Telling someone they're too skinny is as bad as telling someone they're too fat
I’ve been meaning to write this one for a while.
I’ve had it all my life - as a young kid I was naturally thin, and I got used to the endless skinny remarks and the name calling - string bean, stick insect, skinny-min, twiggy, skindiana bones. “Ooh you’re like a lath” they’d say (I’d quietly wonder what the actual fuck a lath is, but now I know it’s a slat of wood - wankers). “I’ve seen more meat on a butchers pencil” or “more fat on a chip”... bla bla.
My teenage years were the same - I was still a little stick, and whilst I should have appreciated the fact I could eat what the fuck I wanted with no consequence, I longed for the curves and the boobs that my high school friends had.
I was the annoying cow at University and in my twenties who could eat McDonald's for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week, and not put any weight on, whilst my friends nibbled on dust and complained incessantly about ever expanding thighs.
I’m 38 now, and I’ve had 3 (big) babies, so time’s have changed and yes, my luck has run out. I used pregnancy as an excuse to devour thousands more calories than my body needed, and I snaffled whatever I wanted, in fact I snaffled anything and everything in sight. Since having my boys and up until a year ago, I always felt like a fat person trapped in a skinny person’s body - slight on the outside but with the BMI of a rather large and unhealthy person, looking ok in clothes, but not that hot naked. I soon realised that slim does not equal healthy, and I reached an age where I couldn’t pull it off anymore - I could no longer gorge on deep fried brie and pickled onion monster munch (by the multi pack). I had to do something about it.
I’ve worked out on and off over the years and even ran a half marathon in 2008, but it was just over a year ago when I started going to the gym with real gusto. I never weigh myself, but I can hazard a guess that I probably weigh about the same, if not more (due to muscle growth), than I have for most of my adult life . The difference now is that whilst I am still slim, I am fitter, stronger and healthier. I do look different - I’m more lean and toned, and I’m even building some nice little biceps - woop! Couple this with the fact I wear my gym gear most days, and I’ve had more than a couple of skinny comments come my way in recent weeks.
I’m here to say - this is entirely unacceptable!
Telling someone they’re too skinny is, in my book, as rude as telling someone they’re too fat - which most people would never dream of! Commenting that someone has ‘lost weight’ or asking if someone has lost weight in a derogatory tone, while eyeing them up and down with a face of concern or pity, is not permissible.
Telling someone they need to go and eat a bag of chips is absolutely, categorically OUT. OF. ORDER.
I’ve bitten my tongue and walked away frustrated, having thought of a sharp tongued and witty response afterwards (typical), which I’d never actually be rude enough to voice, but have enjoyed replaying in my head nonetheless.
“You could do with eating a burger”
“Well YOU could do with eating a salad Janice*”
I simply couldn’t imagine asking someone (in a patronising voice) if they’d put weight on. That would be wholly inappropriate. So why do some people think it’s ok to make comments such as “Ooooh, we don’t want you getting too thin, you’ll start looking all gaunt.”
“Thanks for that Janice, and we wouldn’t want you getting too chubby now would we eh? BMI skyrocketing, high cholesterol, risk of diabetes and all that hey, wink wink nudge nudge!”
I suppose I could respond with something along the lines of “Thanks for your observations, I’ll focus on my body thank you, you focus on yours”.
I’ve discussed this with friends and family who propose the guilty parties are actually offering a compliment. I disagree. Unless they just really suck at giving compliments! A compliment would be “Wow, you look good, have you been going to the gym?” or “You’re looking good / toned / fit / healthy”. If you don’t think someone looks good, of course you don’t have to compliment them, just don’t diss them! As the saying goes, if you’ve got nothing positive to say, say nothing at all.
I’m never going to have a bigger frame than the one I was born with. I can be slim and un-toned, with a bit of extra flesh in places (and that has been me at times), or I can be slim, toned, lean and strong. My body, my choice. Unless you want me to comment on your body, shape, size etc, please don’t comment on mine, it’s not your place.
I’ve rehearsed my response in my head, and the next time someone remarks on my physical appearance I’m ready! My response will be:
“I’m the strongest I’ve ever been - mentally and physically, and I’m fit and healthy. I’m very happy with my body and I’ve worked hard for it!”
Have you been on the receiving end of weight-related comments? How did you respond?
Much love, Fran xxx
*NB Janice is completely fictional. I hope I never actually meet anyone called Janice who then reads my blog, and thinks I’ve been slagging her off! Poor fictional Jan! #OverThinkingAgain
ABOUT FRAN GRANT
Wife to a very lucky husband. Mum to 3 beautiful little boys. Gym, yoga and self care enthusiast. Lover of food, coffee, wine and gin. Self confessed bookworm and book hoarder. Advocate for keeping the magic of reading alive for today’s children. And last but not least - Writer (currently trying my hand at kids fiction and rhyming stories). Thanks for visiting my site - expect to see posts mainly related to reading and writing, with occasional musings about family, parenting and life in general. Oh, and plenty of book reviews! Hope you enjoy! Much love, Fran x