Home Q&A Wednesday Q&A Wednesday: Is There Such A Thing As “Carrying Your Weight Well?”

Q&A Wednesday: Is There Such A Thing As “Carrying Your Weight Well?”

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Q:  My weight is over 200 pds….and I’m told I carry it well….is there such a thing as wearing ur weight well ???? LOL Thanking u in advance 4 any advice u may have !!

Oh, of course there is… but it’s for countless reasons.

First and foremost, there is such a thing as wearing your weight well because of this awesome little thing known as muscle. A tight, toned, fit body may weigh more than we generally expect simply because it carries more muscle than we think. Muscle can “hide under fat” (though, often, not for long) and can make a person look larger because of the combination, but seeing as how a 2″ by 2″ by 2″ square of muscle weighs far more than a 2″ by 2″ by 2″ square of fat? A person with a low body fat percentage can easily be 170lbs, look 145lbs and “carry that weight well.”

The other component to this, though, is the fact that people think certain weights are “good” weights, just because the numbers sound good. For some reason, a number like “155lbs” just sounds “fat” to people. A number like “110bs” sounds “ideal.” And a number like 200lbs sounds like obesity.

The reality is… if I’m 6’3″, a number like 150lbs means that I’m underweight; a number like 110lbs may be alerting my doctor to the presence of some form of auto-immune disease; and a number like 200lbs is, clinically speaking, about right.

People are lazy thinkers. The smaller the number, the better off you must be, right? Not exactly. The definition of “small” is relative to your height and your personal, individual needs. There’s a reason why the BMI, with all its flaws, uses your height in conjunction with your weight in order to make its determinations. Numbers are relative. They’re even more relative when you add an individual’s body fat percentage to the mix.

It’s akin to people saying you “dress well” for your weight. No excessive skin showing, no rolls, busting buttons in the bust area… things that people expect to see – y’know, because you’re so large, with your big weight and all – from someone with a certain weight for a number, they don’t.

This is a huge reason why I tell people to avoid getting so wrapped up in the numbers, because the numbers are deceiving. What if you get to your “goal weight,” and don’t look the way you want? Then what? What if looking the way you want requires you to put on muscle, resulting in weight gain? Do you cling to a number that no one is going to know – unless you wear t-shirts that say your weight on them… and how weird would that be? – or do you say “screw the numbers” and build the body you desire?

I guess I said all of that to say… of course you can wear your weight well but, in all things, realize the number shouldn’t be the most important part of your journey (though that “pounds lost” figure can be something to be proud of, I must admit) especially when you get down to the point where you’re choosing what you want to look like. And, though I’m certain the backhanded compliment of “you wear your weight well” is often said with good intentions, consider that to be one of the things you let fly over your head as you decide what is best for you and your body. You’ll be happier for it in the end.

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Megan September 5, 2012 - 11:22 AM

Agreed. I’ve lost 50 pounds and am still 30 pounds overweight according to BMI scales. However, I can tell from the way my body looks (with no clothes on lol) that I’ve gained alot of muscle. I’m currently 5’2 and 175 but I wear a size 8. My original goal was 140 but now I don’ know. I’m not sure if I need to keep losing weight, work more on toning or what. It’s so confusing.

Kaycee September 5, 2012 - 2:50 PM

Funny, I just had a group of associates tell me there’s no way I need to lose 27 pounds which is my goal. I’m tall and I wear clothing that flatters my shape. I told them, if only you knew what was underneath all this….lol

Vanessa Ingram September 5, 2012 - 5:54 PM

I also have been told that I wear my weight well. In the black community regardless of how overweight you happen to be if you are very curvy, especially in the bust and buttocks areas, your weight can be easily overlooked. This sort of thinking needs to be modified so that our young ladies will understand the difference between being curvy and healthy and curvy and unhealthy.

msdebbs September 7, 2012 - 12:18 AM

I always thought that comment applied to bigger women with flatter tummies and carry their weight in the hips and thighs. As a apple shaped chick…I never get this back handed compliment….oh well. But Erika you just open my eyes to the idea that reaching my goal weight is not a guarantee that I will like the way I look. I guess there’s no point of dropping 100+ pounds and having sagging skin everywhere. But is it possible (safe) to lose weight and tone up at the same time?

Erika Nicole Kendall September 7, 2012 - 7:49 AM

“I guess there’s no point of dropping 100+ pounds and having sagging skin everywhere. But is it possible (safe) to lose weight and tone up at the same time?”

Who said you’d have sagging skin everywhere? Besides, this is self-defeatist talk. There’s a HUGE point of dropping 100lbs that is FAR more important than the potential of sagging skin. Jeez. Do you also poke holes in your boat before you leave shore? LOLOL

Of course it’s possible. People do it every day.

Monique Lester November 6, 2013 - 10:34 PM

Amen! I’ve been incorporating strength training in with my cardio. I do not want sagging skin but am so loving the pounds falling off

Dani September 12, 2012 - 9:14 AM

Believing that I carried weight well made me complacent. Family and friends always said that to me when they found out I was a size 16. I thought part of it was my hourglass shape and being 5’11” What did I have to worry about. I looked good.

Now I interpret that “compliment” as “You don’t look so fat.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t look overweight. It’s not like I’m overweight on the sneak and no one noticed.

You know when you find out what people really think of your size? When you lose weight. Suddenly you look SO GOOD. And it’s like, but wait…I thought I looked great before. That’s what I heard, but that was never what they were saying.

Cherry September 20, 2012 - 1:28 PM

I follow u on face book trying so hard to lose the weight i am 196 5″5and not happy i am trying the no sweet juice or soda one thing at a time but i am struggling with exercise its so hard when u going throw at i be depressed alot and i want to lose it and,keep it off i can’t afford to buy friuts and vegetables everyday but i am trying help……..

Stephanie April 26, 2013 - 6:00 PM

It can totally be a backhanded compliment that implies “Oh, someone who’s 225 lbs shouldn’t look decent, but you do!”

That being said, I think it’s important to have some body love as you’re losing weight. You don’t want to fall into hatred mode (as I’ve done before). For me at least, that can just trigger all kind of emotions and bad eating/exercising patterns

Stephanie January 24, 2014 - 7:16 PM

I think that there is such a thing as carrying your weight well only because I’ve been told many times I didn’t look like my weight. I just think it’s how your fat is distributed. I’m bottom heavy and I think that helps some. I’ve never been ashamed to say what my weight is, even when I was at my heaviest of 260lbs, but what I can’t stand is when someone says ” you don’t look THAT big!!!!! ” (yes I meant to put that many exclamation points)

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