eat my words. I am not too proud to admit when I am wrong smile

I manage to maintain my weight easier doing interval training.

bettycocker Tue 18-Jun-13 13:32:45

Interval training works for me too. It seems to reduce my appetite too.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 18-Jun-13 13:33:03

In fact, I'm pretty sure there is a valid school of thoughts that says the most effective exercise is lifting heavy.

Technotropic Tue 18-Jun-13 13:34:17


There are just as many articles out there that say the opposite.

Samu2 Tue 18-Jun-13 13:37:29

I agree that heavy lifting is where it is at, too.

It has transformed my body and weight.

Techno, point taken.. so I guess it boils down to personal choice then smile I know I would rather do 25 minutes of intervals followed by heavy weights than 45 minutes on those darn machines grin

Samu2 Tue 18-Jun-13 13:38:11

And yes of it reducing your appetite.. long cardio does the opposite for me.

CoteDAzur Tue 18-Jun-13 13:38:17

I have experience of quite a few very good personal trainers, Samu, and I am quite familiar with the principles of interval training.

My problem is with your use of the word "ideal" - as in, no more and no less. Fine, if you can't or don't want to do any more, but WHO EXACTLY has determined that 24 minutes is "ideal" and HOW?

Maybe ask your trainer if he knows. Also ask him whether he is aware that it takes the body about 20-30 minutes to start burning fat reserves.

Mine started me on 3 x 15 minutes = 45 minutes from the first session. (This was a training program in a sports hospital where professional athletes go when they have a problem so I dare hope that they know what they are doing.). This was followed by weights and stretching. I lost 10 kgs in 2.5 months and went down two dress sizes.

Again, my comments are for people who say they go to the gym often but their weight doesn't shift. They need to up their training to 45 minutes and keep their heart rate at the required interval.

Samu2 Tue 18-Jun-13 13:38:51

That last sentence didn't make much sense!

Technotropic Tue 18-Jun-13 13:39:17

Lifting weights is something to be done full stop. Muscle mass is high maintenance so is beneficial for all, especially as we lose muscle mass as we get older.

However you cannot survive on lifting heavy weights alone. Neither should you only do intervals.

The only real way of keeping things real is to combine it all i.e. bouts of heavy strength training followed by light weight endurance.

Intervals should also be mixed up with steady state cardio. Read any serious training manual and they will always say to mix it up.

The benefit of this is also that it prevents any plateau and also keeps things interesting.

Samu2 Tue 18-Jun-13 13:40:58

Well sure, people can do more of less if they want. I should have said that imo you don't need to do more for it to be effective.

I will put those questions to my trainer when I next see her though smile

OhTheConfusion Tue 18-Jun-13 13:41:07

Sorry I haven't had time to read the whole thread yet, but... I am a size 16 and trying to lose a little more weight, it has taken a loss of 21lbs to get to a 16. What amazes me is the difference in weight/height yet all are size 16.

Woman1: 11st 5lb and 5ft 6inches
Woman2: 14st 8lb and 5ft 7inches
Woman3: 13st 7lb and 5ft 2inches
Woman4: 10st 8lb and 5ft 5inches

Surely this has to show that natural body shapes and not just weight dictate your size too?

Samu2 Tue 18-Jun-13 13:42:33

Well, then I eat my words!!

I am always happy to learn more and will start adding more longer cardio into my routine.

Lizzylou Tue 18-Jun-13 13:44:45

Oh Cote, I do know where you are coming from. The magazine readers and chitter chatterers at the gym irritate the hell out of me grin
Same with people gossiping in the swimming pool, in everyones way and then doing only about 4 lengths in total.

Exercise is like diets, soooo many RIGHT ways, so many experts with DVDs/classes/diet books/Supplements to sell. No ONE size fits all.

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 13:47:00

OhTheConfusion - I had no idea it varied so much until I joined MN. Just on this thread me and ILike birds are almost 2 stone different in weight, same height yet she is slimmer than me. Completely different body types presumably (I am envy ).

I cannot big up the weight training enough, I have been weight training recently and in just a few weeks there has been a noticable difference in my body shape, I run in between but only shortish distances at the moment as trying to fit more sessions in each week. I lost lots of inches just with the weight training and a healthy diet (not dieting) before I added the running.

FasterStronger Tue 18-Jun-13 13:48:56

Completely different body types

what does this mean? do you mean height? she has more muscle?

Technotropic Tue 18-Jun-13 13:50:37

Techno, point taken.. so I guess it boils down to personal choice then I know I would rather do 25 minutes of intervals followed by heavy weights than 45 minutes on those darn machines

That's an interesting one Samu2. I'm not nit picking but that goes against every thing I've been told by trainers I've come across.

What I've been advised has been to always do weights first. Partly to ensure you don't end up too knackered to lift the weights but also for fat burn. Thus doing squats/deadlifts will burn the maximum amount of glycogen ready for when you do your cardio, by which time the cardio will turn to fat stores for fuel.

TBH I'm not a scientist so don't know if this is solid advice but is what I've been told.

froubylou Tue 18-Jun-13 13:53:12

I agree that there are some very efficient ways to burn calories and fat. And some will build muscle at the same time.

