First of all, y’all rock for playing along. I know this created, for many people, a lot of feelings of vulnerability. Many people expressed discomfort and fear that they were going to insult me. This was not something I had really thought about when I issued my challenge, so it’s definitely something to talk about more extensively.

But before we get all thinky? Check out this graph Kate made.

This has guesses from three sources. Here, Fatshionista, and Shakesville.

My actual stats? I’m 5’3 1/2″ tall and I weigh 314 pounds.

I am what 314 pounds looks like.

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  1. Katie
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t suppose there’s an explanation of the graph somewhere for us spatially-challenged folks? :-)

  2. Posted September 27, 2007 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Holy statistical spread, Batman!

    Brilliant, ladies. This is one for the big fat history books.

  3. TR
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Katie, the up and down values are height. People guessed me all over the height spectrum – usually much taller than I actually am.

    The left and right values are weight. Which people also guessed ALL over the spectrum.

    If you look at the placement of the white dot, you can tell someone just about nailed my height. A couple of people gauged my height pretty darn accurately! Two of them were particularly innovative, using the average size of bathroom floor tiles and the average height of a toilet to estimate my height. They both came within half an inch.

  4. Posted September 27, 2007 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    This is interesting for me because I’m an inch taller and weigh less but I think I look WAY bigger. Perception and reality have pretty much nothing to do with each other, especially with body size.

  5. Peanuts
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    That is very pretty, but what does it mean? I don’t mean the left axis which is obviously height and the horizontal axis which is obviously weight. What are all the different colours? What are those numbers all over the graph? Heights? What are all those coloured blocks? What does it mean when one block is two-coloured, what does the split mean? Why are those blue blocks all the same height, does that mean anything? Why can’t I detect which bit of the graph is representing my own guess? Some of these questions I can guess the answer to, but it shouldn’t have to be a guess.

    What you want here is not a toybox of colours, you want a variation on a scatterplot. Either a straight scatterplot if all the guesses are different, or a scatterplot with different sizes of marker to indicate multiple guessed. Oh, and labelled axes.

    I’m not being stupid here, I’m just being someone who cares about not presenting things in obfuscated ways.

    I’m sorry to criticize because I can see someone took a lot of time over that, but that is….. not readable. There’s no point in presenting information that doesn’t demonstrate what it is supposed to represent, no matter how pretty it is.

  6. Posted September 27, 2007 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    I don’t suppose there’s an explanation of the graph somewhere for us spatially-challenged folks?

    As A) another spatially challenged person and yet B) the person who made the graph, I offered this explanation at Shakesville: the white dot is her actual height and weight. Everything that’s not on the white dot? Is wrong. :)

    But TR’s explanation is probably better.

  7. car
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I was at least somewhat in the ballpark on height! I’m 5’2″ and said I thought you ooked like me, but I knocked off a couple of inches because I neglected to notice those weren’t heeled boots. I was way off on the weight, though, which really surprised me, which was the whole point.

  8. Posted September 27, 2007 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Oooo, I got your height pretty close. That’s exciting. I think it’s interesting because we all carry our weight so differently. I have a picture of myself and a friend. She carries her weight more on top and looks heavier than I do, even though the opposite is true.

  9. Posted September 27, 2007 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Peanuts, I was severely limited by the tool I was using to build the graph, and further limited by the lack of better tools available to me. Seriously, don’t overthink it. Everything to the left of the white dot is a low guess on weight, everything to the right is a high guess. Everything above it is a high guess on height, everything below it is low.

    That’s all you really need to know, especially since all the actual data is publicly available, and we’ll both be discussing it more in-depth tomorrow.

  10. Posted September 27, 2007 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and here’s a less defensive, more helpful response: just ignore the different colors. I had to create different categories in order to include multiple height guesses for the same weights. Those categories are what accounts for the colors.

  11. Mindy
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    You look so much taller than you are! I am so surprised!

    Kate – great chart – impressive that you took all the time to compile it. Good job! I give you an A+ (one of the last grades I hope to give….)

  12. SingOut
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m close to the same height as TR and 130 lbs. lighter, yet I guessed that we were about the same size. What is wrong with me?

  13. Posted September 27, 2007 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Mindy!

    SingOut, you’re FAR from the only one. The graph about killed me today, but I know I still really want to post on the phenomenon of “Well, you look just like me…” guesses, which were ALL over the map — and I suspect TR will, too.

  14. Posted September 27, 2007 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    TR, you kick massive bottom.

  15. Posted September 27, 2007 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    “TR, you kick massive bottom.”
    I second!

  16. Sandy
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful thing to do. I wish there were pages of people doing this. We’ve become so ridiculously scared of numbers.

    You are quite lovely and your numbers didn’t change anything. :)

  17. Venus
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    you are my exact height, and I was like 6 inches off.. BUT only one pound off on weight….

