Thursday, June 6, 2013

"I Wish I Was Skinny Like You"

Today's post isn't going to be about any cool new projects we're working on, or about gardens or chickens, or anything of that sort actually. I've decided to take some time to cover a subject that is very near and dear to my heart, especially over these past two years.

The subject of being skinny.

I have a lot of experience with being skinny, as I have always been on the thin side ever since I was a little girl. In fact, the only time I think I was ever not skinny was when I was a chubby baby and toddler. As I grew taller and taller, it became more and more noticeable. I was thin.

When I was 13, I was over 5'5" and hadn't reached 100lbs on the scales yet. Tiny is a good way of describing how I looked back then. My mom even took me to the doctor's to make sure I wasn't anorexic. They said I would be fine, just make sure I keep eating well.

By the time I had reached 16, I had reached my full height of 5'7" and was bordering 120lbs. I was used to people commenting on my weight and telling me they wished they could be skinny like me. I accepted the compliments and went about my daily life. I was a good weight and I looked good. Ah to be 16 again.

When I went off to college, I gained weight and tipped the scales at 125lbs. A respectable weight for my height and I looked healthy. Still, people told me they wished they were skinny like me. By this time though, I was starting to get frustrated with the fact that people felt they had the right to talk freely about my weight and comment on the size of my waist. Still, I let it go.

Then came 2011. The year I got sick and lost a precious 10lbs in two months. I was not healthy looking anymore, coming in at 106lbs, way too small for my height. Looking back at pictures, I looked so thin and pale and sickly. And yet still, people commented on my weight. Some would whisper behind my back to friends and family, asking if I was okay. Others would say it right to my face, asking about my weight and commenting on how skinny I was. And you know what, I still had people saying "I wish I was skinny like you".

What a lot of people don't get, is that being skinny is not always that wonderful. Our society has made such a huge thing out of weight and appearances and being skinny like all the models and actors and famous people. People want to be skinny. Even skinny like me, me who was significantly underweight, with a BMI of 16.

Being skinny is not all puppies and rainbows. Being underweight is not an awesome problem to have. Trying to gain weight and not being able to is not as cool as you would think. Being underweight is almost as bad as being overweight. Trying to gain weight can be just as hard as trying to lose weight. What a lot of people don't understand is that, being underweight or overweight is not healthy and can cause health problems.

I'm not pretending to know what it's like to be overweight and struggle with that. I can't fully understand because I have never been there. But I can imagine that it must suck. It must suck to be constantly trying to eat better, exercise more, watch what you eat, etc and not lose any weight. I can imagine because that is what I have to do to gain weight. Yes, it is different in some ways but in other ways, its pretty darn similar.

Some people fight to lose just one pound. I fight to gain just one pound. It took me over a year to get back up to 109lbs. One year to gain 3 pounds!

I could go on and on for many more paragraphs but I will end it there. I just wanted to open up and talk about my side of the story. Don't look at me and judge, don't wish you could be skinny like me, don't blow off my health concerns or comments about weight because I'm skinny. It is not always an easy road.

We all have our struggles with weight, health and appearances. As women, we tend to focus so much on this in particular. Just please remember that the grass is not always greener on the other side, being skinny is not all its chalked up to be. And please, stop telling me you wish you could be skinny like me.

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for bravely sharing your perspective, Jenn. I love your acknowledgement that being underweight and being overweight really come with the same challenges. Working as a high school teacher, I see so many young girls trying to achieve an "ideal" (read: underweight) body type. I wish more of them knew that it's not the solution to their problems.

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  2. I wish more young girls could read this... My husband's 15y.o. adopted sister flip-flops from "dieting" - i.e. not eating a single thing but lettuce, to not caring and just being healthy. Like Tory mentioned, I wish more people (not just females) really understood the "ideal" body - its where YOU are happy.

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  3. Commenting on people's weight, whether it be the skinny or the overweight side, has become such a norm in our society. It makes me sad, because its not what counts! Thanks Jennie for sharing your side and reminding us how annoying it is to have people always imagining that skinny is better!

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  4. Very well said! I have a little girl that reminds me you :-)

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  5. Thank you for sharing. I hate that you have to deal with it. I have to admit, in the past, I probably would have been one of the people who said they wished they could be skinny like you, even when severely underweight. I had an eating disorder because I wanted that body, even though I'm not built that way. I wish more people realized that there is a difference between skinny and healthy. What is healthy for one person is not necessarily healthy for another.

    I hope you get to whatever weight you feel is healthy for you. :)

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  6. I'm always amazed that people feel they have a right to comment on a person's physical appearance - and people do it ALL the time! If you're fat, thin, short, tall, bald etc you are commented on. I would never do it - because I don't like it to happen to me and also because my mother stressed to me from a very early age that a) I mustn't stare at people and 2) I mustn't comment on how they look.

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  7. ((hugs)) Jenn, thanks for sharing that perspective!

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  8. I swear when I said I was jealous of your skinny body, I wasn't trying to imply that I "checked you out" lol, or that I wanted to be like you (but man, would I like to get in shape faster!) . . . but then when you shared your health struggles, it reaffirmed that skinny does.not.equal healthy.

    Our society is way too weight conscious, versus health conscious :/
    I commend you sharing this, and want to extend an apology for my ignorant comment in our PM's on TB. I have only the greatest respect and empathy for you, but am very sorry if I might have offended!

    - katigox

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