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March 05, 2012


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I couldn't refrain from commenting. Well written!

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You can not talk weight with me any time you want. I didn't get that voice out of my head until about five years ago, either, even though I was writing the entire time about my eating disordered past. I was never the skinny one naturally. It takes a lot of energy to worry about one's weight, though, and a lot of that energy in my life would be better used pointed outward instead of inward. Still, everything you say about how we got this way is true. I hope it won't be like that for Q, M, B & L.

I'm thin. If I'm stressed and don't eat healthily and regularly, I get underweight. I've spent years trying to put weight ON, and really wish people who'd like to loose weight would stop telling me to "Have another piece fo cake" because I "need it" in order for themselves to feel better about having another piece. I'd never, ever tell them to eat less, so why is it OK for them to tell me to eat more?

Awesome post! I was always the skinny one in my family, while my sister was very overweight. Thankfully, she accepted that her weight was due to spending too much time in front of the boob-tube and bought herself a treadmill. She now eats healthy meals and walks when she watches tv for long stretches. I'm so proud of her! Now, if someone would get on the cases of all these clothing manufacturers to have some sort of sizing standard, we'd be all set!

By the way, I awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award! You can check it out at http://coffeewithcheryl.com/1835/the-versatile-blogger-award/

I have lost 135 pounds in the past year and I still have a long way to go. But I can finally do things like walk my kids to school and put on a seatbelt and breathe at night without worrying that I will suffocate to death. And you are so right about how deadly this issue can be for many. My best friend in high school was the tall, skinny one and she dealt with issues too. I was always 15 lbs overweight in high school and she was probably 15 lbs under. But we both had to deal with the mental issues that went along with it. I didn't deal with mine very well over the years eating all my cares away through my husband leaving me, my mom dying, losing my job etc. But I finally decided like you that there has to be a voice of reason in the mix. And I'm finally getting my life back. Thank you so much for shedding the light on this!

Thank you. SO many times in my life I've dealt with rude comments and snark due to my weight. Yes, I'm skinny. No, I didn't do this to make you mad. No, I don't deserve to be treated unfairly due to my genetics. Turning the tables around because of the spite against overweight people doesn't make it okay to do it to me because I'm underweight. That's hypocrisy.

I wrote something very similar very recently. However, despite my best intentions of really wanting it to be true I can't seem to make myself not care. Intellectually, I understand that it's not relevant. That it's damaging to constantly be comparing and coveting and beating yourself up about how much you weigh. In the same token I ate Chipotle for lunch and Chinese for dinner and felt undeniable guilt, but it didn't stop me. Nor will it stop me from likely making another bad decision tomorrow. I've lost the weight before. After my first pregnancy. But I know how hard I had to work for it. I know how difficult it was. And I loved everyday how I looked at my ideal weight. Yet, I'm just not willing to work that hard this time. At all. Yet, I continue to want that ideal body without any of the work attached. And so I struggle.

Such a good post. It's an issue that is with us all the time and drives me up the wall at times. So much waster time and energy when we should all really live and let live. Why so much pressure to be a certain size?

The post was so good in fact that I wrote a post on my blog and pointed my readers here. So thank you for getting the debate going again on this important issue and, yes, wouldn't it be nice if we could stop our daughters having to worry about this through their lives.

Thanks and best wishes

Fist bump Katie -- to liberation for all of us.

Oh woman, this is such a hot topic for me. I cringed just SEEING the words "size 8" as I know that is really out of my reach and deep down I'm jealous of anyone under a size 12. My weight is all that keeps me down. It's like my self esteem is dependant on being in the single sized digits. I HATE that about myself. The fact that my size 14/16 self can't just let it be pisses me off more than the actual size itself! I eat healthy, I hardly workout, but I chase an 8 year old and a walking toddler and the laundry. I find my 8 year old inspecting herself in the mirror at ballet class, carefully comparing herself to the girls to her right and left, and I slap myself for ever making fat jokes about myself in front of her. Because she is just as she should be! And so when she tells me she thinks she's fat because she has a little bit of a belly, I tell her she's NOT fat, and that if she isn't pleased with herself, that we can Zumba together in the living room. I don't want her to count calories as I do, or to sneak eat, as I have, or to have an eating disorder to be and stay a size 5 when she's 20, as I did. Your post just hammers home the fact that I need to let go of my obsession and just LIVE and LOVE who I am, because my weight does not define me. I'm beautiful dammit!!!

