So, here is another graph, put together by Paul, and it is much appreciated. You can click on it to make it bigger.


As you can see, the guesses were still all over the (scatter)map.

So why is this? Is it just that, as Sweet Machine’s original post that got this whole thing started said, people have no idea what certain weights look like?

I think that is a really big part of this. The guesses that most boggled my mind were from men who said I looked like their wives and their wives weighed x number of pounds. Those guesses were all under 200 pounds.

There were a lot of guesses that started out, “well, you look just like me so….” and were totally off. But even those guesses, for the most part (and I think Kate is going to talk about these guesses later so I don’t want to cover them in too much detail), were closer to the mark than the guys using their wive’s weights.


Either these guys are DESPERATELY bad at a game very, VERY few people are good at, or their wives are lying about their weight.

It is possible that I am a horrible, petty person – I certainly try not to be but, hey, who knows – but my money is on their wives lying about their weight.

Which brings us back to Sweet Machine’s original challenge – STOP LYING ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT.

This whole exercise brought up a lot of different feelings for me and for the people guessing. We are DEFINITELY going to talk about that but I still am just terribly amused that someone thought I weighed 140 pounds. *grin*

For the record, my height and weight combination puts me in that category of women to whom weight loss surgery is being shopped as the One True Solution. I even had an ex-boyfriend suggest it. Which is one reason he is an EX.

The only sicknesses I get are lung-related. That is after a lifetime of untreated allergies and asthma. I had pneumonia as a three-year-old (in the hospital with tubes in my lungs, the whole nine yards) and that left a bit of long term damage – and a propensity towards pneumonia – as well.

Sometimes my feet hurt. Of course, that’s when I’ve been wearing flats with no support whatsoever (really, they are the equivalent of slippers and I ought to know better than to wear them) for three or four days in a row combined with a lot of walking. Sometimes my muscles hurt. But that’s usually when I’ve been rearranging furniture or moving boxes and have simply overdone it. Sometimes, sometimes a joint hurts. But, wait, that’s because I broke that wrist rollerskating and it always hurts when the weather is changing.

I am a 30-year-old woman and I am active and healthy and happy. Sally Ann Voak might not believe that but, well, Sally Ann can suck it.

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  1. Posted September 28, 2007 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I should probably note that I didn’t graph any guesses that were sizes only, or heights only, or weights only (ie, “You’re a size 14″) – those are rather hard to plot and besides, a size by itself is kind of ambiguous. And, this was strictly guesses in the original thread since that’s what I had available. Etc. etc. etc. Excuses, excuses….

    In any case it’s very interesting stuff. It really goes to show that collectively we don’t know what fat looks like.

  2. Shade
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I took the not-lying-about-your-weight thing a bit farther. The other day I was covering the effects of media on women in one of my classes, and I wrote my weight on the chalkboard. In foot-high numbers. All 247 glorius pounds up there for the world to see. Then I turned around and looked at the class: the women were smiling.

    That felt really, really good.

  3. Posted September 28, 2007 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Paul, thanks for the new graph! And I left out the size guesses and weights without heights, too, btw.

    Shade, that is an AWESOME story!

    It’s so funny — I haven’t weighed myself in well over a year now. I stand backwards on the scale at the doc’s office when I have to, and I usually stamp my feet and ask if they really need to weigh me in the first place. Not knowing the number and making an effort NOT to find out has definitely helped me stay saner.

    But now I want to go weigh myself just so I can tell the truth! I always give what I think is an accurate estimate, but after hearing from women who are my height and dress size but heavier than I think I am, I feel like I should really check on that. (Though we’ve also established how different weights can be on 2 people who look practically identical.)

    And the weird part about it for me — because, no matter how much I write about fat acceptance, I am still recovering from the dieting mentality and always kind of amazed when I actually DO accept my own fat as no big thing — is that I’m not thinking “OMG, I MIGHT WEIGH 200 LBS! THE HORROR!” I’m just thinking, “Well, shit, if I actually weigh 200 lbs., and I’m telling people this is what 180 looks like, then I’m part of the problem.”

  4. twopiearr
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    “Either these guys are DESPERATELY bad at a game very, VERY few people are good at, or their wives are lying about their weight.”

