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Own It: How Much Do You Weigh?

This is a guest post written by Erin Nieto featuring the 2nd edition of her phenomenal book How Much Do You Weigh?: The Stigma Defying Photobook. I have had the pleasure of checking out this ebook myself, and am super excited that Erin has decided to offer two days of free Kindle downloads for Medicinal Marzipan readers. EXCITING! So, check it out, and if you love it – tell your friends to skidaddle along and grab their copy too.

Quick: how much does your best friend weigh?  Or your relatives?  Or the healthiest people you know?

Don’t know?  Me either.  Most of us don’t.

Yet we’re often so critical of our own weight, as we stand alone on our bathroom scales, peering down.

If only we could have the scale land on our imagined “magic number”, and have it stay there.

But where on earth does this magic number come from?  We still don’t know the weights of the people closest to us, and the stigma of revealing it is so strong that it’s highly taboo to ask.

For too many of us, this plays into a private cycle of shame.  This is something that we beat ourselves up for constantly, and often all alone.

We let the number own us.  We pour money into dieting programs and go on debilitating fasts in the hopes of manipulating the number.  We let it interfere with the relationships that are meant to nurture us: to food, to exercise, to each other, to ourselves.

One year ago, the “How Much Do You Weigh?” project began with a blog post.   After big ups and downs with the scale through two pregnancies, I made my postpartum weight public.

It was weird and it was really really liberating.   All of a sudden, I owned my number, instead of the other way around.

So I began to wonder.

What if this pesky little number that so many women obsess privately over were freely shared?  What if, more and more, we claimed ownership of it?

Would any other women of their right mind actually consider doing this also?

One Craigslist ad later, I had my answer.  Six months later, I completed my book, “How Much Do You Weigh?: The Stigma-Defying Photobook”.

I’m proud to announce the 2nd edition’s release this week, which includes statements from the models themselves: their reasons for answering the ad in the first place,  and their own experiences on and off the scale.

And they are full of awesome.  See for yourself below.

Please share share share this preview if you feel moved, and download the entire Kindle version FREE today, April 18th, and tomorrow, April 19th.  The more that we know the weights of other beautiful, fearless women, the closer we all come to owning our own.

Stigma be damned.

I believe that we have lost the balance of our lives.

I wish our culture did not place such a priority on being thin as a twig.  It’s not a healthy or achievable weight for many of us and it leads young women to have body image issues.  I hope in the future we will see more models of varying body types so every little girl has someone they can look up to.  Weight really is just a number, and as long as you are healthy it does not matter how large that number is.

I grew up feeling awkward about my body, and as a preteen I started hating my outside. I wanted it to be as beautiful as I knew I was on the inside and I was depressed. I began a struggle with self-injury and eating disorders that lasted many years and will never be forgotten. I’ve come to love myself and realize that my beauty is not based on my weight.  I hope this project will help other women and little girls everywhere realize that they are beautiful because of what makes them unique.

As someone with weight below the ‘healthy’ line, I feel it’s often hard to be taken seriously or to get help with gaining weight. My doctor was dismissive and said that unless I had an actual eating disorder like anorexia, she couldn’t give me more help – despite the fact that I was having trouble not losing even more weight. The messages we receive from our media and culture say that the thinner you are, the better, and even though I have a good body image, I still feel irrational pressure to wear small clothing sizes or watch how much I eat.

American culture tells us that women are never ‘enough’ – not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not strong enough, not stable enough. We need to buy more drugs, have more sex, be on more diets, use more makeup, and then we can truly be happy, because to be happy is to be desired, or so they say. I know that these claims are false, and rightly so – but that doesn’t stop my brain from repeating their mantra until I believe it. It takes effort to overcome these poisonous thoughts, and it is a lifelong task but a necessary one. It is essential that we, men and women alike, begin a revolution to overthrow the idea that beauty comes from a bottle or a tube or the number on a scale. True beauty, beauty that matters, comes from the heart.

