Viral TikTok reveals the pressures women face to weigh “120 pounds.” Here’s why the number on the scale doesn’t matter.
“Who told us women we should weigh 120 pounds ?!”
That’s the question Indy certified personal trainer and nutritionist asked her followers in a TikTok she posted on October 1. From her car, the fitness influencer explained that she was talking to a client who, at 5’9 “, said 120 pounds was her target weight. Indy was shocked – at 5’9”, 120 could being dangerously thin for her client, yet this is what the client was convinced was okay for her body.
Indy, whose own weight loss journey encouraged her to pursue a career in the fitness industry, once had the idea that at 5’4 “she could also reach 120 pounds or less. However, she found that even 130 were out of range – and finally, she realized that the number on the scale was not what her body needed to be the healthiest and most comfortable.
“I really don’t know who brainwashed us into thinking it was the ‘right’ weight – 120, 130, 110,” she said in the video, which numbers over a million. of views. “I want you to comment. What is your ideal weight, how old are you and tell me who told you this is who you should be? “
Commentators confirmed that they were also told that they must weigh a specific number, no matter how realistic, healthy or achievable it is for their specific body.
One wrote: “I spent so many years trying to weigh 120-130 because of my mother making me ashamed when I was a teenager.”
Another added: “When I was in eighth grade I was 120 years old, but the kids all said they were 115 and it was already too big. I was crushed.”
One person shared, “I am 5’2″, currently 150, and wishing to be at 125. BMI [chart] told me.”
Indy tells Yahoo Life that she was surprised by the powerful comments, especially from the women.
“Not a single woman disagreed with the video,” she said. The women said, ‘Oh my God, yeah, I feel the same. I feel so seen right now. Why is it like this? I have faced these issues all my life. “It’s not just the men who told us [what weight to be], it’s also the women – our mothers, our grandmothers – and that’s because we told them that. “
These specific figures were not created in a vacuum. So where is do people have any idea what weight is supposed to be “correct”?
Indy points to a misinterpretation of the Body Mass Index, or BMI, chart as one of the reasons people have specific numbers in mind as to what they should weigh. Yet many people call it an imperfect standard, which was never intended to be used for assessing health in the first place.
Dr Anne McTiernan, professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, and author of Starved: A Nutrition Doctor’s Journey from Empty to Full Yahoo Life says, “BMI is a very rough measure … especially when we’re trying to say that a certain BMI is too high or too low. One problem is that BMI doesn’t differentiate what weight is. So, a professional weight weightlifter can have a very large muscle mass, weigh a lot accordingly and achieve a high BMI. Alternatively, a person can have a lot of extra fat on their body while remaining in the “normal” category, can “to be because they don’t have a lot of muscle mass. And a lot of people can be very healthy with a high BMI, even if they have a lot of body fat.”
While not everyone uses BMI as a way to identify what to weigh, overall, trying to hit a specific number for whatever reason can be an unsuccessful battle. McTiernan cautions, “Many people struggle with their weight, gain weight easily, and trying to achieve ideal weight is overwhelming, if not impossible. For those at risk for eating disorders like anorexia, setting low weight goals can be dangerous.
For Indy, however, making the video almost proved its own point – that women are encouraged by outside forces to try and be smaller than they are.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call National Association of Eating Disorders hotline at 1-800-931-2237.