The Other Side Of The Scale – Our American Bodies

We go to extremes. Love. Hate. Right. Left. Anorexic. Morbidly Obese.

I went to one extreme with my blog post — “Imperfect Body.” My teeth were on edge as I felt saturated with images of much-too-thin women being dubbed as having the “perfect body.” Now that I have ground down one of my canines and spoke with my better half, I’m reminded that there is another side to this. Another extreme.

The Other Side Of The Scale

gold scales of justice While the images we see are of thin women (and men) the reality is that 1 and 3 adults in the United States is obese1.

1 in 3 adults is obese.

I’m not a numbers person myself but I thought that bears repeating.

If we put all the anorexic and bulimic individuals on one side of the scale and obese and morbidly obese on the other scale the larger people, we would think — both statistically and physically –, would tip the scale. But maybe anorexic and bulimic is the far left but morbidly obese is the far right, and perhaps, obese is becoming more of the norm.

Going back to the numbers 1 in 200 American women suffers from anorexia2 and under 6% of Americans are morbidly obese3.

Dammit. As I said I’m not a numbers person but I don’t know how many people were polled to provide us with the stat 1 out of 200 women or under 6% of Americans are morbidly obese. Perhaps they balance out the scale and both are, in fact, extremes. But I did fuzzy math and while men are not accounted for in the stat provided and with the line being really hard to distinguish from obese and morbidly obese, I think that in actuality that morbidly obese people have, in fact, tipped the scales.

Oh look! A rabbit hole! Let’s just jump right in there and never find our way out.

Where Does That Leave Us?

What I do not understand is how we’re able to saturate our media and consume that the perfect body is a sickly-thin woman (or man) but as a whole we’re at the other end of the spectrum at morbidly obese.

women body types

Depicted here are three models. Anna is the ideal women for men (of those polled for this British study), Caroline is the national average but Tillie is the woman’s ideal body type for themselves. None are morbidly obese but none of these women are a stick-thin as Little Miss Perfect, either.

Something does not add up.

Weight Lost, Weight Gained

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had body perception issues, have dieted to fit into a smaller outfit and exercised to gain muscles. I’m sure we all have some weight that we’d like to lose. I also recognize that there are people with thyroid issues and the weight gain/loss is more than a psychological disorder (as is anorexia and bulimia).

I also recognize that weight loss is personal based on on own goals. I just want to stress one message: balance.

You know, be healthy. Aim for the middle. Not too skinny, not too fat, just right. And “right” should be what you determine it to be, not the media’s depiction of “perfect.”

Enjoy your food (mostly healthy with the occasional fried, sweet or salty treat), enjoy some exercise but let’s not kill ourselves either. And for crying out loud, keep all that nourishment in your body.

Starting With Myself

As I cap off this post, I know that I’m dipping my toe into “overweight” based on my BMI, so I start this month off with a 2-week challenge to maintain a balance lifestyle of eating healthy, exercising and reducing stress. And on occasion enjoy a sweet treat. Stay tuned.


  1. Living Large: Obesity In America | NPR
  2. Eating Disorders Statistics | SCDMH
  3. Obese Americans now outweigh the merely overweight | Reuters

2 thoughts on “The Other Side Of The Scale – Our American Bodies

  1. If you review or research the stat of BMI, you will find it isn’t a very good way to determine whether or not you need to lose weight. At least for the athletic population. Get your body fat % taken (calipers by trained person if you can). THAT will give you a better determination for where you are on the scale of skinny, just right, obese. Whenever I see “BMI” I cringe…

    And any good research article will tell you specifics about who was surveyed (demographics, numbers, etc).

    • Donna, you are spot on! I know the BMI isn’t that accurate but I wanted to use the measurement as a way to kick start my sedentary lifestyle. And I’ve been eating a whole lotta of whatever I wanted.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

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