22 August 2008


Let's talk about body image. A lot of people seem to think that being thin automatically means a person must be happy with her body. This is one of the biggest myths in the history of myths. I'm not even talking about mental disorders like anorexia... I'm talking about your regular, reasonably healthy thin chick. Chances are, she has just as many body image issues as you do.

I'm going to be brave and show you some of my issues. Click to embiggen.

Too Tan: Every summer I get a couple sunburns that then fade to an uneven tan. My arms, shoulders, and face have some color, but the rest of my body is pale. It's fine when I'm covered, but when I'm down to the bikini, it makes me twitchy.

Too Bony: I didn't notice how bony my shoulders were until last year when I dropped to 125 pounds. Now, even though I'm back to 130-135, they still seem bony to me. It's especially obvious when I reach around to scratch my back and my scapula pokes out.

Too Small: I'll admit it... I'd like bigger breasts. More than that, though, I'd like matched breasts. Most people don't notice it, but there's about a half-cup difference between the two, and it bugs me.

Too Soft: Thin does not equal fit. I'd really like to be more toned, and fortunately this is something I can actually fix. It just takes time and effort. I've been pretty sedentary for the last eight months, so a lot of the muscles that used to be in good shape are kind of squishy now.

Too Big: Now, my partners (past and current) disagree with me here, but I think my thighs are too big. This picture makes them look even bigger. Bleah.

Too Pale: See also: Too Tan. I think the issue is more that the color is uneven, especially after some funky burns a few months ago. (Note to self: SPF 30 is not enough.) Having super-pale legs bothers me because I also have very dark hair, and I don't like the look of the roots showing through the skin, even right after shaving.

There you have it, folks. Even thin chicks hate their bodies sometimes. Please don't assume that simply being thin is enough to make you happy.

14 August 2008


Some of the thin chicks I talk to have trouble keeping weight on because they don't crave food. Eating is a chore for them. I am not one of those chicks.

I love eating. I love cooking. I love food in general. I have cravings all the time, and they fall in two categories: hunger cravings and nibble cravings. Being able to recognize the difference at the time of the craving is one of the things that keeps me from over-eating.

With hunger cravings, I usually haven't eaten in a while, and I'm looking for any kind of food to fill me up. These cravings can be for a specific food, but more often it's a more general feeling of want, like, "I want something savory," or "I'm craving fruit." Giving in to this type of craving is good, because this craving is my body notifying my brain that continued lack of sustenance will result in mutiny. Nobody wants my stomach to start gnawing on my pancreas just because I forgot to eat.

Nibble cravings can be tricky to identify, though I've found that they usually come about half an hour after a meal. Last night, for example, I had sausage for dinner, and then found myself craving more. I checked with my stomach, which was full from the first helping, and it became clear that this wasn't really a craving for food. I just wanted something to nibble on. Gum doesn't work, because this type of craving is almost always for something savory, and isn't satisfied if I simply chew and spit out the food.

Learning how to identify my cravings has helped me maintain my weight and, oddly enough, keep track of my mood shifts. I tend to have more nibble cravings when I'm depressed because I'm looking for enjoyment (chewing and swallowing food) instead of nourishment. It's nice when self-awareness pays off in multiple ways.

06 August 2008


Eep! Sorry for the delay. Life got in the way, and I didn't happen to run across anything blogworthy for a while.

Let's talk about accidental weight loss. I know that "accidental" and "weight loss" become an impossible, unrealistic concept for some people when they combine, but for some of us, it really does happen.

For some it's a symptom or side effect of a medical condition. My mother, for example, has a thyroid condition that has caused her to go from a size 16 to a size 8 in about six months. Try as she might, she's having a hard time keeping weight on, and it troubles her. She's not enjoying buying new pants every few weeks as she drops another size. Drastic weight loss was not something she factored into her very tight budget, and the combination of new (thrift store) clothes and more food is causing her some concern.

I've accidentally lost weight twice: once when I was very, very depressed, and once when I became unusually active.

Having a mental disorder doesn't just change how you feel and think, it changes everything you do, including eating. In my case, I went through a period of Major Depression where I just didn't think to eat much for about six months, and wound up 30 pounds lighter. That was quite a shock for me, and it took me a while to adjust my mental self-image. For about a year after that I was still buying clothes in my old size because I hadn't really wrapped my head around the idea of being thinner.

Last year when I started a new job, I was suddenly burning a lot more calories than I was eating, and I didn't think to step on the scale until a few weeks in when my "tight jeans" weren't so tight anymore. Ten pounds gone! Eek! Bones were showing more, and I wasn't feeling healthy, so I immediately adjusted my diet so I could get back to my target weight (between 130 and 135) and maintain it. Eating that much more than usual was uncomfortable for about a week while my stomach got used to it, but I felt so much better when I was back where I wanted to be.

So folks, if a thin chick seems distressed when she mentions losing weight by accident, please don't tell her she's lucky. When she talks about struggling to gain that weight back, please don't tell her that you wish you had that problem. Weight loss is just as traumatic for some of us as weight gain is for some of you, and we probably don't want to joke about it.