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BROOKLYN_BORN's Recent Blog Entries

My daughter is a Sparker too! What can we teach the next generation?

Saturday, November 03, 2012

How about preventing weight gain in the first place?

Now I don’t expect SP to be inundated with new members in their appropriate BMI range, but I’m glad to see a team of those with “Less Than 10 Pounds to Lose.” My daughter is in that group. I understand that such a group can be diverse, including those who have managed a significant weight loss and now are working on the last difficult 10 pounds. It also includes those who have seen the first stage in the weight gain that affects so many of us.

10 pounds may not be concerning to a 200 pound man, but to a petite 120 pound woman, that’s about 10% of her body weight. That may not yet be cause for alarm, but it’s certainly worth considering the reason that it occurred. Without an honest assessment of lifestyle, that 10 pounds can turn into 20, 50 or more quite easily. For many of us that’s exactly what happened.

The National Institute of Health maintains that “your weight may be affecting you more than you think… that even a few extra pounds each year can affect your quality of life”

Weight plays a role in blood sugar levels, knee, hip and back pain, sleep apnea etc. as well as the risk of serious disease. Losing even a small amount reduces those risks.

I definitely AM NOT referring to the few extra pounds we all seem to gain over a lifetime. I’m perfectly happy 13 pounds more than that sweet young mother I used to be.
(pictures here:

I mean the few extra pounds that are added year after year until we reach that moment – Yikes! Who is that in the mirror? Or worse - whew, that was a steep flight of stairs!

I also DO NOT advocate badgering our children (usually daughters) into being obsessive about their weight and appearance. Well meaning efforts in that direction can be counterproductive at best and positively dangerous at worst.

That’s why I love SP. The message here is a healthy lifestyle, not some quick fix diet or pill. It’s like taking the wrong turn on a road trip. I would much rather discover my mistake 10 miles down the highway rather than 50.

I’ve written about my Dad’s struggle to quit smoking. He told me that the easiest way was never to start. Similarly, obesity happens one pound at a time. So does preventing it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHAYLAGETFIT 11/3/2012 8:15PM

  Again, Awesome blog! Love reading this and I have 2 very young daughters and 1 of whom seems to be very superficial and always worried about how she looks. this scares me as she is too young to even be thinking like this. At least with my lifestyle changes and her seeing my healthier choices, maybe she can overcome what 'might' happen as she gets older whether it's obesity or being too skinny. Thanks for writing!

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DEBBY4576 11/3/2012 7:14PM

    How bout that, my oldest is 43 also. Except she is obese. I wish I could get her to think she has enough time to check this site out.
So many of us are in the 10 pounds or less group. I find that I'm probably always going to be there. I gain and lose 5 pounds all the time. It's a type of maintenance haha. My BMI is in the middle, and I don't know if I'm complacent because I look okay, or just not that dedicated. I do know that Sparks keeps me from getting above the 10 pounds and that is a good thing.
Love your blogging....really really do.

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MJZHERE 11/3/2012 9:49AM

    Look at you go! Exceptional blogging (you were hiding all that time) and now you have your daughter on board. I'm starting to feel like somewhere I got off track - you are a runner, your daughter is a runner, my daughter is a runner and me - I'm a sitter!

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KANOE10 11/3/2012 9:07AM

    You are right..prevention is the key..don't let those pounds creep up year after year. I am gald your daughter is working on her ten pounds.


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ONMYMEDS 11/3/2012 8:35AM

    Another thoughtful, informative, well written blog. You're good at this. Great job.

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TREYONE 11/3/2012 8:03AM

  As someone who battled an eating disorder during my teen years and early 20's, I think your message is very powerful. Eating right and losing weight for health reasons is necessary, but the tendency to equate thin with beauty is dangerous. Glad to hear you are on the right track with your daughter. emoticon emoticon

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HAYBURNER1969 11/3/2012 8:02AM

    Here I am, proud to be Brooklyn Born's daughter! Age 43, mother of 3 kids, ages 10-16. That's a picture of me in her "Back to the Future" blog post.

I am in the Under 10 group for the very reason that my weight started to creep up this past year. I stopped paying good attention to how much I was eating vs. how much I was burning through exercise. Yet to look at me, you'd say, "Oh, you don't have to lose anything" and you'd be absolutely right. I am still toward the lower end of recommended BMI. I have a very petite frame.

Mom knows that through ages 15-26, I did not move my body at all, ate whatever I wanted (a lot of junk - I am half my father, you know), as much as I wanted, and never got above 110 pounds at 5'4". Please don't hate me for that because having a fast metabolism doesn't do anyone any favors in the long run. It's too easy for people like me to ignore the fact that what we're eating does real damage INSIDE our bodies that we can't see... damage we don't realize is there until we get some abnormal numbers on a blood test.

Like most people here, I've had to learn to eat healthfully and discover an exercise I enjoy (running). I don't think I'll ever be 110 pounds again but that's okay. I don't feel like I need to be that. However, I do know that I felt and ran my best at roughly 114, when I qualified for the Boston Marathon. I'd like to get back there... back to 114, back to Boston, and back to where ALL the pants in my closet fit me again.

I'm glad Mom has always told me not to let the weight gain get away from me like it did for her. Not just because it's a little easier to lose 6 pounds rather than 20, but also because I'm too cheap to buy new pants.

Comment edited on: 11/3/2012 8:04:21 AM

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FATFREETRINI 11/3/2012 7:59AM

  This is so true .

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COCK-ROBIN 11/3/2012 7:42AM

    Very good!

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COCK-ROBIN 11/3/2012 7:42AM

    Very good!

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LOSE4LIFE47 11/3/2012 7:27AM


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Honest mistakes: Underestimating and Overestimating – the results?

Friday, November 02, 2012

I clicked the wrong category when registering for the SP 5K challenge. OK, no problem . This time I’ll be a walker keeping one foot on the ground at all times.

Imagine my surprise to see that we’ve got world walking records here on SP. Some of the times recorded here beat the top women in the world. It looks like some others may have clicked the wrong category too, just in the opposite direction.

