I have been naturally thin ever since I was a kid. I always ate whatever I wanted, but never seemed to gain much weight. This was never a bad thing to me—I became used to the nicknames. I became used to the comments from those around me. I became used to the difficulty I experienced finding pants that weren’t too big. I became used to the jokes from my family members. I became used to all of it.
I wasn’t unhealthy. I ate hearty meals and did plenty of snacking. I ate ice cream and cheeseburgers and pizza and french fries, while I also ate fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods. I didn’t mind the comments from people around me telling me that my weight would “eventually catch up” with me. I didn’t feel the need to explain why I was skinny. I didn’t blame it on my “fast metabolism” or genetics. I felt okay with just being me despite my weight or any other aspect of my physical appearance.
For some reason, however, I find it harder to ignore the comments as an adult. I am still skinny, but I don’t understand why people need to tell me that I am (I already know). Just yesterday I found myself feeling frustrated with a coworker who asked me if I was losing weight. I covered up my frustration by politely telling her, “No, I’m not.” She replied “Oh good because you definitely don’t need to be losing any weight–only gaining it.” I’m not sure if this individual realized how she came across to me. Her comment appeared judgmental, though—and even came across as critical. You wouldn’t tell an overweight individual how “fat” they looked so why tell someone who is naturally thin how “skinny” they look? Why is there a double-standard? Either way, you are making the person feel self-conscious. Either way you are coming across as rude. Either way you are asking the person to defend themselves in one way or another.
Sometimes when people hear that I run or go to the gym, they reply, “Oh that’s how you stay so skinny.” I tell them that this really isn’t the case. I was skinny long before I started running. In fact, for much of my life, I never worked out or considered myself to be physically fit. I hate that people will even state, “You don’t have to work out.” I hate that to some people working out can only be done to lose weight. I hate that people jump to conclusions without hearing the whole story. Why does going to the gym or running have to equal calorie or weight loss? Why can’t people who are underweight or overweight work out for the sole purpose of feeling better about themselves and staying fit? I run because I want to be more physically fit, and I want to feel strong and confident in myself–not because I’m looking to lose weight.
Tell me: Can you relate at all to my experiences? How do you deal with judgmental comments from people? Why do you work out?