  18. AnonyousAndCo
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Get out! Dude, seriously, I thought I was being generous when I said 280…damn.

    And now, for the horrible honesty part: What I’m really thinking, because I’m a woman living in the Western World, is ‘how the hell does she look so much better than me when I weigh 279 and am 1/2 an inch taller?’ I feel guilty for even typing that. But, y’know, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge, right?

    So now that we’ve got that out of the way, since your body shape seems to be more uppy-downy than mine (which is far more, er, blobby), how do you find clothes fit you? I’ve always wondered about that because when I look at fat models, even the ones from the large catalogs (I have a specific one in mind and can’t remember where I put the url) seem to have ‘normal’ body type models.

  19. TR
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Anon&Co, acknowledging it really is an important part of the process. So thank you for posting your honest response.

    One of the things I want to talk about tomorrow is the inaccuracy of self-perception – so many people made guesses based on “you look just like me” and all of them had me at least 4 inches taller with weight all over the map.

    Honestly, I’m not sure how uppy-downy I am. *grin* I carry a lot of my weight in my hips and bottom – it is most ample. I am short and my butt kind of hikes up (best way I have of describing it) so my back is rolly – let me tell you, internets, it was hard to learn to love my back rolls.

    I find clothes fit me one way when I am standing and a different way when I am sitting – I kind of spread. *laugh* It is the principle reason (that and the back fat) that I avoid those wide and high belts at all costs. Standing up, they look rad and are comfortable. Sitting down, they are TORTUROUS. I ought to take a side view so y’all can see height, width, AND depth.

  20. Posted September 27, 2007 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Hey, cool graph! I don’t feel so bad about being wrong – I guessed you three inches taller and about 15 pounds lighter, which isn’t TOO TOO off, at least in the weight range. I’m only 5′ tall so I think everyone’s a giant compared to me, hehe.

    Awesome experiment, TR. Thanks for letting me play!

  21. Posted September 27, 2007 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Wow! This is probably going to sound incredibly petty and bitchy but how do you look so much smaller than me when I am 5’6″ and 286lb???? I swear if we put pictures of you and me next to each other than no one would guess I am taller and weigh less than you. Isnt is weird how different bodies carry weight differently? I knew you were about 300 as you had mentioned it before but I always thought you must be tall because you didnt look as big as me. Its all very interesting!

    Posted September 27, 2007 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    seriously? man, I be way confused. I’m 285 and I thought we were really similar in sizes and everything. PLUS, I have bigger boobs than you. For some reason I thought we were more similar in weight and I honestly if you hadn’t told me a while back that you were heavier than me I was convinced you were 10-20 pounds lighter than me. I think my thighs aren’t big enough.

    That’s weird for me to be saying that I wish my thighs were bigger, but I really do. I am jealous of your legggggs.

    I continue to be confuddled.

  23. Rose
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    I was only 14 lbs off on weight, and 2 1/2 inches off on height. I’m just under 5’1 and almost everyone looks tall to me!

  24. Posted September 27, 2007 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    seriously? man, I be way confused. I’m 285 and I thought we were really similar in sizes and everything.

    Felicia, someone who had bought clothes from TR thought she must know for sure, since they wear the same size. That person guessed 5’7″, 290 lbs. :)

    Also, off topic, because I don’t know if I’ve said it to you on Fatshionista (or if you knew it was me if I did) OMG, YOU ARE THE CUTEST THING EVER. I wish I’d had a fraction of your style and pizazz at your age.

  25. Posted September 27, 2007 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    I vaguely remembered your weight having been mentioned before, but for some reason, I thought you were taller.

  26. cp
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Not bad for “no freaking idea”: I guessed 1/2 inch taller and one pound heavier. Woo for realism.

    You’re still gorgeous.

  27. ladyjaye
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I’m pretty surprised. I was pretty close for the height (I guessed 5’4”) but I really underestimated your weight, especially since you really do seem to have a similar body shape to mine (but with less boobage).

    And I just moved down from size 22 to size 20 pants (no, I’m not dieting, just got more active by biking and my body seems to be adjusting all by itself)…

  28. Neneh
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    I was close! I said 5’3″ and 300lbs. I knew you were short like me because of where the boots hit your calf. Minus my boobs, we have a similar body shape (OMG yes @ the spreading when sitting) and since everyone underestimates me by about 50lbs, I added 50lbs to my guesstimate of you :)

  29. wallflower
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    You look taller in the picture. I probably wouldn’t have pegged you for being over 265, but like I said before, I’m not used to seeing fat women in different body shapes and associating numbers with that.

    I will say, I’m going to be eternally envious of your hair, wow!