When it comes to diet and exercise, we often tend to underestimate what we eat and overestimate our exercise and calories burned. I use the database to search for foods that I don’t eat often enough to be favorites that I enter myself. How happy I was to find that my name brand snack crackers had NO SODIUM AT ALL! Uh, no. Somebody obviously forgot to enter that line.

It’s also easy to overestimate the distance we travel and underestimate the time it takes to cover it. I’ve done this myself, but the worst example was a colleague who told me she was walking 2 miles a day while at the conference we were attending. I congratulated her for finding the time for that and she replied that it only took 20 minutes. She walked from the hotel to Dunkin Donuts and back. Aside from the irony of her destination, Dunkin Donuts was only ½ mile from the hotel.

According to the US track and field website:
An ordinary person out for a walk averages about 16 minutes per mile or 3.75 miles per hour, a typical treadmill setting. A fitness walker tops out at about 12½ minutes per mile or 4.8 miles per hour.” I know that beyond 4.6, I would be jogging not walking.

So, we would expect the recorded times for the SP 5K walk to be between 38 and 50 minutes for the fittest walkers among us and that seems to be true. There are a lot of people in that range, but some have reported covering the course in half that time. I know that it doesn’t really matter. It’s not like there’s an Olympic medal at stake, but it brings up an interesting point.

When studies are done or claims are made using participants’ self reported data, how accurate is it, really? Here on SP we are self reporting daily in our trackers and generally getting great results. Sometimes though, the results are not what we expect or want to see. Then it’s time to reevaluate. Are we really doing what we said we’re doing or have we just done the equivalent of clicking the wrong category – an honest mistake.

In any case, congratulations to all who completed the 5K Challenge regardless of your final time. The challenge is worth it, however we covered the distance or how long it took us. We do it for our health.

Throughout this journey we just have to be honest with ourselves and patient too. There’s a solution out there for all of us.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KANSASROSE67 11/5/2012 3:23PM

    This is a great blog and an excellent reminder. It's so easy to estimate incorrectly!

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SWEDE_SU 11/5/2012 3:35AM

    honesty in tracking is good, but the truth is in how the numbers add up in reality, and calories in/calories out just don't lie. if weight isn't moving, or is moving the wrong way, there is a reason, no matter how many minutes are added to the fitness tracker, or how few calories.

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TINAJANE76 11/5/2012 3:22AM

    You're definitely right. A big part of being successful in this process is being honest with yourself. Unless you have a medical issue that's holding back your progress, there's usually a concrete reason why the scale goes up or down. I definitely don't advocate obsessively tracking, but if something isn't working for you then I think it's time to take a long honest look at what you're doing. I try to balance things out by not counting my exercise against my calories unless I'm really going hard core. I know I eat enough calories to support my activity levels, so I view the extra burn I get from exercise as a bonus. That way I know that any extra bites, licks or tastes that I take during the day that aren't tracked will be taken care of. If the scale stops backing up what's been working for me, then I reevaluate.

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ALLISON145 11/2/2012 9:01PM

    Yes, there is definitely a fair share of delusion going on around Spark... I cringe when I see folks hitting 500 fitness minutes by the 3rd of the month. Either they are counting every moment they are not sitting in a chair perfectly still as exercise, or they are spending hours in the gym torturing themselves. Moderation in ALL things, folks - not just food! LOL! Same goes for folks posting about "plateaus" and insisting that they are only eating 1200 calories a day at 200 pounds. Something just doesn't add up, but no one really wants to be told that. Or, what I've seen a lot of lately... "I burn 5000 calories per week in exercise." Really? Even without a single rest day that's over 700 calories a day. Yeah... right.

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TREYONE 11/2/2012 7:39PM

  Very good blog-gives you something to think about!

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TEMPENATIVE 11/2/2012 4:40PM

    nice blog. you are an insightful writer!

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DEBBY4576 11/2/2012 3:05PM

    Your blog has been something I've noticed and had to let go. I am my own competition. It drives me insane to be two days into the new month and someone has logged 1000 minutes. So for my own sanity, I dismiss the person and their reporting as inaccurate.
I so agree with your statement to be honest with myself. I hope most people are just making a mistake. That's sweet of you to hope for that too. It is what it is. And I'm so glad we are "friends" with honesty in common.

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JELLIAJAMB 11/2/2012 2:25PM

    I have sometimes wondered about the top fitness minutes reported by members, where, by my calculations, those people would be training for 4 hours a day plus. I tell myself, "Oh, it's none of my business anyway, those virtual medals are for our own satisfaction," etc., but the small competitive streak in me does grumble at times. SP and GPS trackers help keep me accountable to the facts of my outdoor exercise, but I know that I have to subtract .5 miles from my treadmill total.

Thanks for this post and previous ones. It was your blog posts and comment on a recent community board that made me think, "Brooklyn_Born is the kind of person I'd like to know."

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SHAYLAGETFIT 11/2/2012 1:32PM

  Ha! ANother GREAT post! so very true and I am guilty! again as you have said, honest mistakes for certain... so long as we are being honest! ;)

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CATMAGNET 11/2/2012 10:44AM

    This is why I try to keep realistic with my fitness when I track and stay on the low side of ranges for nutrition, so I can at least try to err on the side of conservatism. That way, I have some "wiggle room" if I make a mistake.

Great post! :)

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KANDOLAKER 11/2/2012 9:13AM

    A great blog! Thanks for the research!!

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MOOSLADY 11/2/2012 8:50AM

    I had a conversation like that with my sister. She was telling me how she was in such good shape because she walks 10 miles per day. I asked her how in the world she finds the time since she works all day as a special education aid. She said that her obese mentally impaired student had to walk for 30 minutes on the track at school and she did it in those 30 minutes. I let it go because she is one of those people who is always must be better at everything or have worse problems than anybody(and never their fault, of course). I will grant she is thinner than I am( the beginning of this conversation was how her Dr had told her she was skinny/fat, and had high cholesterol) but walking 20mph, I think not. I am impressed if an average person walks 3.75mph. I have a very short stride and can only walk about 3 without having to jog. I do try to exercise on a measured track at least once a week just so I know I have and accurrate distance.

