Hey Leggy Lovelies,
Last week on the ATTT Facebook page, I posted that a well known magazine was looking to feature a woman over 6 foot who weighed 10 stone.
It caused a bit of upset amongst a few of you; initially from ladies who believed that a 10 stone woman over 6 foot was dangerously underweight, and then from others of you who ARE that weight defending your natural slimness. It was the first time in the history of All the Tall things when we’d discussed weight rather than height, or at least, our perceived relationship between weight and height.
‘Weight’ is an issue that affects most women at one time or another, but I couldn’t help thinking about how it specifically affects women over 5’10. As someone who battled eating problems when I was younger (12 stone seemed so big when all my friends were a diddy 8 stone — It DEFINITELY WASN’T), your comments on Facebook really got me thinking.
When I was 19, at university, and supposedly having the time of my life, I became obsessed with my weight. I would write down every calorie consumed and chastise myself if I ever had a binge. I became dangerously thin. My skin went grey, my eyes went hollow and my periods were erratic. I would go out clubbing and be so cold that I’d go and sit in the toilets for half the night under the hand dryers. I would lie awake, starving, counting down the hours until I could have the handful of sultana bran I’d allow myself to eat for breakfast. I’d have huge highs of emotion followed by crashing lows. I was a dull, miserable and freezing cold shadow of my former self.
Why did it happen? Various reasons, some too cliched to even mention. But I can’t help thinking that my height may have given me a skewed idea of my own body image. I felt a lot bigger than my friends. I’d look at photos of me next to a 5’6 size 8 girl and feel huge. I dated skinnier, shorter men than me and wondered if I should be ‘improving’ myself by bring thinner.
Fortunately I was one of the lucky ones and came out the other side of it within a couple of years. I dread to think what would have happened if I hadn’t. A lot of people say that once you’ve had an eating disorder, you’re always susceptible to it again. But I know my triggers and how to avoid them; I never read magazines about dieting, I literally walk away when my friends talk about their weight, and most importantly, I threw out the scales and am proud to say that this new year marked ten years since the last time I weighed myself. I refused to let the midwives tell me what I weighed during pregnancy, and it was so liberating. I’m slim now because I exercise (not obsessively), and try to eat healthily (sometimes!), but I’ll never be much thinner again because I know how miserable I was in reality.
But now being the proud parent of a baby girl, it terrifies me that she will one day see images of ‘thigh-gaps’ (not even a concept that existed when I was a teenager), protruding collar bones and glossy, airbrushed images of celebrities, and see those as goals. It’s made me even more determined to stay on track with my idea of a healthy body image, and banish weighing scales from the house forever. And it worries me that young women (or any women for that matter) that read this blog might be going through a similar thing that I went through.
So here are some myths that need busting, NOW.
1) Tall women are naturally skinny.
We hopefully all know that this is bullsh*t. Not everyone has hollow legs. I know petite women who can do three rounds at the Carvery. I know tall women who sniff a cheesecake and get instant fat face. Give yourself a break. It’s fine for a 5’1 woman to be a size 16, and it’s fine for a 6’1 woman to be a size 16 as well.
2) ‘Weight’ matters.
Do your clothes fit? Can you climb the stairs without fainting? Yes? Chuck the scales out then. And NEVER compare your weight with a person of ‘normal’ height. Your skeleton is twice as long for a start. Your head is bigger. Your feet are massive. YOU WILL NOT WEIGH WHAT CHERYL FERNANDEZ-VERSINI WEIGHS.
3) Your hubby/boyfriend/one-night-stand should be bigger and taller than you.
Unless you’re particularly fussy or happen to use the Dutch version of Tinder, your other half could well be about a foot shorter than you. He might even — gasp — be thinner than you too. If you’re dating the kind of man who can eat KFC bucket after KFC bucket and still not pinch an inch, you may want to hate him at times, but if he loves you for who you are, then remember that kindness, good humour and excellent manners are much more important than the ability to make you feel tiny.
I’m really interested to know your thoughts on weight as a tall woman. Do you think your height has had a negative or positive affect on your attitude towards your weight and frame? If you’ve also suffered from an eating disorder, do you feel like your height was a factor?
You’re never going to feel ‘little’. You might rarely be described as ‘cute’. But you can be glamorous, statuesque, feminine, commanding and strong. Once you accept the fact that you’ll never have the build of your smaller mates, you can start loving everything you do have. Remember, life is short. Even if you’re not.