I’m Fat!

The other day, I met my step-daughter at the airport.  She’s going to be staying with her father and I for a couple weeks before going back “home”.  (Yes, I admit I think of here as home, but as she’s spent the past couple of years being elsewhere, she sees that as home.  Go figure.)

A brief description of my step-daughter.  She inherited both her mother and father’s big bones.  She inherited some of her mother’s curves, and big feet (when she was 13, she was wearing a woman’s size 13, and no, that is not a typo or exaggeration).  She also seems to have inherited her father’s muscles and metabolism.  She’s definitely inherited some of her father’s height.   She’s 5’7″.  She wears a size 13/15 in juniors, a 14/16 in misses, and a large in S/M/L sizes.   She also weighs 160 lbs.

We were messing around after we got back from the airport, just kicking back and enjoying each others company, when, pretty much out of the blue, she said to me, “I’m fat.”  I blinked at her, because she is anything BUT fat.  I told her she wasn’t fat, and she pulled up her shirt a little bit and pinched some loose skin around her belly button.  She couldn’t even capture 1″  You remember the old Special K commercials from the late 70’s or early 80’s, don’t you?  The commercials stated that if you could pinch more than an inch of skin, you were overweight and needed to make Special K a part of your breakfast.  And she’s calling herself fat.

I became curious as to how the BMI would classify her.  Note:  I do NOT believe the BMI is an indicator of anything, and just checked her numbers to see how it would use them.  Remember, she’s big boned, and she has a lot of muscle.

Her numbers came out to 25.1.  Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised when the likes of George Clooney and Gov.  Arnold come out to numbers in the obese category.

More than anything else this shows just how inept the BMI is as a tool to measure anything.  

As for the step-kidlet (who’s really a grown woman of 18, but it’s hard for her step-mom and dad to remember that sometimes), well, she assures me she was only kidding.  But I have to wonder.  She’s told me in casual conversation about how the new generation of kids going to her former high school are all “small”.  Skinny and short.   And when she was talking about them, she said that she wished she could be as skinny as they are. 

I told her there wasn’t any way she could ever get that skinny, due to her bone structure, and she had both her parents to thank for that.  I reassured her the best I could about her not being fat, and went on to try to tell her that even if she was, it wasn’t the end of the world.  I’m not sure she listened to that part though.  I mean, I am her step-mother, and, as all teens will tell you about their parental types, don’t know anything.

And yet, I still wonder.  Does she really think she’s fat?  And if so, what can I do (that her mother’s not already done) to help her see she’s not fat?  (For the record, her mother is also fat, and has been overweight or obese almost all her life.  But her mother has always espoused the idea that just because she’s fat, that doesn’t mean she’s not beautiful or desirable, or less than in any way, and she has taught that to the kidlet.)


2 Responses

  1. She sounds like she’s a similar build to me. I’m 5’7”, no idea what my weight is, but I’m big-boned. My main problem with shirts is finding ones with enough room for my shoulders. My skeleton is never going to fit into clothes that aren’t at least one size bigger than the official average. Buying trousers that are long enough is nigh impossible on a budget. Buying jumpers that have long enough sleeves is nigh impossible full stop – I wear mens.
    If your step-daughter is anything like me, which of course she may not be, then when she says she’s fat she may mean she’s too big. That there is simply too much of her. That she towers above the other girls, maybe even some of the boys. When the everpresent media are always reinforcing the notion that women are supposed to be as small as possible, and you know you can’t make your skeleton small enough, it’s easy to turn that feeling into ‘I’m fat’.
    In my case, it would be more accurate to say ‘I’m comedy-oversized, like a stage prop’, but people look at you funny if you say that. They understand the dissatisfaction of ‘fat’.

  2. I’m 5’2″, but I’m big boned. I was told by doctors, nurses, schoolmates, teachers, family members, etc that I was fat as a teen. When I graduated high school, I stopped trying to diet figuring it was useless. My weight became stable (130-140). I believed myself to be obese for many years, but unable to change it.

    When I got to late 20s, I was suddenly no longer fat in other people’s eyes. Men started to notice me. Other women complimented my figure. The only nurses that called me fat were ones that used a height/weight chart to determine my health instead of looking at me.

    It was like the world caught up to me. It was like I was no longer yelling how can I be fat when I wear the smallest size that most stores sell. Currently, I weigh about 130 pounds. I wear a size 3. I don’t have an inch to pinch anywhere.

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