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WONDERWOMAN 11/2/2012 8:19AM

    Great blog! I just faced this problem; unable to remember which "race" I had signed up for on SP. I am running a "live" 5K on Saturday so hoped it was the 5K and not 10K, but panicked when I couldn't find a simple way to find it. I ended up scrolling through all the 5K Runners in my gender and age group and found myself, so Whew! But yes, no matter how hard we try, our logging isn't going to be perfect and I agree most often it is because of technical glitches and not trying to cheat.

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KANOE10 11/2/2012 8:14AM

    That was interesting. I walk 4 mph and need to use 4.6-8 as a goal. You are right that there is misperceptions on amounts of distance!

Great blog. emoticon

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MDBUTTERFLY 11/2/2012 8:03AM

    One of the biggest steps in deciding to lose weight or make changes I think is to approach it with honesty. I think it is something that we need to keep in check often if we are to be successful as it can be easy to slip into lying to ourselves (aware or not) all to easy.
Great blog!

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WILLOWBROOK5 11/2/2012 7:47AM

    I wonder what the definition of "ordinary" is? At my younger, most fit, I didn't go much faster than 4 mph and most people I knew thought it was alarmingly fast, LOL. Now in my early 50's and with severe arthritis in my knees, the most I can manage is a 3.7 and still I get comments about how fast I walk.

Interesting blog. I do obsess a bit about (track) calories eaten and burned. So often it is guesswork, but eventually it becoes apparent which side you are erring on.

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PMRUNNER 11/2/2012 7:43AM

    Funny. Check out some of the 10k times! There are some folks logging in 10ks in the 28 -35 min range. While I know some folks who run a sub 6 min pace, I would be surprised if these folks were!

Happy running!

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WILSONWR 11/2/2012 7:43AM

    As usual, a great blog. I'll be out at our ranch until next Tuesday, so I'll miss your blogs while I'm gone (no internet). Talk to you then!

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BLUENOSE63 11/2/2012 7:36AM

  You are all winners! Congratulations emoticon

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Is Normal BMI the new skinny?

Thursday, November 01, 2012

There was an article awhile ago asking if fat is the new normal. Recently I’ve been reading posts about people being called skinny and obsessive when they are actually in the normal BMI range.

The number of people reporting this phenomenon is cause for thought and even alarm. Apparently, just as some people stigmatize those who are overweight or obese, we now find people in the normal BMI range being put down as “skinny” or even “anorexic.”
Even those above normal BMI, just trying to eat naturally and healthy, risk being called the “food police.”

While the term “couch potato” was coined to describe someone who never exercises, suddenly people who workout regularly are hearing terms like “obsessive” or OCD being tossed their way.

I understand the tragedy of anorexia and other eating disorders as well as the difficulties faced by those with OCD. So it is disheartening to me to see these terms used pejoratively against those trying to live an active, healthy lifestyle. Being at goal weight isn’t the end of the journey. Maintenance is a continuing commitment.

Some posts mentioned that people applying those terms were just jealous and perhaps that is the case, but those are hurtful, harmful words nonetheless. Would being confronted with that attitude consistently be enough to bully someone into backing away from their efforts? It’s hard enough to turn one’s life around without others throwing verbal obstacles in our path and filling our minds with doubt.

Since the overweight/obese population outnumbers the normal weight group 2 to 1 and the gap is still increasing, will we be hearing more of this as time goes on? The majority tends to make the rules. Normal BMI people and even those a bit above the normal range look skinny in today's environment.

There were many suggestions as to appropriate responses. Ignore them, laugh it off or stand up to them with a pointed response of our own. As with any bully, I tend to agree with the last option. That “turn the other cheek” thing is something I haven’t quite managed to achieve yet.

EDIT: To clarify a point raised in the comments:
I chose “normal” BMI instead of “healthy” BMI because as others have maintained, you can be healthy even if somewhat outside what is defined as a “healthy weight” range and I agree.
There are always outliers in statistics, the professional football players who are above the range, and the world class gymnasts below it. I agree that both are healthy, but not many of us fall into either category. Most people fit somewhere in the middle.

A little above shouldn’t be a problem, but there was an article a few weeks ago that insisted that a woman can be healthy at 5’4” and 225 lbs. I think that sends the wrong message to the average person. Is there no upper limit? The same destructive message applies at the lower end where eating disorders require serious intervention.

Another Edit: How about "recommended" BMI to refer to that range that most people are trying to attain?

Yet another Edit: For future blog posts I've settled on "appropriate" BMI to indicate that after careful consideration and honest self evaluation, everyone can decide for themselves.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIMBOLEAN 12/1/2012 1:09PM


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TDWANDD2MYK9 11/12/2012 1:57AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MJZHERE 11/9/2012 3:30PM

    I read this post soon after it was written (before the edits) and thought it was great exactly the way it was. It raised a very valid concern - most of us would not put up with overhearing people making derogatory comments to someone else about being fat. It isn't kind to act like something is wrong with someone and judge someone as being too "skinny." And the fact that people who are healthy are being judged as too thin is definitely cause for concern. When what is once considered normal in a society changes, it is important voices are raised in concern and the issue addressed. One must question - is this truly what we want, not only for ourselves, but also future generations. Do I want an environment that accomodates unhealthy choices - bigger furniture, bigger seats, bigger portions at restaurants - and therefore helps one ignore what is happening? Personally, I am glad for clothes that will get too tight when I am hurting myself, scales that will remind me when I need to rein it in, and friends who come alongside in concern as well as those who encourage me in my endavors to live healthy by cheering me on. Oh yeah, I also am glad there is a bmi measurement I can use as one more tool.

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SERASARA 11/7/2012 10:23PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BOILHAM 11/7/2012 7:17AM

    Excellent blog with some real good observations and thoughts.

This attitude is probably increasing as the average weight of our citizenry increases. But, it is certainly not a new phenomenon. I have been thin all my life, and am now 65 years old. I have lived with criticism and dumb comments all that time. Heavier young adults chided me because I was "able to eat anything I wanted" I was called skinny so often, I got to wondering why is it okay to use the pejorative term, skinny, but a real insult to use the word fat to describe someone else?

