Skinny Daily Post

Invincible.

One of my oldest and dearest friends (more than 25 years now!) saw the NYTimes thing, and (besides loving it and being impressed) said that she’s always amazed at the prejudices that people have about HER.

Now, let’s set the record straight here. She’s in her early 60’s and looks about 40. She’s talented, slim, smart, and on and on and on. The idea that someone would have prejudices about her is just, well, astounding to me.

But here’s the main one. Because her weight never varies by more than 5 pounds, apparently people think that she doesn’t pay attention to her diet, doesn’t exercise, and doesn’t understand what anyone else goes through.

For the record, this woman has stood by me, and fussed and worried over me when I weighed 500 pounds. She’s looked at me and said that she loves me no matter what my weight, but that she’d prefer that I’d be around to travel and have fun with.

The reason her weight never varies by more than 5 pounds is because she gets it. And lives it.

Every single morning, she does about an hour of floor exercises. She’s done it for years. She watches everything she eats. I can’t tell you how often she says ‘this is enough.’ Or ‘I have enough,’ ‘I don’t need any more.’

She walks everywhere, and always has.

Now, sit back and think about the people in your life. How many of them past the age of, say, 35 aren’t watching what they’re doing? They may not understand what it’s like to be 100 pounds or more overweight, but they’re busy with their own struggles. For some, it’s the first time in their lives that they’ve had to be careful, and they’re lost. For others, it’s simply time to tweak what they’ve been doing, whether it’s adding more exercise time or cutting out a few calories. I admire them, but IMO, they DO understand.

29 thoughts on “Assumptions about thin folks

  1. vickie kane says:

    Call me insensitive but I still dont feel sorry for your friend or people like her.. I think its wonderful she can live her life that way, but TRUST ME.. she doesnt get the struggle and I guarantee does not have the pain we obese people have. She would NEVER have let herself go because she does not have the “curse” that we live with day in and day out, meal in and meal out…. she does not have the realtionship with food that we do… If she did she would be one of “US” and not one of “THEM”… Am i bitter?? You bet!! Im sure she is a wonderful person and friend, but believe me…… she does NOT get it!!!!

  2. Mary says:

    This is very interesting to me. When I weighed 300 lbs., I “hated” those thin people that I thought never had to worry about what they ate and didn’t view food as their enemy – those who knew when they’d had “enough.” But I’ve come to realize that things aren’t so black and white for everyone. There are very few people who truly are unconcerned about food, never give it another thought and can say, “I forgot to eat,” and really mean it. I think it’s actually a matter of degrees. Those people are on one end of the spectrum and those of us who rarely have a waking moment without thinking about food are on the other end. I’ve realized that I can’t waste my life wishing to be one of those who “forget to eat” unless I want to make myself miserable. Instead, I have to find a way of dealing with what I am – obsessed with food. I can choose to give into my obsession or to find ways to deal with it.

  3. Laura says:

    Great post and so true.

  4. Trixie says:

    Hi Jane,
    Funny,people always assume it’s easy for me…I’m 5’7 and 118lbs. I used to wiegh 178 four years ago though. Living as a thin person now,I get treated very differently. Sometimes the new found attention makes me feel weird. When I was heavy,people never really made comments..now it’s like a free for all..lol! I was in the elevator the other day and some lay was staring at me. She realized I noticed and she said,I used to be thin like that before I had kids. I also get,I bet you can eat whatever you want. Little do these people know what a struggle it is for me everyday! See,you just never know.

  5. Jane says:

    CRISTINA!!!

    would you please submit your comment again? i accidentally deleted it! please accept my apologies.

  6. Cathy says:

    I think Jane’s friend certainly does get it — she takes care of her body and health because she wants to, she made that choice and sticks with it, for herself. And she doesn’t put down or look down upon overweight people who don’t understand yet how to make the correct food choices, or who don’t exercise every day. I don’t think she’s asking for sympathy from anyone and she isn’t judging, she’s just trying to live, and setting a very good example.

  7. london slimmer says:

    The bottom line is that when you see someone thin you have no way of knowing whether they are thin because they have a naturally high metabolism or because they watch their weight like a hawk and work out like Arnold Schwarzenegger to keep those pounds from creeping back on (at 5’3 and 120lb, but a former fatty, that’s my own case) or what. A good friend of mine is thin because life-threatening food allergies severely restrict her choices (and social life). I think it’s high time we stopped judging people on the basis of their weight, fat or thin and started seeing them as individuals.

