Choosing Your Ideal Size

What's in a Size?

Clothing sizes are an imprecise but highly effective guide to measuring your weight-loss success. If you're a woman, pick a dress size that you would like to wear. If you want to shop the size-8 racks, make them your target and imagine yourself doing just that. Go for it. You may find yourself picking a smaller dress-size goal after you've reached your first one.

One of our class participants, Marian, who is in her early 50s, made up a mantra that she said to herself often, “It's never too late to be an 8.” Upon reaching that goal, she wrote yet another mantra with the assistance of her son Michael, “It's the kicks to be a 6.” Within several months, Marian was buying size 6 shorts—a size she never thought possible when she was a size 12.

Women usually think of size in terms of dress size, men in terms of their belt size. So, fellows, if you want a waist size of 34, 36, or whatever, select the one that feels best to you. Using the select-a-size method to choose your ideal size is not particularly scientific, but it's a good measure for how you look—and no scale is needed. It works for many people. Before you select your ideal size for certain, you need to learn about your frame size.

The Frame You Were Born With

Body of Knowledge

Here is how to determine your body frame size. Take your dominant hand. Encircle the wrist of your nondominant hand with the middle finger and thumb. If your middle finger and thumb overlap, you have a small frame. If they just touch, you have a medium frame. If they don't touch, you have a large frame.

The size of your body frame gives a good indication of what clothing size would work best for you. Body frames come in three general sizes: small, medium, and large. A person's frame size doesn't change over a lifetime, just as the color of one's eyes doesn't change. Regardless of the size of your frame, you can get to a clothing size that feels good to you.

A woman with a small frame can wear a smaller size because her hipbones are closer together. She could be comfortable at a size 6 or 8, perhaps a 10. With a medium frame, a woman might choose to be a size 8, 10, or 12. With a large frame, perhaps she would choose a size 10, 12, or 14, depending upon her height. Although a size 14 could sound like a large size to you, we have plenty of clients who look terrific and thin at that size. Your dress size is actually less important than how you look in your clothes and the state of your health at that size.

Hollywood press releases and glamour magazines tell us that some of our favorite movie and television actresses wear a size 0 or 2. You may be wondering how this is possible. Many people who are highly photogenic—think high-fashion models and screen stars—have tiny little faces. Generally speaking, they have very small body frames. Their hipbones are quite close together, and they can wear very small sizes.

These people are genetically unusual—they simply aren't like most of us. Don't worry about it. It's important that you are comfortable and content with the frame size you were born with and make the most of it.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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