As a quick aside, my wife watches The View every day (we're retired). Joy Behar uses the term "skinny bitch" just about every day, to describe nearly any attractive female. Oh yeah, she smiles, but the phony smile can;t hide her bias and contempt. It pisses me off that no one calls her out on it. I know this observation may seem out of context, but it is the perfect example of how our society now accepts contempt for normal sized folks.

As a young adult, I took to weight training to increase my body mass, as I'd been self conscious about my weight. It worked fairly well for me. Still though, to this day, I get remarks about my size and weight. Someone once told me "you look like a concentration camp victim" when I had sliimmed down after having gained weight from an extended vacation I was 150 pounds and 5'7" with a low BMI at the time. Hardly skinny, or even thin in a healthy persons eye.

So yeah, it's getting worse, but thin hate has been around a long time.

Thanks for the great blog.

Comment edited on: 11/7/2012 7:24:19 AM

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TINASWEEP 11/6/2012 10:35PM

    This is a very well articulated blog, bringing into question so many of the same issues I have faced maintaining at a size 2. By others I've been called to task for considering size 2 a normal size, but to me that is what it is. I've also fallen into the trap of believing my eating methods for maintaining were abnormal based on the consensus of the general population. After much introspection I've found that instead the Standard American Diet that has filtered from restaurants into our homes is abnormal. I have had to communicate to my friends that such dietary habits are simply not possible for me and that is my normal. It has been a difficult battle, but for the sake of the life I want I will not bow to outside pressure and abnormal, unhealthy dietary standards.

Thank you for sharing, it is an important concern to address.

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PENSIEVEGAZER 11/6/2012 10:01PM

    This is true, and so sad. Is it to make people feel better about themselves? While people should talk nice to themselves (as I've learned was something I needed to do to be successful at weightloss), they shouldn't feel justified in their obesity!

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JACKIE542 11/6/2012 9:48AM

    Great blog! emoticon emoticon

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DESERTFLOWERG 11/6/2012 12:49AM

    I agree with your blog.

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FATHINSN 11/6/2012 12:40AM

    For me, my aim is to get the middle number of the healthy range of BMI. Lots of tools, websites and people in health screening keep advising me to get the floor value but I think it's too stick-thin, too unhealthy to me (I know coz I've been there years ago and feeling unhappy, too) so why not I get the middle number :D

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LIBBYL1 11/5/2012 11:21PM

  enjoyed reading this and the comments! Must say I am looking forward to being called skinny again or tiny or petite - I am 5'3" and within the right BMI (about middle) but haven't been called skinny since I was in my 20s (when I was very fit and healthy on the low side of the BMI range but never under it). I have stopped weighing myself . Judge how healthy I feel - and measure my waist after reading that it is waist size which is the biggest health threat (and yes my waist is just just below the 'healthy' range so I am trying to get that down through exercise and healthy eating so can have that chocolate without worrying about heart attacks)

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MCJULIEO 11/5/2012 9:55PM

    It's a Tricky job trying to balance "What Is" and "What Ought To Be"... and terminology can be the worst when it should be the best at clearing things up!

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_LINDA 11/5/2012 7:31PM

    Thanks for writing on a topic you hear little about! I have been on maintenance for almost two years, and am still getting comments like, are you still losing weight?? You don't need to, you are skinny enough as it is! I am actually right smack dab in the middle of the regular BMI range! Its very sadly too true there are more overweight and obese people and that makes someone in the 'normal' range look abnormally thin. I know what anorexia looks like. There is a young girl who attends some of my fitness classes and she is so thin all her bones stand out painfully clearly (think holocaust photos) That is far from me -I still have a pot belly :P. I have Curves. You can't see any muscle definition below my womanly curves. I am just a regular female, in the regular weight range -technically just an average female. Not skinny, too thin, etc.

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GOTTAPLAN4U 11/5/2012 3:10PM

  Good discussion topic.
Human nature being what it is, I don't think the tendencies you point out will abate. Corporate greed will continue to market obesity and people will work to rescue/preserve their self esteem, sometimes at other's expense. There's money to be made inventing and justifying fat measurement tools and techniques, standards, methods of interpretation name it. Every Tom Dick and Harry has an angle on the obesity market.

Similar to the rejection of Climate Change solutions, this problem is just too lucrative and self serving to be stopped. (Mayor Bloomberg and Michelle Obama aside.) Over time the western culture and wherever it spreads will go down in a pile of blubber. As I have seen written on SP, there's no market in maintainers. Even the fitness industry couldn't get by on maintainers alone.

I intend to ignore words and pressure that conflict with my fitness plan and let others battle their demons as they choose.

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KIRSTAB 11/5/2012 2:09PM

    With a BMI of 27.3, I was called "teeny tiny" on Friday by someone I had just met. This blog very nicely wrapped up my thoughts and feelings on that comment. I had a hard time accepting it as a compliment and chalked it up as a reflection on our ever widening waists instead.

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2TIGRE 11/5/2012 2:03PM

    Good grief!!! I get so sick of the crap from people about how "skinny" I am now. I assure you, at 5'7" and 150lbs, I am NOT skinny (I just started getting into my size 10 clothes).

I am much thinner than I was at 204 (when I started my weight loss journey), which was actually obese at more than 30% BMI. I'm now in the upper range of "healthy" and I feel and look great - NOT SKINNY!!!

I'm so close to my goal now (I want to be in the middle of the "healthy" range) and I am certainly not going to let a bunch of "unhealthy" (and mostly overweight and obese) people stop me from reaching my goal.

When they start telling me that I'm too skinny or that I actually need to gain a few pounds, I just smile and move on. So far, it works every time.

P.S. Was LOL at all of your editing. So typical that everyone has their own interpretation of what is "normal" or "healthy".

