Home Q&A Wednesday Q&A Wednesday: I Don’t Want to Be a Bobblehead!

Q&A Wednesday: I Don’t Want to Be a Bobblehead!

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Q: any advice to help me not look like a bobblehead like [redacted] did at first? i don’t want to look like that!

A: So, I went ahead and pulled that name out of there because, I mean… we get the picture. We know what you mean.

In order to talk about “bobblehead syndrome,” we have to talk about the human body.

Every section of your body is covered in muscle fibers. There might not be massive Macho Man Randy Savage-style muscles, but they’re there. They help facilitate every move you make. This muscle also makes up a large part of what we refer to as a person’s “frame.” If they have broad shoulders and a wide torso, we often say they have a “stocky” frame. If they are petite with a very thin figure, we might describe them as having a “lean” frame. Broad shoulders, slim and trim waist? A “swimmer’s frame.”

People who go through rapid weight loss that is the result of a heavily cardio-centered exercise regimen, a drastic reduction in calories, or both, are engaging in a weight loss routine that not only is often untenable but also eats away at much of the muscle that will help you maintain your weight loss.

When you lose that muscle, you are losing your “frame” and changing it long term. When you lose that muscle specifically in your shoulder area, you shrink the width of your shoulders, altering the width between each ear and the outer end of each ear’s respective shoulder. The longer that distance, the less you look like a “bobblehead” and the more you look like your head doesn’t fit your body*. The shorter that distance, the closer you get to “bobblehead syndrome.”

The way you avoid negatively impacting the head-to-shoulder ratio is by, for starters, not taking on a merely cardio-heavy workout routine. Secondly, avoid taking on very low calorie diets. Neither routine is very friendly to your muscle, and will undoubtedly result in you losing more than you anticipated for.

A solid high intensity interval training routine, ensuring that there are shoulder-targeted moves in your routine, will help you prevent the loss.

But what happens if you’ve already come down with a case of the bobbles? Add a few of these shoulder-centered exercises to your routine, and do them every other day. In a month or two, you should see some growth. (If you’re going for an hourglass figure or a swimmer’s figure, this is your first stop, anyway. Top of the hourglass has to be proportionate, too!)

At any rate, barring a medical condition, this is something easily impacted with the right kind of training. Stay diligent, keep your food intake in check, and you’ll be seeing those shoulders start peeking in no time! As I always said, your body will thank you for it!

*Just so you know, there is a condition that results in people having this appearance permanently, called microcephaly. I can recognize that people want to be able to have more impact on their appearance, but I also want to advocate for us to be mindful of people we see with these traits. It might not be for you, but it is for them and we aren’t in a position to throw shade.

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1 comment

Jessica January 27, 2017 - 11:01 AM

I’ve observed this as well! At first I thought maybe it was because I’m so used to seeing these people with a lot more body fat, but then I realized this wasn’t the case. They really do look like bobblehead dolls; it’s weird. I see it nearly every time a person goes on one of those low carb, Atkins, or Wheat Belly cult diets.

Good explanation!

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