But the average unfit/overweight person will find the thought of a special plan daunting. Walking and swimming are both low impact excercise that can and do increase fitness, burn calories and build stamina. I read an interesting article re the body only burning fat after 20 mins a couple of years ago.

It basically agreed that though the most efficient way to do this is to increase your heartrate sufficiently for a set period of time. After you have reached this heartrate and done the required time your body begins to convert fat stores into energy which are burnt off or something along those lines.

However it then went on to say that walking burns more calories than sitting. So if you walk more you burn more calories. It may be the calories you have eaten recently and not had chance to lay down as fat but if you don't lay down as much fat then surely you will maintain your weight? Then add to that the fact tha your muscles will increase if you do more walking, muscle burns more calories than fat so overtime you will use more calories just sat the more walking you do?

There was lots of science behind it. But the main message it was trying to get across was move more and you will loose weight eventually. Or at least increase the amount of muscle you have and reduce the amount of fat you are carrying.

In an ideal world then everyone would be interested and clever enough to have a personal fitness plan that they had the time and resources to pursue. Many people don't, or perceive that they don't which gives the same end result.

If I don't have enough time/money/understanding/the right gear to do 25 minutes 5 times a week of the right kind of excercise then there is no point doing any and I may as well use the car to do the school run/nip to the shop etc etc.

The way I see it anyone can go for a walk at any time. Whether it be for 10 mins or 2 hours. Whether they are able to increase their heart rate to the desired numbers or not. Telling people there is no or very little point in doing this is not actually that helpful.

I notice at my DD's school that the mums that walk to do the school run are generally slimmer than those that use their cars. I know unless I make an effort in the holidays to walk a lot I will put on 3/4 lbs by the time they are back. So I know for me that walking works, keeps me fit and keeps the excess lbs off.

And it gives people confidence too. If they can walk 2 miles a day, then they may manage a class at the gym, or to be able to walk the Run for Life events, or even take up cycling or running.

You have to walk before you run is certainly true IMO.

bettycocker Tue 18-Jun-13 13:54:39

The thing about wait to hip ratio baffles me. I have no waist and it doesn't matter how thin I get. If you are nanturally straight up and down, you can be extremely lean and still have a poor hip to waist ratio. confused

Samu2 Tue 18-Jun-13 13:57:59

Techno. I do the warm up then one cardio exercise followed by the weights then I do the other cardio exercise.

I have read that it is best to do weights first. It's so hard to know what is best when so many experts have different advice.

MrsGSR Tue 18-Jun-13 14:00:32

Betty I think that's why they've started doing waist to height and waist on its own.

higgle Tue 18-Jun-13 14:00:59

Whilst I take with a pinch of salt some of the things the Daily Mail prints ( and I really don't see how the 10 stone eight lady could be a size 16 unless she has a wardrobe of nothing but Karen Millen) there was some substance to one of the main points here. It is very much the case that for anyone working in an office environment with other women we will have around us colleagues and friends who are size 16 or more and in their 20s/0s/40s look great. Nice clothes, the lovely skin that sometimes goes with being overweight and lots of self confidence because they don't feel unusual or out of place or different because so many other people around them are the same size.

I don't need to speculate about the future for the size 16 + people who are average height or shorter. At 56 I have relations who are 10 or 20 years older than me who are diabetic now, walking in pain from hip problems or knee problems linked to obesity. Now everything has got a bit droopy through gravity they are not looking so good. Even if nice clothes make them look fairly good the universal swollen feet and puffy ankles - plus varicose veins detract from that. There really is no argument, 13st 7lb and 5ft 2inches is just not healthy.

bettycocker Tue 18-Jun-13 14:03:14

MrsGSR, gawd, I just noticed all the typos in my post. blush

Doing waist to height and just the waist makes more sense. I'm sure I've read loads of stuff that says you are healthier if you have a big arse though.

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 14:03:48

FasterStronger - I have no idea what I mean really but we are the same height, I have seen the profile pic ILikeBirds has added, she is 10st 12 and a size 8-10, I am 9 st and a size 10-12. How can that be explained otherwise, she is more toned than me but even at my most toned/muscly I was a similar weight definitely not that much more though.

Owllady Tue 18-Jun-13 14:04:39

I am 5ft 10ins and a size 16 and I am overweight
I don't care what other people want to do or be like. I would rather be within healthy and looking more slim line tbh

frouby has a really good point though. I lost 4 stone two years ago and I could barely walk. I had to start off doing just two 30 minute walks twice a week and it honestly nearly killed me. But that's how I had to start and build up. Within 6 months I was walking everyday 5 miles. I don't agree that people should join a gym and be set unrealistic goals. Walking is fine to build up strength and stamina whilst losing weight

JazzDalek Tue 18-Jun-13 14:04:45

I think walking is great exercise. But you have to walk , not amble. I have never owned a car and can't afford one, so I walk everywhere - that's just how it is. But it seems I walk fast; I don't think I'm particularly speedy, but it's been commented on loads of times over the years, and I do notice that when I meet someone I know and walk with them I have to slow down and end up feeling a bit antsy and irritated.