  8. QuinnLaBelle says:

    Will someone please explain all this angsting about how and when and why “thin” people can and do eat what they do?

    I live in my body, not theirs. My body needs less food than they do, and I’ve read enough history to understand that this gives me an advantage every time a pandemic flu or a famine comes around. Granted that’s not often where I live, but …

    Anyway. So what if some people don’t live the way I do! Really. It is childish to measure yourself against other people that way. You are you and they are themselves, and that’s all there is to it. Now go out and ride a bike or go dancing or something else that’s fun.

  9. Virg says:

    Um, what New York Times thing?

  10. Christina says:

    Thanks for the post, Jane, and for telling me you lost my comments. I am in my 40s and get comments on how easy it must be for me to stay thin. I think people are disappointed when they ask how, since they want to believe there is a magical answer. They don’t seem to like my answer: I eat a pretty healthy, mostly vegetarian diet and exercise a lot (including weight lifting, which many women refuse to do). I don’t claim to know what it is to be obese, but wanted to say I related to this post, and that being thin generally takes effort. Thanks for all the great posts. Christina

  11. Lois says:

    I lost weight and many people I meet now think I don’t get “IT”
    so they are harsh with me, well, if you have to watch carefully and walk a lot to keep slim, then you do GET IT. I got up and got it, but when I was heavy boy was I angry and ticked off at thinsters. We have to fix ourselves rather than point fingers and mock others, and yeah, skinnies get comments too… maybe it is best to be in the middle! Blend in!

  12. jonquil says:

    I have never, in fifty years, met a “naturally thin” person. Every person I know who is thin, especially middle-aged or older, exercises in some way and eats moderately. It is a learned behavior. It is by no means natural. Decades ago, even the guys on my track team, at 18 years old, worried about what they ate. They must all be 50 or so now, and I KNOW they are either working hard to stay fit, or they are fat.

    No one is immune. You simply cannot pump mega-calories into a person, park them on a couch, and expect them to stay slim and fit. It’s impossible. It’s against the laws of physics. So every person you see who is slim, is working on it. Either that or they are growing very rapidly, as teenagers do. Or they have some medical problem. But the basics still hold– slim people are burning up the calories they eat, one way or another.

    Even my hyperactive brother, a Marine Corp. vet, has to work every day to maintain his weight and fitness, at 47. Jackie Chan, the action star, who’s about 50, works out every day just to keep from gaining, never mind all the martial arts training he does. Madonna, who’s approaching 50, works out for hours every day. And I’ll bet she hasn’t eaten a piece of bread since “Like a Virgin.”

    So if you want to manage your weight, you have to work on it, consciously or unconsciously. For some people, it’s a little easier, possibly because they internalized the “rules” of weight management as children. For others, it’s much harder, and they may have to “learn” a whole new way of life. And almost everyone I know, at middle age, is running harder and harder, just to stay in the same place.

    Slim people aren’t magical, they don’t have some sort of special skinny pixie dust. They are simply behaving like slim people. It’s a learned skill, like algebra or tennis. Which means that anyone, potentially, can do it.

  13. Sheryll says:

    It was easy for me to eat whatever I wanted and stay that 20 lbs. overweight..no kidding. But a few months ago I finally decided I had had enough so I doubled my exercise and said no to all my favorite foods (Mexican and Pizza for sure)and exchanged my 12’s for 8’s and it feels great. It took lots and lots of will power and WORK and DISCIPLINE but I lost it and now I can pick and choose those goodies I love so much and just maintain. It’s amazing how many years I carried that weight around that I Hated. Even though I can’t relate to losing hundreds of pounds, I can relate to the struggle and I feel for everyone who is going through it, no matter what their weight is. For me, the moral of the story is this..suffer to begin with and just say “no”, after the weight is off, you can enjoy those no-no foods once again, in MODERATION – a key word we all need to tatoo on our hands to stop us from reaching for more.