Comment edited on: 11/5/2012 2:23:28 PM

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-CORAL- 11/5/2012 1:51PM

    I don't think you need to defend or change your use of the words "normal BMI". The term 'normal' is non-biased. It declares that the majority of healthy people will fall between these two numbers. From the dictionary: "Normal: serving to establish a standard." The BMI range establishes a standard of weight. People who come on here and decry the fact that BMI normals don't account for everyone are the type of people that feel that people in the normal BMI range are "skinny" and are exactly the type of people you are calling out in this blog to begin with!

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ATARASHIIME 11/5/2012 11:30AM

    I liked healthy and normal BMI at the beginning, after all, BMI was never intended to be the ultimate ruler for health, it's just supposed to be a guideline. :)

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HHB4181 11/5/2012 11:04AM

    I liked your blog just the way it was, some great points!

sorry you had to keep editing! I thought your points came across just fine. emoticon

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LOSING30TOWIN 11/5/2012 9:40AM

    I think if you were very overweight for a long time and then lose a significant amount of weight, the people who know you best and see you the most will think you look thin even if you still have many pounds to go or are outside the recommended BMI. I'm from the generation and raised in a city where slender was normal and those 20 pounds overweight stood out. My perspective on if someone looks skinny or fat to me is I'm sure quite different from college students today that see larger people all around them as the norm.

The bottom line for me is that one should not let opinions of others influence what you know is healthy for you in body and mind. BMI should only be a guide as there are so many variables to consider.

Great thought provoking blog.

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GIANTMICROBE 11/5/2012 8:06AM

    This is so true. I get called "skinny" all the time and it shocks me. I'm a totally normal weight. Nowhere near skinny! It's a little scary to think that we're so overweight as a nation, a normal sized person looks skinny.

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TEENIEME3 11/5/2012 6:54AM

Thanks for sharing!!

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BRASKIN 11/5/2012 3:45AM

  emoticon emoticon

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ERICADAWN1986 11/4/2012 8:52PM

    Great blog! I run into this issue with my mother. She actually told I "look like a skeleton" and advised me to "knock it off a little" but I'm actually two lbs above a healthy BMI. I think part of it may be based in her own insecurities about her weight but it does feel discouraging!

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FITFOODIE806 11/4/2012 6:27PM

    Great blog! I've thought about this stuff too. I'm in maintenance, happily at the higher end of the normal BMI, and an endurance athlete. I'm called skinny a lot. And I'm not skinny! I'm fit, but not skinny. I'm also called obsessed with working out. It's my hobby, how I spend time with family and friends, and so much more. I wish more people would become "obsessed"! Thanks for posting.

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JULIA1154 11/4/2012 6:22PM

  Unfortunately, it's not nearly as easy to get an accurate body fat percentage reading as it is to compute BMI. If it were, we'd probably be using body fat as a guideline rather than BMI.

I'm slightly on the low end of my BMI range and have NO issues with anyone calling me skinny - it's music to my ears.

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ALIHIKES 11/4/2012 4:57PM

    Very interesting blog and very good discussion. Weight or BMI is a totally touchy subject for so many of us. I did not think your blog was negative toward those of us who struggle with our weight AT ALL; you were just pointing out a troubling shift where normal BMI people are now being criticized. Thanks for sparking an interesting discussion!

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TINAJANE76 11/4/2012 3:06PM

    Thanks for a great and thought-provoking blog. Regardless of the terminology we use or how we choose to evaluate our progress, the truth is that the majority of Americans are just too big and plain unhealthy. You might be able to argue over whether a BMI of 22 is better than a BMI of 27 (or vice versa) because a person with either BMI could be quite healthy. But a person with a BMI of 40 will not be no matter what. As a society, we seem to be developing far too many hang ups regarding how we should measure our progress rather than just focusing on the nuts of bolts of leading healthier lives. Once you get down to a reasonable weight/body fat percentage/waist-hip ratio (or however you want to define your goal) then you can start nitpicking about where you should level off.

Living in Italy, I definitely feel a difference with how size is perceived and even with how I perceive myself. In the States I'm often one of the skinny people now and some people openly express their concern about me being too small (at 5'7" and hovering between 145 and 150 pounds, I'm hardly in danger of wasting away and I've got the appetite to prove it!). In Italy, I'm hailed as looking perfect by those who knew me when I was obese and I just fit in among those who didn't know me before. I suppose we'll always be held to society's norms regarding weight but I'd much rather be held to that norm when a BMI of 23 is considered healthy rather than being told that that's too thin. Like the "portion distortion" we hear so much about, I think American society is beginning to accept obese as being normal and that's a worrying trend.

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DRB13_1 11/4/2012 2:25PM

    eventually we'll stop using BMI and use something more appropriate, like waist to height ratio.
your point - that recommended BMI ranges may in today's culture be considered "skinny" is well taken, though

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    According to my Endocrinologist and Nutritionist (they work together), the ratio between height and weight is ..... a ratio between height and weight.

It doesn't take into consideration your build or the amount of muscle in your body. Nor does it take into affect any physical condition you may have.

At 5'7", I have a chest measurement of 44". Yes, I am built like a fireplug. Thanks to exposure to two specific types of chemicals, I am an Insulin dependent Diabetic, and have severe heart disease due to my pancreas not being able to break down dietary cholesterol.

I had a heart attack with a 4x bypass at 33, another with a 5x bypass at 44, and a third with a stent when I was 57. I'm now 67 and my arteries are clear as they can be.

Combined with my build and heart condition, My Endocrinologist, along with my Nutritionist and Cardiologist, have told me to keep my weight between 140 (never below) and 189.

My A1c has been below 6 (normal) for close to 15 years. Prior to being on Insulin, no matter how much or the combination of oral Diabetes drugs, I couldn't get it below 8.1. My total cholesterol ran over 400 with triglycerides at 295.

After my Endocrinologist put me on Insulin, My A1c Declined rapidly to the 6.5 range (which is o.k. for a diabetic). I worked with my Endocrinologist and Nutritionist and went on a strict Diabetic control plan. My A1c dropped into the normal range.

Additionally, my total cholesterol gradually dropped to the 205-215 range (my last fasting blood test showed it had dropped to 188) and my triglycerides dropped to 98! My Cardiologist asked me what I was doing differently, and I told him. I started using Insulin. I was told that the heart healthy aspects for a diabetic wasn't unheard of, but it had affected me, big time.

