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Am I the only one who finds it so frustrating that many women tie in their weight to their self worth? Wanting to lose wieght so that they "Feel better about themselves" and things like feeling too overweight to start exercising or are reallly bothered by being bigger than the man who loves them as they are?

I mean, it's one thing to want to do it for health reasons (which would imply the method you use to lose weight should be a healthy one with healthy food...) or to lose the weight so you can do things like run around with your children or run a marathon for the fun of it.

But I find it so sad that so many women here still tie weight into self worth. What happened to "I am woman, hear me roar" Why is it "I"ll roar when I'm skinny like other people" (And don't even get me started on wanting to be like airbrushed models- have you seen the cellulite on mischa bartons butt? WORSE than mine...)

So often I've read that women percieve their ideal size to be about two sizes smaller than what a guy considers ideal. And I can't even begin to count the amount of guys who have said they get irrate with women who obsess over their weight. Does anyone else share my frustration?

Thu. Aug 17, 3:14pm

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Well, comments like "have you seen the cellulite on so-and-so's butt" are a part of the problem. We judge each other harshly, and we turn that same judgemental eye on ourselves.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 3:32 PM

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I want to look good for myself -- not for any man. And I don't think that wanting to look good and be fit and attractive is a bad thing. I know for myself, when I look good, I am more confident and happy. But I do understand how bad it is with the media hype and the over-obssession to be "perfect".

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 3:33 PM

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I understand what you're saying. However, I think that perhaps you're judging these women too harshly. From what I can tell, when they say that they would like to lose weight to feel better about themselves there is something else behind that feeling then just the weight that they carry. I don't think they necessarily equate being overweight to low self esteem but maybe to the reasons why they are overweight. Many women and men are overweight because of the reasons why they eat, or the reasons why they don't exercise. And while they can feel perfectly okay with who they are as a person, if you don't feel comfortable in your own skin, if you know it's not healthy to be the weight that you are... why shouldn't they want to lose weight to feel better about themselves? They're not always saying they don't like themselves, they're saying, I'm okay, but I'd really like to improve who I am, what I am, and how I look. And I think everyone feels better about themselves after they accomplish a goal, why shouldn't that goal be something that leads to a healthier life?

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 3:36 PM

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3:36 Poster

Perfectly stated! I agree. For MOST (not all) that are overweight -- it is because of bad self esteem first has let them get to that point.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 3:38 PM

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i understand the op's frustration, although i am not that type of person who ties my self worth into my body shape/weight. it's a very common train of thought, so many people feel normal in thinking that way. all we can do is remind each other that looks, even cellulite, aren't truly the measure of a person's worth. it really becomes more clear as i age that beauty is skin deep, and it's what on the inside that counts.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 3:40 PM

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why do people need to be thinner to feel better about themselves??

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 3:40 PM

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It drives me nuts when perfectly healthy women spend all their time talking about their weight. And I really hate when skinny women do it, because I feel like they're insulting me (and I like my weight, thankyouverymuch) without even thinking about it. At the same time, it drives me nuts when terribly obese people delude themselves about their size.

For me, I love my body, even the less-than-perfect parts. However, even though it drives me nuts in other people, I also get uneasy when I start comparing myself to others, which is silly, but that's how it is.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 3:48 PM

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3:40 - because most of us are constantly bombarded with the message that thin is beautiful and beauty is more important than character or intelligence.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 4:08 PM

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Because you actually LOOK better when you are at a HEALTHY weight.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 4:11 PM

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i think that the idea of losing weight to feel better about oneself is leaving out a key step. you set a goal to "lose weight" so that you can be healthy. then you feel better about yourself because you accomplished a goal. but i have to stress that being thin and being healthy are not the same thing, and we all know that. the real goal, hopefully, is to be healthy. and, hopefully, weight loss will come with meeting that goal. an improved self-esteem comes with knowing that we are taking good care of ourselves and meeting a tough goal.