  14. Ann says:

    I weigh 360 and am 5’4. I spent most my life as a thin person, and never even worried about ever getting large. But now, I am stared at all the time, laughed at, and it’s to the point I do not want to go out of my house. But I still do, though I have reduced my social activities to the point of nearly non existant, I still go out for drives. (Not inside anywhere). I am trying to do whatever exercise I can (not much) but I cannot stand for long periods. This is so hard on me because I was so used to being the one that got all the attention for so many years and now it’s all bad attention. I feel my children are living w/o me but in the same house.

  15. Denise says:

    I was “naturally thin” all of my twenties. Looking back…

    1. I didn’t own a car and lived in San Francisco and walked everywhere. I walked off my stress. I didn’t stress eat.

    2. I didn’t have money and couldn’t afford to eat out. Couldn’t afford Ben and Jerry’s. Ate all my meals at home and took my lunch to work.

    3. I learned to eat healthy as a kid. I also learned where to buy inexpensive produce… like from Chinese or Mexican markets. I was also taught that it is possible to eat healthy on a budget. We only had dessert once a week when I was growing up. Even as an adult, it never even occurred to me that other people ate dessert after every meal.

    The down side of this was that I actually believed that I was naturally thin and could eat anything I wanted. It might be more accurate to say that I was “accidentally thin” or “obliviously thin”.

    Fast forward 20 years…
    Somewhere I learned to stress eat and to binge. Had money for restaurants. Had money for Ben and Jerry’s or pizza every night or the #3 McBreakfast every morning. Moved to the ‘burbs and drove everywhere. Gained 55 lbs.

    I’ve lost it. I’m a good healthy weight now. I’m back to what I weighed in my 20’s. But “naturally thin” is mostly a myth.

    But, I know that I have an unfair advantage when it comes to weight loss and maint… because I do have 20 years as an adult being thin. I had to unlearn some bad habits to lose weight… but it was pretty easy to go back to all of my good habits. I went back to lots of fruits and vegs and inexpensive starches like potatoes. Went back to dessert on the weekends and holidays. It bugs people that I don’t NEED something sweet after every meal.

    And there is often a failure to communicate because I’m coming from the position, “Well, you don’t NEED dessert 14 times a week.” And they respond, “Well, how could YOU possibly understand me!!!” OK… they are right. I don’t.

    But I personally don’t know how to eat dessert 7-14 times a week and be thin. Or I don’t know how to get all of your nutrition AND eat 7-14 desserts a week AND be thin.

    I’ve had people post to me, “Well, it is EASY for you!! YOU’VE been thin most of your life!” And I have to sort of agree. I don’t struggle.

    But I know that I have habits that others don’t and visa versa. Like I read your post recently about the crackers with interest. I almost never buy crackers. (And I NEVER buy the 100 calorie Nabisco snack things.) Crackers were “party food” when I was a kid. (Well, we did have saltines sometimes.) We had crackers as hor sd’ores on Christmas or something. They are expensive and aren’t that filling (to me) and a lot of calories for what you get. Plus, I see a cracker and think that it needs a slice of cheese and a slice of salami or a glob of peanut butter – you know – dressed up for a party. So I seldom buy them…
    :~)

    But a lot of people at WW, will eat 2 points of crackers and skip fruit and more nutritious foods because they need a “snack”. I find real food more satisfying. I don’t know anything about WLS and what you can or can’t eat… but most of the food sold as “snacks” are not that good of a bargain… either in nutrition or $$$ or satisfaction. Some thin people eat them… but most people in America are no longer thin… and they consume a lot of these “snacks”.

    whoops… have fallen OT… sort of…
    :~)

  16. Denise says:

    PS… I ate a piece of Just Desserts German Chocolate cake yesterday. I didn’t split it with anybody. It wasn’t a “sliver”, I’m guessing it was 30 WW points.

    I know people looked at me and thought, “Thin b—-, can eat whatever she wants…”

    And in a way, that is true, I’ve just learned to plan and moderate my wants. I CAN eat whatever I want… but not all in the same day, meal, week, month or even year.

    My food wants are MANY and I’ve had to learn to prioritize. I don’t always get everything I want.

  17. QuinnLaBelle says:

    What Jonquil said.

    Absolutely.

  18. Denise says:

    Christina, I so hear you.

