If I had a pound for every time I've heard a variation of "You're so skinny," "Do you eat?" "You're so small," or "You need to eat something" Chile, I'd be a millionaire for real - or close enough to being one.
My earliest inkling that there was something wrong was when I was growing up, I was always the last kid in the lunch room still eating long after my classmates had finished. I think back then, every year was given an allotted time frame (which is messed up in itself, but for logistic purposes I guess we'll go with it 🙄) to eat their lunch. Truthfully, I can't remember exactly how long that lasted but I'm positive that by the time I got to year 6 (ages 10-11) it wasn't as big of an issue.
Since then, the fluctuation between being underweight and healthy weight has yo-yoed quite consistently for my petite frame, thankfully never drastically enough to be a medical concern. I've always been pretty active when I was young - swimming, dance classes, walking a lot, PE etc, so I think that also contributed to me looking dangerously toned at times.
What a lot of people don't realise is that our individual relationship with food is psychological and is a reflection of our state of mind at any given time. I wish I could remember what the catalyst was, but I attribute this toxic relationship with food to something happening to me when I was very young that kept me from eating - or eating very little. I remember being force fed and shouted at for not finishing what was on my dinner plate almost every night, but unfortunately I was never asked why I wouldn't or couldn't eat.
If you grew up super slim like me and are from an African background, you more than likely got grief from family members about how unattractive you are for being so small but also sometimes genuine concern. I definitely got a bit of both from family, friends and even strangers. The frustrating part about it all is clearly being aware of your size, how you look and the fact that you don't eat a lot, but not being able to articulate why you never have much of an appetite, and most of all, not understanding why yourself.
The last time, in recent memory, I closely monitored a shift in my weight, was probably 2018/2019 when I was experiencing a series of volatile situations, including that break-up that inspired the resurgence of this blog. I physically couldn't eat, didn't want to eat and as a result, I hated my body and hated myself into a vicious cycle that honestly could have put me in A&E. It was a weird time because my body was starting to fill out and mature for my frame at the same time so it doesn't really show when I look back at pictures of me during that time. Inside, however, it was a completely different story.
Fast forward to 2021/2022, truly at my best and happiest weight yet and honey, it shows! Why? Because I'm happier mentally and with myself, I'm more informed and I'm intentional about doing what works best for me in terms of lifestyle and diet, with nutritional options that give my mind and body the boost it needs. I had to love my mind first and then my body naturally followed suit. Most importantly, I don't give a fuck what anyone thinks of my weight, size or frame - stranger or not! It's taken half a lifetime to get here and no one can convince me otherwise.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not always on point, but I'm usually able to push myself to get back on track whenever I notice I've missed a meal or I've gone the whole day without something with nutritional value or even when I've neglected my water in take.
It's always going to be me for me! 😍
I hope everyone gets to a place where they wholeheartedly feel this way about themselves.
I'm so blessed that I didn't develop any additional eating disorders or harmful obsessions with food or my weight as a result because there are many people going through it and add social media pressures into the mix, I really feel for the young and impressionable of today.
I think it's disturbing the fact that people can comment freely on a complete stranger's weight - like, who asked you? And more importantly, why do you think you're opinion is so superior that you must vocalise it to someone you don't know and have no clue what they're going through? Even with my "skinny privilege" 🙄 I wouldn't dream of walking up to a person visibly much bigger than me, no matter who they are and tell them they need to lose weight or they're too fat and yet, here we are...
I'm also disturbed and equally disgusted by the fact that because we now have terms such as"fat-phobic," "fat-shaming" and we've deemed it as socially unacceptable to comment on bigger people's size, society thinks that it can transfer that vitriol towards people on the slimmer side of the scale. It's not lost on me that traditionally, bigger people have had a harder time being represented and accepted in mainstream society, media, so on and so forth and I'm sincerely glad that we're seeing a shift, but unhealthy and unsavoury attitudes towards weight has never been directed at just one group of people.
I guess the positive in all this, is that there will eventually be a generation of people who are more considerate and more informed when it comes to damaging notions about eating, food, health and weight and what is deemed as socially acceptable.
There's still so much to in terms of society and the media embracing what's different but I do acknowledge the strides that have been taken and I'm sure ten years from now, we would have accomplished more societally.
I believe it's so important to encourage honest and healthy conversations, no matter the age, on weight and food, how else will we learn? The key word is honest. There are parts on both ends of the scale that are detrimental to a person's well being and directly effect their longetivity on this earth and we all have a responsibility to be unequivocally candid about those consequences. However, putting someone down, making fun of them or judging them unfairly because of their size is irresponsible and counter-productive.
A little bit of compassion never hurt no one! Take a second or two to consider what someone is going through that could be effecting their appearance, before proceeding to judge them for something they might not fully be in control of.
Some interesting articles on the link between eating disorders and social media: