What Size Are You REALLY?
- POSTED ON: Jul 05, 2017

What Size are You, REALLY?

.....It Depends....

In what Store?
In what Style of clothing?
In what Brand of clothing?
In what Year of Time?

I’ve been a female wearing clothing all of the years of my life. 

I was born in 1944, and it is now 2017, and during those many years, my body has fit into many different sizes of clothing.  Sometimes this was because I was fatter or thinner, and sometimes it was because of the extreme size variations involved in manufactured clothing.

I’ve spent the past 60 years dieting, and hanging around other dieters, and am very familiar with how women use the size of an article of clothing to track their weight progress.  Frequently, I've heard women about 5’4” tall, age around 50, weighing about 185 pounds say:  “This is the first time I’ve been in a size 10 pants for years.” 

I shake my head, remembering ….. It was 1959. I was 5’2” tall, 14 years old, weighing 113 pounds, and was incredibly excited because I was able to find a pair of size 10 slacks that my body fit into.

Using clothing to track weight-loss is a very subjective method. It concentrates on how we feel.  This method relies heavily on our opinions of ourselves.  Our opinion of how we look often changes from day to day, regardless of how much weight we have lost or gained. A shirt that we love one day may seem either too long or loose … or … too short or tight on another day. 

Another problem is that sizes are often different depending on the store.  What is a size 0 in one place may be an 8 in another. The article below gives some fascinating details about this.

The Absurdity of Women’s Clothing Sizes
                by Christopher Ingraham, Aug 11, 2015, The Washington Post.

Here are some numbers that illustrate the insanity of women's clothing sizes: A size 8 dress today is nearly the equivalent of a size 16 dress in 1958. And a size 8 dress of 1958 doesn't even have a modern-day equivalent — the waist and bust measurements of today’s era size 8 come in smaller than today's size 00.

These measurements come from official sizing standards once maintained by the National Bureau of Standards.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show that the average American woman today weighs about as much as the average 1960s man. And while the weight story is pretty straightforward — Americans got heavier — the story behind the dress sizes is a little more complicated, as any woman who's ever shopped for clothes could probably tell you.

Today's women's clothing sizes have their roots in a depression-era government project to define the "Average American Woman" by sending a pair of statisticians to survey and measure nearly 15,000 women. They "hoped to determine whether any proportional relationships existed among measurements that could be broadly applied to create a simple, standardized system of sizing."

They failed. Not surprisingly, women's bodies defied standardization. The project did yield one lasting contribution to women's clothing: The statisticians were the first to propose the notion of arbitrary numerical sizes that weren't based on any specific measurement — similar to shoe sizes.

The government didn't return to the project until the late 1950s, when the National Bureau of Standards published "Body Measurements for the Sizing of Women's Patterns and Apparel" in 1958. The standard was based on the 15,000 women interviewed previously, with the addition of a group of women who had been in the Army during World War II.

The document's purpose? "To provide the consumer with a means of identifying her body type and size from the wide range of body types covered, and enable her to be fitted properly by the same size regardless of price, type of apparel, or manufacturer of the garment."

The standard included the first modern women's clothing size charts,
and it provides the first
data points in the charts above.
Women's sizes ranged from 8 to 42.
A size 8 woman had a bust of 31 inches,
a 23.5 inch waist,
and a weight of 98 pounds

The government updated these standards again in 1970.
But already, manufacturers were getting restless because it was apparent that the "representative" women measured for the standard weren't representative at all. Non-white women were excluded. The group of women from the Army were almost certainly fitter than the average American woman. By 1983, the government ditched the standard completely. Manufacturers were left to define sizes as they saw fit.

Enter the era of vanity sizing. Clothing manufacturers realized that they could flatter consumers by revising sizes downward. The measurements that added up to a size 12 in 1958 would get redefined to a size 6 by 2011. And different manufacturers defined sizes differently, too. In 2011, a size 8 waist measurement could differ by as much as five inches of cloth between different designers.

The American Society of Testing and Materials, a nongovernmental international standards organization, began trying to restandardize women's sizes in the 1990s. But if you've dealt with the frustration of buying or trying on women's clothes recently — particularly if you're short, tall, or in any way idiosyncratically shaped — you know that most manufacturers ignore these standards.

So women are left to navigate the chaos of arbitrary sizing on their own. So much for enabling women "to be fitted properly by the same size regardless of price, type of apparel, or manufacturer of the garment," as the government's 1958 standard loftily envisioned.

2017: Fourth of July
- POSTED ON: Jul 04, 2017

The Angry Chef - Book Review
- POSTED ON: Jul 03, 2017

The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating by Anthony Warner (2017)

This brilliant book is an investigation of bad science in the food world.  It is full of forceful, amusing, and convincing information which explodes the “theories” of health and wellness bloggers by the application of rock solid science. Warner shows the falsehoods which pervade the healthy eating industry.  He uses evidence to attack the myths, quackery, and nonsense claimed for coconut oil, paleo, sugar, detox diets, eating disorders, cancer, and convenience foods.

The author has spent 25 years working first as a chef and then in food development in the UK, after obtaining a University Degree in Biochemistry.  He is outspoken and well-informed, and his goal is to get people to see beyond the  “clean eating” and “superfoods” craze to a place where eating is actually a joy.

He challenges our culture’s current value judgments on “processed food”; along with the perception that sugar is our most dangerous foodstuff; and provides cutting criticisms of health and wellness gurus, including unqualified bloggers, who spout nutritional nonsense. 

In the book Warner explains the difference between causation and correlation. He  says: “paleo is about as realistic as The Flintstones.”; and “The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ is a commonly held wisdom within the bullshit-nutrition community. Of course we are not what we eat.  Vegans are quite clearly made of meat.”

Warner explains why people choose pseudoscience over science.   He argues that the problem lies in the nature of science and its inability to give definitive answers. Our brains prefer things to be simple, and in patterns, even if they aren’t backed up by proof. It is human nature to search for answers, and we tend to take answers where we can find them, even when they lack proof.

This is a thoughtful, scientifically researched and referenced work on healthy eating, which is also an entertaining read.  It makes us think carefully about why we are really looking for quick and easy fixes for something complex and long-term.  It questions why so many of us are slaves to programs that blame us for our illnesses, humiliate overweight people, and expect us to swallow the logic that if something “works for me” it equals a solution for all.

The Taste of Patience
- POSTED ON: Jul 02, 2017

Reality Bites
- POSTED ON: Jul 01, 2017

For obese or reduced-obese people, weight-loss or maintenance of weight-loss takes an ongoing Awareness of their eating Behaviors and the Results of those eating Behaviors.

It requires consistently following SOME METHOD of conscious eating Behavior that restricts calories to an amount which is the same-or-less as the amount used by that individual body....

....Together with a consistent and precise METHOD of measuring the ongoing weight Results of that eating Behavior. 

Here, the “rose” represents a thin or normal-sized body.

The “thorn” is restricted calorie eating (Behavior),
and a scale or other measuring tool (Result).

Obese or reduced-obese people who are not courageous enough to “grasp the thorn” need to abandon their desire for the “rose”, which is a thin or normal-sized body.

Reality, take it or leave it,

But I won’t be joining those who choose to spend their lives in the Forest waiting for the Unicorns to appear.



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