Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Body Frame size

I got a little miffed today reading a thread on a forum about determining body frame size. It started as usually - people are measuring wrists, elbows, etc to try to determine their frame size. Then, as almost always happens, people comment on how they used to think they were 'big boned' only to find they were not as they revealed their bodies from layers of fat. This is a natural discovery. Some of us never were thin enough to know our build and others either comforted us by saying we were just 'big boned' or we thought it ourselves to try to soften the pain of being overweight as being bigger boned means you aren't 'as' over weight as you thought, right?

What pisses me off is when someone comes on and says that there is no such thing as big boned people. OK, semantics. Sure, it's not the bones that are necessarily bigger, but can anyone deny that people have different size feet even if they are the same height? Can anyone deny that some people have wide hips and other narrow and so on?

What pisses me off the most is that it is almost ALWAYS someone who has a very petite frame that makes a comment that frame size is irrelevant to weight. Or it's always a very fine framed person who comments that X weight is too much for X height. They think their size, their shape is the defining shape/size. It's NOT.

Is it as simple as "your wrist is this size, so you have this size frame"? No, I don't believe that. I think we are far too complex a being to fit such a narrow definition of small, medium and large. We might have big feet and small hips and wide shoulders, but in general, you can roughly get an idea of your frame size with a few body measurement tests (and using more than one is a good idea).

What angers me is this. I used to believe that all girls at 5'6" should weigh 135 or less and it's not true. Almost all the teen girls I knew weighed that or less, so I should too. No one, NO ONE until I was an adult told me that it was an unrealistic number for me. Or maybe they did and I didn't listen as how could it be true for everyone but me?

I feel strongly about this not for myself, but for some teenage version of me who might be looking at her big frame and thinking she's fat because she's 145 pounds at 5'6" tall. On the BMI chart she might be topping out (especially if she's muscular on top of her big frame - and don't you want your daughters to be fit?), and all her friends are weighing less on the scale than she is. She might feel she's fat when she might actually have the most lean body of all her friends.

Why do doctors continue to use ranges for heights/weights? And the dreaded BMI charts? Why not caliper tests or the bodpod test to determine body fat percentage and then teach young men and women what's the range for that and what is good and great and bad for body fat percentages - not just leaving them with saying, "Your body fat percentage is 25%" That might feel like way too much to a 20 year old young woman. She might leave thinking, "A quarter of my body is fat? I am so fat!" NOOOOOOOO 25% and under is GOOOOOOOD. Women have more fat and that's just the way it is. Why are we relying so much on that darn scale???

I sit here at 169 pounds. Yes, I have more to lose, but not 30 pounds more. 15 pounds more and more importantly, I need to keep improving my fitness and I need to keep working on lowering my body fat percentage.

So yes, we are all shaped differently. Not all men like tiny women. Not all women like big men. And that's a good thing - genetic diversity is what makes us strong! So I celebrate my big frame as it's a strong frame and it will probably help keep me safer from osteoporosis as I age. And I want us to celebrate all of our bodies! We were given but one, why compare and try to be something different than what we are? Large, medium, or small framed- we can be beautiful!

Stats for 4/11/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 169.4


  1. Great post!! Really loved what you said and I can relate so much. I wish as a teen I would've had a better understanding of body frame, muscle mass, and how that relates to weight. I really get sick of hearing if you're X pounds you're fat. Because no matter what that weight is it's going to look very different one woman vs. another (depending on body frame, where the weight is stored, muscle mass etc).

    Seriously, WHY aren't doctors trained to measure body fat percentage???

  2. I felt the same way when I read that thread. When my shoulders are more broad than my 6'2" husband and we wear almost the same ring size, yet I am a foot shorter AND 60 pounds lighter? You can't tell me we all have the same bone density, circumference, or composition beyond the same basic parts. Humans come in all shapes and sizes, including skeletally!