but i still stick with my theory that a happy size 14 who feels good about herself and is confident that she is living as healthy as possible (both mentally and physically) is more attractive than a size 4 who thinks she is ugly and fat.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 4:15 PM

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did anyone see the chelsea handler show when she staged an experiment at a marathon-dating session? she had a plain, frumpy girl answer questions with answers that generally would appeal to guys (she brews beer, watches football, hates cuddling-stereotypical answers). she had a hot, very sexy looking, thin girl answer questions with racist innuendos, she belched and farted (exclaiming that it was actually more than "just a fart"), etc. in the end, only one of the men in the session chose the homely girl. the other guys' explanation? "the rude girl was hot!" this is why some women feel that they need to be thin, dress with little left to the imagination, etc. i see men who do the same thing.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 4:20 PM

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Men may "date" those skinny, rude girls, but they won't put up with them very long. I still think you should try to be the best of both worlds -- try to be attractive with a healthy, fit body AND be nice, funny, personable.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 4:28 PM

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I am the 4:29 Poster

I was responding the the 4:20 poster about the dating marathon.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 4:29 PM

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Standards of beauty change over time. I try to keep myself focused on being the best that I am capable of. That includes feeling strong, flexible, personable, intelligent, funny, relaxed in my own skin and ok being seen naked.

It can be tough though. Yesterday I was having a conversation with a guy friend (platonic) whose physical ideal is short, brunette and slender. I'm tall, red hair and curvy. However, I've worked my butt off to achieve the body I have now and am proud of it, even while working on the last 10-20 pounds. He was talking about a mutual business acquaintence and his new girlfriend who is "Large, just a big woman, the way he likes them. Come to think of it, YOU would totally be his type!" I have to admit that having the words "large" and "big" applied to me at this point was hurtful. Totally brought up all the high school feelings of being this big, gawky, awkward girl. It's still amazing how stuff like that can perk back up after all this time!

I'm glad that my body image is healthy enough to take it, even if it does require a bit of reflection every once in a while. Oh, and the whistles I got walking to work today didn't hurt either! ;)

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 5:40 PM

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responding to the 3:40 poster, too

"why do people need to be thinner to feel better about themselves??"

Because I'm overweight, I want to be thinner. If I were underweight or "too skinny" in my opinion, I'd want to add some weight and some curves. I have a picture in my mind of what I'd like to look like and I'll work toward that goal until I reach it.

I need to be thinner to feel better about how I LOOK, not to feel better about who I AM. There is nothing wrong with my self image. I am a wonderful wife and mother; I am smart and funny; I'm nice and considerate; and I am a very faithful friend. I wouldn't trade my personality for the world. But if I could take the easy way out, I'd trade my body in a heartbeat! I just haven't decided whose body I'd like yet! Maybe Lindsey Lohan's - pre-weightloss! : )

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 8:19 PM

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8:19 Poster

I'd like to have the body of Denise Richards, Jessica Biel or Jessica Simpson (in Dukes of Hazzard) :)

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 8:46 PM

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since weight is tied into how you feel about yourself physically and mentally, how can you possibly not understand why weight is tied into self-worth? I'm not quite sure I understand your question. It's kind of a no-brainer. when you are healthy and strong physically you are much healthier and stronger mentally. what about that is confusing?

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 8:52 PM

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when was the last time you saw a magazine ad or a tv commercial that featured larger (regular) sized women or men without featuring a weightloss product or a big/tall store product? if i saw more people like me in the regular tv i watched-not just late-night/early-morning "paid-for advertisements", i would feel more confident dressing in clothes i want to wear. even the infomercials use women(or men) my size as the "before" pictures of their successful programs. i would like to be represented by the popular media, not the alternative media. this would add to others' perceptions becoming less narrow-minded, i think.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 9:51 PM

