Opening Up About Not Feeling Skinny Enough

26653437_10214756031559371_1105779051_oI feel a little scared to write this. I was around twelve when I started weighing myself on the scales. I ran in the morning before school, and straight after school when I got home. I drank a lot of water and I ate as much as I liked because my metabolism was a skyrocket. When I left home at sixteen, I developed signs of an eating disorder. I’m sensitive in typing that because these were warning signs, which is why I’m careful to not label myself as having an eating disorder. I would skip meals, exercise a lot, weigh myself several times a day, obsess over my BMI and drink a lot of water to feel full. I had depression, anxiety and a fear of gaining weight.

When you grow up with people telling you that you’re skinny and that it’s said as a compliment, there is this pressure that stays inside your mind to maintain that body image. However, now that I’m in my twenties, my body is naturally changing. My metabolism isn’t what it used to be, and I feel more aware of eating healthy and having an active lifestyle. The beauty standard in Asia is to be very petite, but our bodies are all made differently. No person is made exactly the same as another, and if that were the case, how boring would that be? After many years of struggling with my weight, I feel the healthiest and happiest now. Surround yourself with people who love and support you, do the things that you enjoy and feed your mind with positive words.

There are days where I still struggle, but I know it’s not my true self. The true voice in myself says that your self-worth comes from who you are as a person, and it has nothing to do with the number on the scales. I don’t want to be defined by my weight, but by what I can bring into the world. The title really speaks about my teenage years. In the past, I went through a period where I was feeling a lot of hatred towards myself. I felt not worthy, and there was an overwhelming amount of worry and fear taking over my life. I felt like even though I was stressed, I could control my weight and what I ate. It’s not healthy, because then you end up neglecting your body.

I was 18 when I was living in Sydney in 2015, and it was a time where I really struggled with my body image. I remember gymming a lot in and watching what I was eating. There was fear and insecurity during that period of my life. I felt incredibly lost. My anxiety was crippling at that time, and I really isolated myself. It was really during that time where I wasn’t connecting with God, and my relationship with Him really weakened during that season of my life. When it comes to eating, I still feel a bit conscious at times when eating a meal in front of people, unless it’s those I’m very close to.collageOur bodies are beautiful, sacred, precious and wonderful things that keep us moving, breathing and living life. I do think that it can be damaging if one compliments too much on a persons body size. When you grow up from a child being told that you’re so skinny and that it’s said as a compliment, it’s something that can really stay entrenched in your mind as you grow older. I know that my value lies in my heart, yet there are days where I stare in the mirror and feel a sudden fear of gaining any weight. It all starts in the mind. A persons weight can fluctuate when dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression.

Everyone has insecurities. We all have something inside and out that we’re conscious of. When I think about where I was previously, it was during a period where I was unhappy, and I felt like I wasn’t skinny enough (which was when I was the lightest). I rarely ate in the dining area in a previous flat, because I didn’t want my flatmates to see me eating. I would bring my dinner to my room where no one could see me. It’s really been this year, where I’ve felt safe in eating in the dining area. It seems like something so small, but it’s a huge change. Since leaving home, there have been periods where I didn’t eat well. I think when one’s stress, you either eat a lot or you feel you don’t have any appetite.

We often don’t emphasize it enough, but your health is truly your wealth. Without your health, you wouldn’t be able to wake up and conquer the day. You wouldn’t be able to experience this beautiful life. When I didn’t have a healthy mind, it started to affect my body and I felt weak, unmotivated and a loss of energy. It was during that time where I suffered from panic attacks and had very deep depression. Our thoughts are so powerful. When I started being more present, thinking positively and accepting myself as I am, I really felt set free from the cage I’d built inside my mind.

I’ve read so many stories about those who showed warning signs of anorexia, and during those periods where they were the lowest weight, was when they were the unhappiest. Being skinny won’t make you happy. It’s embracing where you are, right here, right now. Accepting yourself as you are. Being grateful for everything that your body has done for you. Being thankful for good health and waking up to a new day. Treating yourself with kindness, love and positive self-talk. I am at the healthiest weight this year. I feel the most energy and happiness this year.collageThere were feelings of not being good enough. After really surrounding myself with amazing people and being kinder to myself, I feel an overwhelming sense of peace. If you can’t love yourself first, how will you attract the right people into your life? Our life experiences can affect us deeply in how we see the world. But, I really think that we can all heal from hurt, even when it seems impossible. It’s really the simple things in life that give us the greatest joy. We have to come from a place of not judging others because everyone has and is going through something. It’s easy to see things on the surface and believe what we see. The most healing comes from the periods of silence. I really believe that time heals.