I am an 8-10 (or 12-14 by that old sizing link someone posted a few pages back shock ) and credit it to a few things:

No car (I think so many people drive even short distances these days)
No alcohol (people forget to consider this when reckoning up their diet)
Whole foods cooked from scratch 70-80% of the time
Limited carbs
Proper fats ("low-fat" is a con IMO)
Good genes (I got my dad's body type rather than my mum's)

I do think our view of normal is skewing upwards. I look at myself and see a body that is neither thin nor fat, but I would say I know only a couple of women thinner than me, and many, many more who are bigger.

The 4th lady is taller than me, weighs less than me but is a size bigger than me, how does that work?

Bambi27 Tue 18-Jun-13 14:20:41

Jazzdalek- I completely agree with you! I have always been told I walk really fast and that's probably why I would count it as doing some exercise smile

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 14:27:28

In reply to Bambi from a couple of pages back... I'm 5' 5''. So by no means taller than average. I do wonder how it's even possible that someone 2 stone lighter than me can be a dress size larger when at roughly the same height. Weird eh?

Bambi27 Tue 18-Jun-13 14:34:02

Yeah! I'm 5'6 similar height. We must have similar body types! I am always either tipping the edge of the 'average' weight in Bmi or just in to 'overweight' we must just wear our weight well??!!

fluffywhitekittens Tue 18-Jun-13 14:39:34

All those women are more apple shaped though. Fairly big boobs and slimmer legs and carry weight around the stomach.
So no great surprise that the massive sample size of 4 shows them all to be at risk of developing health complications.

I do think that we're getting used to bigger sizes as being" normal" when they are generally unhealthy.

I am in the process of training and attempting to eat more clean. I am thrilled that I can fit into a size 16 top again. I may even manage to fit comfortably into a 14 but realistically I'm never going to be a size 10 or 12 because I have swimmer's shoulders, a fairly broad back and big bust.
I am however pretty much in size 12 jeans because I have slimmer legs and no bum.

If they wanted to show how overweight 16 is they should show them in underwear and varied body types.
They wouldn't though because it's the Mail.

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 14:46:03

Yes, me too. Even at a size 8 I was nearing the higher side of normal on the weight range.

Maybe steel plated bones? Lol

Bambi27 Tue 18-Jun-13 14:48:41

Ha ha definitely!! And the bust doesn't help!!

Perihelion Tue 18-Jun-13 14:51:54

I'm the same height as ILikeBirds and weigh 9 stone. The difference in build between us is that I have a short body and and long legs.

fluffy re the apple shapes, it may just be coincidence and they have always been that shape, but post 40-ish, as womens' testosterone levels fall, muscle density decreases. So the biggest muscles in the body get smaller - bum becomes flatter, legs get skinnier, thereby producing more of an apple shape if excess weight remains the same all over and is stored on tummy. This is another very good reason for ensuring that you include (heavy) weight training in your exercise regime...although if the choice is getting off the sofa and away from the biscuits for a walk or staying there then obviously the first is better grin.

ILikeBirds Tue 18-Jun-13 14:56:09

I have relatively long legs for my height, 31" inside leg.

justneedhandholding Tue 18-Jun-13 15:00:57

Are you really 5ft 10 ILoveBirds grin

Technotropic Tue 18-Jun-13 15:11:36

I have read that it is best to do weights first. It's so hard to know what is best when so many experts have different advice.

So true Samu2. Speak to 10 different PT's and I'm sure you'll get 10 different responses and from what I've read there are a lot of 'experts' that think interval is better than cardio (and vice versa). TBH it's a mine field so I tend to take no notice and do what I like. If what you're doing works for you then just stick with it smile

ILikeBirds Tue 18-Jun-13 15:19:37

I'd love to be 5 foot 10, alas it was not meant to be smile

foreverondiet Tue 18-Jun-13 15:25:09

OP - what is your waist measurement? Because that is a much better indicator of health than BMI / body fat etc.

Anyone who says "its about how you feel" is in denial - as carrying extra fat around the waist (and hence internal organs) is not good for health. It wasnt by coincidence that all the 4 women had health issues.

I have to watch what I eat - like most woman - because there is too much food all around us and we are programmed to eat the surplus to store for pregnancy.

fanjobiscuits Tue 18-Jun-13 15:43:30

YABU but only to fall into the DM trap of being riled by an article they have written to rile you. They will have sent the journo out with specific instructions to find case studies size 16 with health issues, knowing the angle they want. This type of feature is more akin to reality tv where 'some scenes have been invented for your entertainment' than any kind of genuine attempt at research or reporting.

florascotia Tue 18-Jun-13 16:10:20

Have not read whole thread so apologise if am repeating something aleady said.