On the flip side, I've always been the fat one. Healthy eating and exercising were never encouraged or modeled for me. Now, after 2 kids, I'm *finally* taking control of my weight in a healthy way. And trying to model healthy eating and and active lifestyle for my boys, so they don't have to fight the same battles with food and weight that I have. So, my 3-year-old knows that I go to the gym every day. And when he asks why, I NEVER have and NEVER will say "to be skinny." My answer is that exercise helps keep my healthy. And I want to stay healthy so I have the energy to play with him. And he accepts that. At school, he learns about the importance of "growing foods" and exercising for a healthy heart. And we reinforce that at home.

It seems that we live in a society where health and fitness have been completely separated from looks. We prize being thin and looking good, even at the expense of our health. I want my kids to be healthy and strong. And I will do my best to model that for them. Weight is off limits as a topic of conversation. Skinny or fat are words I will not use around my kids.

The 30 lbs I've lost since my second son was born. I'm damn proud of that. But I'm more proud of myself when I see my average speed on a bike ride increase, when I kick butt in spin class, when I feel awesome during a swim workout in the pool, when I finish a 5K and check my watch and realize I set a personal best. That's what it's all about. Those 30 lbs. are just a bonus :-)

I'm surrounded by women (moms) who will go to crazy lengths to be very thin. Its all they talk about and think about. And, good gravy, Facebook about.

I don't think weight should control a person's life. I'd rather keep these 10 pounds than get to that obsessive place that I see a lot of women in. I'd rather eat dessert every once in awhile than be a size six.

I've finally had to realize that I am no longer the same size I was when I was 22/23 and running a whole bunch. And? I'm okay with it.

As long as I try to be active and eat healthy (enough) and feel good about myself....I'm happy.

I can agree with this. I was the skinny kid. Then all of a sudden, I wasn't. And I thought that meant I was horribly fat. I mean, I had gained enough to finally get over 100 lbs when I got the freshman 15! It's ridiculous that I had to feel fat because so many people used to tell me how skinny I was and now they weren't. It's silly, it's ridiculous and it's oh-so-horribly defining. I will never be able to look in the mirror and see the person other people see. ButI hope that I can atleast be happy with the person I do see.

All weight talk needs to go precisely because it objectifies the person and takes away the fact they they ARE A PERSON.

I used to be a skinny young person, but now I'm not a skinny mom. I'm way healthier as a size 14 than I ever was a size 4 because back then I ate pretty much nothing but Taco Bell and chips and never exercised a bit. But now people might think I'm unhealthy because of how I look, but no, now I eat well and move and feel a thousand times better. I just have genes that say you turn into a sturdy European matron upon the first pregnancy. My doctor wants me to have a STABLE weight, not any particular weight. That's what actual research (not diet companies' studies) say about your weight, you want stable, not necessarily small.

Health at Every Size is a great resource and it defines health separate from size. I want my kids to be strong and healthy, and never self-criticizing about their weight, high or low.

There's so much I could say about this post, but basically it comes down to, "Yeah, I hear you."

Weight (and body size) has been my "thing" for over 20 years—and it's amazing to me that after 20 years, I can still find myself in a place where the size and quality of my body seems like the most important thing. I know so much better, and yet... I believe in health at any size, and yet...

I have decided, however, that worrying about weight is just WAY too cliche for my children.

When my boys ask for more chips or more ice cream, and whine "Whyyyyyyy not?", "Because it makes you faaaaaaat." has been on the tip of my tongue more than once. Tempting, and not untrue.

But I bite my tongue and talk about healthy foods and why they're important for growing up big and strong. I don't want to instill weight issues and the idea that fat = bad in my sons, anymore than I would want that for daughters.

I'm an adult, and I still have to check my own attitude. Not infrequently, either, I'm sad to admit.

"who look better when they "would just eat a sandwich already.""
Ugh, so annoying to hear sh*t like this. At 5'1" and 93lbs (well, before becoming pregnant!), I could never tell people that I exercise or eat healthy or try to live a healthy lifestyle because they would ask "why?", as if all skinny people should sit on their bottom all day and eat junk.

The BEST thing we can all do is encourage HEALTHY lifestyles and not focus on scales and looks.

Thank you for this...I remember the days when I could wear a six--I've never been the skinny one--I had always been the athletic one. I have always been the not skinny one and okay with that because I wasn't the fat one. Now I am. I have come to grips with that. I stop getting on the scale and have admitted that I'll never be a six and someday I will jump for joy to be a 12 (average). I have PCOS and it makes it really really hard to lose weight. And I'm 40--that makes it even harder. But like skin color, weight has to stop mattering. We have to stop making it so important and a way we judge people.

I hear some girls talk about weight and being skinny at age 5 and think--this isn't what it important. We talk to our kids about being healthy and making healthy choices and not about weight.

