In my late teens I agonized over my weight. I’d been varying degrees of chubby right from my birth weight of 9lbs. 7oz. Around 16 I discovered that I could lose a lot of weight by not eating much. Meanwhile I’d reached my adult height of 5’7″ so my body weight had spread out which also gave the illusion of having lost weight.
I couldn’t get as thin as I wanted to be while I was still in high school because I was under my mother’s watchful eye. She was an excellent cook too and since I was her baby, and the only child left in the house, she delighted in preparing all my favorites meals. I delighted in eating less of them, but still enough not to get really skinny.
Once I graduated from high school in 1971, I left home to make my fortune working for a preppy clothing company, John Meyer of Norwich, as a pattern makers model. I had all the perfect measurements to be nothing more than a walking, talking mannequin.
Evenings were spent watching TV. Perky Mary Richards and the assorted characters who worked with her was a favorite of mine. I wanted to be as skinny as Mary Tyler Moore. I wanted to wear the clothes Mary Richards wore on TV and look as good in my outfits as she looked in hers.
Mary Tyler Moore was profiled in a story in the Sunday newspaper supplement, Parade. It said she was 5’7″, just as was I. It further revealed her weight to be 123. That’s what I weighed too.
“No way,” I said with disbelief. “That can’t be right. Maybe it’s a typo. I think she weighs 103.”
I’d like to weigh 103 so I could look like MTM. Not believing she weighed that much, I started to diet in earnest so that my bell bottoms would look as good on me as they did on her. That diet cost me my job. I lost too many inches and got replaced by a new walking, talking mannequin.
I got to 108, and they say TV adds 10 pounds, so why did Mary Tyler Moore look skinnier, and yes, better than I did? Of course, now when I see a picture of me I looked much thinner than I actually remember looking at the time.
It probably had to do with her being a dancer and me being a slug. She was fit and trim and muscled and beautiful at 123. She had a concave belly. I was not fit and still had rolls (albeit much smaller) and bulges at 108. My belly remained convex.
There’s more than one moral to this story:
- Satisfaction with your appearance is more than a number on a scale
- Two women can be the same height and weight and one can look slimmer than the other depending on body composition. I carried more body fat, MTM had more lean mass.
- Comparing yourself to another is a waste of time and motivation
Mary Tyler Moore was a beautiful and remarkable women throughout her life and I’m sorry she has left us.