Can't stand the Daily Mail, so only skimmed the article. But it is out of date in relying on BMI (or dress size, for heaven's sake!) as an indicator of health. The latest research suggests that waist-to-height ratio may be a better predictor of longevity : see

It's unlikely to happen, but IF ONLY the Daily Mail would use its pages in a POSITIVE, SUPPORTIVE way to encourage everyone (men, women, children) to watch their weight, eat healthily and take exercise. As the comments in this thread show, articles that sensationalise, mock, criticise or alarm don't help anyone; instead, they just alienate readers and/or make them defensive.

florascotia Tue 18-Jun-13 16:11:30

should be 'already'

and I hope second link will work this time:

MooseyFate Tue 18-Jun-13 16:13:36

Totally agree with FanjoBiscuits Why does anyone give any head-space to the drivel that the Daily Fail spews out? If only it was printed on toilet paper, then at least it would be good for something.

persimmon Tue 18-Jun-13 16:16:12

In John Briffa's book he cites a large, long-term study in Canada where the final conclusion was that people who were 'overweight' (ie BMI 25-30) were the least likely to die of cancer, stroke and heart attack of all four groups (underweight, ideal, overweight, obese). I think the underweight category was slightly more likely to die prematurely. And only seriously obese people had an elevated risk.

OTheHugeManatee Tue 18-Jun-13 16:17:21

I'm 5'8" and a size 14. At a 16 I'm fat, and that is with a sturdy build (even in my anorexic days, visibly underweight, I was never less than 10st).

Coming back to the UK after a recent trip to Norway I was shock at just how many more really fat people there are here. I don't think it's particularly beneficial to be all feathery-stroky to ourselves about being overweight. I think it's likely that most size 16s are carrying quite a bit of spare, especially if they are the UK average of 5'4" or shorter. Having said all that though, I really hate the way this kind of article is always addressed solely to women, as if heart disease were not a far greater problem in men hmm

myfriendflicka Tue 18-Jun-13 16:48:48

The Daily Mail enjoys telling women what to do. I am depressed that there are 10 pages of this thread discussing their irritating article and that I have just felt irritated enough to add to it.

Looking at the bigger picture, they wouldn't get four men to do this, because they just wouldn't. Far too many women are still very insecure about this stuff and willing to be lectured at. As someone said upthread, if they were encouraging men, women and children to lose weight and be healthy, it would be a different story.

They are not. They are telling women how self indulgent and unhealthy they are and using scare tactics. It's all about control dressed up as concern.

FasterStronger Tue 18-Jun-13 16:51:57

two of the women weighed over 13 stone.

it cannot be surprising they are unhealthy - unless we have completely forgotten what healthy actually looks like.

I'm sure they could find 4 people of any size/shape & find some health risk for them. Yes, being overweight isn't healthy but nor is smoking, drinking too much, taking drugs. Some people have a genetic higher risk to some diseases, but I don't see the DM doing an article on this.

FasterStronger Tue 18-Jun-13 17:14:01

I dunno, maybe its the obesity crisis and how unhealthy the average women's weight is why the DM has run the story..... even a stopped clock tells the correct time twice as day.

ButternutSquish Tue 18-Jun-13 17:41:24

I've only read 6 pages of the 10 on this debate and I've given up!

I read the article and it made me feel shit! I've lost 91/2stone in just over 2 years coming down from a size 24 at the top 26 at the bottom to be now a size 14 at the top & 16 at the bottom. My confidence was fairly high and I was feeling pretty good about how I looked. But not any more. Why did I bother? I've come down from just under 23 stone to just over 13 1/2 stone. My confidence in my looks and health has not only been shattered by the DM but also by MNers on this debate.

I go to the gym 3-4 times a week, with 2 of those sessions being with a Trainer. I work bloody hard doing cardio & weights. Yes, I know I'm not the body beautiful and I know I'm not quite 'done' yet but to pull apart people who do work hard seems so wrong.

I have a rare fat disorder called lipo-lymphedema which means I put rogue fat cells on that can never be dieted or exercised away. Two years ago I was diagnosed by Prof Mortimer who told me not to lose too much weight as I would look out of proportion (the weight goes on the bum down to ankles). I went to see a specialist surgeon in Germany in January who is going to suck some of this fat away by a specialist procedure and he described me as having a fairly 'slim figure'. These are medical people, not random people off the street.

I have a lowish blood pressure,& whilst not being a very good runner I did 10k last Christmas and I recently 'rowed' 10k in the gym in 45 mins. I do consider myself fit & healthy in a size 14/16.

ButternutSquish Tue 18-Jun-13 17:42:47

^ when I say lowish, I mean lower than normal btw

thezebrawearspurple Tue 18-Jun-13 17:50:50

Unless you're very tall a size 16 is massive, at 5"2 you're almost as round as you are tall, there's no way it's healthy. Exercising three times a week is obviously not enough to burn what you're putting into your body.

yabu to expect the media to pretend that an extra few stone of flab is perfectly healthy despite the fact that medical evidence proves otherwise. There's nothing wrong with being fat if you are happy that way and enjoy your lifestyle but don't expect the media, medical profession or others to pretend you're not fat and that carrying extra (non muscle) weight doesn't have an effect on the body. It does.

cantspel Tue 18-Jun-13 18:05:30

I hate how we are now normalizing being overweight.