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For whatever reason, I suddenly developed self-esteem about three years ago at the age of 26. I had a great group of friends, a job I loved, spectacular home life (even living with my parents), and finally decided to love all 275 pounds of myself. I started dressing to flatter my body type (thanks, 'What Not to Wear') and felt great about my life. It took two years of that before I decided to try losing weight. I don't include my weight or pants size in my thinking of how how much I like myself, but it certainly doesn't hurt to be healthy. At my heaviest, I was probably one donut away from developing Type 2 Diabetes. Now I eat right, exercise and am healthier than I've ever been. I was hot even at my heaviest. It's not being "skinny" that ties in to my self-worth, it's my health. Weightloss has just been a healthy byproduct of getting generally healthy. And cute clothes and looking even hotter are just a byproduct of that.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 10:56 PM

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OP here
to the 8:52 poster- so we're saying that people with cancer and fibromyalgia who aren't healthy should have low self esteem because they're not healthy or strong phsyically? Those depressed or in therapy should not have self esteem because they aren't mentally healthy? Puh-lease. Your argument is extremely flawed.

Moreover, I mentioned it's one thing to lose wieght to be healthy- however, most people throw in that as motivation to justify or validate their weightloss. Eating frankenfood isn't physically healthy even if it makes you lose weight.

Kudos to the 10:56 poster- that's refreshing to hear.

to the 4:11 poster- who says you look better at a healthier weight?? Again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder- there's people out there who like the look of women who may be considered to be "unhealthy" And even if you "look better" there's a lot of women who would look better with straighter teeth, longer hair, clearer skin, etc. To 'look better' you need a "better than" which only feeds into female competitiveness that is already harming enough women.

to the 3:46 poster- kudos for admitting it's silly to compare. I'll admit I compare sometimes too- but we all need to remember the comparisons DON'T matter.

To the 3:36 poster- I'm fully aware that being overweight can often be a symptom of some deeper emotional problem. HOWEVER, losing weight will not fix those underlying problems. Fixing the problems may likely result in weightloss, but simply trying to "lose weight" isn't going to fix anything- look at all the yo-yo dieters. They can and should want to lose weight to be healthy- but a person's health shouldn't be the be all and end all of their selfworth.

I'm not opposed to weightloss- I just want women to do it for the right reasons. And I want us to value ourselves regardless of our weight or outward appearance. I don't want any more young women to think that they're only worth something if they're thin and pretty.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 11:38 PM

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Did anyone watch yesterday's Oprah? The guests were the mother girl who is OBSESSED with her looks, cries if she doesn't think her hair is pretty, says she hates her mom if she doesn't allow her to wear makeup, and she's THREE! Also the mother of a girl who is OBSESSED about getting fat. Will turn down a PBJ in favor of a fruit cup, mimics her mother's workouts, and in public points out her opnion of fat people. This girl is FOUR!!! The third group of guests were a mother/daughter team. The daughter at the age of 19 feels she is too hideous looking to go out in public, yet she's gorgeous and is a working teen model. Basically, what Oprah and her new Dr. Phil, Dr. Robin something, discovered is a low self-worth problem with each of the mothers that has become manifest in their daughters. It was a VERY interesting show. And very sad to see children so obsessed with their outward appearance.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 11:54 PM

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OP again- I watched it. That was part of what pushed me over the edge needing to rant. I thought that episode was sad and I fear what mothers are inadvertantly teaching their children by basing their worth on their weight or looks.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 11:57 PM

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Yes, but the mom of the three year old was just "helping" her daughter get the self-esteem she herself never had as a child. She's always telling her daughter how beautiful she is because she never heard it from her own mother. She's trying to fix what was broken with her and got so far over the edge that now her daughter (at THREE) only equates her value and worth with being beautiful.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 12:01 AM

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You know what grosses me out? When women get too skinny and look like skelletons, yet continue to eat nothing but berries and twigs. that's not healthy either. I'd rather be 20 pounds overweight than 20 underweight.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 8:17 AM

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A little off topic but...