With my heart condition and Diabetes and my inside line-backer physique, I should never weigh less than 140#, and to get to less than 189#. because with both of my health conditions, if I were to contract pneumonia or something else, my body would need more reserves than someone who didn't have my health challenges.

I'm now within 10# of my desired upper weight, and despite what many doctor's say about diabetics being unable to lose weight (Insulin is a sub-type of steroid), I am slowly getting there. Personally my goal is to ultimately get down to 180-185 and maintain. That weight would put me 15% above the recommended BMI, but that's where my doctors have concluded would be best for me.

My Family Doctor initially rolled her eyes after receiving the reports from the Endocrinologist, Cardiologist and Nutritionist and indicated she had never heard of some of the things they spoke of, but my continued high Normal A1c and my "healthy" cholesterol levels has convinced her that their advanced training trumped hers.

Plus, my resting heart rate measures between 58-62

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4THELOVEOFDOLLS 11/4/2012 1:15PM

    Great blog. thank you.

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SIMPLELIFE2 11/4/2012 1:11PM

    To Mennoly regarding your friend: "She is eating below the recommended 1200 calories on a regular basis and having a hard time maintaining a BMI of 20 " The reason she is having such a hard time is that she is not eating *enough* food, not too much. Unless your are medically supervised, you should never go below 1,200 calories and if she is at her ideal weight, undereating is even worse.

Bodies are amazing and have a knack for self-preservation. Her body believes she is starving and is hanging onto every calorie and her metabolism is slowing. She will have to eat less and less food until her body just simply shuts down. What she is doing is not only unhealthy based on most textbooks, it also has the potential to be life threatening if she is becoming as obsessive as you say. She really needs to seek the guidance of a medical professional/dietician. I hope you can encourage her to do so.

I despise the BMI as an assessment tool. It is very misleading as it only looks at weight and not body composition. I am 5'2" and weigh 149. BMI pegs me as overweight, bordering on obese. However, I wear a size 6 petite and have 24% body fat, which is considered very fit for a woman my age. Conversely, someone else could have a BMI considered average and wear a larger size and have a much higher body fat percentage. Who's healthier? If I were to lose enough weight to fit my recommended BMI, I would have to lose muscle mass or dip far below a healthy body fat percentage.

Hydrostatic weighing is the most accurate measurement of body fat percentage, but an experienced training can make a pretty accurate estimate with calipers. You can have this done at the gym or by a trainer, usually during the initial assessment. I highly recommend this. As you begin strength training, you may not see numbers drop on the scale, but it is better for your health and fitness levels if your body fat goes down.

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SHAZG321 11/4/2012 1:06PM

    emoticon thanks for sharing

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GODDESSOFHOME 11/4/2012 11:33AM

    Oh boy, what a touchy subject. And an important one too. I agree that normal has become skewed. And, yes, I did say normal, however politically incorrect it may be. That is what this whole blog seems to really be commenting on, and it is important to note the definition of normal

: normal adjective 1. close to what is usual, average, or standard."My height is normal for my age". 2. having a healthy mind; without mental or emotional illness. "A normal person does not enjoy making animals suffer". 3. physically healthy; usual according to the laws of nature. "The doctor said my heart sounds normal". noun the average or expected form, condition, level, or amount;standard. "The temperature was below normal last month"

Looking at this definition- which I took from the McGraw Hill Children's Dictionary-let's look at a sentence in this definition " The Doctor said my heart sounds normal" Let's replace normal with the other suggested words - which are more politically correct- " The doctor said my heart sounds recommended" or " The doctor said my heart sounds apppropriate".

Although these two words definitely work, normal really sounds the best. When it comes down to doctors identifying a healthy person, there are normal ranges for all sorts of things: Blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure to mention a few. If you told someone that you had above normal cholesterol or blood pressure they would immediately recommend you contact your doctor and deal with it. Why then, should it be any different when your weight is causing you health risks, why is there such emotion attached to this measurement of our health? A lot of it comes from image and this is fed by the current social norms -What is a Social Norm?
A social norm is a behavior, belief, value or action that is acceptable in one's culture. A social norm can vary from different age groups, income brackets and among people with different degrees of social status. Definition taken from - The norms have changed regarding body image many times over history and will continue to do so. I guess what I see as the main point of this blog is a question of whether or not the body image NORM is changing in our current social structure? I believe it is.

I also wanted to comment on a comment from another poster JIBBIE49 regarding the website of Dr. Mercola. I am not sure that I got the right website as the post is very lacking in details, but I believe that the opinions expressed on this website are neither normal or healthy for the average population. Fasting is not something that I have ever heard recommended for a healthy lifestyle, and the website does not back up this claim with any solid research. It does comment that "Evidence is mounting" and talks about a study of "Ten Elite Cyclists" but nowhere in the article can I find links to the "Evidence" or the study of the cyclists. It seems like opinion masquerading as medical proof.

I am very glad you posted this blog, and I found your writing informative and well formed, thank you so much for sharing!

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BARBANNA 11/4/2012 11:32AM

    I just hit the normal BMI and I am far from skinny! Thanks for shring. What critical is that we avoid nursing home care before we reach the normal elderly range If the public continues to avoid or neglect our health they will need to change all the stats on normal. I prefer to do my part and be responsible for our next generation!

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MENNOLY 11/4/2012 9:30AM

    As a person who may never reach the recommended BMI, (I do like that term!) but consider myself extremely healthy, I have a problem with bracketing desirable weights. At my current 167 pounds, 5'6" height (although I was taller when younger) I have dense bones, strong muscles, low resting heart rate (45 bpm), and low blood pressure (110/60) which was also low when I weighed over 250 pounds. Except for a non functioning thyroid, which I have had nearly half my life, I am a very healthy 61 year old woman. I come from good gene stock. My obese mother and father lived to 89 and 86 respectively. In order to lose the 15 pounds I would have to lose to be in the upper end of the recommended range, I would have to be undesirably vigilant about every bite I put in my mouth and therefore a rather unhappy person. I have a Spark friend who currently is having a melt down for that very reason. She is totally obsessed with her food. She is eating below the recommended 1200 calories on a regular basis and having a hard time maintaining a BMI of 20 (so called healthy range) She is experiencing binge behavior because she is being too much of a food police. Her blogs are food obsessive. So at a "healthy" BMI she is displaying very unhealthy behavior. BMI was never developed to be used the way insurance companies use it. It just was a very cheap way for an insurance company to determine insurance risk for their policies. From that it became a defacto method of determining healthy weights. I am not advocating totally ignoring it. I am advocating looking at it as a small piece of evidence. Right now it is given too much weight in determining good health.

