My Pant Size Doesn't Make Me Anorexic
A few years ago, I was sitting in the waiting room of a cancer facility. I was there to see my blood doctor about my Factor V but no one in the waiting room could have known that.
Sitting across from me were two older women who decided to have a conversation about MY weight. As they spoke to each other, they discussed how I was “too skinny” and how unhealthy they thought I must be.
Yes, it was quite obvious I could hear them. I chose not to waste my time responding because what kind of person do you have to be to bash a complete stranger about her weight in the waiting room of a cancer center? They weren’t worth my time. But over the last few months, I’ve been thinking about that moment because of the comments I’ve seen on my Facebook feed about how women who wear a size 0 are “bulimic” or look like “an adolescent.” I’ve seen comments about how “curvy is best” and how women who are too skinny need a “bag to throw up in.”
I get it. We are surrounded every day by the “perfect idea” of what a woman “should be.” If you look at ads, billboards and magazine covers, these perfect women are clearly tall and lean, probably a size 0 standing at 5’10". They have perfectly-shaped noses, a clear and smooth complexion, long necks, pouty lips, busty on the top but with a thin waist. This is all real, right?
Okay so we all know that Photoshop has a lot to do with this (but if this describes you, that’s okay, too). And thankfully, people are starting to be more cognizant of how unrealistic that is. Everyone has flaws. Everyone has perfection. God made us beautiful and unique. Some of us have curves, some of us don’t. It’s refreshing to see women become more accepting of their unique bodies and calling BS on this “perfect ideal.”
I love that we’re seeing beauty in all sizes, but somewhere along the way, calling BS on this unrealistic ideal of beauty apparently meant putting down women who are, shall we say, thin. Skinny. Anything smaller than a size 6. According to my Facebook feed, being a size 4 or smaller means “skinny” women are anorexic, or they MUST be throwing up in order to fit in their jeans, or they look like they have bodies of children.
At what point did we decide as a society that it’s not okay to put down a woman for being curvy but it’s totally okay to throw out an eating disorder diagnosis to women for being on the smaller side? Or how about putting down women for having the gall to <gasp> work out! Especially if they’re moms! It’s as if taking care of their health and being good to their bodies suddenly means they neglect their children! Just ask the internet moms out there because they know everything and they don’t mind telling you so.
At (almost) 5’2”, I’ve always been a small person, but I haven’t always been a fit person. There is a BIG difference between skinny and fit. In fact, I’m in much better shape now that I work out four times a week (a whopping 30 minutes a day) then when I never worked out and actually weighed five pounds less than I do now. I was “skinny” but I wasn’t in shape. That didn’t make me anorexic though.
While I’m honestly quite sick and tired of people putting down skinny gals to build up curvy gals, what irritates me more is that we’re missing the entire point: healthy is the best look and option for everyone. We need to stop putting down petite people to build up those who aren't shaped that way just like body shaming curvy people isn't okay either.
Here are the health risks with being “too thin,” according to the Center for Advanced Medicine:
Being too thin can keep you from having a regular menstrual cycle and can cause you to miscarry or keep you from conceiving children altogether.
Likewise, men who are too thin can have problems with sperm and fertility.
A certain amount of body fat is needed to prevent osteoporosis.
MS is more common in thin people.
Body fat helps dilute toxins in the body.
Being too thin can weaken the immune system and cause inflammation.
Depression is found in a higher percentage of underweight people.
And just as there are health risks for being underweight, those who caution about being overweight have good reason to do so. Like,
Heart disease and stroke.
High blood pressure.
Breathing issues and sleep problems.
And let's keep in mind that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S.
So the next time you want to have an argument over whether being too skinny makes someone bulimic, unattractive or “childlike,” what we really need to be discussing is whether someone is healthy – not what size their jeans are.