Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Normal

I came to a startling realization the other day that I'm not Normal. For those of you who know me personally, I'll give you a moment to stop snorting and laughing because you already figured that out long ago and it took me this long to realize it. Ok, your moment is up. :)

What do I mean by Normal? I mean Normal in a physique/body sense. What does Normal mean and who defines it? Well, when it comes to clothes, the clothing and fashion industry defines what's Normal (although if you ask me, most of the stuff on the runway isn't even remotely close to Normal!). Fifty years ago, the average woman was about a size 10 or 12. That big?? you ask. Sure, considering a size 12 in 1950 was about a size 6 today. It's true - the sizes of clothes have decreased over the years. My personal, very unscientific opinion is that they've decreased in an attempt to make women feel better about themselves. Larger sizes = larger woman, right? Well, not necessarily.

Every clothing line runs differently in size. European-based stores such as Bebe have smaller, more form-fitting clothes, while American-based stores like Old Navy and Wal-Mart usually have larger, less form-fitting clothes. A size Small blouse at Wal-Mart is about the same size as a size Large at Bebe. So it really depends on where people shop as to what size clothes they wear. And even different brands at those stores run differently.

So why was I so surprised that the pair of (super cute!) size Small capri workout pants I bought at Target the other day didn't fit? I'm small, right? How is it that a 5'2" (rounding up, of course), 108 lb, 11% body fat female doesn't fit into a pair of Small workout pants?! I couldn't even get them over my calves! Talk about making a girl feel fat!

I immediately started crying, as I'm rather emotional about my weight and body lately. Jerry looked at me like I was crazy (after hugging me and patting my back), and said, "Honey, you're SO not fat!" Yes, I've trained him well. LOL But in all seriousness, he was telling the truth. I have a small frame, I don't weigh enough to donate blood (minimum weight is 110 lbs), and I'm well below the average body fat percentage for females (even below the Athlete standards). Yet, I don't fit into a pair of Small pants.

I apparently wear Mediums in Champion clothes. I also wear Mediums in Under Armour because the Small shirts, tanks, and sports bras don't fit around my lats (which I proudly grew this year!). And a couple weeks before the Arnold, when I was about this size, I tried on a pair of size 5 jean shorts at Wet Seal. I couldn't get them past my knees. And the skinny jeans I also attempted to try? I can't even talk about that incident yet. I'll just summarize and say that Jerry had to do some quick consoling so there weren't tears in the middle of the store.

So what does all this have to do with be not being Normal? Well, about 6 years ago, I weighed about the same as I do now ... and I could fit into Smalls and size 3's. What's so different about my body now? Apart from the fact that I'm getting older (sigh), I've also changed the shape of my body over the years. I grew lats. I grew calves. I grew quads. I lost my boobs. I expanded my triceps. And I thickened my ab wall. All of those elements changed my body shape enough to change the size clothes I wear.

I can no longer fit into xSmalls right before a show, like I could in 2006. Why? Because I grew lats and abs! Now, my smallest clothes are Small, and they only fit when I'm under 110 lbs (which is my maintenance goal anyway). I wear size 3 - 5 jeans, and 2 - 4 dress pants instead of 0's and 1's.

But I'm ok with this! (For the most part ... I'm still getting used to it in some ways.) I consciously and unconsciously changed my body, and I think my shape is more beautiful and womanly now than it's ever been. I've got curves in all the right places, and I like looking strong and athletic. I like to watch my delts pop out of my t-shirts, and to see the shape of my biceps through my dress shirts. I love that my calves show even when I'm not wearing heels, and how my waist looks small when I wear belts around my dresses.

Can I wear babydoll shirts and dresses? Nope, cuz I look pregnant! They fit around the widest part of my torso (again, back to the lats), and then flow out from there, making the shirt or dress look like a maternity top. But when I wear a fitted dress with a belt at my natural waistline, I look trim and lean. Amazing how the cut of clothes can make such a difference too!

So for those of you lamenting the clothes of your youth, or even those of a couple years ago, try to embrace your body as it is today. And remember that just because the tag in your clothes says a size, that doesn't mean you wear that same size in every article of clothing. And that size does not define who you are inside, or whether you're Normal or not. Don't let the clothing and fashion industry tell you that you're skinny or fat or not Normal. And don't let the scale dictate your self-worth, either. Because it's nothin' but an arbitrary number.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome (and truthful) post!! I have had those moments too!! I am not even as small as you and I have had those moments! I agree with redefining what is beautiful though. I like having quad muscles too big for skinny jeans! And shoulders and arms too big for the tiny new blazers that they are making. Who ARE they making those for anyway? I had to go up TWO sizes because I wanted this cute little black blazer!! As women we like to play mean little mind games with ourselves about sizes, but rock the clothes that feel good on you and don't worry about what those crazy runways are saying!!

    ReplyDelete