Photo taken from weheartit.comThis isn't the typical type of post from me today, It's a somewhat controversial post, that I hope plenty of you can sink your teeth into (do not bite too hard, this is not a debate).
Let me start by saying that I am 5ft4" and weigh 7st5lb (if you are unsure of these measurments, by all means convert them yourself) and have been the same height and weight for 2 years. Before I hit puberty, I'm pretty sure you would have taken one look at me and said "She is WAY too thin", and let me tell you, I was. I was 5ft4" before I even sprouted boobies, hips and bottom and I looked HIDEOUS. I would look in the mirror and despise what I saw.
"why don't I have boobs like my friends do?" "why do all my bones poke out at every angle?" "where are my hips?" "why am I so skinny?"
I absolutely HATED it. I'd also like to point out, I in no way, shape, or form have ever had an eating disorder, those of you who know me, will know I eat whenever I like and whatever I like. Even then, I ate like a normal 14/15 year old girl. Pizzas, Burgers, Chips, Mcdonalds, Fizzy drinks. I ate no less than the average kid...yet why was I so incredibly skinny? The answer here is simply "Metabolism". My metabolism is what i'd like to call "super metabolism". For those of you who don't know what metabolism is, it's basically a chemical reaction that happens in all your living organisms to help maintain life, in non scientific forms, the rate at which your body burns calories and breaks down fat. Having a high metabolism means that it is impossible for me to put on weight, and maintain it. My body breaks down fat and burns calories at a stupidly fast rate. Now I know for a fact, that many of you will be reading this thinking "Shut up Zoe, I'd absolutely LOVE to have a high metabolism"..but let me tell you, it's not all it's cracked up to be. Whilst going through my teen stages of being a skinny bean pole, it had serious affect on the way I saw myself and the way others saw me. It's pretty steriotypical that the fat kid in class doesn't want to get into a swimming costume or be seen getting undressed for P.E, or get bullied or called names. I felt exactly the same way. I hated having to go swimming as people would point and stare at me for being so skinny, I'd hate having to get undressed and I did get called things and when I tried to put on weight, it was absolutely impossible. It also made me feel like crap. Think the reverse of a diet. I was essentially eating shit, crap, fatty foods to try and put weight on, therefore feeling groggy, tired and miserble.
You always hear about larger people going through a tough time trying to lose weight, slim people can go through just as much of a tough time trying to put it on, but nobody ever really thinks of that.
"Are you anorexic", "you need to put some weight on", "You are a bag of bones", "why are you so boney", "why are you so skinny", "get some meat on your bones", "are you okay?"
All this you would kind of expect from curious school children, but what astonishes me, is that people still ask me these things. People I don't know. Quite strange as I now have boobs (of a generous size), hips, and wobbly bottom (yes, it wobbles...Just being honest haha) and I have filled out quite noticeably. Yet people still think it's okay to say these things? Would you say these things to someone who was noticeably larger than the average person?
"Are you obese?", "You need to lose weight", "You are a big bag of fat", "why are you so fat?", "You need to get some meat off those bones of yours", "Are you..okay?"
No. You just wouldn't would you. So why is it acceptable to ask a skinny person questions of the same criteria? Do you think it doesn't affect them the same way it would someone who was fat?
I was at the doctors 2 days ago, getting my prescription contraceptive pill, and as a standard procedure every few years, they weigh me, and check my height; just so they have the most recent details as possible. I had a different nurse than I normally do, and she made me feel really awkward and a bit, down. She measured me fine,
"Oh, 5ft4, yep, you're exactly the same height".
But when it came to weighing me, she made me feel very uncomfortable.
"When was the last time you weighed yourself? Recently?"
"No, I never weigh myself"
"Okay, well, if it's okay with you, I'm going to weigh you, you don't have to look"
Now I felt confused. Why wouldn't I want to look? I don't care what I weigh, but this nurse clearly thought I did.