Even for school children it is easier now to get so called sturdy or plus size fit school trousers than trousers for a child who is a more heathy size. And they start from aged 3 for gods sake. If a child is overweight at 3 then what chance has he to ever be a heathy weight as an adult.

lashingsofbingeinghere Tue 18-Jun-13 18:07:07

I read the article and it seemed fairly well balanced. No point in shooting the messenger - size 16 is for, most women, a sign they are too heavy for optimum health.

Lizzylou Tue 18-Jun-13 18:08:04

Butternut, you have done amazingly well, please hold your head up high.You should feel proud of what you have achieved.
The DM and other Mners it would appear, delight in making women feel shit about themselves.
Not many of the people on this thread coild achieve what you have smile thanks

What you have done is amazing. You should hold your head up and be really proud.

Don't forget that this thread is generalisations and not a commentary on you as an individual.

havingamadmoment Tue 18-Jun-13 20:11:30

I am size 16 and dont think of myself as healthy - I am on medication for high blood pressure HOWEVER I was also on that as an 18 year old size 12. My cholesterol is fine apparently.

I would be happier smaller though which is the main thing for me.

MerryOnMerlot Tue 18-Jun-13 20:23:49

The DM and other Mners it would appear, delight in making women feel shit about themselves.

I don't think that's the point here though. What we're trying to say is that it is very worrying that so many people now think that what is essentially a large and unhealthy size is normal and therefore OK. It's not.

Butternut, please do not feel disheartened at this thread. As others have said, you have done amazingly well so far so please don't give up your fantastic efforts. When responding to things like the DM article of course we can only generalise. The fact that you recognised that you could be healthier, have done something about it and are succeeding brilliantly rather emphasises our point, rather than contradicting it.

Please keep going. This thread was not intended to discuss your own very personal situation. Hats off to you. flowers

Personally I find it very distressing to see so many young people very overweight. I was out on Saturday night with a group of similarly middle aged women, all mothers, all sporting an unwanted "middle aged spread" sort of mid-section. And yet we were half the size of many of the young 20-something girls out on the town.

Much though we don't like the DM or what this article says, we really can't deny that there's a lot of truth in it.

PosyNarker Tue 18-Jun-13 21:55:48

Of course 16 is generally big, but weight, BMI and dress size don't necessarily correlate. Dress size can be so arbitrary so it's not a good measure. I'm 5', the last dress I bought was a size 8. So I'm right in the middle of my BMI range right? Wrong. I have another 1.5-2 stone to lose...

ladymariner Tue 18-Jun-13 21:59:02

Quote from Mock The Week which I thought was brilliant......"borderline overweight, doesn't that also mean borderline ideal????" grin grin

CoteDAzur Tue 18-Jun-13 22:33:39

No, it means borderline normal.

ladymariner Tue 18-Jun-13 22:42:18

Well, whatever it was, it made me laugh.....

Loveliesbleeding Tue 18-Jun-13 23:15:47

I diet when I go over 10 stone - into size 14 territory at 5'6" - not because of dress size primarily, but because I start to feel so incredibly uncomfortable. If I get a roll of fat I am really aware of it all the time -I find it hard to sleep. And it puts pressure on my knees (messed up through too much exercise). And the heartburn! So much discomfort. I'm surprised more people don't mention this aspect of putting on weight.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 18-Jun-13 23:18:56

Being very overweight is unhealthy though. Isn't that relatively uncontroversial?

EMUZ Tue 18-Jun-13 23:45:29

The weights v size thing amazes me. I'm 5'11, size 16 and heavier than anyone else on the thread blush
I am big boned as in I am broad shoulders, huge feet and I can't quite touch my fingers round my wrists. Having physio for a back problem and she was amazed at how muscled my thighs are.
I low carb, and do HIIT, lift, and a boot camp, sometimes spin as well. When I work out (am currently injured) I seem to lose inches not weight even with eating clean. And I exercise properly (to the point of vomiting) because I love it and it makes me feel great
I figure some of it must be muscle because I am heavy but very definitely a size 16

I reckon some pretty major factors in the weight-loss debate get missed.


1. Medication.
My entire family are skinny. The one exception is my elder brother who is on anti-psychotic drugs. Apparently they make him fat.

2. Metabolism.
I know a man who was previously skinny but then suffered bulimia (yes it happens to men too). Since then, despite watching his diet very carefully, he has remained huge.

Other than that, surely the best thing is to inculcate good eating habits in children. I have had it commented to me how much crap children in English-speaking countries are given and (particularly in the UK) how many pre-made meals people eat. If that is a fair criticism, it is hardly surprising that people think they're eating healthily when in fact they aren't. In the meantime I find myself fighting off a constant barrage of what I regard as junk or near to (cake, sweets, cocktail sausages, tomato ketchup, white bread) aimed at my children.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 19-Jun-13 07:15:29

Yes Toad. I think that pyramid is wrong, the one drummed into children at school, the one with carbohydrates at the bottom. It should be fruit, veg and pulses at the bottom.

SamuelWestsMistress Wed 19-Jun-13 08:11:00

I think people are completely obsessed about the size and weight of other people. It's very disturbing really. The Daily Mail is a good example of this.