Not too much. I need to lose another 15-20 lbs to reach my goal weight and I'm still not happy in my body, and yes it is partially a self esteem problem. I also worry right now that even once I reach my goal that I won't be happy in my body.
I have always wanted to be that super thin girl which I think many women want but what's funny is that isn't what guys want. I look at stars like Ellen Pompeo on Grey's Anatomy and think many I wish I could have her body, and my husband tells me he'd rather I had Katherine Heigels body.
I hear guys say all the time that they would rather have a curvy girl with something to her but a bunch of sticks, but when I go out it's always the sticks that seem to get the attention???

I trying to be less obsessed with wanting a body that just isn't attainable for my frame, but at the same time not give up my motivation to get my body to be the best it can be.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 8:42 AM

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8:52 poster responds

being overweight is not conducive to health and well-being. that's a fact. if it makes you feel good to be overweight, go for it. obviously, for a lot of people it doesn't feel good. if i can't make it up the stairs because I'm out of breath, if I can't live a full life because I develop diabetes or heart disease at a young age, my self worth won't matter because i'll be dead. i'm happy for you that being overweight doesn't have an impact on your self-worth, but it does for a lot of other people and not just because they don't like the way they look in the mirror.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 10:12 AM

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Yes, you will feel better physically when you are at a healthy weight.

However, if you don't respect and value yourself as a whole person when you're overweight, that's not going to change when you reach a normal weight, and it definitely won't be fixed if you try to achieve what the media puts forth as "beautiful." If you base your self worth on your weight and looks rather than on your intelligence, your character, and your spirit, then you are going to focus all of your attention on your weight and your looks, and when losing weight doesn't somehow magically make you happy, you're going to be devastated, just like the women on Oprah.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 11:04 AM

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Sure, it doesn't physically feel good to be overweight. It does physically feel good to be able to be active and healthy (which is not necessarily synonymous with being normal weight and certainly isn't synonymous with what most people do to be "thin"). But can I acknowledge that I am a GOOD PERSON regardless of my weight? Yes. Weight and looks are part of how my see myself, but only part. There are a lot of other facets of my being that are just as important if not more so.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 11:11 AM

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? to the OP......

OP-you mentioned in your 11:38 comment that you wanted women to lose weight for the "right" reasons. I'm curious to find out what you would consider right. Is it only health related???

If that is so, chew on this a bit...the "average" woman is supposedly 5'5" and she should weight between 125-140lbs and wear a size 6-8. As we all know that average size in America is creeping up each year, currently at size 12-14 and that's not taking into account the vanity sizing. Clothes are the only thing affected, furniture, cars, houses, everything is getting bigger and bigger to accommodate the growing waist lines of Americans- both women *and* men. Take a look at the link, it's not scientific or anything, but this is the general message we've heard over and over again- Americans are fat- just because it's the norm doesn't make it ok or require everyone to conform to the new average.

I can't really understand why you're upset over women wanting to lose weight to feel better about themselves; I actually think that's a very worthy reason. I don't consider myself to be fat, but I am according to the BMI. I would like to reduce the amount of body fat I have and so I pay attention to the foods I eat. By doing this I can limit the amount of non-nutritious and mostly processed foods that contribute to additional weight gain as well as health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. I feel great about myself and have a loving supportive family and boyfriend that will love me no matter how big I am. But that doesn't change the fact that I want to lose weight for me because I would feel even better if I was fit and tone without the excess weight. Also, just because someone is currently at the right weight and looks great, doesn’t mean that they don’t need to watch their waist lines- skinny people can get fat too.

Want a good book? Read Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World. by Greg Crister. Maybe you'll lighten up on all of those women who want to lose weight to feel better about themselves.


Friday, August 18, 2006, 11:21 AM

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Not the OP, but I agree with the OP.

Lose weight to be healthy, lose weight to wear clothes you like, lose weight because you like the way you look at a lower weight. But don't think that losing weight is going to make you a better person, or happier, or more loveable, or anything else that doesn't have to do with weight, health or looks.

