The Skinny On My Skinny

I’ve found over the years (and I’m twenty-six so I suppose my problem weight years are ahead of me), that the key to losing pounds is to not let yourself get bored, to be so stressed out you physically can’t eat, and to develop an ulcer. It would be funny if I was kidding. I’m not. I didn’t say I had the healthiest weight-loss strategy, I just said it was key. However, the real focus should be on health, not weighing the ideal 125 pounds and then losing an extra ten because it’s the cool thing to do.

Recently everyone says I’m so skinny, including the woman who spoke very little English who was giving me a manicure. Really awkward. Would you tell a stranger they look fat? Hopefully not, so why comment on my skinny? These comments don’t make me feel good, because there is such a thing as being unhealthy at a healthy weight. It’s not like I’m training for a marathon and doing yoga every night. I’m just suffering from very bad stress-induced acid reflux. It’s far less admirable, and I’m not proud. It’s even embarrassing to go out to eat, because I’ll have to leave whole plates of food sitting in front of me. It makes me look like I’m one of those girls who doesn’t eat, when in reality, I really really want to finish the enchilada, but I can’t because my throat closes off from acid or I just feel nauseous.

I obviously need to learn stress management, and I’m working on it. But our culture is one that praises skinny. I get compliments for being unhealthy, and that’s a problem. It makes me wonder if I should even try to get better and learn to eat normal portions again. I know no one knows about my issue (until now), but we as a society idolize super-thin and demonize obese. There’s a book called “Skinny Bitch,” about being vegan, and I became vegan for a week after reading it a few years ago. Not because my doctor told me to lose weight or stop eating meat; because I read a popular book that told me only frat boys drink beer and eat hamburgers. We all need to snap out of it, stop obsessing over weight, and just learn to be healthy humans again.

I suppose I’m grateful I don’t eat everything in sight when I’m stressed, but the not eating when you’re stressed is just as bad. Back in the day, plump was in because being skinny meant you were poor and couldn’t afford food. Now that food is so available for most of us, we like skinny because it means you have self-control. Or something. So instead of trying to look like starving actresses and models, why don’t we strive to be healthy? If I manage to get rid of my acid-reflux and gain ten pounds, I’ll take it. I’m too clumsy to be walking runways anytime soon, so who do I need to impress? We’re all different heights and sizes, so how can our culture make us think we should all fit into a size 6? It makes no sense, and it’s impossible. Find out what your ideal healthy weight is by asking a doctor and strive for that. Or throw your scale away and just aim to have healthy vitals. As long as we don’t have high blood pressure or cholesterol, and we feel good, who cares what society says we should look like?

Healthy diet means not eating processed foods, limiting your portions, not eating late at night, drinking water instead of diet soda or juice, and eating stuff that makes you feel honestly good (more energy, no tummy aches, such as non-greasy things that grow in the ground and are not concocted in a factory). Once you give the crap up for enough time, you don’t even crave it, because you know it will make you kinda sick. It’s not like you can’t ever splurge on an ice cream sundae or your grandma’s pie. You just can’t do it multiple times a week. And restaurant portions could honestly feed a family. You really shouldn’t eat the whole plate, so screw manners. Taking the leftovers home saves you money on your next meal and keeps you from getting obese. Win-win.

Diets are like religion. They try to control the masses: they attract cult followings for awhile and then people start wandering away in search of something better. There’s not one that’s right for everyone, but if you find something right for you, that’s great. Common sense is my diet recommendation, but again, I have an eating problem so take that with a grain of salt. Or no salt. Whatever works.

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