I see it everywhere, and you see it everywhere, too: people wishing they were thinner. Wishing they were skinny. Better skinny than fat, they think. If only they were skinny, they’d feel so much better, people would like them, they’d get a boyfriend/girlfriend, nobody would think they were lazy slobs just because of their weight… You’d think that being skinny is the best possible thing in the world.
I’ve had a few pounds too many, and I’ve also had a few pounds too little. Neither was fun.
DISCLAIMER: my weight never actually endangered my health (it never got that far in either direction), this is not a health article, and I’m not a doctor, so if you need medical assistance, please please contact a medical professional. Or a nutritionist, if that’s who you need.
At one point, I had 50 kilos. A bit on the skinny side, but still normal. Then my cholesterol got high, and my doctor put me on a diet. Nothing drastic, no starving or anything, just reducing the amount of certain types of food. The diet lasted a month, my cholesterol got back to normal. I lost half a kilo per week, nothing abnormal about that.
Except that it was too much, and definitely made me skinny. As in, ribs sticking out. Sometimes it felt as if my ribs were going to tear my skin from the inside — not exactly a comfortable feeling. Certain positions, either sitting or laying down, were uncomfortable because of that. The look didn’t bother me; it amused me (I’m not easily bothered by how I look), but I was aware that I didn’t look exactly healthy.
Actually, it was sort of fun. Some people kept asking if I was fine, even though I kept assuring them that I was (well, other than the occasional discomfort because of my own bones threatening to rip through my skin, or at least that’s what it felt like). It was also sort of fun how I didn’t seem to gain any weight, even though, after the diet, I started eating ice cream and other sugary stuff again (not in a great amount, though).
That’s when I realized that, after my weight dropped below a certain point, gaining just a few pounds would take quite a while. My body just didn’t seem to get any additional weight, didn’t seem to completely integrate what I put in it.
After a while, I did get back to 50 kilos, and then I got a couple of kilos more. But it took months to get back to 50. Months. Not exactly a healthy body response, is it?
While I was more amused by that situation than anything else, I’m aware that it was a bit unhealthy. Yeah, I was skinny. Not model-thin (whoa, creepy!), but skinny. And it wasn’t the way some people imagine it would be. There was mild entertainment, but not really a lot of fun. And there was discomfort. Physical discomfort.
If I had to choose whether to be overweight or skinny, I’d chose neither. Neither was fun. Healthy weight (whatever that may be in your particular case) is fun. Healthy weight makes you feel good.
And if someone keeps telling you that you should be skinny, and that your life would be great then? They have no idea what they’re talking about, or they have an agenda — either way, the best you could get by listening to them is discomfort.
As cheesy as it may sound, moderation is the key.