I'm a 14, I run around 30/40 km a week. I've still got wobbly fat bits, but I give nothing in the way of fucks if I'm overweight, underweight or wombling free.

What other people think of me is their problem, and having been a size 14/16 for most of my adult life (bigger after each baby) has left me with absolutely zero in the way of health issues. Not a sausage!

I have runner friends who have dodgy knees and sore ankles. I just get the odd blister when I go past 10km. My blood pressure is low and my cholesterol and body fat are normal.

Technotropic Wed 19-Jun-13 08:29:40


It may be worth jumping on some scales that will give an indication of muscle mass, body water and fat. It sounds to me like you have a lot of (perhaps higher than most) muscle, which is a good thing.

5'11" is also quite tall so a 16 may well be 'normal' for your height.

I think the DM article is generally applicable to women of an average height/build so needs to be taken with a pinch of salt if you are at the other end of the scale. I think it is worse for the OP (sorry OP) as she is quite short so being 5'2" and size 16 is heading the other way.

Owllady Wed 19-Jun-13 08:32:45

EMUZ, even when I lose lots of weight I never get below a 14 (or a 12 in asda etc as they seem big) because of my bone structure. tall people generally have bigger proportions anyway

anyway i bet I am heavier than you grin

Owllady Wed 19-Jun-13 08:34:15

I am 5 10 btw, that's why i commented but I am overweight ( 13 1/2 stone) but even at 11 1/2 -12 0 , top end of normal I am still size 14 -16, 11 st 14
less than 11 st still a 14

FasterStronger Wed 19-Jun-13 08:35:45

I think people are completely obsessed about the size and weight of other people

I would be a lot less interested on other people's weight if many resulting health problems weren't going to cause massive problems for the NHS.

we do have a obesity problem and it is getting worse.

FasterStronger Wed 19-Jun-13 08:41:27

also the normalisation of unhealthy weights means that, without knowing it, large numbers of people are not only damaging their own health, but storing up problems for children.

OrangeFireandGoldashes Wed 19-Jun-13 08:42:05

I'm amazed at how many people can confidently say "I'm a size X". Do you only ever buy clothes in one shop? I'm 5'8", slightly overweight (pear-shaped) although I don't know how much I weigh as I have no scales and can be anything from a 12 to a size 16 on a regular basis, depending on sizings from shop to shop and styles of clothes within shops.

Anyway, here are The Truths according to OrangeFire:

1) Being overweight does not automatically = unhealthy at this precise moment but it will predispose you to weight-related health problems.

2) "Fit" is not the same as "healthy".

3) Losing weight if overweight will almost always be A Good Thing.

4) Any so-called "research" based on dress sizes alone is utter bollocks due to the point made in my first paragraph.

5) Anything in the Daily Mail is utter bollocks, full stop.

6) 5) being a matter of absolute fact does not negate the truths in 1)-3)

7) None of this is rocket science.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Wed 19-Jun-13 08:46:03

ButternutSquish don't let the Daily Fucking Fail or anyone make you feel bad. You have done brilliantly!! smile

Lizzylou Wed 19-Jun-13 09:10:42

I've still got wobbly fat bits, but I give nothing in the way of fucks if I'm overweight, underweight or wombling free.
SamuelWests smile

Well Cote, I did Metafit and it was fabulous, I more than held my own in a class where most people were half my age and left feeling pretty euphoric really. Think I will be adding a weekly class into my exercise routine of running/spinning and pilates.
My bum hurts today though!

Boomba Wed 19-Jun-13 09:21:08

i am 5ft 8in. At 9.5 stone I am a size 14, at 13.5 stone I am a size 16...that is 4 stone difference in 1 dress size!!

I agree that being over weight isnt something that should be promoted, but dress size is no indication of anything

Chunderella Wed 19-Jun-13 09:56:41

Myfriendflicka makes a superb point. Regardless of the accuracy or otherwise of this article, it says it all that the DM have done it for women but not men. Last I checked, British men weren't exactly the picture of fitness and health either. But of course women are always fair game for hectoring, whatever we do, in a way that men certainly aren't.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Wed 19-Jun-13 10:47:34

I am 5"10' and a size 10 (meaning I fit size 8-12 clothing, depending on the store). I can pinch an inch at most points of my body, especially thighs, post-baby tummy, etc.

I am not fat obviously, but I am also definitely not skinny.

A size 16 on me would involve at least another 10 kilos, and I would definitely be feeling heavy then, even at my height.

I am probably not that healthy as I don't really exercise; I find it dull as shit, sadly. I'd like to like exercising, but bottom line is I'd rather do housework that run, and that's saying something. As such, I really do have to watch what I eat in order not to put on weight. It is worth it for me as I would rather be slim. I can't imagine going for a biscuit and devouring the entire packet, that seems extreme to me.

No comment on the women in the article. Fair play to them for putting themselves out there to be ripped to shreds by the Daily Fail-reading public. That takes some guts.

