The average weight of women in Britain is rising.
In 1991, Miss Average weighed 10st 5lb, but today, she tips the scales at 11st.
What does 11st look like? Here, five British women, who all vary in heights from 5ft 2in to 6ft 1in, but weigh exactly the same, talk candidly about their bodies.
Angela Garvin, 42, is 5ft 2in and a size 14
She runs an online vintage clothing company from her home in Romford, Essex. She says:
I’m a typical pear shape and would love to shave five inches off my thighs. But I enjoy food too much to put in the effort it would take to get below 11st.
I eat three good meals a day — a panini at lunchtime, pasta or fish in the evenings, and I have a sweet tooth. I can’t resist cheesecake and tiramisu. My gym membership is a waste of money but I walk my Staffordshire bull terrier for up to an hour each day.
The sad truth is that my eating habits haven’t changed, yet at 11st I’m 2st heavier now than I was in my 20s and weigh a stone more than I did in my 30s.
My metabolism has obviously slowed down and the only way to get under 11st would be to consume fewer calories and exercise more.
Seeing photographs of skinny models in glossy magazines it’s hard to believe the average British woman now weighs 11st and is a size 14. Luckily, the older and bigger I’ve got, the more confident I feel in my skin.
I dated my boyfriend, Daniel, first time around in our 20s and I was so much slimmer then. Although I was a size 8, I felt the usual pressure on young women to look gorgeous and be successful, and wasn’t as happy as I am today.
My sister, Marie, who’s four years younger than me and a size 8, informed me recently that I’m ‘getting to be a bit of a porker’.
I should be grateful she keeps me in check because, at 5ft 2in tall, I don’t want to get any heavier than 11 stone.
Anyway, I prefer people to appreciate me for my mind than my body, and Daniel tells me he likes my ‘voluptuous, womanly 11st shape’.
Gilly Bishop, 40, is 5ft 4in and wears a size 18 on top and 14 on the bottom
The mother-of-two is a singer and lives in Brighton. She says:
When I’m singing and dancing about on stage, all eyes are on me. Being far from skinny at 11st, I can feel self-conscious. So I’d love to get down to 10st but I can’t see it happening.
Four years ago, after a trip to Florida, I was horrified to tip the scales at 15st and went on a crash diet, shedding 3st in as many months.
Over the following year I lost another stone, but I can’t quite manage to get below 11st.
I wear control pants to hold me in and I’m careful about what clothes I choose, nothing too clingy. I’m top heavy and it’s hard finding sexy lingerie to fit my size 36F bust.
My worst feature is my stomach — it’s been flabby since my sons, Michael, 19, and Josh, 14, were born. If I had the spare cash I’d pay for a breast reduction and tummy tuck.
I think that’s what it will take for me to finally realise my ambition of dropping below 11st.
I get quite a lot of male attention when I’m working. It seems men only notice the size of my breasts and aren’t concerned about the extra weight I’m carrying.
My diet isn’t great. I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t really like vegetables, so I mostly survive on Quorn lasagne and cottage pie and can’t resist puddings, chocolate and biscuits.
But I hate it when I step on the scales to find I’ve crept over the 11st mark. Then I eat nothing but Special K for a few days to get rid of the extra pounds.
It was a pleasant surprise to hear that 11st is now the average weight for a British woman.
I imagined most women were around 10st and we’re actually quite a lot heavier. Everyone seems so conscious of what they eat today and yet somehow we’re all getting bigger. While I’d prefer to weigh less, it’s nice knowing that I’m in good company and no heavier than many other women.
Anne Clewlow, 33, is 5ft 8in and wears size 12
The events manager lives in Stoke-on-Trent with her husband, Scott Redfern, 37, and son Ryan, nine. She says:
Other women sound shocked when I tell them I weigh 11st, which makes me feel pretty self-conscious about my size.
They always seem to be dieting to get down to 9st, or some other weight that sounds ridiculously low to me. So I was really surprised to discover that 11st is now the average weight for British women.
I suppose I should take it as a compliment that I look lighter than that, but I’m heavy boned and naturally quite muscular.
However hard I try, it’s difficult for me to drop below 11st. I weighed less in my early 20s, before I passed my driving test, because I walked everywhere. But now I’ve accepted 11st as my ideal weight — obsessing about dieting only makes me want to eat more.
