I am “Skinny”.
People have told me I’m skinny my whole life. My wrists are so small I can wrap my hand around it and touch every single one of my fingers to my thumb. I’ve been asked how I ever hold anything let alone a heavy bar during bench, without my arm snapping in half.
I’m genuinely concerned if I wear heels too high, my ankles will give up on life and remove themselves from my body. I’m then left to hobble around on calf-feet (a painful condition my neurosis made up which is my legs but without ankles).
Osteoporosis is a genuine concern of mine because I’ve somehow got it in my head that being skinny makes my bones less durable. Maybe that’s from being call bird bones for so long? In any case I take about every supplement and vitamin known to promote bone strength.
I’m Not Skinny Though.
By that I mean, I have child-bearing hips and larger than average boobs. Despite being “skinny” I’ve spent my life buying a-line or full skirts and baggy tops. I go out of my way to hide the wide curve of my hips that always looked out of place next to my bird wrists and tiny waist. I also love food and alcohol, and no matter what weight I am I’ve always had “The Pouch“.
At one time, during a “skinny” phase I was working at a popular high-end fashion store in Australia. At the time, my disposable income that I no longer have (thanks London) meant I could afford a new outfit every week. One week I decided to try on a pencil skirt to quote: “reconfirm to myself that I am way too fat to ever wear pencil skirts”. To be clear, I achieved “skinny” through a steady diet of steamed vegetables and rice and 6 or 7 trips to the gym a week. So basically, I was at extreme bird-like levels of skinny.
I told my co-worker I didn’t wear tight pencil skirts because I didn’t like this bit (with my hands hovering vaguely over my hips). She told me I could just wear Spanx and then I wouldn’t look so big in the skirt. I explained to her I couldn’t just wear Spanx to hide my bones; there’s only so much Spanx can do! Her nose crinkled and she looked genuinely confused. But she let it go and I didn’t get the skirt.
The Problem Is…
It wasn’t her fault – she was built like a supermodel and had probably never seen child-bearing hips up close. This was and is my biggest problem with being a fat skinny person. People who are smaller than me don’t understand and people who are bigger than me don’t want to listen and dismiss me out of hand.
In any case, this confirmed what I already knew to be true in my mind – I was fat and pencil skirts highlighted that fact. So it was at least another 4 or 5 years before I ever tried on anything form-fitting again.
Even when I was “fat” I was “skinny”. I told people I’d gone up two dress sizes and was hovering on a third, and they insisted they couldn’t see a difference. I put that down to a combination of the loose clothes I habitually wear and the bird bones. It distracts people from my fat face, double chin, and stomach that protrudes out past my generous boobs.
When I hit the third dress size increase, I started training with a powerlifting coach. I never told him I wanted to lose weight, I said I wanted to be fit and healthy. Nonetheless, as my weight started to drop, people began marvelling at how good I looked. This was confirmation to me that I was “fat” before, and I’d made the right decision to covertly start losing weight.
The Big Epiphany
It was only a few days after I hit my lowest weight in years that I had The Epiphany. I realised that my hips were still wide, I still had a small “pouch” gut and my boobs were still DD. It may seem like I knew this before, but it never clicked to me what that meant. Even though I was fit, healthy and strong, I was still “fat”. The big difference was I was confidently wearing skinny jeans and the dreaded pencil skirts sans Spanx. It occurred to me that I was never going to achieve the body type I idealised because I’m not built that way. But I was OK with it.
So I let go a little bit. I allowed myself to go over my macros now and then. I did have a few freak outs when the number on the scales started to go up again, but then I stopped weighing myself. I’d learnt what I needed to know – how to be healthy. I’m confident enough that I can see in the mirror that I am a little softer. But I know it’s not the end of the world, and nobody is thinking less of me for still wearing those pencil skirts.
What’s in a Number?
I no longer know exactly how much I weigh, but I don’t consider myself fat anymore. I don’t consider myself skinny either, but that’s no longer my priority. Being healthy and having fun is.
I still give myself a hard time if I go too long between gym visits, but it’s important to hold myself accountable. Even though I’m happy(ish) with how I look now, I still remember how hard my mental and physical journey was to get there. (Of course, I still have days where I poke The Pouch and pout).
Now that I know the things I don’t like about my appearance are things I can’t control, I instead focus on what I can.
Even if that means I’m a fat skinny person.
Edit: Please don’t use this as an excuse to jump on the “but you’re skinny?!” bandwagon: it’s counterproductive and irrelevant to the point of my very long story! Everyone has The Voice that tells them they aren’t good enough. I’m trying to deal with mine and I’m sharing that journey with you. xx
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