A few weeks ago I found myself doing a much needed clean-out of my closet. Naturally, I came across pieces that I hadn’t worn in a very long time, which usually means that it’s time to throw them in the donation pile. But instead I found myself holding onto them, debating what I should do.
In that moment I realized something particularly profound. That giving away these clothes meant letting go of something that I no longer am, skinny.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not delusional. I am well aware that I am what society would consider “thin”. This is my natural build and one that I suspect some people torture themselves to have. The skinny that I am referring to is the frail, rail-like skinny that I used to be. The bone-popping, thigh-gap skinny that I wore proudly. The skinny that was hungry and overworked.
A long time ago I heard my idol Oprah Winfrey say something that ended up sticking with me for years. It was something along the lines of “never buy bigger jeans, keep working to fit into your old ones”. While I respect Oprah in many domains, weight-loss and body image isn’t one of them. If I knew then what I know now, I never would have listened. But of course hindsight is 20/20.
Nevertheless, I listened and I did everything in my power to fit into those jeans. In the process I discovered the secret to skinny. Spoiler alert: it’s not worth it.
This secret would end up taking over my life for more years than I wish to tell. Being skinny was my first priority. I masked my attempts in the face of “health” but inside I knew what I was doing. And here’s exactly what I did:
I ate a lot of salads.
I worked out every single day. On most days it was a mix of cardio and weights and on “rest days” I walked/ran on a steep incline on the treadmill.
Diet coke was my best friend.
Calories were meant to be counted.
If I was drinking, I either ate less or worked out more and these “drinks” usually consisted of shots…lots of shots.
I looked at my body in the mirror, a lot.
Binge days would happen that usually started with a hangover, followed by a jumbo-sized bag of PB m&ms with a side order of guilt.
And here’s how I felt:
Exhausted. My body was literally crying out for rest. By-products of this negligence still remain to this day i.e. chronic leg and back pain.
Hungry. Food was on my mind all.the.time
Guilty. I actually felt ashamed if I skipped a workout or binged.
Frustrated. I felt like no matter what I did I could never look how I wanted to look.
I had discovered the secret to skinny, but I lost all the joy in my life.
My habits today are far removed from that girl who ran endless miles and ate rabbit food for sustenance. They changed because I wanted them to. Because once I figured out the secret to skinny, I realized it wasn’t worth it. I valued living my life over planning it.
How I came to these conclusions is a post for another day and quite honestly is still an ongoing process. For the most part I now eat when and what I want and move my body when and how it wants to but not surprisingly some of my clothes no longer fit. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a moment where I thought of dear old Oprah’s saying and considered doing what I had to to get back in those jeans.
I knew I had what it took to look skinny in my skinny jeans. I’d done it once, I could do it again. But while I definitely looked skinny, it was the furthest thing from how I felt.
I may have paused for a second to think about my decision but ultimately I knew those clothes belonged in the donation pile. I wasn’t turning back. Instead, I made the choice to accept myself, exactly as I am. Someone who is smart, driven, successful and beautiful. Someone who loves to walk and hike and fuel my body with veggies and wine. Sometimes more wine than veggies, and sometimes those veggies are french fries. Most of the time they’re not.
Giving away those clothes was the final straw in letting go of all of the negative habits that had previously taken over my life. It meant choosing to live each day as my happiest self instead of my skinniest self. Discovering that these two concepts are not intertwined is the greatest gift I ever could have received.
I now know the secret to happy and trust me folks, it looks nothing like skinny.
No questions, just your thoughts.
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Luna pandoraJanuary 11, 2021 at 12:32 am
I literally ate nothing whole days just drink tea and coffee 2 time a day only and exercise for 4 hourse so much that even professional fitness trainer and athlete don’t do. I’m still fat and I’m Doing this from 2 yrs and fuck all that skinny girls who eat like pig and stays extreme thin ,says me that you eat a lot. I’m not naturally skinny and have to achieve everything very hard, from 8yrs old I’m restricting and skinny friends of mine eats like pig and it hurts that when we meet ,they always comment on me that you’re gain weight look who’s binging😣. I never ate pizza junk food never literally never I want to eat I’m so hungry but now my mind won’t let me😔
Leona LyonApril 10, 2021 at 4:15 pm
Hey Luna, I heard your story, am sorry about it, I think you are already, perfect, whether how you are. Cause me too, i always feel, cruelty when people look at me at that view, just show them, how to be beautiful, you own style.