FasterStronger Wed 19-Jun-13 10:53:38

some facts about obesity:

* A Government report recently claimed that obesity will cost the NHS £6.4bn per year by 2015
* In England data from 2011 shows that 24.8% of adults (16 or over) and 16.3% of children (2 -15) are obese
* In Scotland data from 2010 shows 27.4% of adults and 14% of children are obese

primallass Wed 19-Jun-13 11:00:39

The difference in the size:weight ratios is mind boggling. I am 5ft5, 11st12 and a comfortable size 14. At 11st I get into some 12s. I'd have to be about 9.5 to be a 10 though I think.

Thanks to changing my useless thyroxine my weight is starting to creep down.

Technotropic Wed 19-Jun-13 11:07:18

Regardless of the accuracy or otherwise of this article, it says it all that the DM have done it for women but not men

It depends on your POV but women generally carry more fat than men and use it differently (for biological reasons). Thus it's not unreasonable to target women as they are a relatively higher risk.

FasterStronger Wed 19-Jun-13 11:18:01

we have the heaviest women in Europe

Chunderella Wed 19-Jun-13 12:18:14

Forgive me for not finding that the most convincing reason for why the DM are hectoring women but not men, techno. Indeed, men die earlier than women and are more likely to store their fat round their bellies so if you want excuses to target men over women, you'd not be short of them.

Technotropic Wed 19-Jun-13 13:33:33


I'm not saying you're wrong but it depends on your POV and how you want to take the information that's been presented.

I believe it is a fact that women store fat differently than men and as such are a higher risk. Men die earlier but that may/may not have anything to do with the 'here & now'. I will worry about my longevity when I approach old age but for the present I want to know that I am in good shape.

I think FasterStonger's links have shown that raising this issue is perfectly valid and not simply an attack on women for sexist reasons.

ButternutSquish Wed 19-Jun-13 14:21:29

Thanks to everyone who said 'well done' to me. I know I' not perfect and why I read the DM online, I have no idea. Everyday they show the worst of the press.

I would love to see men put through the mill too!

Smokers used to get all this shit but as it's illegal to smoke inside a public building it's a bit like, 'out of sight, out of mind'. The NHS still pays a fortune for cancer treatment for smokers, people ill through passive smoking, smoking related illnesses

DuckworthLewis Wed 19-Jun-13 14:44:03

The NHS still pays a fortune for cancer treatment for smokers, people ill through passive smoking, smoking related illnesses

The difference being that smokers contribute disproportionally to the Treasury through taxes on tobacco products.

There is no similar tax on calorie dense foods.

I'm aware that the causes of obesity runs deeper than this btw, but to be fair, the same can be said for smoking

lashingsofbingeinghere Wed 19-Jun-13 14:45:40

I think the point about the DM article is that size 16 is a nice neat label (even though we know one shop's size 16 is another's 14/12 etc).

It just makes a snappier headline and allows women of different ages, heights and weights to be compared by a common denominator. It isn't women hating - that is simply shooting the messenger.

I agree DM should do a similar article for men. What is the male equivalent? Collar size? Waist size? Average male waist size is now 38 inches - perhaps find four blokes who fit the bill and compare their health markers? interesting

DuckworthLewis Wed 19-Jun-13 14:46:46

Basically, what FasterStronger said:

If the individual funds their own heathcare, then I agree that their weight/health/whatever is entirely their own business.

If, as in the UK, the rest of society has to fund the individual's healthcare, then it is quite reasonable for the rest of society to have an opinion, surely?

EMUZ Wed 19-Jun-13 15:16:51

Owllady. Stick another 2 stone and a few pounds on top of your weight wink

Chunderella Wed 19-Jun-13 18:11:20

Techno I thought men were at more risk of some things cos of being more likely to store fat on the belly?

fridgepants Wed 19-Jun-13 18:17:40

Dress size denotes a set of measurements, not a weight or body type. To say that all wearing size A are healthy and all wearing size Y are not doesn't really explain anything. The circumference of my chest and someone else's hips does not tell us how active they are, what their blood pressure is like, or whether they can comfortably walk up a hill.

It's as arbitrary as denoting bra sizes as obese.

SugarMouse1 Wed 19-Jun-13 18:20:27

Its the bloody Daily Mail, what do you expect?

They should feature an article about four average DM readers, to show how misinformed and bigoted they are.

Take no notice.

Does your GP or anyone say that you have any health problems?

fridgepants Wed 19-Jun-13 18:27:05

"I am also shocked at how many very young women I see that are blatantly obese. 17/18/19 year olds at a size 20+. And flaunting it in strappy tops, hotpants and saggy tummys hanging over too small jeans in crop tops. Like some sort of perverse badge of honour. "

That's an odd thing to say. Yes, they are large, and that says something about society. Probably. But what should they be doing - wearing sacks as penance until they slim down? Frankly I'd like the confidence to be able to wear a crop top...

Would you be saying the same of an underweight woman who was wearing something showing her clavicle or ribcage?

Kittykatmoll Wed 19-Jun-13 20:49:56

I'm the best part of 5' 9'' and even when I was barely 9 and a bit stone I was still consistently a UK size 16-18 in various shops. At 9 and a bit stone I was verging on 'underweight'. Short of shaving bits off my pelvic and rib bones there's no way on earth I could have been smaller.