    >>

    I lost weight and people were sooooo disapointed that I didn’t lose it on Atkins or a high protein diet. They are so disapointed to hear, “I lost the first 30 lbs cutting WAY back on fast food and not having seconds at dinner and lost the last 10 on WW”.

    I’ve also had people say to me, “Do you mostly eat salads now?” They seem really disapointed that I eat “normally” and basically follow the food pyramid at MyPyramid.com. How boring is that… to follow recommendations put out by the government.

    I think that they want to hear that healthy weight people must to live on some un-do-able program of rabbit food which is impossible to do…

  19. stretchy says:

    I believe that there isn’t really a naturally thin (healthy) person who can lie around and eat, and stay fit and lean. Looking back at my 20’s I walked a LOT, I actually loved taking long walks every weekend hiking up in the hills,–walking all day. I did ballet for fun, and I remember my gal pals showing me their flabby legs and comparing them to my lean rock hard legs!
    I went through some family tragedies that made me depressed and I got doughy and flabby–I honestly thought I would never ever be able to get my lean legs back. EVER. so I ate and ate and gained more weight while feeling sorry for myself. Finally, I came to my senses. I spent zero dollars on losing weight, I just knew I had to walk and eat less. By this time my knees and back were so bad, all I could do was walk a little. Now, I can run and jump and yeah, I got my legs back! it took a few years though (YEARS) to get them back. I wanted to give up often. I have to watch myself and journal every crumb. For me it is worth it, but at anytime I know I could go back to overeating. My goal is to stay fit.

  20. Mercury says:

    I know thin people who watch their weight, and I know thin people who eat complete crap, and by all rights should have to be transported on flatbed trucks. People definitely do have different metabolisms. But I agree with QuinnLaBelle: the reality is, we all have our crosses to bear, and there’s not much point in brooding over whether people “get” our struggles. Some do, some don’t. None of us can claim that we understand everything everyone else goes through either. Attitude is 80% of life.

  21. mary jean says:

    Don’t think for a minute that just because someone “seems” naturally thin and “seems” to eat every thing with impunity, that all is as it appears. As a participant in a 12-stap program for folks with eating disorders, I know of a number of women who are very thin and suffer greatly from bulemia. This is as horrific a symptom of compulsive eating as is morbid obesity but not so obvious a one. Only about 2% (or so I have read) of the population is naturally very skinny or fashionably thin.

    Treating thin people with distain because they seem to be able to eat anything is really not helpful to them or to me. If I think I need to be a certain weight or size to be happy, I am in denial. I DO need to be at a certain weight rage to be healthy, but happiness is an inside job, regardless of the weight.

    There is a slogan I like, ” Don’t compare your insides with other people’s outsides.” We really don’t know what others go through.

  22. stretchy says:

    this weekend I got some snarky comments about what I was eating –at a party–when I was heavy no one talked about what I ate. Guess they didnt want to hurt my feelings when I was overweight. Now they can say whatever they want. They go out of their way to comment on my weight and food choices.
    on & on…it makes me feel guilty for eating healthy!
    it is tiresome, but I have no snappy comebacks–don’t want to insult anyone.

  23. Greta says:

    My husband is thin and he most definitely does NOT understand despite watching me battle my weight for nearly 30 years. However, I have thin girlfriends who diet and exercise daily to keep themselves thin and they DO understand. I just wish that weight, food, and weight loss wouldn’t be such big issues in our society. I’d really just like to be overweight and not have it bother anybody. However, when I am overweight it bothers my husband A LOT and it bothers my doctors so I work at being as thin as I can be.

  24. Emily says:

    It took my 25 years of living and losing 100 lbs. through diet and exercise to come to the mind-blowing realization that thin people are thin for a reason. I was one of those people who always looked at thin people and assumed they were naturally that way. After spending many hours in the gym and becoming a fit person myself, I now finally get it! Is it any coincidence that the majority of the people I see in the gym every morning are thin? I don’t think they’re all there just to show off. They have to work at it, just as hard as I do.