  30. Littleroo27
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    I have to say, wow. I wish that was what 314 lbs looked like on me!!! I’m 5’4″ and currently weight about 300 lbs, though my recent high was 331 (I just had lap-band surgery). I looked at your picutre and said “her arms are too thin to be 300 lbs, she looks about the same as my step-mom” and went from there, lol. Oops! But see, even fat chicks can look totally different from each other, because we carry weight differently, just like skinny chicks!

    Me at 314 lbs
    Also 314 lbs

    Around 240 to 250 lbs

    Also 240 to 250


    I think it depends on the lighting, the angle, the clothes, and a thousand other things. No one weight looks like another person’s same weight.

  31. Posted September 28, 2007 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    I so should have stuck with my height original guess, as that was only 1/2 an inch out.

    OK so I had clues as to the weight, but it’s interesting how I thought if you’re this much heavier than me and look this much bigger then you can’t possibly be shorter than me as well.

  32. JT Taylor
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    Wait. I thought you were taller than me? No?

  33. Lurkie
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    Yay for me being only somewhat off (half an inch and a handful of pounds)…

    But what’s really interesting to me is how many of us who played are people who spend time really thinking on the images we are presented with in society, and knowing how false they are (see: any magazine cover, etc) – and yet we were STILL all over the map here and had a tough time staying in the ballpark of what TR’s real stats are.

    Fascinating. I agree with Kate and TR – Can’t wait to read more analysis and info!

  34. Posted September 28, 2007 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Littleroo, I think all those pictures of you are gorgeous!

  35. veronica
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Was also thinking that Littleroo – you are really beautiful.

  36. Posted September 28, 2007 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I find clothes fit me one way when I am standing and a different way when I am sitting – I kind of spread. *laugh* It is the principle reason (that and the back fat) that I avoid those wide and high belts at all costs. Standing up, they look rad and are comfortable. Sitting down, they are TORTUROUS.


    And, hey, lots of folks reckon you have Tall Presence too!

  37. withoutscene
    Posted September 29, 2007 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Ha! I swore you were taller. I think since I knew (relatively) your weight was close to mine, I assumed you were taller because you wear a smaller size/appear to be a good bit smaller than me. So I guess I did the opposite of what a lot of people did–”You look like me, so…” I did, “You weigh close to me, but don’t look like me, so….”

    I can’t wait for more discussion about this. I think in part, using yourself as a measuring stick for others is pretty typical…but it’s intriguing. My body is the body I know most intimately, so comparison and contrast in some ways makes sense. But at the same time, how much of that comes from the fact that we’ve been trained to compare our bodies to others for our entire existence? We’ve had a lot of practice. And this just shows we have been way off the whole time…what then of our perceptions that have turned into beliefs?

  38. withoutscene
    Posted September 29, 2007 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Also, I have to admit. Even though I recalled you being about the same weight as me. Because I felt you appear smaller, I took about 10 lbs off my weight because I thought, “There’s no way she weighs just as much as me.” And to be honest, I think embedded in that was some self-degradation. I think this has been an excellent way to get at the judgements we make even when we don’t think we are…when we think we’ve come so far.

  39. Meredith
    Posted September 30, 2007 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t get a chance to guess, but I really thought that you weighed about 275 or so.

  40. Lila
    Posted July 8, 2009 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    @ everyone who can’t figure out the reason their bodies’ height and weight don’t make sense in comparison to hers:
    You know the “myth” of ‘big bones’? Not a myth. There is variation in bone size, density, and structure. The ‘normal’ weight ranges put out by the medical community are so broad because if they didn’t describe (NOT PRESCRIBE) the healthy reality more than half of the population, everyone would just laugh at them. So they put in estimates for people whose ‘frames’ (i.e. bone structures) are ‘small’ to ‘extra large.’ As a result, I was bulemic as a teenager. I’m 5’10,” and when I threw up everything I ate (which was really gross..imagine purposely mimicking a stomach flu, daily), I weighed as little as 179 lbs and wore a size 13/14. ( I got better!) In the beginning of college, I thought I was sooo ‘obese’ at like 195-200. My doctor did some test and figured out that, with my body type, I shift the guidelines 20 lbs heavier. That means that not only was my frame not on the charts, but also that even if I literally starved to death I would never be classified as underweight, because by lean body mass (=my body-ALL fat) is ‘normal’ weight on its own. None of this is meant to imply that I trust BMI (quite the opposite); it simply illustrates the fact that people’s bodies can be the same height and weight and look completely different.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Sunday Stars for the week of 9/23 - 9/29 | BABble on October 1, 2007 at 7:53 am

    [...] The Rotund: Object Lesson – TR was inspired by Sweet Machine’s post (”Pants, meet fire extinguisher”, linked above) and posted a picture of herself, challenging people to guess her height and weght. The results were posted a day or two later, here. [...]

  2. [...] Marianne at The Rotund demonstrated so plainly almost two years ago, you can’t tell how big or small I am by looking at me. And as Lesley at [...]

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