It's especially hard when it's your mother whose dialog with you was always, "You don't need to eat that." and "Oh! You look SO skinny!" (Eyes bright with pride.) And my favorite, "Oh, Karen. I spent all that money on diets and NOW look!" (insert disappointed face (here))

The message was clear to me from early puberty: Thin = good. Fat = bad.

It's made me especially conscious of the conversation I engage in with my kids about thin/fat/healthy/unhealthy. It took getting married (liked me any way!) and having babies (look what my body can do! Dang!) to understand that my body was so much more than a display.

This is another of those posts destined to hang in my closet. I recently lost 30 pounds. I'd been saving pants that I adored before kids and finally, they were the right size. But they didn't fit. Mostly because of changes in style but also because I had two huge kids. I was crushed. About pants. I ate my feelings and gained. Not a lot but enough to piss me off, and to make me see that I love myself more than those pants.

Yes, to you and to Laurie, for me and for my daughter. Hitting "print" now.

Thank you for this. I have been struggling my whole life with this and I am trying to find a better way as this is not something I want my daughter to feel.

This. This entire post. It's like you were inside my head and pulled it out. Just substitute tall and ballerina for mid height and runner. The specifics don't matter. What matters is I'm finally making peace with how I look and hoping desperately to teach my children the same skill along the way. You and Laurie are smart peoples.

I am still so vigilant about how my clothes are fitting and how I feel. I don't want to care, don't want to create a self-destructive template for my 3 girls. Lately I have begun to feel a softening every so often, a forgiveness for not being 22.

This, as always Kristen, so eloquently gives voice to what many of us are experiencing.

My issues started when I was still in middle school. One girl told me I was too thin and that "without an ass boys will never like you." Then, at home, my dad would joke about how I had no boobs, only "scrambled eggs" or "mosquito bites". I stayed thin until college, where I gained the freshman 30. Now, my dad would joke about my butt being "two ax handles wide". (again, ridiculously inappropriate) Even after telling him, begging him, crying in front of him, he didn't understand why I couldn't take his jokes. Now that I have children of my own, I'm careful to never comment about their weight or others weights because I know the impact of hearing that constantly. They're bombarded with it at every turn. I refuse to be a part of that. And you better believe that my dad is never allowed to "joke" with them that way.

Having been married to a very thin woman who gave birth to 3 daughters who are now very thin as well, I have always paid close attention to the free pass people think they have in commenting and making fun of thin women. Now I am married to a woman who is not thin and I have a stepdaughter who is always worried about her 'extra' weight and I have been sensitized to the other side of the issue, being seen and talked about as too fat.

Here is the problem; people will always judge. Judging as part of a visual or physical preference isn't something we can, or even should, try to do away with. How could we? Attraction, sexual allure, desire; all those things are part of our biological nature. Add to those our cultural norms (like them or not, they exist all over the world) and that we are all visual beings who see and are seen and we have to accept that at that level we are indeed objects. We will be judged visually.

The key isn't to obliterate judgment, it's to put it in it's proper place. The key is to remove the moral element of the judgment. I am perfectly fine with someone saying, 'That not so thin woman is more attractive to me than that other woman who is very thin' just as I am also fine with someone saying, 'I prefer the blonde look over brunette'. What I am not fine with is when they take the next step and say that woman who is thin is morally inferior. That she is flawed, that she has some emotional or psychological flaw that we can point at and deride.

Raising daughters to think about and act on healthy eating and physical activity in balance with an understanding of what happens to our bodies as we age, have kids, etc. That is what I hope we pay attention to, and let the judgments about whether we fit in with some random person's idea of beauty or health fall by the insignificant wayside.

Amen to that sistah. The most damaging force in my battle with self-image (okay, weight, because sadly my entire self-image focused around weight), way above the media or any other source, was my mother (and father!) and their constant critique of their own weights. Their example to me was to hate yourself unless you are slim: never-ending diets, slamming criticisms of my sister (behind her back) when she gained weight in college, and raised eyebrows if I reached for another cookie, just to name a few examples. My 65 year old mother still diets and yammers on about how she is too fat. Mother, honesty, who cares?! It led to eating disorders from when I was 12 to about 24 years old, huge confidence issues and many years of self help to reach the point I'm at now, which is (almost) acceptance of my size 8-10, tall body with curves. It's all so pointless and so dumb and I'm annoyed I wasted so much of my life worrying about it. I have pledged to never criticize my body (my amazing, life-giving body that carries me through the long days and nights) and to display to my kids that taking care of yourself and loving who you are is so incredibly important. I really believe the best thing we can do is set the example for our children. I hope our generation changes things. Really, it's all been so ridiculous and objectifying and such a waste.

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