Instead, I don’t pig out but I have three healthy meals a day and try not to deprive myself of any food I really fancy.
If I can’t fit into a size 12 there’s no way that I’d buy a size 14 — I’d just pick another dress with a different cut.
I like my waist best because it’s slim, even though I’ve got a bit of a tummy at the moment, but I think my hips are too big and my breasts are too small.
I wear an A or B cup and would like to have a breast enlargement to make them bigger, but I’m way too squeamish to undergo the surgery. Instead I shove socks down my bra for nights out.
I had an epiphany recently when a couple of friends told me I should celebrate my height and 11st frame, not try to hide it.
I ditched my baggy jeans and bought some skinny ones and invested in boots with a heel. I’ve never been a girly girl but now I feel quite sexy.
My husband’s very sporty and tries to encourage me to work out by saying, ‘You don’t want to get fat’. I suppose if I want to stay 11st as I get older I’m going to have to start exercising.
Lauren Hennessy, 25, is 5ft 11in, a size 10 on top and 12 on the bottom
She is a Slimming World consultant and lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, Sam, 26, a postal worker, and sons Stanley, five, and Ronnie, two. She says:
I was massively overweight until four years ago and still find it hard to believe people when they say that my 11st frame looks slim.
I used to be a size 18 and 16st 4lb and was so ashamed of my body I remember swimming in a kaftan during a family holiday at Centerparcs.
The weight had piled on after Sam and I moved in together, gorging on ready meals and junk food.
But within a few months of slimming to lose weight for my wedding I was down to my target of 11st, and have managed to maintain it for four years now. It’s taken me a while to get used to my new shape so, for a long time, I would select clothes from shop rails that were far too big for me. I was unable to believe I could fit into a size 10.
Hard though it would once have been for me to believe, my tummy area is now my favourite part of my body, flat and toned.
My thighs are my least favourite feature. If I gain any weight, that’s where it goes.
My husband, Sam, never commented on my size back then but he’s really pleased with how I look now. In fact, he tries to encourage me to wear more revealing clothes.
When I first got down to 11st, I was self-conscious about excess skin and stretchmarks but I have a lovely husband who reassured me that they weren’t noticeable.
And I’m so much more confident, thanks to my slimmer figure. When I was big, meeting new mums at the school gate would have been an ordeal.
I’d have imagined they were thinking how huge my belly or bottom were. OK, 11st may be the average weight but it’s right for my height. From here on in it’s all about maintenance — I’m happy sticking at this weight.
Serone Bailey, 24, is 6ft 1in and a size 10
She is single and a childcare student from North London. She says:
There’s nothing I’d change about my body — 11st is my perfect weight. I used to be 2st lighter, I was a size 6 to 8, and looked positively gaunt — I had to wear two pairs of leggings under jeans to pad them out and give me some shape.
People would stare at me in the street and one woman even said ‘You look like a stick’, as I walked by, which was hurtful.
All that changed after I spent a few weeks with family in Antigua three years ago. I enjoyed the local food so much that I came home a couple of dress sizes larger and weighing 11st.
Most people can’t wait to shed their holiday weight but I embraced mine. My waist is still small but now my breasts, hips and bottom are bigger.
I feel sexy and womanly dressing in low-cut tops that show off my cleavage — I’m a 34F — and short skirts to go on nights out with my friends.
At 6ft 1in, my legs are what everyone notices and men will comment on them when I walk into bars. I’m proud of my body.
I generally eat a pretty healthy diet though I try not to deprive myself of the things I fancy, like bread and chocolate.
The only drawback to being 6ft 1in is that all my boyfriends have been shorter than me.
I’ve even considered moving to America where the men tend to be taller.
None of my boyfriends has minded me towering over them. The last one loved my body at this weight so much he encouraged me to join a model agency.
I went for one casting for New Look but my hips were 5cm too big.
Perhaps I’d get more work if my body was more toned, but I can’t seem to motivate myself to go to the gym.
Fortunately my ambition is not to be a famous model but to open my own children’s nursery – so I’ll stick at 11st.’
Friday, December 9, 2011
We're all 11 stone: That's the average weight of a British woman, but as these five show it comes in many shapes
The average weight of women in Britain is rising.