"No, it's fine, I don't care about looking"
"Okay great...just step on then...hmmm"
"You're the same weight exactly"
"Oh really! Okay"
"Yeh...are both your parents very skinny?"
"er..yeh they are actually"
She was now looking at me with concern.
"Okay, well, your BMI is lower than it should be"
"I know, it always has been"
"Oh okay...well, keep your eye on that"
I then walked away thinking, "had this been someone with a BMI that was slightly over average, would she have asked the same questions?", would she have asked "Are both your parents fat?"
I hate that we have a BODY MASS INDEX, that we must all live by? Who decides what BMI we should be anyway? Who cares if i'm "slightly" below average, who cares if you're slightly above it? As long as you feel happy in the skin you are in, is that not all that matters? Yes, I may seem smaller and skinnier than the average person, but I'm happy at the moment. If I put on any weight (which is impossible for me to do anyway) I'm almost sure it would all just go on my face and bottom. If I was to exercise, I'd be even skinnier, which as a result, means I'm incredibly unfit. Seriously, I'll run up a flight of stairs and need to down a litre of water and catch my breath for 5 minutes. How bad is that?
There are still things I absolutely hate about my body, and they won't change. I hate my hands. Who wants boney, old lady, veiny hands? haha. I also hate my legs, It's pretty impossible for me to put on weight, but for some reason, any weight I do carry, is everywhere BUT my legs. Skinny little ankles and shapeless legs anyone? I am however, much more content with the way I am at the moment. I still wish I could be a little bigger, but I have the joy of being able to scoff a whole tub of ben and jerrys and not have to worry. Trust me though, my skin and organs probabaly do not appreciate this, and I'm very unhealthy. You won't ever catch me eating a bowl of salad or nuts & raisins. I am almost sure my metabolism will not stay this way forever, it will all catch up with me, and then my decade of eating rubbish food, and having little exercise will probabaly result in me waking up and being 10x bigger. Think "Shallow Hal".
I recently got upset by someone I hardly know, in fact they may aswell have been a stranger, approaching me and saying "Zoe, you are SO skinny". For a start...how the hell do you even respond to something like that? I think I just stood with my mouth open, wondering what on earth made it okay to say something like that? What was going on in this persons mind? I eventually just walked away. Sometimes saying nothing is the best thing to do. This person then returned to say "You need to put some weight on..no seriously". C'mon? Really? I was firstly very embarassed, and secondly gutted. Would this person have said the same thing to a fat person? Nope. Because calling someone fat is seen as an insult, but calling someone out to be too skinny...is apparently acceptable? I think commenting on anybodies weight is unnaceptable. Who are you to judge someone by the size of them?
"That person is fat, they must eat nothing but mcdonalds and sit on their arse all day"
"That person is skinny, she probably has an eating disorder and needs help"
It's really not fair. Nobody ever takes into account genes, metabolism, bone structure, medical problems. There are thousands or reasons people are how they are, and why people are the size they are. The above statements may be true in some cases, but for the majority, it's probabaly not.
So, is calling someone skinny really acceptable? Or, do you agree with me that it's just as insensitive as calling someone fat? As as naturally skinny person, I can tell you that it's not very nice being called out for being "too skinny", especially as i tried so hard to put weight on, and wanted so desperately to be "of average size" as I was growing up. It's a bit of a touchy subject but one I wanted to address. I get a weird amount of people asking me my height and weight, and a part of me thinks they are trying to suss out if im underweight in a very sly and kinda creepy way. So now at least i've answered that for you...weirdos. ;)
Moral of the story here though, is that I don't really think it's ever acceptable to comment on anybody's weight, skinny or fat. Why should you ever be allowed an opinion on someone else's body or way of life? You can think it in your head, but the minute you open your mouth it becomes very dangerous, that is of course unless you are opening your mouth to give a compliment, by all means do this. haha. If YOU are happy with the way you look, that's all that matters, and if you aren't, chances are you are doing something about it and working towards something you know you will make you happy.
Everybody is different, and nobody is perfect. It would be a very boring place if this wasn't the case.