  25. coraspartan says:

    I was extremely thin as a child and teenager–so thin that I was often accused by strangers of being anorexic, even though in reality I ate nearly my body weight in food every day; I just had a very high metabolism. In my 20s I started gaining weight–not a ton, but about 30 lbs. I was unhappy and disgusted with myself. Approx. 3 years ago I started working with 2 women who watched every morsel that went in their mouths (both of whom were thin) and realized that I couldn’t eat everything I wanted to anymore. It was an epiphany for me. Now I am down to about 10 lbs. more than I weighed in high school and am happy with myself again. I exercise about 4-5 days a week and am careful with my diet. People ask me how I stay so thin and I tell them I workout and eat carefully and as others here have said, people seem disappointed when I tell them that. They want a magic pill or solution that doesn’t involve them getting off the couch. Yes, I am thin, but I work at it.

  26. Christine says:

    I am writing this comment today because I was hurt recently by alot of people in my life; they’ve critisized or have judged me because I AM VERY THIN- I weigh 95-110 lbs.I am 5’4″,and I’m 25 yrs.old; people that I don’t even know and my own family that I haven’t seen for years. Yes, maybe they are concerned, for some I do not dought that. Then there are a few that seem to be prejudice against my thiness.

    In this Skinny Daily Post someone has commented that they have never met a natually thin person, well I am that person maybe. I’ve always been thin. I don’t think I’ve ever changed since jr.high-I look the same as I did except maybe some darker eye circles-stress, which also could make me thin-stress.Sometimes I think my thiness could be from a number of things, such as, anemia-I was diagnosed with it;I asked my doctor if it was serious but she is very trusting and she told me that it was just minor and that I was healthy. I also thought because of my genes; I’m half filipina and my father was thin also. Also I walk all the time and bike ride to work everyday-actually I’m very active.I believe I have very high metabolism. One girl has commented that their were 3 body types out there; that comment made me see myself better. I get kinda angry when out-of-the blue someone asks why I am I so thin?Sometimes they’ll ask twice.I egnore them sometimes.Recently though, I broke up with my boyfriend which has made it worse.Sometimes forcing myself to eat infront of people because I don’t want them to think I’m anorexic. Really, I am not I love food I make different recipes and I binge on junk food sometimes. I also like to eat healthy on my healthy binges. So yah, I’ve been skipping some meals recently because of my recent break-up but that doesn’t mean I’m neglecting my body completely and I will start eating better when I’m over him.

    I wish people would stop judging or critisizing thin people and I want everyone to know that. I sometimes wonder,maybe the people that ask, it’s not about my weight, it’s about theirs. I don’t treat people with rudeness;I choose kindness before anything.

    Once I read this article and I knew I wasn’t alone.This one girl was 35 years old and she weighed 95lbs;it mentioned that girls that are natually thin do get judged alot and it hurts their self-esteem and I really does affect you.
    Once someone mentioned that they might break me and I told them NOT to go there and they knew it bugged me. Sometimes I don’t mind and I’ll answer their question-why are you so thin?, but they sometimes still look at me and wonder.I guess, it also matters how they ask too,”Oh my! why are you so thin?”.It really gets annoying after awhile. Fact is, I wouldn’t walk up to a bigger person and say,”Why are you so fat?”

  27. Christine says:

    Omigoodness! I just realized that some of you might have been offended by the last question of my comment!

    The question”Why are you so fat?”(PLEASE READ MY comment FIRST)!!
    The question should be “why are you so big or large?”

    I was really thinking the worst case senerio. Alot of people also call me “skinny” which makes me feel ill. I do have curves to my body so I’m not completely Olive Oil.

    I’m sorry if that question offended anyone.I would never ever say that! Like I said I choose kindness over anything.

    Sincerely,
    Christine

  28. christine says:

    I made my first comment a chain letter to all the close poeple in my life.I accidently sent one out to my ex’s mother. I hope she doesn’t give him the chain mail, but if she does oh well;he knows I’m not anorexic or bulimic.

    Just to let everyone know that I have ate quite alot today even with the break-up on my mind.Maybe I just needed to get some issues off my mind. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to write in the Skinny.

    Sincerely,
    Christine

  29. Pamela says:

    I feel so connected to the thin persons on this site. The comments I get about being so thin makes me feel that I must be looking really sickly. I am 52 and weighing just about 100 pounds. I lost about 8 pounds from a detox programme but now I do some weight excercises and I have developed some muscle definition. People do not realise the harm they can do by those comments. Yes, how would they feel if we were to comment on how hugh their arms are and how much of their gut is hanging out of their jeans for example. Maybe it’s just jealousy.

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