It's pretty much a given, at least if you believe anything you've ever read or seen on TV, that women spend 90 percent of our time obsessing about every ounce of fat that creeps onto our bodies. And why wouldn't we? After all, looking like a model is every woman's top priority from the moment she is born. I mean what else is she going to do with her time? Cure cancer? Yeah, right! Anyway, now a new study has come along that threatens to turn this conventional wisdom on its head. It showed that, in fact, many women aren't really aware when they've gained weight. Whaaa? Sacrilege!

But it's true. In the study, which will be published in the Journal of Women's Health, researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch followed 466 women of various ethnicities over a period of 36 months. They found that nearly a third of the women didn't notice that they'd gained roughly 4.5 pounds over a six-month period. That seems believable, especially since 5 pounds doesn't always look like much, depending on your body type. The study also found that a quarter of the women didn't notice that they'd put on nine pounds during a six-month period. That does seem harder to miss, since it could affect the clothing size you wear, but it's obviously possible. Maybe those women just had more pressing concerns than obsessively watching their waistline? Can you even imagine?

Interestingly, African-American women were more likely than white or Hispanic women to notice they'd gained weight. And women who used DMPA (a birth control shot) were more likely than women who didn't use hormonal birth control to notice weight gain—though that could probably be explained by the fact that they were looking for it as a side effect of the shot.

Why, exactly, does any of this matter? Well, the researchers worry that if people don't detect their weight gain, it will mean they won't try to lose weight. There's also the concern that doctors will assume their patients understand they're overweight, when they may actually not. But don't fret, my pets. For one thing, one-third of women may not have noticed a weight gain of five pounds, but that leaves two-thirds of women who totally noticed. And, similarly, three-quarters of people who gained nine pounds picked up on it. So the unaware ladies are in the minority.

But even if all of us stopped paying attention to our weight ups and downs, would it be the end of the world? Probably not. Would gaining five pounds over the course of half-a-year kill you? Nope. Even a gain of ten pounds is not life altering. The bottom line is this: if a woman has gained enough weight to actually endanger her health over the long-term, you can bet that the vast majority of them will have realized it. And for the rest of us, the less we feel compelled to pay attention to small fluctuations in our weight, the more time we have for other things—like giving killer BJs and cooking breakfast while wearing only our boyfriend's dress shirt. (I kid, I obviously meant curing cancer.)

Many Women Don't Notice Weight Gain [LiveScience]

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