How Much Do You Weigh?

are you fat, how much do you weigh,
Sheila Daniels, by permission

I had lunch recently with a group of friends, all highly accomplished and creative women. The discussion zipped along in fascinating directions, that is, until we were given menus. Although most entrées were described by what had been subtracted—low-fat, vegan, dairy-free—that didn’t stop my friends from gasping about what they’d like to order, but wouldn’t unless they wanted to be “bad.” In this case, “bad” meant consuming actual food like potatoes.

Enough already. There’s far too much energy expended on diets and appearance, energy we could use to enjoy our lives. It reminds me of a blog post I read a while ago that questioned why we do this to ourselves. Or why marketers impose this on us. In that post Erin Nieto asked why weight, not idealized weight but real weight, is such a taboo. She wrote,

I wonder what would change if this taboo were lifted—how our thinking as a culture might change if someone’s weight were a comfortable topic, or at least an open secret. Would this involuntary reflex of shame be lifted?

That post became a book titled How Much do you Weigh? Each page shows real women and their weight. An assortment of photos may seem simple, but such pictures are liberating.  They remind us a number on a scale doesn’t determine our worth as individuals. Particularly in an era when girls think their looks mean everything they need the grown women in their lives to demonstrate greater freedom from such oppressive attitudes.

Next time I go out with my friends, I’m bringing this book. I know it will spark some great conversation. And maybe we’ll be brave enough to tell each other the number that has too much control over our lives. The stigma lifts one person at a time.

are you fat, women's weight, how much do you weigh,
images by Sheila Daniels, with permission



A complimentary copy was provided for this review.


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9 thoughts on “How Much Do You Weigh?

  1. I’ve always been overweight but I was able to hide it better before I got pregnant and had a c-section.

    I’d love to lose some weight, but it’s hard because just dieting doesn’t really cut it for me. And it’s hard for me to exercise on a regular basis because of my daily chronic headaches.

    So I just try to be healthy (most of the time) and exercise when I can – and just be happy with the way I am 🙂

  2. It helps immensely if you don’t KNOW the number. We live w/o “the device that provides the number.”

  3. I think it would make a huge difference if people (okay, mostly women) would stop saying “I’m being bad” and start saying “I realize this isn’t helping me attain my weight maintenance goal but I’m eating it anyway.”

    Life is full of tradeoffs. There’s nothing “bad” about prioritizing yumminess over svelteness. It’s a personal judgement call, not a big moral issue.

  4. Once upon a time I knew the link to a blog that featured nude shots of moms. They were not pornographic at all, rather very liberating to see that many ‘normal’ moms have sags, bags, and extra filling after carrying one or more kids to term. This idea of body perfection makes it so hard for women – even when they’re not officially overweight.

  5. I agree with other posters here, it’s not about being bad it’s about making healhty choices. We need to stop worrying about the number on the scale and instead worry about heart and digestive tract health. Those are the things that matter. A lot of these diets on the market are no better for your body than eating unhealthy, but because it pulls the weight off people use them all the time.

    At my daughter’s birthday party recently a friend chose to eat almost nothing we had other than the veggies. She’s on the same diet as I am (low calorie). I was astounded by her and felt the need to point out to her that the world won’t stop if you have a piece of cake and you won’t gain 5 lbs by eating a piece of cheese.

  6. I have never looked like my number, I don’t know why. The number was always high, I figure it had to do with being comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t mind being 140 pounds at 14 when everyone else was obsessed with 110. Now I have a husband who loves every size I’ve ever been. The only thing I look at on menu’s these days is what is going to do bad things to my cholesterol!

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