Does weight matter?
Questions about Align
It’s the questions I probably get most often: ‘Does my weight matter for an Align analysis?’ Or ‘If I gain or lose weight, will that affect my body type?’
Time to dive in, and get clear on effects of size, weight, curve and what sets the body types apart.
It’s not strange that women wonder about this. The focus on weight seems more extreme by the decade (or is that just me growing up and becoming more aware of it?). Somehow weight has become a measure for how beautiful a woman is allowed to be. That’s deeply unfair.
There’s another good reason why we wonder if changing our body weight affects our body type. Very primitive systems use the basic outline of the body (triangle, inverted triangle, rectangle, hourglass etc) and try to ‘correct’ it towards the conceivable ideal (the hourglass, in case you missed it). This is a losing game on all fronts. It’s basically telling women they should have a different shape to be beautiful, and if they don’t have it should just imitate it as best they can.
When you think about it in these plain terms, it strikes me as unbelievably stupid. And very sad. There are so many better ways to see female beauty.
Actually, this ideal body type madness is not even working if you are an hourglass. I happen to have that shape (by way of genetics and no other reason), yet the clothing recommendations never fail to look hilarious on me. ‘Try the classic blazers’ – this looks like I’m a kid wearing my mom’s clothes. Also, the ‘you can wear anything’ piece of advice is… how do I put this?… naive.
I’m an Intricate, which means that my scale is entirely too small to wear most (classic) clothes.
Also, I happen to carry most of my soft weight in the lower half of my body. To put it simply, I have bony shoulders and fuller thighs. At my current weight, they have equal width. If I were to gain weight, more softness would go to my lower body, and I’d be a pear or triangle shape. So in this primitive system, the answer to the question is yes. Your body type changes with gaining or losing weight. (I’m rolling my eyes, I can’t help it.)
Curves do change with body weight - but not always
Align style analysis works differently. It’s based on harmony: finding your innate pattern (using the concept of yin/yang) and using it in clothes and accessories. That can have only one result: you’ll look beautiful and harmonious, independent of shape, size, age and ethnicity. And, you guessed it, weight!
How does that work? It’s because your yin/yang pattern goes much deeper than the soft weight from your body. It’s in your bone structure.
So when someone asks me, ‘If I were to gain weight, will my body type change?’, I always ask this question in return:
‘Does your bone structure change if you were to gain weight?’
‘It doesn’t’, they reply.
‘Exactly. So your height doesn’t change. Nor do the lengths of your legs and arms. Or the relative proportions of your legs and torso. Neither does the size of your joints.
So basically, nothing changes. The proportions in clothes that give you peak energy (those are your harmonious proportions) still sit at the same places, so you’d wear clothes the same lengths.
The only thing that does change is the width of the clothes. You would just wear wider or narrower versions of the same clothes.’
The more I do this work, the more I realise that body types are pretty much determined by 90% bone structure, 10% musculature and 0% body fat.
It really, completely, doesn’t matter.
At this point, you may ask: but what about curves? Those do change with body weight, and don’t tell me those don’t matter for the body type!
You’re right, that’s true. Curves do change with body weight – but not always.
Let’s first have a look at the biology of curves. Curves are made of the soft tissues, but there is also the bone structure sitting underneath. The hip curve, for example, is a result of how much the head of the femur widens relative to the pelvic arch above. Soft tissues (both muscle and body fat) may exaggerate that curve and build on it, but they can only work with the curve created by the underlying bones.
Likewise, the curve of the waist is determined by the taper of the ribcage, relative to the width of the pelvis and shoulders. The waist itself is formed by a layer of muscle, which determines what kind of curve joins these fixed points. Over that lies a layer of body fat, which neatly covers the muscle tissue. The thickness of that layer may alter the shape of the waist, depending on how much weight is there, but more importantly, the size and scale of the curve is not affected.
So besides being affected by soft tissue, bone structure is still important for the shape of your curves.
And there’s more that we may say about curves: the heart of the matter is that different body types have different weight gain patterns. That’s normal, because all types have different body patterns, full stop. It would be weird if weight distributed the same way on all of them.
Some body types distribute their weight very equally, and so they have the same exact silhouette (only wider or narrower) at any weight. Others do change their silhouette (for example losing their waist, or in my own case becoming a pear or triangle shape).
However, in all cases the essential qualities of that body type are never changed. After all, only a few body types are characterised by defined curves (we’ll have to have another blog post about curves between the different body types, I think), and those types will retain a waist at any weight. The others will still have curves, which will change with varying body weight, all without affecting the defining characteristics of each type. Because their body types were never about curves to begin with (which is not to say their curves aren’t beautiful). They have other things that define their essential beauty (like proportion, scale, or detail).
So that answers the question: body type doesn’t change with gaining weight. Your silhouette may change, but your essential beauty is always there.
So what about you? Does your body’s silhouette change when you gain weight?
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