If you don't like who you are as a person before you lose weight, that won't change when you've lost weight. Your worth as a person is about who YOU are and the impact you make on those around you. Putting in a "more attractive" or more socially-acceptable package is fine, but it doesn't change what's inside.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 11:29 AM

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Well said 11:21, I agree with you. If someone overweight has a great self esteem that is great, I am happy for them. I also don't think that someone should lose weight to "fix" their life.

But from a HEALTH standpoint maybe getting down to HEALTHY weights would "fix" the HEALTH problems in the U.S. My only concern is the health issues now in America because the norm has moved to people being overweight. Many Americans eat like crap, and don't get off the couch and it isn't healthy, bottom line.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 12:32 PM

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To the 8/18, 11:29 am poster

Okay, I have to chime in here.

You can't say that losing weight won't make you a happier person. I am a much happier person now than I was 4 months ago. Why? Because now I am doing something to get myself into shape and to be healthier, and I don't have to listen to that negative self-talk or look at the media and think - I should look more like "that". I agree that losing weight won't make you more loveable but don't tell me it hasn't made me happier.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 12:47 PM

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re: 12:47 and 11:29 poster subjects . .

yes, getting in shape and losing weight, being active and healthy all will make one feel good about themselves. absolutely!! but i agree w/ 11:29 that if you don't like who you are (on the inside) before you lose weight, those problems will still be there once the weight is gone.

that high and the confidence you get after losing weight sticks around for a while, and nothing else matters . . . but once you get used to being that goal weight, if you haven't confronted whatever real issues you have with yourself and your confidence, you are going to feel right where you were before. (at least on some days).

losing weight will make you "happier" but not permanently if your weight was the only thing holding you back.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 1:37 PM

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12:32 - I don't think anyone is questioning the health benefits of being at a healthy weight.

The OP's question was about why women tie their self-worth to weight loss - in other words, they feel worthless because they are overweight. That's not about being uncomfortable or unhealthy, it's about thinking that you are not worthy of other people's attention, support and/or love because you weigh more than they think you should (or more than _you_ think that they think you should - sometimes we project our feelings onto other people). Self-worth is about a lot more than just your physical being.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 2:48 PM

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i have an explanation for why guys say they like curves but give all of the attention to the twigs - because the twigs have confidence and dress to show off their bodies. if slightly larger women had confidence and showed a little skin, they would also get attention.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 5:52 PM

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OP again
to the 10:12- again, I'm not saying being at an unhealthy weight is deserving of a parade- however "the last 10lbs" that most people obsess over aren't much of a health issue. "Getting toned" isn't much of a health issue (sure muscles help, but lots of people are healthy without strength training). I was 50lbs over weight, but could still run up stairs and had perfectly fine medical tests- everything was normal and healthy. But I re-iterate- your health should NOT affect your self worth. It may affect your feeling of well being, but not your self WORTH.

to the 11:04 - AMEN!!! That's what I'm talking about!!

to the 11:21 - If you are eating healthier and increasing your health and that makes you feel better about yourself, that's great. I'm all for that. Treating our bodies as temples is great. And when you respect your body and nurture it, yes you will feel better- but the feeling better should happen then regardless of movement on the scale because you know you're doing your body good. But needing a smaller waist to feel better about oneself is still, by my standards unhealthy.

to the 11:29 - agreed!

to the 12:47 - but if you were doig something to get in shape and be healthier but weren't seeing great results would you still be happier? I would hope so.

When weight loss is the by product of healthy eating and activity motivated by a desire to feed and nurture and respect our physical body- I'm all for it. When it is simply to fit into smaller clothes so that we can value ourselves, or "feel better about image" (and some people wrongly use "ourselves" synonomously with image) I have a problem with it.

to the 12:32 - Bang on!!!

to the 5:52- I totally agree. And to be honest, I don't often see alot of twiggy brides.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 9:32 PM

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