Today I watched a YouTube video that mentioned celebrity sizes. The video, originally posted on a Facebook page for my running club, said that the size of the typical model is 0, and size 6 is considered over weight. That prompted me to do a little google research. According to a few different websites, the average American woman wears a size 14.
Growing up, I was the short child in my family. My brother and sister, both of whom are older than me, are also taller and growing up, were both thinner than me. I hated the fact that my sister, who rarely did any form of physical activity, was so skinny. She wore a smaller size than me and it bothered me.
In college I was more or less happy about my body image and size. Then, a year after college, I became rather obsessed with my scale. I wanted to lose weight and become a faster runner. Eventually, I lost close to 20 pounds and with that, got some speed along the way. Later that year I got a stress fracture and was worried I would become fat from not running. Although I ended up gaining weight because I was injured, it eventually came off. But, I continued to struggle with body image for the next few years.
I am in a much better place now, and I have a few things to attribute that to. As I have written about before, I have a hard time believing in myself and what I am capable of. However, if someone else tells me something I'll most likely believe it. I feel like i constantly write this, but joining my running club has been one of the greatest things I have ever done. It is such an encourage group of runners - slow, fast, short, tall, accountants, teachers. I feel like anytime I go run with the group I have my confidence built up and I believe in myself more than before.
After a run recently, we were talking about being fit. One of the guys in the conversation mentioned that he thought i was running well and very fit. I have to admit - I agree.
Am I the skinniest person? Absolutely not. According to Hollywood, I am overweight because I wear a size 6 or bigger. Sizes vary based on brands, anyway. I am also many pounds heavier than the average American woman.
I weigh more because I have muscles. Muscles that I have worked hard to get. Muscles that I maintain by lifting weight a few times a week. Muscles that are worked 6 days a week when running and biking. Muscles that have gotten me PRs and across a marathon finish line.
When I look in the mirror, I see a successful runner who has accomplished more than she ever imagined she would. I don't see someone overweight, but someone who is fit and strong. And that I think is far better than being a size 0.