I read an interview recently with Kathy Ireland, whom many of us know best as the Sports Illustrated cover model. Ireland is now 48 and a successful entrepreneur worth more than an estimated $300 million. I didn't know that about Ireland, so I read a few more articles about her online.
A few years ago, Ireland realized she had put on 25 pounds in as many years--without really noticing. I was not making enough time to take care of me," she told People magazine after successfully and safely losing the weight in 2009.
At first I was surprised. Twenty-five pounds is a good deal of weight--that's the size of a toddler! How could you not notice? But then I thought back to my own weight gain of almost 50 pounds, and I understood exactly what she meant. If you gained 25 pounds overnight, you would notice, but when it creeps on slowly, we tend not to notice.
I didn't gain 50 pounds overnight. I gained 10 my first year of college, yo-yoed another 10 until graduation, then another 10 the year after college, and 20 in less than a year after that. I didn't really think about the weight gain until those last 20 piled on. I was working second shift at the newspaper, going out with friends most nights, eating takeout (and huge portions!) for dinner on a regular basis, and not exercising. Moderation was not in my vocabulary.
If you've never gained weight, it's easy to doubt how people can seem oblivious to their gain. But if you've been there, you can relate--and a recent study bolstered those claims. A study of 466 women over 36 months found that 1 in 3 didn't notice a gain of 4.5 pounds in 6 months, while 25% didn't notice a 9-pound increase during the same time period.
And in 2010, a study found that 4 in 10 overweight women believe themselves to be of normal weight.
These studies certainly flout the stereotypes that most women are hyper-aware of their weight and that most of us believe we're fat.
What do you think? Do you have trouble perceiving your true size?
We often hear from members who have trouble recognizing the person in the mirror after losing weight (I struggle with that even today at my fittest and lowest adult weight), but we don't often talk about the other end of the spectrum.
When I started to gain weight and noticed, I liked my body. I had curves--and people noticed. Then one day, I realized that I had ventured from the upper end of healthy to the lower end of overweight. I knew it was time to do something about it.
Throughout your own weight-loss journey, how did you feel? Did you have trouble recognizing that you had gained weight, or did your struggle with body perception begin after you lost the weight?
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