Many HCP are now thankfully much more enlightened when it comes to the limits of using weight, size and BMI to assess someone's health.

There's only one thing you can tell about someone who has a certain amount of fat on their body and that's that they have a certain amount of fat on their body.

I have no time for any type of body shaming or appearance Facism. Mental health plays a substantial role in people's relationships with nutrition and physical activity and assaults on anyone's self esteem is unhelpful in this respect. Poor mental health is also much more likely among lower socio-economic groups and these groups are also those who live in areas and circumstances where access to affordable nutritionally valuable food is relatively compromised. There's more to health than simply educating the supposedly 'ignorant' out of their 'unknowing' ways.

Many of the misconceptions about X size = Y health are not supported by independent, large scale, longtitudinal and academically rigorous research. Research that's not funded by companies and individuals with a vested interest in the multi-million pound diet industry.

Dr Linda Bacon's work on Health at Every Size is fascinating in this respect, especially regarding how loosing weight and then regaining it is substantially more damaging to a person's long term health than if they'd simply remained at their original weight. The Health at Every Size Movement has conducted and is conducting a wealth of research on the limits of BMI, the role of genetics and the importance of exercise, regardless of size, too.

As a woman I feel compassion for other women because our characters, intelligences, attitudes, capabilities, motivations and patenting skills are constantly judged by others on the superficial basis of our appearance.

Even were it not for the NHS, obesity remains a public health issue and it is perfectly reasonable for the general public to discuss it. Were it not for that, there would be no scrutiny of the rubbish that big business puts in our food. It is no good saying that issues of weight are too personal. That is not what living in a society is about. It is true that a lot of the discussion is postively unhelpful, but that is a different issue to whether it should be discussed at all.

Mimishimi Thu 20-Jun-13 05:18:22

YANBU to be depressed but it's true that abdominal fat where you are storing it around your organs rather than it going to your hips/bum is really dangerous and massively increases the risk for a whole host of health problems like diabetes, heart attack etc.

All four of those women in that article looked really good to me though. I am a size 12 but I don't think I look half as good as they do in photos - mainly because most of my weight is on my tummy and my face is not as pretty as theirs. I think if you have a really pretty face, you can get away with a bit of extra weight.

FasterStronger Thu 20-Jun-13 09:13:57

I think it is really important to separate out women being judged for their appearance (in a way men aren't) and an increasing number of people being overweight to the point its damaging their health and life expectancy.

they are very different issues.

looking at dress sizes is obviously a simplification but for the average height women (5 foot 4 or there abouts) , a dress size of 16 is a sign someone is overweight.

so not only is an average woman overweight, but overweight is now normal - meaning we can all loose sight of what healthy looks like.

I have 3 close friends who are highly educated (one soon to be a science professor in a RG uni, one a national newspaper journalist and the other successful in business) who are very overweight.

across income and education levels we are loosing sight of what healthy looks like & it is a very bad thing......................................................................

Technotropic Thu 20-Jun-13 10:43:06

Techno I thought men were at more risk of some things cos of being more likely to store fat on the belly?

TBH I'm no expert but just know that women naturally carry more fat than men. FWIW there are a fair amount of articles relating to men too:

Technotropic Thu 20-Jun-13 10:43:53

Also, I totally agree with FasterStronger. Many wise words spoken IMHO.

What fasterstronger said.

There is definately too much emphasis on appearance and dieting. There is not nearly enough recognition of what a healthy diet looks like, which is why I find myself surrounded by people whose occasional treats (e.g. sweets for the children, a bag of crisps, something pastry-based) aren't as occasional as they ought to be.

And - a point that I made earlier - I wouldn't be surprised if people take more medication (for perfectly good reasons) than they used to, and weight gain is a side effect.

Chunderella Fri 21-Jun-13 09:33:06

Yeah techno but none of them are in the DM! I'm not saying there's nothing out there about male obesity, just that the Fail likes to infantilise and hector women, not men. Not all newspapers are as bad. If, say, the Guardian had done a piece like this, or the Mirror, it would have a totally different context.

absentmindeddooooodles Fri 21-Jun-13 09:46:00

I think weight is just relative to shape height etc of the individual. Some people may be healthy at a size 16 some not. On the other end of the scale some people may be healthy at a size 8 and others not so. I'm 5"10 and after my ds was a size 16. This was unhealthy for me. I was tired all the time and generally not as all round well as I should have been. I am now a size 10 and feel much better. I don't excersise too much, just walk a lot with an active toddler and eat good stuff and bad stuff. Its different for everyone. I know some truly stunning healthy women who are a size 16, and the same who are 6/8.

Technotropic Fri 21-Jun-13 09:48:27

Fair point Chunderella. I stand corrected smile

chillinwithmyyonis Fri 21-Jun-13 09:55:23

None of these women had outstandingly bad health problems, slightly higher cholesterol, bp, or a 1/100 chance of developing diabetes is nothing to write home about IMO. Anyone of any size could get those problems.

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