Having been overweight my whole life, I’ve been blessed with the fat gene. I say “blessed” because this has taught me not to overvalue external beauty. Living in a university town, I hear lots of pretty young women obsess about their weight, their hair, their breast size, their pointy ears, their crooked nose—all the “defects” they notice in themselves they think are unattractive. That makes me sad. Believe me, men love women of all shapes and sizes and they’re a lot less critical of your body than you are. Take time to nurture yourself. Inevitably, your body is going to deteriorate, but your inner exquisiteness will last forever.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. {Ralph Waldo Emerson}

If these photos peaked your interest, don’t forget to keep up with this phenomenal project by checking out their Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter.

11 Comments to Own It: How Much Do You Weigh?

  1. April 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    The Emerson quote is one of my favourites. Great post.

  2. April 18, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Wow! What an amazing post!! Thank you for featuring so many inspirational people!

  3. April 18, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Excellent project and beautifully photographed! I also appreciate that the *voices* of these women are presented too — that this project is more, in other words, than their photographs and their numbers.

    While I threw out the scale years ago, this ownership of a necessarily arbitrary (and ever-fluctuating) number is an awesome alternative.

  4. April 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    I love this post! It’s such a great reminder that that number really doesn’t matter. True: I have no idea how much my friends and family weigh. And why would I?

    After losing 110 pounds, I became obsessed with that “magic number.” For some reason I got the number 140 in my head and no matter what I did I never got there. Why was 143 not enough? Why do I keep trying to get to that stupid 140? Does it really matter? Not really! It’s about how I feel, how my clothes fit and how healthy I am, not about a number.

  5. April 18, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I stopped weighing myself back in 2009 precisely because I was being owned by the number. I do, however, measure my waist (from time to time…not on any schedule) and for me that is enough. I’d love to be someone who owns the number, but at this point, not weighing has been more beneficial to me.

  6. Irina Long's Gravatar Irina Long
    April 18, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m slowly learning not to obsess over my weight. Will I ever really learn? I don’t know. I don’t shy away from telling people my weight, if someone happens to ask during a conversation (which hardly happens, of course), but I never reveal it except to my husband. Thanks for the guest post, Mara :)

  7. April 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    What a fabulous book- I love this idea. Thanks for sharing :)

  8. April 18, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    I think this is a good idea as I believe most women lie about their weight. I am very slender and weigh 120. When I say what I weigh people say “no you look thinner, like 110. I believe that is because most women are giving a smaller number so people don’t know what 120 looks like. There is a lot of shame around the number. It’s a number! How can there be shame in a number! How can you put your life on hold until the number changes? But people do it all the time. I hope this book helps get rid of that shame.

  9. Dominee's Gravatar Dominee
    April 18, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Wow, you are awesome, this is awesome!
    Thank you! You are such an inspiration!

  10. Ela's Gravatar Ela
    April 19, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful idea and what beautiful women!
    I guess I’m in an anomalous position two ways–first, my husband will talk very openly about weight, even pull the scale out and have people step on it (cringe). And some friends of ours will also talk very openly about weight, numbers and all. And second, I’m currently in somewhat of a relapse, and I would feel ok posting my weight because it’s in double digits–but wouldn’t dream of doing so because it would trigger some of my readers and worry others. And if it were a higher number, I probably wouldn’t feel ok about mentioning it at all.
    This book’s concept is so much more liberating than either weigh every day or throw the scale away-type thinking.

  11. Ash's Gravatar Ash
    April 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I know what weight causes me to feel crappy and unhealthy, and generally I check up on myself every so often. At 160 or above, I know I’m not treating myself well, because only when I really slack off on moving around and start eating unhealthily is when I get there. Right now I’m 155-157, depending on the day, and I feel quite fine.

    I do still have an “ideal shape” of sorts in mind — it’s really fit-looking, not twiggy — but I have tried to settle on the fact that unless I uncork Herculean amounts of effort and give up chocolate cake, I’m not ever getting there. It’s a bit liberating to realize that.

  1. By on April 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm
  2. By on April 25, 2012 at 11:46 am

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Welcome! I’m Mara.

I’m Mara Glatzel. I’m an intuitive coach and writer. I guide women home to themselves and teach them to create lives brimming with supreme self-care. read more
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