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Making Peace With My “Big Bones”

Posted Mar 07 2009 2:56pm
From the time I was a teen, people have described me as “big-boned.” Didn’t matter my weight, I was always big-boned and I never questioned it. After all, people could see me better than I could see myself. Several relatives on both sides of my family were what I considered big-boned (i.e. “fat”), so I just figured it was in my genetic makeup to be big-boned, too.

I’ve been contemplating the whole big-boned issue since I saw a photo of my back last week. I had a small cyst removed in the middle of my back and I wanted to see what the stitches looked like. So I had Larry take a photo. (Yes, that’s some of my infamous skin hanging over my bra – lol. And the tattoo is the unfinished “gift” I gave myself when I turned 30…long story…involves beer…)

What I see in the photo is a wide, thin back. Hmmm… Wide AND thin? How could that be? I’m big boned, ergo, I’m fat….ah…fat…there’s the rub. Ouch.

It’s apparent that it’s time to reconsider the language I use to describe myself to myself.

Insurance companies like Metropolitan Life publish weight tables that are broken into three categories: small, medium and large frames. I always assumed I had a large frame. (Remember, I’m big boned.) I found a handy site called Ideal Body Weight Chart with instructions on how to determine frame size. Using both the wrist and elbow measurements, I have a small to almost medium frame.

Me? Small to medium? That description is so foreign, like someone calling my eyes brown when clearly they’re blue/green. I’d never think to describe myself as “small to medium.” I mean, I’m big boned! People said so when I was 14 and 25 and 40!

I realize now that this big-boned description was probably at the heart of what I call the “black-hole phase” when I hit 150 pounds almost three years ago. I believed what everyone said, that I was big boned and therefore a large frame. Therefore, my “ideal” weight, according to the charts, was between 137-155. Problem was, 150 didn’t feel ideal. I’d always settled for it as my ideal weight, my “magic” weight, but once there, it felt wrong. I knew I was still carrying more fat than was healthy for me and my joints, but I was afraid that maybe my big bones needed to be 150 and I was just being selfish or unrealistic.

It didn’t help that a lot of people told me not to lose any more, that my bones were starting to stick out. Was I looking freakish? I didn’t think so, but then, what did I know? I’d been letting other people tell me what to do in terms of my weight all my life. But this time I let my body decide where it was most comfortable and it seemed to like it around 128. Gee…right where it should be, according the the “ideal weight” chart for a small to medium frame.

I realize now that there’s a difference between being big boned and being broad. I have broad shoulders and a broad back. I’m down to bare bones and will never have a chest measurement less than 34 inches (when measured without the “girls”). I have long legs and wide hips, but I won’t call them big anymore. Yes, I’m bony, but that’s just the way I’m put together.

And I like my bones. One of the most fun parts about losing weight was seeing them emerge month after month, pound after pound. I was ecstatic when my collar bones started jutting through the fat somewhere around 200 pounds. Then came my wrist bones and hip bones, foot bones and cheek bones. Seeing them and feeling them on a daily basis is another one of those things that keep me in maintenance. I don’t ever want to cover my jaw line with a triple chin again.

So I’m eliminating the term “big-boned” from my self-descriptors. Instead, I’m a small to medium and broad. I’m a broad broad!
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