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KIM--POSSIBLE 11/4/2012 9:01AM

    Great points! I stay right at the border between overweight and normal, or whatever Spark People calls it. I get comments all the time on how I eat, how skinny I am, etc. from people at work, at soccer games, family members, and others. If I actually were towards the middle or bottom of the normal or suggested range, I can only imagine the comments!

My husband and kids comment on how obsessive I am. The more I have focused on eating healthy, the more they have resisted and become too picky to eat the healthy foods I like. I don't force anything on them, though, and do still make them their old favorites. I am trying to lead by example and demonstrate that, yes, pizza and cookies are ok once in a while, but they are not everyday foods.

I think the foods that once were occasional treats have become everyday staples, so anyone who eats fruits and veggies over those other choices is seen as unusual and obsessive.

Thanks for a great blog! Very thought provoking.

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OFGREENGABLES 11/4/2012 8:57AM

    I like your thoughts on the BMI

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1954MARG 11/4/2012 8:29AM

  There are always some people who will criticize others to make themselves feel more important.

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MANILUS 11/4/2012 8:16AM

    Very intriguing blog! I know for myself, I reached 159 lbs on my 1st weight loss and people were saying I had went to far. I believe it is true that the obese/overweight population is targeting people with target BMI's as "going too far" After all the work I did, I let it go because I felt awful from all the rude comments. I am back at it with 112 lbs off and nobody will sway me this time.

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JHITCHCOC 11/4/2012 7:08AM

    Love this blog. Spot on!
I hang out with runners. I NEVER hear comments directed to me that I am too skinny or anorexic. If I ASK for advise on weight loss, my runner friends offer it and direct me to my dietician runner friends for more help.
That being said, the runner friends are the ONLY group that get that I am a little over-weight. EVERYONE else says I am OCD and anorexic. Which I guarantee I am neither.
I am 5'8.5 and I weight 174lb. My body fat is 29%. Normal weight for my height is no more that 164lbs and body fat for a healthy female should be 28% or lower. So I am working on getting a few pounds off. The ideal weight for me, as per my doctor's suggestion is 145lbs. I have weighed as low as 149lbs and felt a little too thin, but only because my family was in utter shock and horror when they saw me at that weight.
I choose to hang out with like minded people, so my true friends are fellow runners. My family has all sorts of weight related issues, but they do not see this of course. They are too busy taking my inventory, calling me anorexic and OCD.

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    Thanks for sharing

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SMILES4383 11/3/2012 8:55PM

    BMI is just another height / weight measurement.

BF% is the ideal assessment tool.

Too much fat doesn't do ANYONE any good...
I will continue to fight my excess. I just think it's the HEALTHY thing to do.
Besides - I felt better without it.

Thanks for the post ~

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JAZZEJR 11/3/2012 6:08PM

    Some very good points made here.

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ONEATATIME3 11/3/2012 5:53PM

  Interesting observation! thanks! emoticon

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ALIDOSHA 11/3/2012 5:20PM


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TIMDEB 11/3/2012 5:00PM


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HOLLYM48 11/3/2012 9:42AM

    Thanks for the thoughtful blog! It is true that in order to lose weight and turn our life around, we must be determined and have a lot of willpower and that includes the willpower to exercise almost daily. Others that don't exercise at all probably to see us as be obsessed with it because you do have to focus on it.
That does not make us OCD, but just aware and the people that don't exercise do NOT get it at all. Words are so powerful and so hurtful and my daughter who has always been on the thin side got teased in middle school that she was anorexic. Here is a beautiful girl who is extremely healthy, has a very good body image and she was so hurt that people said this about her. People need to be nicer and mind their own business and stop looking at everyone else and picking out other people's faults to make themselves feel better!
Way to put it out there and I hope you continue to focus on healthy you are and "turn the other cheek" as you said you would like to do!
Have a great weekend. emoticon

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NEWMOM20121 11/3/2012 9:07AM

    Thank you for sharing

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MOTLEM 11/2/2012 11:30PM

    This is an excellent blog.

My BMI is within range at 24.07 and I get so very sick of tired of people around me saying: 'You are obsessed with exercise' or 'Why are you trying to lose weight' or 'You certainly don't need to lose weight'.

This SO gets up my nose as I know I am still not at my goal weight and I feel and look best at my goal weight.

YES, we know our own bodies and YES, I wish the do-gooders, or people who can't achieve what Sparkies achieve, will just shut up and let us get on to do the healthy things in life that we are doing.

Thanks again for this blog and whew, I've had a bit of a rant, but feel all the better for it. emoticon

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Mom said “Hold your stomach in or you’re going to have to wear a girdle”

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I was probably about 9 years old and I remember that vise-like contraption that my mother and most of her friends used to wear. For you youngsters, it’s what you would call a body shaper today. Except we didn’t have the terrific fabrics you see now. Ours were heavy and tight and even had some strips of plastic through them. Synthetic whalebone, maybe?

Anyway, while other mothers may have told their daughters to stand up straight or given them some other bodily advice, mine regularly reminded me to “hold my stomach in!” And I did. After a while it became a habit and thinking back, it was probably the main reason that I was the sit-up champion of gym class.

A comment on my blog yesterday asked if there was any exercise I used to “stay trim in the middle” and I immediately thought of Mom.

After my 3rd child was born, the doctor at my 6 week checkup actually asked what I did to get my tummy back in shape so quickly. Nothing! Like a rubber band it just returned to normal. No stretch marks either. Now, before you hate me, I did get stretch marks on my boobs, rear end and thighs. They didn’t have the muscle support my stomach did. Too bad Mom didn’t have some warning advice about those parts of my anatomy. I could have saved a lot on gym memberships.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHAYLAGETFIT 11/2/2012 1:28PM

  Hahaha! That's awesome! It gave me a giggle! Thanks again for sharing a wonderful memory!

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MOOSLADY 11/2/2012 10:22AM

    Actually, wearing a boned corset for reenacting makes my back feel great! Holding in my stomach is one of the hardest things for me. After 5 pregnancies(and even no excess weight gain during them), I just have very little muscle there. Surgery a year ago got rid of what little tone I had. I am working on it, but for me, building it back is so slow.
My mom's admonishment was to sit up straight at the piano(piano teacher fussed about that too) and walk with my toes pointing forward. The latter turned out to be bad advice as the reason I was walking duck toed and due to a congenital knee problem, but I won't deny it looks better to walk straight toed.

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WATERMELLEN 10/31/2012 4:38PM

    I remember the same advice from my own mother! To go shopping downtown in summer, she'd wear her girdle, bra, half slip, garter belt, stockings, pumps, fitted waist dress, short gloves, hat: yes, really. My sister and I would be wearing the "little girl" equivalent: dresses, short white socks, mary janes.

And: I do have great abdomen muscles, just like you. So: guess it worked!!

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BOILHAM 10/31/2012 4:26PM

    Girdles are those new fangled things which replaced corsets.

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MJZHERE 10/31/2012 11:23AM

    So here we go mom's number one saying to me (though she left off the girdle part except when she really wanted to make her point). She was in the first women marines and had perfect ramrod posture with no stomach and a tucked in tush till the day she died. No stretch marks here either and I was so proud of that concave stomach when I was a young teen. Wish I had more closely followed her example of exercise - not only did she never sit down all day long, she also had a gym membership (when gyms were brand new), outwalked DH and I on the mountain when she was in her eighties, and still rode her bike everywhere.

Comment edited on: 10/31/2012 11:24:26 AM

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DAWN14163 10/31/2012 9:23AM

    Wow, that brought back memories of my own mother's Playtex PantyGirdle! Haha!

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NELLJONES 10/31/2012 8:52AM

    I remember girdles. All "nice" girls wore them. It was the best way to keep stockings up before pantyhose was invented.

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MNNICE 10/31/2012 8:49AM

    Yep, I knew I should've listened to mom!!

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WILSONWR 10/31/2012 8:37AM

    Great story!

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SUZYMOBILE 10/31/2012 7:56AM

    Boy, do I remember that saying! My mom, however, did NOT advise me that wisely. She appeared to have given up on the whole project and was never seen without a girdle on.

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Back to the Future? Pictures: Then and Now

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I can’t call these pictures before and after, because they’re really before and back to before – decades later.

I made this colorful jumpsuit for a trip to Hawaii in 1970 (meeting DH for RnR from Vietnam). This photo was taken in 1972 when our daughter was almost 3.

Here I am, older, wiser and in the same outfit in October 2009, exactly 3 years ago when I reached my maintenance weight. I’m still there.
On the wall is a picture of our grandchildren taken 7 years ago. They’re a lot bigger now.

Disclaimer: I do weigh 13 lbs more than I did as a young mother 40 years ago and that’s just fine with me. I really don’t plan to wear this thing out anywhere. It’s simply a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

I wonder what else I can find in my photo albums that might still be hiding in a closet or box in the basement?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DAWN14163 11/3/2012 8:43AM

    lovely - thank you for sharing x

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WELLNESSME09 11/3/2012 8:26AM

    Fantastic memories! Love it.

Thanks so much for sharing your story! emoticon emoticon

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SHAYLAGETFIT 11/2/2012 1:26PM

  Oh wow! that was fun to read and see the pictures with that outfit! Thank you!

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KANOE10 10/31/2012 6:47AM

    That was such a fun thing to do. How nice that you can fit that outfit. Too cute.

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WILLOWBROOK5 10/30/2012 8:55PM

    So cute -- both pictures! emoticon

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BOILHAM 10/30/2012 4:50PM

    Great now and then photos. emoticon

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POINDEXTRA 10/30/2012 3:55PM

    FABulous fabric!

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DEBBY4576 10/30/2012 3:25PM

    Isn't that something? You kept that jumpsuit all these years. Before you lost your weight, you probably thought you'd never wear it again!!!! But there you are!!! And keeping it off is the real kicker. You must really be in shape, because I could put on something from 1970 and weigh about the same and the stupid middle would be too tight. Whatever happened to my waist? Any particular exercise you used to stay trim in the middle. Inquiring minds want to know haha.

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WATERMELLEN 10/30/2012 2:08PM

    What a great upbeat blog!! You look terrific!! And it feels good to wear clothes that fit 30 years ago (I've got some vintage right out of my own closet too . . . ).

Thanks for your comment on my maintaining to weight loss blog. I'm OK with the 1400 (often fewer) calories a day: just try to make sure that they're calories packed with real nutrition!! If that's what it takes, that's OK with me.

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CELIAMINER 10/30/2012 12:20PM

    Bet most of that 13 pounds is muscle mass! You looked great then; you look fabulous now!

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WILSONWR 10/30/2012 9:49AM

    That was a nice trip down memory lane - it was great you thought of taking that picture years later in the same dress! While your DH was in Vietnam, I was in Guam, helping in the B-52 mission there to support our troops in Vietnam. Thanks for helping to remember those challenging times!

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LADYJ6942 10/30/2012 9:38AM

    Great trip, nice job!!!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 10/30/2012 9:31AM

    Sue, in the new photo I'm only 13 lbs heavier than 40 years ago. Thirty (30) pounds was my total weight gain.

Comment edited on: 10/30/2012 9:31:34 AM

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SUZYMOBILE 10/30/2012 9:19AM

    That is so cool that you still have a dress from the 70s, and amazing that 30 extra pounds only make you look better in it!

Nice to see you, by the way!

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AJB121299 10/30/2012 8:51AM


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