Skinny Shamed

Published July 18, 2016 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

 

“You need to eat a cheeseburger” is the “hi how are you” of 2016. Or at least the hello I’ve been getting lately and nothing makes me happier. I used to believe that the nicest thing you could say to me is “you look anorexic” but since that has become totally yet hideously unfairly un-pc – I’ll have to learn to live with the greeting – “you need to eat something.” It’s like music to my ears – and not just any music – but the greatest music there is. It’s a song that plays over and over in my head and says – you’re amazing – you did it – you look so thin that people are actually concerned about you. It’s like a lullaby that floats me into the happiest place on earth – a place where all of my skinny clothes fit and all of my fat clothes hang on me like I’m walking the runway at a Chanel show only I’m wearing a 28 dollar T shirt dress from Aritzia. Now, there is popular opinion that when you get to be my age – 163 – that you need a little meat on your bones and I say – that popular opinion was formed by someone who can’t get down to a size 2 once they’ve hit 50. People say that you look older when you’re too thin and I say – if my neck looked any older I’d be forced into a retirement living situation and that has nothing to do with my weight loss and has everything to do with my mom. I blame you for my neck mom. I’m okay that you didn’t let me wear slip on shoes until I was 16 – but a little warning and perhaps a couple of prevention tips on the old Clements head holder upper would have been super helpful. I have never hated a body part more than my neck and that includes a super wonky left boob that didn’t quite enjoy the breast reduction surgery as much as the right boob did. But the one thing I can control – or at least attempt to – is my weight. And so – finding myself with a few months of unexpected time off – I started working out – a lot – daily – sometimes twice a day – and the result has been – a tinier me. Yay! Sound the horns! Fire the fireworks! Shoot the canons! Tell the world I’m winning the weight loss game. And what do I get? A trophy? A congratulatory note? A parade thrown by all the people in all the land who know how hard it is to lose weight? No. I get “You’re too thin” – “You’re wasting away” and the favorite “You need to eat a cheeseburger” which is apparently the one food that is going to put weight on me the minute I shove it down my gullet. I’ve suddenly come to realize that there is a very real thing happening. It’s called Skinny Shaming – and while I look forward to it on a daily basis – it’s starting to become annoying.  I am being cursed for the hard work I do to maintain the weight I like to maintain to be happy in my life. Am I too thin? Perhaps. Could I use a corned beef sandwich and a coke? I’m not going to say no. But I’m not unhealthy and I’m not anorexic and I’m not puking my brains out on the side of the road after I polished off a large bag of Sour Patch kids or finished a bucket of buttered pop corn in the ladies room at the Arclight theater. I’m not saying I haven’t done either of those things in the past but I’m not doing that now. I am eating a very healthy diet of one salad a day mixed with two pints of halo top ice cream and if that’s not healthy I don’t know what is. I also eat a nectarine or two a day when I’m feeling frisky. Come on people – that’s a TON of food. I also still have a boatload of cellulite and bye bye arms and if you don’t know what those are it’s the underarm that keeps waving bye bye after you’ve stopped.  So I say to you – if I look too thin to you – I’m terribly sorry – but maybe you could look at it this way. I’m trying to get healthy so that I don’t break a hip because if I fall down no one is there to pick me up because I don’t’ have a husband or a boyfriend or a child because unlike you I’m all alone in the world and no one is around to take care of me if I’m fat and can’t wipe my own ass. And if that isn’t enough for you to understand why it’s important for me to be healthy and thin then look at it this way – I’ll be fat again any minute because as they say on GOT – winter is coming.

8 comments on “Skinny Shamed

  • As a fat man in a thin body, I completely identify with this post. I went vegetarian about six years ago and endured the, “where do you get protein”, “what do you eat when you go out”, “what can I feed you if you come to my house for dinner”, “why don’t you eat meat”, “don’t put any funny stuff (soy products) in MY food” (that last one from my most recent ex-wife) questions. When I decided at the end of 2014 to get rid of 60 pounds of extra weight (240, if you count the ex-wife), people started the, “are you sick”, “you don’t look well”, questions. Now, after 1 1/2 years of mindful eating and regular exercise, I finally get complements. I have had a new lady in my life for 9 months (she likes my body and the way I eat), but we live in separate states, so the real risk of a trip-and-fall is an ever present good reason for keeping off excess weight and keeping up the strength and balance exercises. I enjoy yoga four times a week and bicycling two to three times a week, with rowing and scuba sprinkled on top. It won’t erase all too many years of careless overeating and sedentary lifestyle, but it will help. I’m 69 years of age, so it’s never too late to get started. Thank you, Heidi, for all your insightful and painfully honest posts. You inspire (and entertain) us all.

  • Hi! I’m 26 and my whole life people skinny shame me. I’m from Puerto Rico (sorry if I don’t write English understandable), so because Puerto Rico is in the Caribbean I was supposed to born “curvy”. Since a teenager I feel ashamed of my body, and I try and try to gain weight, but I just can’t… All the time I get comments about my weight. i remember one time that I was in Haiti after the earthquake of 2010 and I posted a photo on Facebook with this little girl, and someone comment: “You are helping you or her, because you look so skinny…”, I was like look man you had no shame.

    So I want to say thank you for this entry, because every once in a while we need to remember that the only thing it matters its how we feel with ourselves.

    Hugs.

    -N

    • hi nicole! i am so sorry it took me so long to respond but i can only do that on my home computer and i haven’t been able to get to it for days Thank you so much for your response. You are a very lucky girl to be naturally thin but it will always make every other woman around you jealous and there isn’t much you can do about that except continue to love yourself and know that fear and hatred makes people do and say some fucked up shit. i developed breasts when I was ten years old and people made so much fun of them because I was so young that I hid them my whole life and finally had a breast reduction two years ago. I’m sure if people had been kinder to me I wouldn’t have hated my own boobs so much. Anyway – I’m 55 now and keeping weight off is very hard and I work extremely hard doing it and all i get is grief from everyone about being to skinny. Well screw everyone cause I look amazing. xoxo

  • Most people consider me to be thin-fit, and I feel good in the body I have. I say “most people” because my doctors for the past couple of decades have routinely gotten out their tables, and told me that I’m 15 pounds or so over the “maximum medically-ideal weight” for my sex, height, and age and I should lose some weight. Whenever I’ve been anywhere near that magical maximum number the doctors say I should be, the regular people I encounter, those who don’t refer to morbidity tables or medical books, say that I’m way too thin and look unhealthy. The C-word tends to come up.

    Honestly, I don’t think that it’s thin shaming you’re getting from others, but real concern for your health. That said, I acknowledge that people can be blunt and insensitive in those expressions of concern. I mean, imagine if everyone you encountered who carries some extra weight you told to “lay off the ice cream” or “eat one fewer cheeseburger at each sitting”. Meaning well doesn’t mean that these people commenting on your shape or size aren’t being obnoxious.

    If your doctor says you’re healthy, go with that. If your doctor says that you need to put on some weight, heed that advice. Being underweight offers far more health risks than being overweight does. A week’s bout of influenza (not unlikely in any given year) can easily result in losing 10 pounds. If you’re overly thin to begin with, that ten pounds can mean the difference between full recovery and organ failure.

    • thank you for all of your thoughtful responses to my blog. they are so well written and insightful which is sort of the opposite of my blog. I exaggerate a lot for comedic purposes so you should know to take everything i say with a grain of salt – that said – i’m far from underweight. People are just jealous. The end. no organ failure here. Just a failure for people to understand how my body works. thanks for reading!!

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