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Mommy Musings: Thoughts and Opinions

Does Being Thin Make You Happy?

My post pregnancy figure which is generally about 110-120lbs.

My post pregnancy figure which is generally about 110-120lbs.

“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.

 

 

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About Shannon

I am a university educated full-time working mother of four children. Proudly Canadian, I freeze my butt off along with my loving partner, two dogs and a cat. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I love writing them, but if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Discussion

16 thoughts on “Does Being Thin Make You Happy?

  1. I’ve struggled with weight my whole life, and this post hit home for me. Right now, I weigh the most I’ve ever weighed, and I just feel unhealthy. However, I am still happy. I want to be healthier, but I know the most important thing is that my family and I are happy and healthy. True happiness burns more calories than anything can. Sometimes not looking at the Nutrition Facts is a freeing thing. Lol. I don’t over do it, and I’ve learned from working that I eat healthier than most, most of the time. I think over stressing makes getting/staying healthy that much harder.

    Posted by TimeDancer | February 20, 2015, 6:46 pm
    • Thanks for your comment. I definitely agree that the harder you try the harder it gets. I try to live in the present moment and be engaged but old habits die hard. And I agree health is important but it’s all about finding that middle road. Best wishes to you.

      Posted by Shannon | February 20, 2015, 8:31 pm
  2. I don’t think it’s a connection between size and happiness. I think it’s a connection between HEALTH and happiness. In Joni’s case, the things she was doing to get thin were not healthy. I’ve lost weight and maintained it the healthy way and I am very happy. I’m not starving. I don’t have cravings I can’t meet. When I was overweight, clinically speaking because of my BMI not because I thought I looked fat, I was very insecure, tired, always yearning to be “the pretty girl.” I’m not a size 2 now. I’m not even a size 4 or 6 now. But I love my body. I love running. I love my strength. I love my energy. And I’m not killing it at the gym or avoiding foods I enjoy. My BMI is in the normal range. Will I be a model? Nope. But that’s never what I desired. I’m confident in my size 8, 135 lb, big butted body. I’ve been thinner than I am now. It wasn’t maintainable. I wasn’t as happy than as I am now. So yes, I get that Joni wasn’t happy when she was much thinner but I’d hardly say that being overweight is making her happy either. It’s about health IMO.

    Posted by Princess Mommy | February 21, 2015, 9:36 am
    • For me it’s not about my weight but my relationship with food. Like you said, when you do unhealthy things to be a healthy weight it will make you miserable. It’s amazing how all consuming it can become and before you know it everything you do is centred around food. On Valentine’s day my hubs walked to Tim’s in -35 weather in Montreal to buy me an iced cappuccino (I don’t drink hot coffee) and I threw it back at him because there was cream in it instead of milk (which triples the fat and calories). I still feel bad about it, but I could never ever drink that because after so long it’s just who I am. And hey, I have Zero butt and always have and I would love to have one! Even when I gain weight it’s very proportional so I have never had one. Work it!

      Posted by Shannon | February 21, 2015, 11:14 am
  3. Hi! This was a very brave post. I, too struggled with food issues early in life, but I discovered that my problems centered on control far more than my body. I am wondering if you’ve gotten any counseling to help you with your relationship to food, you may find that a professional can help you get to the point you want to be. Good luck!

    Posted by sarav100 | February 21, 2015, 11:57 am
    • Thanks. I agree with you. It is about control. When you can’t control anything else you can control what put in your body. I was on antidepressants for a long time, I started them to quit smoking and that helped a bit and like I mentioned having a family really made a huge difference. I would say I am at a functional level right now which is good enough for me. Good luck to you.

      Posted by Shannon | February 21, 2015, 12:16 pm
  4. I struggled with my weight for many years, and like you still have a fear of gaining. I restricted and exercised and weighed myself constantly in college and for years after. At some point, I’m not sure when exactly, I finally let go of the obsession with food and calories (it was after much therapy, that much I know). I currently weigh 8-10lbs more than I did in college, but I LOOK and FEEL better. I have never been “fat” but I cannot see how you can be happy being fat (definition being clinically obese) because it is so unhealthy and so bad for your heart, joints etc. KWIM?

    Posted by Theresa | February 21, 2015, 12:08 pm
    • I think you can be healthy being fat because in my case with my metabolism in order to be healthy I would be fat. When I was sixteen I exercised, danced, ran and ate healthy and I was a good 20-30lbs heavier than I am now. Obviously it’s different for everyone. Good for you that you are almost the same. About 5 months ago I put on my semi formal dress from grade 12 and it still fit. I was so proud that after three kids including full term twins I was able to fit back in it. Would never wear it though, it’s totally nineties spice girls LOL Thanks so much for commenting and have a great weekend.

      Posted by Shannon | February 21, 2015, 12:26 pm
      • I think it partly depends on your definition of fat as well. I think of fat as obese not just overweight. congrats on fitting in that dress!!

        Posted by Theresa | February 21, 2015, 12:28 pm
      • Oh yes, there is a big difference. I just seem to use the term fat as a blanket term for everyone who is not what I would consider thin. Ironically though I would not consider someone like Kim Kardashian fat because her body is in proportion and sexy. So maybe I need to work on my definitions LOL

        Posted by Shannon | February 21, 2015, 12:41 pm
  5. I think we would all be happy regardless of size if we felt people were not always judging us. I have been thin and I have been fat. I am happy until I see someone look at my stomach and sneer. Then I want to scream its fluid from my cancer treatment not fat. We need to accept each other the way we are and stop judging and criticising each other.

    Posted by Catherine caulfield | February 21, 2015, 2:35 pm
    • Oh for sure, that’s enough for whole other post! Now I can actually be proud of my belly knowing why I have all that extra skin. People can judge me, not knowing that it’s like that because I carried two healthy babies at once but I don’t care, I am proud. You should be proud too. Your appearance is moulded by the fact that you survived cancer and that is a huge accomplishment.

      Posted by Shannon | February 21, 2015, 3:03 pm
  6. Well I can’t say that I have ever attached my happiness to my weight.. but I’ve been at my happiest when I am living a healthy lifestyle. When I am excercizing routintely I naturally have a tendency to eat better and it just promotes a better existance mentally over all.. I have Hashimotos and so like you my metabolism is very slow.. when I do make a conscious attempt to diet it always fails.. so I’ve simply stopped and instead just try to make sure that 90% of what I eat is healthy 🙂

    Posted by ninjasinstitches | February 21, 2015, 5:30 pm
    • Sounds like you have the right idea. Dieting never works long term it is about lifestyle. I try to be healthy but really I am not. I eat tons of processed “low cal” foods and drink cases of diet pop. At least I can say that I skip alcohol and caffeine for the most part. Thanks for reading.

      Posted by Shannon | February 21, 2015, 5:37 pm

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