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September 24, 2013

Scale and The City

If Lena Dunham is "thin for Detroit" and Jennifer Lawrence is "obese in Hollywood," then women's feelings about weight must have more to do with the numbers in their ZIP codes than the ones on the scale.

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In the end, fitting in, sizewise, in L.A. became too rigorous and, ultimately, a Pyrrhic victory. I was skinny, but my energy flagged and I had the pallor of a sardine. Plus, it struck me that I was measuring myself against women I didn't even like. So I quit the cigarettes, gave up my fancy gym membership, and moved the size-4 clothes to the corner of my closet. I'm now back to the weight I was when I first moved to Los Angeles, and that's just fine. I have worked to accept the fact that I am a normal woman who just happens to live in a skinny cultural bubble. I may feel bigger surrounded by the swizzle-stick set at parties, but I don't have to compare myself with those women—or even stand next to them. And when all the size 4s sell out at the next Fred Segal sale, I will sashay over to the "large" section and gloat.


Some days you may feel thinner—or fatter—than the women around you, but are you actually? Compare your BMI with the average for women in your area

CITY AVERAGE BMI* AVERAGE WEIGHT (lbs) for a 5'4" woman 
Atlanta 27.07 158
Baltimore 27.76 162
Boston 26.56 155
Boulder, CO 25.28 147
Chicago 27.26 159
Charlotte, NC 27.19 158
Cleveland 27.31 159
Dallas 27.81 162
Denver 26.46 154
Detroit 28.02 163
Houston 27.65 161
Los Angeles 26.99 157
Miami-FortLauderdale, FL 27.18 158
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN 26.95 157
New Orleans 28.35 165
New York 26.55 155
Philadelphia 27.48 160
Phoenix-Scottsdale, AZ 27.12 158
Portland, OR 27.01 157
Sacramento, CA 26.85 156
San Diego 26.69 156
Seattle 26.74 156
San Francisco 26.38 154
St. Louis 27.83 162
Washington, D.C. 27.1 158
140 Average weight 170
  (lbs.) for a 5'4" woman   

* To find your BMI, multiply your weight in pounds by 703, then divide that number by your height in inches squared. (FYI: 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal; 25 to 29.9 overweight; and 30+ obese) . Each city listed represents a United States Office of Management and Budget metropolitan and micropolitan statistical area that includes surrounding suburbs and nearby cities. BMIs are estimates using mean BMIs for the total population in each area based on 2011 research provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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