Yes, I’m “thin” “skinny” “little” – however you want to put it. In a country full of “obese” “fat” “big” people, this seems to be quite a conversation starter.. or rather, an open invitation for people to say what I am or can do because I’m skinny. I know – tough life being thin! But seriously, would you want to be told 50,000x a week things about yourself that aren’t even true just because you’re thin? It’s no different than assuming because someone is overweight he/she doesn’t work out, eats fast food all of the time, etc. So I’m here to debunk some “You’re so thin” myths.
Just because I’m “skinny”…
DOESN’T mean I can eat whatever I want.
I hear this one all of the time and it’s probably the most annoying. “Oooh, you’re so skinny. You can just eat whatever you want. You just have that metabolism.” I can only tell you this isn’t true because the truth is I don’t eat just whatever I want. Our house is not full of junk food. Growing up the house was never full of junk food and I guess this just sort of spilled over. We had the typical cookies and ice cream, but this was a treat and having cookies meant having only 2. A really great day meant we got 3! How exciting! My mom and I were laughing the other day about these Friendly’s Ice Cream single cups she used to buy my sister and I once in a while as a special treat. They were vanilla ice cream and one side had peanut butter on top and one side had chocolate fudge with M&Ms. They’re probably terribly high in sugar and fat and calories, but this was such a rarity in our home my sister and I would make it last as long as possible. What would have taken many about 10 minutes to eat we would spread out over 4 days. Only a quarter today, a quarter tomorrow. The peanut butter today, the rest of the ice cream tomorrow. We were by no means deprived of sweet treats, but our parents really controlled our intake and these sweet treats weren’t used as “snacks”.
So what do I eat? First off – breakfast. I’m not talking a breakfast bar or granola bar with 26g of sugar. Eggs, Greek yogurt, cereal (not something super-sugary), and always with a piece of fruit. We cook a lot and always have a vegetable. I pack my lunch every day. However, currently Kevin and I are working on portion sizes. I’ve been telling him for about 2 years that our portions are too big and we have been working on correcting that. There you go – myth debunked. I can’t eat whatever I want. I try to make smart choices when it comes to eating, choosing things that are nutritious and yummy, but not beating myself up forever if I splurge and eat a candy bar.
DOESN’T mean I don’t have to exercise.
However, I don’t exercise just so I don’t gain weight. I find it to be a great stress reliever. I get really bogged down and tired when I don’t exercise and I like using the time to clear my head. Just like anyone else, if I completely stopped exercising I would start to see some weight gain.
DOESN’T mean I exercise a ridiculous amount of hours a week.
30 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week. I have just as much to do as anyone else. There are plenty of people that spend more time than that and also have a ton of stuff to do. The point is, you can’t determine the amount of time a person spends exercising by how they look. Myth debunked – skinny people don’t necessarily live in the gym. (This may be true for some, so this is only debunked for me personally.)
DOESN’T mean that when you see me eating a chocolate I’m an unhealthy person.
Perhaps this is where the eat-whatever-you-want thing comes from, but I make a daily effort to eat healthy. No “trendy” diets, no counting calories, carbs, etc., just trying to eat balanced meals. So if I decide I want a cookie or candy bar I’m going to have it. It doesn’t mean I’m unhealthy because I’m not on the same crazy diet as you and am eating a cupcake. Most people I know that are on some trend diet don’t even need to be, but it’s like if they don’t have someone telling them how to eat they just don’t know how to eat healthy. Myth debunked: I like sweets too, so if I want one I’m going to eat them. Don’t worry, I still have my veggies with dinner.
DOESN’T mean it’s any easier to motivate myself to exercise.
It is just as tough for me to get motivated to the gym as everyone else. I work 40 hours a week and would love to just go home, put on some sweats, curl up on the couch and watch TV (especially during these Mid-West winters!). I have things to do around the house too, I have dinner to cook, laundry to do, etc. The big difference is, like all those other people in the gym with me, I just go and get it done. For some working out in the morning and showering at the gym before work is what they like. I like evening workouts. I get changed at work and am at the gym by around 5:30. I work out for about 30 minutes. Then I head home, shower, cook dinner, eat, clean up… and by then it’s about 8pm. Yeah, pretty much my whole evening is gone – but that’s my routine and it’s what I like/am used to. I do give myself a break – I never work out on Monday and generally give myself one other night off during the 5 day week. But going to the gym and actually doing the work is tough. I’ve been paying extra for a trainer twice a month just to be sure I get a good workout in and am pushing myself. So another myth debunked – I want to go home and sit on the couch as much as the next person.
DOESN’T mean I can wear anything in the store / am a size 2.
Guess what! Clothes are made just as they’re sized – small, medium, and large. It means the clothes get bigger and bigger in a baggy way. The new style are those tent sleeves that actually hurts my figure more than flatters it. I have just as much trouble shopping for clothes as anyone else. If it’s right in the waist it doesn’t fit in the butt, if it fits in the butt it’s too tight in the waist. Don’t even get me started about tops – I am well endowed and that’s a whole other “Just because I’m” post. The only outfit that has been easy to shop for was my wedding gown. Myth debunked – clothing stores don’t carry clothes that are actually sewn to fit body shapes so skinny or fat, it’s a frustrating and annoying experience.
DOESN’T mean it’s in my genes.
“It’s in your genes, you’re lucky.” My mom and dad have always been on the thinner side, but there are definitely people in my extended family from both sides that are not thin. I’m lucky to have grown up with family members that are active. I can remember a few extended-family softball games in the yard of my cousin’s house and one volleyball game in high school at the same spot. I have a lot of memories of being outside with my cousins (post on that later to come as I’ve been thinking about all those things lately!). Myth debunked – just because I’m thin doesn’t mean the rest of my family is due to some magical gene.
DOESN’T mean I will be forever.
It really irks me when an older woman that has had a kid or two talks about how skinny I am. Hey lady, I haven’t had any kids yet! I can guarantee you my body will change post-kids, just like everyone else’s. Plus, I’m in my 20s… my metabolism will start to slow down, my hormones will change. Weight gain is inevitable. It doesn’t mean I will stop making healthy choices, but it is the reality that the figure I have now may not be the one I have forever.
So please oh please, the next time you see someone that is “skinny” “thin” “little” “fit” – don’t assume that he/she is just “naturally” that way and lives some unfair magical life where every thing comes easy and he/she doesn’t have any cares in the world. Don’t assume that person goes into a clothing store and everything just magically fits. Don’t assume that the person doesn’t struggle with overeating, or has never been overweight before. Don’t tell that person, even jokingly, that you “hate” how skinny they are or how easy it is for them. And if you see me… please, don’t make any of the above statements. Just because I’m skinny doesn’t mean I live the life you think I do.