There's been a recent surge in people who believe in "fat acceptance" and they're usually women because certain women assume a size 12 is healthy. There's no way there was some size 12 cavewoman, is there?
I wish I could have upped Sara's comment. :)
For the record, right now, I'm between a size 12/14 at 5'5". I've struggled with "being chunky" my entire life, having had 3-4 time periods when I was able to starve myself down to a more socially acceptable weight.
At 47, the weight just doesn't drop off any longer, even with fairly compliant Paleo, and I could either choose to make myself even more neurotic about it or I could choose to work on eating clean, managing my stress, getting good sleep, and improving my workout performance (CrossFit and kettlebells). I've chosen the latter. And while I've not been rewarded with amazing weight loss, I have been rewarded with not feeling constantly hungry, bloodwork that is ABSURDLY normal and even high-optimal in some factors, normal blood pressure, reduced eczema, more even temperament, and a 230# deadlift.
The phrase "...because certain women assume a size 12 is healthy," makes me a bit prickly. Because I'm absolutely a size 12 (meaning I'm a little heavier than proportional for my height) and I am absolutely healthy by all other medical metrics.
Just as it's possible for larger people to be medically healthy, it's also possible for thin/slender/skinny people to be unhealthy on key medical metrics. You can't always tell just based on appearances, which I think is where the shift from "cosmetic appearances" to "focusing on health" (per Sara) is coming from.
In your mind, do you see that Raquel Welch photo as what a 'paleo' woman was supposed to look like?
Who gives a flying walenda what size 'paleo' women were? Aren't we supposed to support health and not size. I know plenty of size 12 women who are strong and healthy, and I know plenty of size 2's that are sickly. So size really doesn't matter. And you really shouldn't count people out based on size - you don't know where they are in their journey or what their story is.
I've seen a few questions like this on PH, in which people spend a lot of time pondering what the right size for women's bodies is... I haven't seen many threads in which female PHers have long discussions about the true size or build of paleo men. Wonder why that is.
At my heaviest, when I was pounding Busch Lite and pizzas every night and smoking my body weight in who knows what, I was a size 8 (a very mushy, chubby and unhealthy size 8). My cousin has a perfectly flat stomach and is toned all over and is a size 10 - even now that I am a 2/4, I would KILL for her body. She'll never be as "small" as I am and I will never have the perfectly flat stomach. It doesn't make sense, but that's just the way it is.
I think the "fat acceptance" trend you are seeing in the paleo world is less about a woman not caring if she's got a spare tire that hangs over her pants but more about prioritizing your HEALTH above your ABS.
So, to answer your question, yeah... I'm pretty sure there were size 12 cavewomen. And I'm pretty sure the cavemen weren't running around with a measuring tape and tsk tsking them for it.
So you are curious as to what the perfect female body is? Can it be defined as "anything less than a size 12"?
Tell that to my size 16 50 year old aunt who is currently number 1 in her mountain bike category, got pregnant the same month she decided to try each time, pushed out 3 beautiful babies with absolutely no problem, and worked as an ICU nurse that hardly took a sick day in her life. Or, you could meet by 80 year old grandma who camped for 7 months out of the year this past year, fishing, hunting, and hiking with her new husband, strong as an ox, had 8 babies in her time, and her doctor proclaimed she has some of the strongest bones she's ever seen for someone her age- she has never dipped below a size 12 and is as "curvy as a logging road", in her words. One of my cousins is a size 0 and nicknamed "Mogoli" from the Jungle Book because she is lanky as a monkey and could eat a horse without gaining an ounce, and she just announced her first pregnancy which she is thrilled about. Another friend of mine is is between a 0 and a 1, she boxes regularly and is a tank. I'm 5'4, 140 lbs and take either a size: 2, 4, 6, or 8, depending on the store. So clearly my dress size is not a particularly good marker of my body size. All I know is that I'm happiest when my body fat is above 20%, preferably 22%, and that I will lose my period and feel like shit waaaaaaaaay before I will start to look skinny. The fact of the matter is, no matter how much of a weight bias you have and how much you want to think that women either have the "right" body or are "not trying", the variation in health can be staggering.
People don't have to wait until they weight 10 or 20 or 60 lbs less before they start to feel like a healthy, valuable person. You don't need to have huge hips to bear a healthy baby, you don't need abs to attract a mate, you don't need double D's to look fertile, you don't need to be less than a size 12. This "fat acceptance" as you so condescendingly put in quotations is about sending the message to women that they are more than a six pack, and the unhealthy emphasis on the idealized, skinny, westernized female is not helping anyone feel like a better person. Women are often chasing this usually unattainable image, leaving us disappointing, if not disordered. We should accept everyone for how they look, whether that be a different body weight, a disability, or anything out of your comfortable "norm". Don't try and put women in a box and label it with "the perfect female", because when you open it your just going to find a jumble of half truths and variation.
Size and weight mean nothing. Let's hear about bodyfat %! You can be a size 12 and 60% fat, or a size 12 and 10% bodyfat.
"Size 12" means NOTHING. Zip. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Because every shop over here has a different size 12; never mind different countries. So when I read your post I hear "ewwww fatties". There is now the same body shaming in "paleo" as there is in mainstream health/beauty/porn. Screw that. You want to know about health, look at body fat %, muscle strength, maybe fat distribution.
Or do you want to post your own picture for our scrutiny? Hmm?
I don't know. If you look at indigenous tribes, who live off the land, in more traditional paleo type lifestyles, a lot of women are not stick thin. Lots of them are curvier and carrying more weight than a traditional size 4-6 ideal of beauty.
And I'm a size 4, who struggles for every ounce of muscle I can put on, who would not have been all that helpful out there in the paleolithic times--I think the paleo man would have chosen a more robust woman who could strap a baby to her back and get to work fetching wood or water or berries...
Paleo women where and when??? Depends on climate, genes, location. In Northern climates one needs to put on several pounds of fat for the winter, both men and women. The Inuit are short and plump, the Tuareg very tall and thin. A "size 12" is probably obese for any South-East Asian woman and anorexic for any Dutch woman. I myself am skinny/normal and a 12/14 above the waist to fit my shoulders and bust, and a 6/8/10 (depending on season) below the waist because I don't have hips. According to latest genetic research I should have a good amount of Neanderthal genes in me, I bet a size 12 would barely fit an elementary school Neanderthal girl.
We would expect Paleo women would have been heavier if they were healthy and probably not so much if they weren't, I'm thinking. I say "expect" because, clearly we don't have pics.
Still, much of what I've seen about body weight and size is about health and focus. As others have pointed out, dress size and a number on a scale cannot tell the whole picture. I've been thinner than I wanted to be most of my life. Some of that time I've been healthy and some not so much. You won't hear many women who write about this saying "Hey, I'm a size two" partly because it doesn't mean a lot and partly because it could be intimidating to someone who struggles with weight. Strength, beauty, worth, vitality, health don't come in a smaller or for that matter, larger, dress size.
For disclosure purposes only, I'll tell you I wear a size 4. I am not nearly as strong as I'd like to be, so that may just go up. It also may not. And I do mean I wear that size, I will never say I am a size four.
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