Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Getting over your number?

I'd freely tell you my cholesterol numbers, my credit score, my number of prior sexual partners, my SAT scores, but don't dare ask me my weight.

I'm sure many people saw Tyra on the front of a recent issue of People magazine. She has been criticized recently for being porky. Yet at 5'10" and 161 (my exact height and roughly my goal weight) she has a BMI of 23.1, well within normal weight ranges. But to mainstream America, most of whom aren't within normal weight ranges these days, that number sounds high. You ask most people what a healthy or desirable weight would be and they quote something in the 120's, without regard to height or frame size. So apparently that puts Tyra in a position of defending her 161 pounds.

Yesterday I noticed the Tyra show was going to be devoted to her People magazine issue. While I'm normally not a fan of hers as I feel her ego sucks the air out of a room, the promo for the episode showed an audience full of women in bathing suits with their weights displayed across their chests. Since the idea of being in my bathing suit with my weight printed on my chest would be akin to having toothpicks shoved under my fingernails then pouring salt water in there, the show merited a Tivo'ing.

As I watched her show the message seemed to be about saying "so what" to the number that is your weight. However Tyra repeatedly had to post up pictures of what she used to look like when she was at the top of her modeling career. Her justification seemed to be "so what if I've gained weight because I used to look this way." Well what if we didn't? Does that just make us losers? To be honest, the last time I was at 161 pounds I was 20. I thought I was SO fat back then that there are really no pictures of me. And chances are I was never on the cover of Sports Illustrated or Victoria's Secret.

So while I support Tyra's efforts at trying to emphasize the differences in bodies everywhere, I still think she needs to take a look at herself and stop living in the past. Be proud of what her body is now without dwelling on what it used to be. And about saying "so what" to your weight? Well, I can't do that. The number is important to me. The number doesn't define me, but it is a number that I'm spending conscious effort to lower.

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