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Weight Blindness

After someone starts topping 200 pounds or so, the general public has a hard time determining just how much they actually weigh.

If I were to ask people to guess my weight, I doubt many people would get within 50 pounds. Granted, they might be guessing low just to be polite. But I think once you start to get really, really, fat, people lack a frame of reference to determine your weight. It goes so far off their weight radar that they will guess anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds off. Would they similarly guess a 100 pound woman weighed 200? Not unless they needed new glasses.

Vice versa I cannot tell when someone has gained only small amounts of weight. If a friend put on ten pounds, I would probably not notice. I just don’t perceive those things. Perhaps the lack of this ability contributed to my weight gain in that I didn’t notice when I myself gained ten pounds.

I saw an article online recently about celebrities who had recently gained or lost weight. Looking at the pictures, I could honestly not tell any difference. If I had to choose which was the “before” and which was the “after” photo, I would have gotten only 50/50 at best.

I think some people are just more focused on weight. I had a friend in high school who would always point out when someone had gained or lost pounds. She was a human fat detector. She was never satisfied with her own body either, making me wonder if her own self-obsession with weight was being projected upon others.

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1 Comment

Karine • August 16, 2006 at 2:37 pm

I think this had to do with the fact that we ourselves were gaining volumes of weight, so our mind must’ve been like, what’s 10-20 lbs, and so was simply not registering weight gains by small people. I totally did this too. Now that I have started losing weight though, I can tell you exactly how much someone weighs just by looking at them. It’s becoming a talent of some sort, simply because my mind is now trained to look at my body, and picture how I want it to be, etc. I really relate to this post.


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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