Top Ten Reasons Being Thin Sucks
Ok guys, this is totally true. Perhaps I could have rephrased the title to ‘The Top Ten Reasons Being TOO Thin Sucks, but either way, being thin or too thin, kind of sucks… especially if you live in America. Take it from me. While battling an eating disorder five years ago, my weight got down to a morbid 67 pounds. During the time of turmoil, which lasted approximately two years, my weight hovered in the 70s range. I felt stuck and unable to take care of myself appropriately, despite my intellectual knowledge and understanding of the severe health implications of this issue. Not only are the obvious potential health repercussions reason enough that being this thin sucks, but my experience opened my eyes to a multitude of frustrations in day to day life. Here are some:
10. Clothes will not fit you.
I remember trying on the smallest pair of jeans (size 24), and they fell right off me. This is actually NOT cool at all. Feeling embarrassed and ashamed, I would shop in the childrens’ section of department stores for jeans and pretend I was shopping for my niece. I would sneak into the fitting room to quickly try them on so no salesperson would see me. Since that was super stressful, I resorted to wearing baggy clothes the majority of the time. This was also to hide my body so I couldn’t face as much…
9. You Will Face Judgment
I can’t tell you how many times I would be walking down the street and hear the phrase, ‘Eat a hamburger!’, or ‘Anorexic bitch!’. It almost became expected background noise as I faced nearly any public situation. I always used to wonder what it would be like if every time an obese person walked by, someone would shout at them ‘Hey fatty!’. It seemed to me that being thin received much more negative judgment than being overweight, at least from my perspective. It was hurtful, and it fueled my inner struggle. When I felt stressed or upset, I would become more and more restrictive about my food. It’s kind of like the opposite of a binge eater (which I eventually became afterwards). When binge eaters feel emotional distress, they eat.
8. You Will Not Feel Sexy
Having no curves and not fitting into womens sized clothing led me to care less and less about my own sexuality. Not only that, being too thin eventually caused amenorrhea, which is the absence of menstrual flow. It tends to happen to high endurance athletes who have a very low percentage body fat. I didn’t have a sex drive or any desire to express myself in that way. I called it ‘celibacy’, and that made me feel better about it… especially since I’m a yogi. But deep down, I was hiding the fact that I was scared and ashamed. I felt like a child. Sexual health is an incredibly crucial part of overall wellness, and if that’s not ‘flowing’, life doesn’t flow as smoothly as it can.
7. You Will Be More Sensitive To Stimulation
I actually had to move out of NYC when my weight got to its lowest point. I moved back in with my parents in NJ and then eventually went to Costa Rica, which was a slower, more supportive environment. When there is ‘less’ of you on the planet, external stimulation becomes more burdensome. I remember literally feeling a subtle vibration when I would try to fall asleep in NYC. It was very difficult to sleep. Bright lights deeply affected me. So did large crowds of people, chemical smells, loud noises, and the like. Of course many people can experience high levels of sensitivity without being thin. This was pronounced for me, and it subsided when I gained weight. When I got heavier, I felt more grounded and able to handle the world.
6. You Will Be Tired
This goes hand in hand with sensitivity to stimulation. Living in a world filled with cars, people, things, electronics, radioactive waves, hustle and bustle requires a level of personal stability. I felt chronic exhaustion due to simply being alive. The tasks of a day seemed daunting, and I felt incapable of handling many things. At the time, I didn’t attribute my symptoms to my weight on the conscious level. I would always make excuses that the world was simply too much, and I was destined to live in the jungle or somewhere more peaceful. The fatigue led to irritability and an overall ‘bad mood’. Of course, as I gained weight, life became much easier.
5. You Will Start Growing Hair In Weird Places
I remember looking in the mirror one day (which rarely happened during that shameful time period), and I noticed that I was growing blond hairs on the sides of my face and neck. I noticed it especially that time, because I was cold and the hair was sticking out. What I eventually discovered through research is that if you get to a very low weight, your body actually produces more hair to keep you warm. It saddens me to write this now and think of how I abused my body. It also connects me directly with gratitude for my body and its ability to heal, despite my negligence and manipulation.
4. Your Regular Hair Will Get Thin
If your body isn’t getting enough nutrients, your hair and nails will become more brittle. Let me be clear about this. I was eating a VERY healthy diet at the time. Orthorexia is an obsession with health and purity. The foods I was eating were high in nutrients, but I wasn’t eating enough of them. Your body needs a certain amount of whole foods nutrition in order to function optimally. I got hair extensions when my weight was very low to hide the fact that my hair started falling out. No one knew. Everyone always complimented me on how beautiful my hair was. Well, it wasn’t mine! I was covering up a serious issue.
3. You Will Be Cold Often
Without having a certain amount of fat on your bones, you will likely feel cold more often than not. I know there are many people who often feel cold regardless of their weight, and this is true. In my case, I would freeze unless I was in Costa Rica, where it was 95 degrees and incredibly humid. I chose to change my environment in order to support my low weight. When I gained weight, I was able to handle different climates with more comfort. I also started to feel that Costa Rica was too hot (never thought that would happen). Fat insulates us, in addition to many other life-sustaining functions. Without it, you are totally exposed.
2. Your Sleep Patterns Will Be Disturbed
This may fluctuate depending on the person. I can only speak from my own experience. When I was very thin, it would be tremendously difficult to FALL ASLEEP. After researching this issue, I realized that your body actually needs a certain amount of calories to fall asleep. While sleeping, your body is going through some pretty serious processes, and if you don’t have the energy for it, your body’s intelligence will make sleep very difficult. I actually resorted to taking sleeping pills, despite the fact that I was as holistic as it could get. I wouldn’t even take an Advil or eat a piece of bread, but there I was popping sleeping pills to hide the fact that my body was speaking to me… LOUD.
1. You Will Be Sad
It’s difficult to maintain a positive attitude when all of the above issues are circulating in your day-to-day experience. I read more self-help books during that time than I can count on two hands. They would temporarily inspire me to live a happier life, but when it came down to it, my disease was taking over, and I felt helpless. My body ached, and when my body was frail, my mind also felt frail. Would I use the tools that yoga, nutrition studies, and all of these self-help books were giving me? Or would I wallow in the self-defeating belief that I wasn’t able to handle the world? It surely felt oddly comfortable to re-play that story. I wasn’t scared of gaining weight. I was scared of becoming myself. I was scared of my own power… my own light.
You always have a choice, even in the depths of misery. You have a choice to live or to die. Each moment. I chose to live. In choosing life, life chose me back, and our relationship is nourishing and sweet.