One of the biggest blessings is surrounding yourself with people who are uplifting, encouraging, motivating, positive and caring. They bring the best out of you. The people we surround ourselves with are important. Our bodies are a blessing. It’s important to refrain from commenting or complimenting someone on their body. I can’t emphasize how much it can have an impact on them. A reminder to myself is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 which reads: Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies. 

How powerful is that? God wants us to take care of ourselves, and He wants us to live our lives as fully as possible. I really believe we have to remind ourselves that we are enough as we are. We truly live in such a visual world. People will constantly judge others based on their appearances, and it’s inescapable that the first impression we have of someone often comes from their physical appearances. But, we have to go beyond the surface and remember that every person we care about, we couldn’t care less about what they look like. I really hope if you are on a journey of healing and having a healthy relationship with your body, that you will realize how beautifully made you are.

When you go through a stressful period in your life or a hard season, know that there are people who care about you. I know that when I went through depression, I often felt like nobody cared and that there wasn’t a way out. But, there are so many people who love you, and often the first step is reaching out to others. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to talk about these things. Those who matter in our lives, are the ones who won’t judge you for your experiences. When I’m reminding myself of what’s important in life, I like to think of the words from The Little Prince: Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. If you are reading this and going through a hard time, know that wherever you are in your life you are enough.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song of Songs 4:7

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Articles:

Why it’s not Always Smart to Lead with a Physical Compliment

What an eating disorder IS and ISN’T

Top 4 Things Recovery Has Taught Me

The Word ‘Skinny’ Shouldn’t Be A Compliment

Why Being Skinny Won’t Make You Happy

Why We Need To Stop Saying “You’re Skinny, Eat More”

Beauty Isn’t Measured by a Number


8 thoughts on “Opening Up About Not Feeling Skinny Enough

  1. Girlfriend you need to come on over to Asia, cause things have changed. Seriously. Diets are more fast food centered, and lifestyle is way more sedentary. Men, women, and children are much bigger; in fact, let me just say it, they are obese.

    I remember when I moved away from Asian-majority Hawaii to Asian-minority Colorado, and folks telling me how skinny I was. I protested because even though I might have looked smaller compared to them, I had been around such a diversity of Asians to see and know that I was quite average.

    But when I was in high school, I did go through an “exercise, don’t get butter or mayo” phrase. My tummy flattened, but I didn’t like cutting anything I enjoyed out of my diet, and guess what, it didn’t make me any happier. Surprise!

    Later, I was told that I didn’t look good when I got too skinny. That stuck, so when I was told this when I was much older, I stopped cutting carbs, but I still went to the gym. I’ve also been told that guys like some meat on woman. I think we try to be too skinny for other girls because we definitely are fooling ourselves if we think we are doing it for the guys.

    These days, I’m happy to be healthy, like you mentioned. I’ve been blessed with good health, and I don’t want to take that for granted. I also feel like life’s too short to count calories, so I eat what I want, try to get some movement, and exercise in my daily routine, and don’t sweat too much over the little stuff. I think you’ll find, at least it has been this way for me, that you’ll always battle a bit over being healthy, but that you’ll relax over the way you look as you get older.

    Thanks for sharing such a personal post Katie! Much love from Thailand. xo

    1. Thanks for your comment Lani :) That’s so true, I do think as women we can be quite competitive. I love that, so true that life’s too short, and really a smile is the most beautiful thing we can wear. There are still days that I struggle, but it’s been a lot better over time!

  2. Thank you for sharing!

    I do find, as a whole, Asia is quite fat shaming. If you put on some weight, it will be pointed out which can make you feel more self conscious.

    I completely relate to the part where you write that you’ve been skinny most of your life, but now in your 20’s, your body is changing. Its natural, but does feel a bit uneasy to see your weight go up! Having said that, living through the cold worsening winter’s of the UK, an extra bit of fat keeps me warmer :p.

  3. Another great post with your beautiful photos! :”>

    I experienced heavy body shaming when growing up as a chubby kid back in the days. I always thought I was really ugly when I lived in Asia because I got too many judgments from other people. I’ve only learned loving myself recently and treating myself in a good way. Like you said “Being skinny won’t make you happy”, I believe that healthy people and the food lovers are the happiest persons in the world. :)

    1. Thank you so much. I’m sorry to hear about the body shaming experiences, but I’m happy to hear you are in a good space. I really do hope there can be less commenting on one’s weight. Yes! healthy=happy.

  4. love love love this. you are a beautiful woman and a beautiful writer. it takes a lot of courage to finally love yourself. embracing who you are and all of your unique qualities is the most liberating feeling. thank you for posting, i adore your blog.

    with love,
    rhiannon

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