DebJune 15, 2019 at 1:44 am
I was very thin my whole life. When I turned 18 I actively dieted. Finally, at 37, I stopped and to me got fat. None of my jeans fit. It breaks my heart. But I don’t have energy anymore to diet. But I’m also having such a hard time with this new body. I do feel a lot more stable mentally.
Mkandawire MasuzyoDecember 10, 2018 at 8:07 am
A good read. Indeed your story will surely remain relevant for many centuries to come. My thoughts are in alignment with some parts your message but all in all – A splendid read.
Most women nowadays live a dreadful life in pursuit of becoming the image society has painted as “sexy” “beautiful” in their minds.
And whilst it is normal for one to desire to become a better version of themselves, it must not come at the cost of trading your happiness for
a ticket that will last for an hour at-least.
Lets face it! Just like time flies by and seasons change , its also in the nature of society to never remain constant .
So buy the time you gather the money to buy that ticket, society is already selling another image.
If your plan is to lose weight or gain it, that’s your decision to make and society has no part in it.
Amber @ Bloom Nutrition TherapyJune 29, 2017 at 1:18 pm
What I would give now to have read this post when you originally wrote it. 2014 was about the time I discovered the blogging community. It was also the blogging community and many authors’ “well intentions” that only exasperated my disordered eating tendencies. Only within the past year have I been able to come into the new secret that all the “skinny” people don’t know yet – it’s SO not worth it. Thank you for this raw post!
CarlyAugust 27, 2016 at 10:12 am
Hi! I was first brought to your website by the awesome recipes that you post, but when i found this article I’ll be honest it made me tear up a little. This is a perfect reflection of how I have felt for the past couple months, struggling with exercise guilt and depriving my body of food to achieve the standard of perfection that I have set for myself. But I’m tired of being tired. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing such personal information because it’s just what I needed to hear right now. You are so strong and provide both inspiration and hope of breaking the unhealthy cycle of supposed “health” to people like myself.
SadieMarch 16, 2016 at 10:59 am
You shall know the truth and that truth shall set you free. Thank you for sharing truth and giving others the ability to step out (even if it’s their first steps) toward freedom.
I share your story, struggle, and now find myself four years in active freedom and recovery from the shackles of over exercise/eating disorder prison. What kind of life is a half-life I ask as I look back and at times can feel the tug for “skinny jeans” longings or thoughts. It is not life, and now walking in freedom what a joy to be healthy, live fully, and treat our bodies with respect to how they are fearfully and wonderfully made! Blessings to you sister, thanks for sharing this and other truths!!
CassieFebruary 24, 2016 at 11:18 am
I just read this and I resonated with so many parts that you described. I feared lots of food–sugars, gluten, dairy that wasn’t Greek yogurt; healthy foods like avocados and coconut/olive oil. It was never enough. It wasn’t until I tried the chew-spit technique on a muffin when I knew there was a problem with my relationship with food and exercise. It is so relieving and worth it when you go through the mental hardships of finding a balance. Just by intuitively listening to your body, you already find so much peace and release so much negative energy.
Emilie @ Emilie EatsFebruary 23, 2016 at 11:08 pm
I’m just coming across this (stalker much?) and your honesty is so beautiful. I’ve been in those shoes more times than I’d like to count in my 19 years – the guilt, frustration, the “why-me.” Of course there are days when I still struggle with it, when I see people eating junk food all day who are skinny and I pretty much dedicate my life to being healthy and I don’t look like that. But, that’s just not how I’m made, and I’m learning to be okay with that. Learning to appreciate that I’m healthy and, strong, rather than wish I was skinny!