    I don’t frankly see these two things as being mutually exclusive. ;) I’m utterly terrible at guessing people’s height, weight, or age, so I generally don’t even try. (which is, really, the primary reason I didn’t participate in your challenge)

  5. Eden
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I think it’s a fantastic idea for people who know their weights to be honest about it, so we all really do see that you just plain can’t tell how much someone weighs from looking at them.

    A couple of things that are somewhat on topic: I’m a thin person and I lie about my weight in the other direction – I don’t weigh myself ever but I have some idea what the number is, and when it comes up I always tack on at least five pounds. I have no idea why, and I should examine that. Why don’t I just say “I don’t know?” I think I’m partly trying to head diet talk off at the pass, but there are better ways of doing that than lying.

    Here’s something that I have been thinking about lately, as well – men, when they talk about their weight, round up or down. I’ve rarely heard a man refer to his weight in anything smaller than 5-pound increments, and usually ten. Whereas women sometimes go right down to the half-pound. Why is this, I wonder?

  6. AnonyousAndCo
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    My husband is terribly bad at guessing anyone’s weight, but he guessed higher than me, somewhere around 290. My mom, on the other hand, guessed 240!

  7. Rose
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    A media pheonom I find interesting is when they give the weights of famous actresses, and it’s ridiculously low. Like, has Kirstie Ally been 145 lbs since the first year she was on Cheers in 1986? Um, I really don’t think so! She’s very tall and big boned so even at her slim weight, she wasn’t a tiny woman. Once I saw Rosie O’Donnell’s weight listed as 190 lbs. Now, I’ve actually seen her up close and in person. She goregous (her skin is flawless!) and considerably bigger than she appears on television. I’d say that she can’t be 1 pound under 250 and I’d think more likely around 300. She is no icon of thiness, so why do they take at least 50 lbs off her weight in reporting it?

    This constant lying gives everyone a complex, and I wish they’d start approaching these things with some real honesty.

    Lead the way, Rotund! I’m 5’1 (or 5′ and 3/4 inches to be exact, but I round up) and weigh 130 lbs. My highest weight was about 170 lbs, and my lowest, as a speed demon teen was 98lbs. For me to fluxuate between 130 – 150 is a normal state of affairs for me.

  8. Posted September 28, 2007 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    The wives might not be lying. I tell my husband all the time that I’m 330, and he repeats back 230 because he just can’t wrap his mind around the fact that I’m 330 when he’s not much more than that and sees himself as HUGE and me as not fat. Sigh.

  9. Celeste
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Regarding how you feel at your weight, I look at it this way…if you are not having problems, that is great. If the time comes that you are having problems, take care of them. It doesn’t mean go without medical care, it means get what you need when you need it.

    I get my b/p checked any time I’m at a doctor’s appointment for anything. I check my fasting blood sugar several times a year. I get cancer screening. I’ve even had blood fats checked. I can be in the “obese” range and still have blood fats that my doctor calls “beautiful”.

    Does this mean I will rest on those laurels and never get anything checked again? NO, because things can change. If something changes, then I’ll be all over it for treatment.

    I guess I really don’t know what I would do if I had a problem and was told that my weight was absolutely the cause. I’m not sure that many things (maybe besides foot/knee pain) can totally be said to be caused by weight. They may say it’s a “factor”, and I guess it’s up to me decide what to do about it then.

  10. Posted September 28, 2007 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I’m just so saddened by the idea that wives would lie to their husbands about their weight.

    For a long time I played the numbers game, obsessed with what the scale said, to the point that I would weigh myself four or five times a DAY. I eventually realized that I was only using it to whip myself, harm myself, and I stopped weighing myself altogether, except for doctor visits. Right now, because I’m going through a really hard time with my eating and my self-image, I don’t trust my ability to cope with what the numbers say without falling back into harmful habits, so now my husband is the ONLY one besides my doctor who knows what I weigh. I don’t look anymore. I can’t bear to.

    But I trust him with that information. I let him know because as long as I know that HE knows, I feel like I don’t HAVE to know. He knows “for me,” the same way he knows birthdays and anniversaries “for me,” so I don’t have to. And so he acts as a custodian of my weight, and helps me circumvent that part of myself that would only use that knowledge to do harm.

    I let him see the number, even though I can’t bear to look, because it proves to me that he can see the number and love me and think I’m sexy anyway, even when I can’t love myself. And as long as he still loves me, I can’t be “bad” or “wrong” or “too fat.”

    I can’t imagine not being honest with him about it. I can’t imagine the pain of not being able to trust someone else with that part of myself. I wish so urgently that everyone had someone they felt they could trust that absolutely.

