“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” -Kate Moss, supermodel
Lately there has been an article circling around social media written by a woman who stated that being fat makes her happy. She says that she thought being thin would make her happy but after she lost the weight that was not the case. See more about it here.
As our weight and our level of happiness are something we all think about I wanted to throw in my two cents on the issue.
Background: I was a chubby kid. So much so that it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized children’s clothing sizes were supposed to correlate with age! (I work a size 14 when I was 8.)
I remember being about 10 or 11 and dreaming about being thin. I imagined that I would just wake up one morning and be “pretty”. I was smart and had a lot of friends and most of the time I was happy, filled with that innocence of childhood. Most of the time.
When I was 11 I went on my first diet. I checked out a bunch of dieting books from the local library (there was no internet back then) and decided I was going to get healthy. I was 130lbs. at the time. I was stubborn and determined and I did lose weight. As the pounds dropped off and I became prouder and prouder I kept on reducing my caloric intake until finally by age 12, I was down to about 100lbs. and super skinny. As I recall, I think I was eating about 600 calories per day (plus exercise including 200 stomach crunches, because well, it was the early nineties and it was all about abs).
But was I happy? Yes and no. I was happy with my looks, that I could wear whatever I wanted, and would get a thrill when cars passing by would honk at me. But then there was the self-hatred if I ate something fatty, the hours spend scouring the grocery store for the items with the lowest possible calories, and the long long days I would try to sleep away to stave off the hunger.
My weight went up and down throughout my teenage years. By the time I was 16 I think I weighed almost 160lbs. As I recall, I was pretty happy. Again, popular with a lot of friends, but miserable that I couldn’t get a boyfriend, but I don’t know if that had anything to do with my weight, my intelligence was pretty intimidating.
By 17 I got my first job and got thin again. School all day and work all night meant I could eat more and not gain weight. Although I did feel that working in a grocery store and being surrounded by food was still a cruel joke. It was a constant struggle and I actually got to a point where I decided to smoke myself thin.
I remember being about 20 and sitting at home one Saturday night having a revelation. All of the sudden the way I looked almost seemed silly compared to what I had given to get it.
What was the point of being thin when you were too tired to go out and show it off?
What was the point of being thin when you are alone and have no friends because you are forever in a bad mood due to being hungry?
What was the point of being thin when you would shun away from every dinner or drink invite because you couldn’t spare the calories or you had to go the gym?
I cried and thought to myself that there had to be more to life than this. Did I change? No, not really. But, I did try a little harder to put life before calories.
Today I am still slim, and to be brutally honest, gaining weight is one of my biggest fears. I have a dreadfully slow metabolism and a sweet tooth that I fight daily. I am lucky that my life is busy, and that helps. Am I happy? Overall, yes. Would I be happier if my life didn’t revolve around my weight. Most definitely. But how miserable would being fat make me? (And my definition of fat isn’t even that fat). I don’t know. My husband and kids will love me regardless and in fact my husband often tells me I am too thin (I was about 20lbs. heavier when we first met). I guess I just feel like it would be giving up, resigning to the world that I don’t have the strength or pride to take care of my appearance (not that I am a vain person in general). Then again, I might be too busy living life to worry about such things.
So, I guess overall I cannot truly answer the question but I definitely think it is one worth considering. My story is one of extremes and thus not applicable to everyone. The good part is that having kids has really helped me let go because I know they will love me no matter what and that more important to me than me is them. While my food issues interfere with my life and happiness I do my best to never let it affect theirs.
Based on these last few years I would say that what would make me the happiest would be to find something in the middle. Not to be fat, not to be thin, just to be healthy, to be “normal” (if there is such a thing). To live a life where food is not my enemy or my friend, it is for sustenance. You eat because you are hungry and that’s all the thought you put into it. But, after 20+ years of living this lifestyle I know I can never go back to that way of life, but if it’s not too late for you I strongly advise you put some critical thinking into your eating habits.
What do you think? Are weight and happiness linked? Please share in the comments section.