Sunday, January 18, 2015

Thinness vs. Healthfulness

This week I've felt mostly hungry - translate, thin. It's been hard to not think about what I might weigh right now for that reason. When you spend more time being hungry, is there anywhere for your weight to go but down? 

One day the temptation was so bad that I took the scale from its hiding place on the top shelf of my closet and moved it to the garage. That definitely worked, temptation-wise. While I haven't thrown it away yet, part of me is still planning to. Pros to getting rid of it: I don't easily fall back into my old ways once 2016 comes, and any and all temptation is permanently thwarted. Cons: the rest of the family won't be able to access it. While my husband only weighs himself bi-annually, we like monitoring the kids' weight as they grow.

I want to clarify - I haven't been going hungry on purpose. I've just been short on time. What I really want to talk about: why does hungry equal thin? And why is thin such a good thing? I look at some people and think, "They could use an extra ten pounds," specifically when I can tell they work to stay where they are. I don't want to look like I've worked to look the weight I do. I hate it when people compliment how thin I look, or say stuff about how I look like I've never been pregnant. I don't want my body commented on unless someone says, "Wow, you're glowing," or "You look healthy." I don't want to talk about my weight. I want to move past weight as a defining characteristic and focus on who I am, and the work I've put into my HEALTH, not the work I've put into LOOKING a certain way.

Because I want you to think I'm healthy. THIN is not always the same as healthy. 

But maybe being thin IS being hungry. For many, it is. I don't like being hungry. And, really, hungry is not healthy. Feeling hungry is not necessarily a bad thing if it, say, means you're going through withdrawal from something addictive and you're actually craving the addictive item. But, outside of addictions, hunger is the body's natural signal that you're in need of either calories, fiber, or nutrients. So if I'm hungry, and that means my stomach's flatter than usual, that shouldn't mean I hold my shoulders back and my head a little higher because I feel particularly attractive that day. Having an empty stomach shouldn't be attractive (I'm not talking about spiritual fasting in these statements - that's an entirely different topic). What's attractive is when you're evidently giving your body what it needs, when you're taking care of yourself. I'm not THIN, and I know it. My body wasn't designed to be thin right now. It was designed to make, feed, and cuddle babies. I'm full of energy and thriving. The number on the scale, or even the number on my pants, is not what counts. What counts is vitality. Ability. Health - in both body and mind.

Lastly, I wanted to clear up something I didn't explain well in my last post: I didn't feel guilty about those homemade cookies. I'm just naturally weary of any food I feel as if I'm "losing control" over. Food and me? We have a history, and I'm careful where I tread when it comes to my attitude in everything I consume. Mental health and physical health go hand in hand. Before I could accomplish the spot I'm at now, physically, I went through a lot of mending when it came to how I thought about food. I know the warning signs, the signs that say I'm not thinking rationally about what I'm consuming. When that happens, I take measures to ensure I continue consuming food mindfully. I'm thinking I might need to explain my history with food thoroughly in my next post.

Thank you for reading! If there's anything you'd like to see me talk more about in regards to body image, or mental health in regards to food (eating disorders, etc.) please let me know. This blog is a cleansing tool for me, but I want to help others too, if I can.


adj.  thin·nerthin·nest
a. Relatively small in extent from one surface to the opposite, usually in the smallest soliddimension: thin book.
b. Not great in diameter or cross section; fine: thin wire.
2. Having little bodily flesh or fat; lean or slender.
a. Not dense or concentrated; sparse: the thin vegetation of the plateau.
b. More rarefied than normal: thin air.
a. Flowing with relative ease; not viscous: thin oil.
b. Watery: thin soup.
a. Sparsely supplied or provided; scanty: thin menu.
b. Having a low number of transactions: thin trading in the stock market.
6. Lacking force or substance; flimsy: thin attempt.
7. Lacking resonance or fullness; tinny: The piano had a thin sound.
8. Lacking radiance or intensity: thin light.
9. Not having enough photographic density or contrast to make satisfactory prints. Used of anegative.
1. In a thin manner: Spread the varnish thin if you don't want it to wrinkle.
2. So as to be thin: Cut the cheese thin.
tr. & intr.v.  thinnedthin·ningthins
To make or become thin or thinner.

[Middle English, from Old English thynnesee ten- in Indo-European roots.]

thin′ly adv.
thin′ness n.
thin′nish adj.