  11. Posted September 28, 2007 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Celeste, did you get the idea somehow that TR was not getting regular checkups?

  12. Cindy
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    All that graph needs is a little star where your real height and weight are, and it would be clearer that , scattered though the guesses may be, they mostly land in the lower right quadrant–too light and too tall.

    I’m 6’0″ and 364 pounds. Years ago, there was a person at a fair or something who would give you money or a prize or something if he could NOT guess your height and weight within a certain range. He was very good at it, but his guess for my weight was way, way off–on the light side.

  13. Posted September 28, 2007 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    You inspired me. I “came out” with weight and size on my blog.

  14. Posted September 29, 2007 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I wish the BMI line went through the graph, that’d show which were somewhere near the ‘actual’ density of the guess… Of course, I forgot to put in my 5′ height guess in with the 300 weight.

  15. Posted September 29, 2007 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    So Cindy, how much did you win? :)

  16. Posted September 29, 2007 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Cindy, I went to one of those things at Expo ’74 when I lived in Spokane. I was 5′ 9″ and 175 at the time, and the guy guessed me at 145 (he had to guess within 20 lbs). He actually made me get on the scales and prove to him that I weighed that much….LOL….he swore up and down that there was no way I could weigh that much. The prize wasn’t much, just a carnival glass goblet, the biggest kick for me was knowing that I didn’t look as fat as I thought I was (disordered thinking, I know, but I was only 20 at the time).

  17. Posted October 1, 2007 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I think there are two theories. One is that maybe some men are clueless. Like the man who bought his wife a nightgown and said I was her size (which was a 3X). I got out a 3X and held it out. He insisted that she was not that size and asked for a 1X. He still swore I was her size too. I said as he left, “Save your receipt!”

    The other theory is that maybe like Alix says. Maybe men can’t wrap their heads around weights or maybe they just don’t care. (Although what some men consider overweight for women on dating sites versus how they view their bodies as average is always a contradiction which annoys me.)

  18. Posted October 1, 2007 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I had a doctor’s appointment today and the medical assistant asked if she could take my weight. I’ve never been asked before. It was fine with me…it’s a new doc and they like all those little details. But it was nice to be asked.

  19. veronica
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I was seeing a gastroenterologist because of a mystery pain I was having. She never found the reason for the pain, but somewhere along the way decided I was very overweight and started hounding me about it. Now every meeting is about how much weight I’ve lost and whenever I haven’t lost weight since the last visit, what I am doing wrong. (ie.she asks me if I sit around eating potato chips) I am 5 foot 4 and about 160. I tell her I exercise, I love fruits and veggies, I eat whole grains etc etc. and she just can’t understand why it might be hard for me to lose. The last time I went I felt so scolded I was about to start crying. And after reading this blog and kate’s blog I think that I shouldn’t go back to this woman unless its to hit her with a cluestick.

  20. Posted October 2, 2007 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    And after reading this blog and kate’s blog I think that I shouldn’t go back to this woman unless its to hit her with a cluestick.

    Good call, Veronica!

  21. Cynthia
    Posted October 8, 2007 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    According to the medical charts I’ve seen in the past, for a 5’4″ woman with an extra-large frame, 157 is the ideal weight. So, you’re just about right, I’d say. Screw the BMI.

  22. Posted October 22, 2007 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    yeah, i don’t get lying about your weight either. it’s like, i’m clearly (or maybe not, based on your survey!) over 300 pounds. why would i lie and say i weigh 180? i’m FAT, why does it matter what the scale says?

3 Trackbacks

  1. [...] game gave me an idea. (Oh, and hey, if you want to see a scatter graph of the results, there’s one here now.) I talk a lot about how BMI is bullshit, but we all know talk is cheap. Photos of people who [...]

  2. By Why, yes, I am « Jumbled Words on March 19, 2010 at 6:15 am

    [...] and weight from a photo that she posted to her blog. The result is really interesting, because the guesses range from 170 pounds (77 kilos) to 340 pounds (155 kilos). That is a 75 kilo difference, [...]

  3. [...] gissa hennes vikt utifrån en bild hon lade upp på sin blogg. Resultat är ganska intressant. Det visade sig nämligen att gissningarna sträckte sig från 170 pounds (77 kilo) till 340 pounds (155 kilo). Det är [...]

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