How Much Should I Weigh?

By May 25, 2012

I am 26 and have struggled with anorexia for 10 years now. I currently weigh *** and am 5’3 3/4 “. I had one doctor (female gynecologist) tell me that this is a healthy weight for me and that I didn’t need to gain any weight. My mother, a registered nurse, and my husband (well basically my entire family) says it is not a healthy weight and they would like to see me weigh at least 100 pounds. I am confused as to whom to believe. Is my weight too low? I feel as though logically, I could stand to weigh more, but it is confusing when I get mixed messages from medical professionals. – Confused

Dear Confused,

It certainly is unsettling when we receive mixed messages about our health. I can understand your confusion. Based on the information you have provided however, I would say that you are definitely underweight, even if you have a small frame.

I can’t explain why your gynecologist said you are at a healthy weight. Unfortunately, physicians sometimes become so concerned about those patients who are too heavy for their body types, that they overlook the health risks of being too thin. It sounds like you have a loving and supportive family who know you best—all of whom are expressing concern. I would listen to them and seek a fuller assessment from a registered dietitian who has experience treating eating disorders (if you have not seen one in the past, see “Finding a Nutritionist”).

You don’t mention whether your visit to the gynecologist was just a regular check up, or if you are having problems. If you are planning to have children, however, you should know that a too-thin body significantly reduces fertility. That is just one of multiple problems that can occur from being underweight. (Your RN mom probably knows this as well.)

Now you have two health care professionals recommending that you gain weight (your mom and me), as well as your husband and entire family. Sometimes doctors make mistakes. I hope that you are no longer confused, and will get the support you need to get to a healthier weight.

I wish you the best.