  1. With so many different body types in the world, I don't agree with your statement that thin people are probably usually hungry. You've said in a past post that you are lightly active. Being a usually very active person myself, part of my overall health is exercising and feeling/being strong, which lends to greater leanness in my body type. But I have family members (in-laws) who have a very thin body type but eat a lot of food. So I think we need to be careful about passing judgment on people we just pass on the street.

    I totally understood your last post about sneaking in those even healthy treats all the day long. I've done that many times before, usually when I'm taking something out of my diet, like sugar. (Sugar is my bane, by the way. I wish I would just stop eating it all together, but it is a mighty temptress for me.) I do wonder and worry a little bit when you said that you don't have oil in your diet, as I think you've mentioned that you don't eat meat either. Fats are essential for our overall health. We need them for our bodies to function well. Maybe you have allergies or an intolerance, and I'm sure you're getting good fats in somehow. Your mentioning not consuming oils tied directly into my comment on following the Word of Wisdom, as in oils are not stated as a bad thing. Again, allergies and intolerance are not applicable here. My gluten-intolerant friend can not eat products with wheat here in the US because it gives her so many problems, and I would not want her to.

    1. Shauna,
      I hope it didn't sound like I was passing judgement on thin people, because I wasn't. I looked over the post again and I never say thin people are probably usually hungry. I say many are - I've been one of them. Obviously some people are meant to be thin, like my husband. I'm trying really hard not to be controversial about anything here, and I'm purposefully not talking about specifics in how I eat because I know there is such a wide variety of ideas out there about what's healthy and what's not, and I'm not here to start a new food blog. I'm trying to focus on healthy body image, and only mention that I think I'm healthy because I think there are many people with health problems that SHOULD weigh themselves. That being said, it sounds like you and I are two people who have different perspectives in nutrition. After the Word of Wisdom, some of my main bases of understanding come from places like Forks Over Knives, The China Study, How To Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Food Over Medicine; doctors like Dr. Colin B. Campbell, Dr. McDougall, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Furman, Dr, Pam Popper, etc. Again, I'm not here to talk about nutrition. I'm here to conquer body image issues. :)

  2. Good point about the blog being about body image and not nutrition. Sorry about that!

  3. Here is a quote from your post: "But maybe being thin IS being hungry. For many, it is." You are clearly stating here that many people who are thin are hungry, I assume, because you said there was a time when you were thin, which also meant that you were hungry. Do you have evidence to possibly back up that statement? I imagine that there are thin people who are hungry, but to say that many thin people are hungry is passing judgment without knowing so many things about those people.

    In reading your posts, it sounds like some of your frustration comes from thin being perceived as beautiful, and because you are not a thin person as defined by our Western society, you may not feel that others see you as beautiful. I could be very wrong here, I know. I think that when people compliment you in saying things like it looks like you've never been pregnant, they are complimenting you in the best way they know how, perhaps in a way they would like to be complimented. I assume that most people are not nearly as healthful as you are, and so to compliment you on your glow factor does not even occur to them. :)

    I read a book once about the French and their culture of eating. According to this author, they follow a fairly strict schedule of eating: 7:30 am, 12:30pm, a snack for kids at 4:30, and dinner at 7:30. They warn against snacking as we warn against smoking. If someone is hungry in between mealtimes, then they feel that hunger until it is time to eat again. Yet I've read about other cultures that eat when they're hungry, whatever time of day that is. I guess my point it, denying your body of necessary nutrition aside, there is more than one right way of eating things. Of course starving yourself to be thin is not healthy. I've adopted a bit of the French technique when it comes to feeding my kids because if I let them eat between snack and dinner, then they don't eat their dinner well. So in this case, I think it's fine for them to feel a bit of hunger, because I know they will have a good meal in an hour or two.


      I'm not trying to discourage people who try to compliment to their best capacity. I was really trying communicate how I WISH people would think about those around them.

      As for culture, I guess that's another one of those things where we each have to decide for ourselves what the boundary in hunger is. For my family, we're less likely to get along if we're hungry for an hour or so. We get cranky. I actually purposefully put a snack on the table when I start cooking to help alleviate tension. We tend to stick to the timetable your book suggested anyway, but it's only a guideline. Ultimately, we don't let the clock judge, but rather our own bodies.

  4. Yes, I just threw out that culture thing as food for thought, no pun intended. My kids get cranky too. Sounds like you found a good solution for dinner making time.

  5. I still didn't find evidence from the link you posted that thin people are hungry.