Viral TikTok Reveals Pressure Women Face To Weigh ‘120 Pounds’. This is why the number on the scale doesn’t matter.
“Who told us women we have to weigh 120 pounds?!”
That is the question certified personal trainer and nutritionist Indy asked her followers in a TikTok she posted on October 1. From her car, the fitness influencer explained that she spoke to a customer who, at six feet, stated that 120 pounds was her target weight. Indy was shocked – at 5’9″, 120 could be dangerously thin for her client, but the client was convinced it was right for her body.e
Indy, whose own weight loss journey encouraged her to pursue a career in the fitness industry, once believed that at 5’4″ she could also reach 120 pounds or less. However, she found that even 130 was unattainable. was — and eventually she realized the number on the scale wasn’t what her body needed to be at its healthiest and most comfortable.
“I really don’t know who brainwashed us into thinking that was the ‘right’ weight – 120, 130, 110,” she said in the video, which has more than 1 million views. “I want you to comment. What is your ideal weight, what is your age and tell me who the f*** told you you should be?”
Commentators confirmed that they were also told to weigh a certain number, no matter how realistic, healthy or achievable it was for their particular body.
One wrote: “I tried to weigh 120-130 for so many years because my mother disgraced me as a teenager.”
Another added: “When I was in eighth grade I turned 120, but the kids all said they were 115 and that was already too big. I was crushed.”
One person shared: “I’m 1.80m”, currently 150, and would like to be 125. The BMI [chart] told me that.”
Indy tells Yahoo Life that she was surprised by the strong feedback, especially from women.
“Not a single woman disagreed with the video,” she says. “Women have said, ‘Oh my god, yes, I feel the same way. I feel so seen now. Why is it so? I’ve dealt with these problems all my life.’ It’s not just men who told us [what weight to be], they’re women too – our mothers, our grandmothers – and that’s because they’ve been told that.”
These specific numbers were not created in a vacuum. So where are you doing? people get the idea of the supposed “correct” weight?
Indy points to a misreading of the Body Mass Index chart, or BMI, as one reason people have specific numbers in their minds about what they should weigh. Yet many people call it a flawed standard, which was never intended to assess health in the first place.
dr. Anne McTiernan, a professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, and author of Starving: A Nutritionist’s Journey from Empty to Full tells Yahoo Life, “BMI is a very rough measure…especially when we’re trying to say that a particular BMI is too high or too low. One problem is that BMI doesn’t distinguish what weight is made up of. So a professional weight lifter may have very large muscle mass, therefore weigh a lot and have a high BMI.Alternatively, a person may have a lot of extra fat on their body, but still fit into the ‘normal’ category, perhaps because they don’t have much muscle mass.And many people can be very healthy at a high BMI, even if they have a lot of body fat.”
While not everyone uses BMI as a way of determining what to weigh, in general, reaching a certain number for any reason can be a fruitless struggle. McTiernan warns, “Many people struggle with their weight, gain weight easily, and trying to reach an ideal weight is overwhelming to impossible. For those at risk for eating disorders such as anorexia, setting goals for low weight can be dangerous.”
For Indy, however, the making of the video almost proved its own point: that women are encouraged by outside forces to try to be smaller than they are.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.