For the Thin Girls

March 25, 2011


There is a lot of talk around the Internet focused on “curvy” girls loving their bodies.  That the messages society and the media perpetuate about beauty are damaging and detrimental to self-esteem and unhealthy.  I am not arguing that point and more power to the curvy girls to seek fulfillment in their image while being healthy.  Knock your socks off.

I am not a curvy girl in terms of mainstream society.  For twenty years (not kidding) I have been 5’9” and 125lbs. Aside from pregnancy I have consistently been a size 4 – as long as designers kept their sizing straight – and my worst complaint for years was they never made pants long enough.  I will readily admit I wore clothing well and knew how to choose pieces that further flattered my figure.  I have never not worn a bikini in the summer.

There.  Full disclosure.

In the past year or so I have gained ten pounds and now I am 135lbs.  I work out strenuously (see: with professional and college athletes) multiple times a week and occasionally watch what I eat.  I know that some of this weight gain is from translating some fat to muscle on top of adding more muscle.  I’m okay with that.

What I am not okay with is, for some reason, I have lost my abs and cannot seem to get them back.  I have gained a size in clothing and am now wearing a size 6.  I am fighting a “pooch” coupled with some remnants of stretched skin thanks to two pregnancies and for the first time I am looking in the mirror and not recognizing my physical self.

But, you see, I don’t get to complain about that – or be frustrated about it, because I am a “Thin Girl”.

I am not allowed to be upset about any of this – because, after all, I am still a size SIX!  Others would LOVE to be a size six.  Others would kill to be 135lbs. How dare I play the “woe is me” card when all my life I’ve … you get the picture.

But, here’s the thing.  It’s not about weight or size or image or any of that. Putting the focus on that only speaks to vanity and, quite frankly, if that’s the case, you are no different than any of the messages that come from the magazines.  You are worse.  You are telling a Thin Girl she doesn’t count as much as a Curvy Girl.  And last time I checked we women were getting smarter about attacking other women.  Right?

No, it’s about the frustration of losing control of your body.  It’s about the constant struggle to work on being healthy AND wondering if you are failing.  It’s about after twenty years (TWENTY YEARS) dealing with change.  It’s about the clock and the calendar.

It’s hard no matter who you are – and harder still when you get the sense you aren’t allowed to talk about it.  So, there.  I’m talking about it.

And you can, too.


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27 Responses to “For the Thin Girls”

  1. Danielle (elleinadspir) Says:

    Well said. I have this exact issue/problem/conversation. I am 10lbs over my ‘usual’ weight. A few years if fertility treatments, one kiddo, age….and now I have a muffin top. But when I talk about getting bavkin shape or watching what I eat I get the ‘you are so thin, don’t be stupid’….but I know I’m not in shape, and I know the roll over my belt isn’t needed. It’s all about getting our bodies where we want them and working out, watching what you eat is never bad. Unless you are dealing with someone who has severe body image distortion/eating disorders, it’s wrong to belittle their desire to improve their body. And with all that said, I’m even ok with the added 10 lbs. I’m having a tough tough time getting them to stay off. This very well be my ‘new’ weight, but the muffin top….that is not ok. It’s just not ok!! Sorry for the ling comment, thx for a great post.

  2. Elizabuffy Says:

    Yours is a perspective I had never considered because I’m short, plump and curvy would be a compliment.

    • Pam Says:

      Thanks, Elizabeth — and you know? “Curvy” is a dangerous word. It means way too much to too many people.

  3. Knighton Says:

    Hi, me too. 5’7″, normally 135, but hit 145 this winter and struggling to take it off. It’s like my body has rebelled against me.

    In a conversation with a friend this week, I mentioned my efforts to take those pounds off. And got the “you’re crazy, you’re thin, you could use a couple more pounds” comment.

    I FEEL curvier than normal, and it bothers me.

    (As a side issue, I battled anorexia in my youth, and I realize that my personal body image is and probably always will be distorted by the disease. Nonetheless, a healthy 135 is a far cry from the skeletal 95 I once was. 135 feels curvy to me, and 145 even more so – because I remember a different me. Everyone struggles, even the thin girls.)

    I could go on and on about this.

    • Pam Says:

      Those comments are hard to deal with — but harder is dealing with the change in bodies as we get older. My OB-GYN told me metabolism slows down 10% every 10 years. Hard to fight that.

  4. elz Says:

    Amen, sister. However, you have rock hard abs. I’ve seen them and now know not to be caught in a picture next to you in a swimsuit!

  5. April Says:

    On behalf of the Curvy Girl, I love this post! I love that you managed to level the playing field. Honestly, when you strip away the numbers & the vanity ~ we are ALL displaying how we “feel” about our bodies.

    I have to admit, you’ve made me realize I’ve been one of those “you don’t have any room to complain” Curvy Girls before. I now move forward reminded that we all have concerns & when the Thin Girl wants to voice an opinion about her self image ~ she will be heard, respected and comforted in my presence.

    Thank you

    • Pam Says:

      Thank you – I’m glad it gave another perspective – and that you think it was balanced in a way. xo The next Thin Girl you come across will love you even more. 😉

  6. ashley Says:

    Thanks for speaking up for the thin girls. Though I have gradually made my way over to the curvy side of the spectrum, my baby sister is naturally 5’11” and 120 pounds. She has endured so many hurtful remarks and worries her daughter will experience them as well. Sure, people probably think it’s a compliment to hear “You look too skinny!” or “Go eat a cheeseburger!” or “Are you anorexic?” but body image is a fragile thing no matter what the person’s size.

    • Pam Says:

      Oh, I remember those days growing up — with NO curves to speak of (and shopping in the boys’ section just to find slimmer, longer pants)… the extremes have such difficult challenges. Different, but hard.

      Thanks for the nice words — they are much appreciated. xo

  7. agirlandaboy Says:

    WORD. This describes my situation too, and it’s hard to find a way to say “We’re ALL allowed to struggle and we’re ALL allowed to to know we’re still okay,” so thanks for putting it out there.

    • Pam Says:

      My pleasure. I’m glad it resonated with a group that doesn’t usually get a voice in this way. And you’re right – we’re ALL allowed.

  8. Mir Says:

    Love this. When I did a group challenge with friends last year to lose ten pounds, I ran into this constantly, because I was the lightest to begin with, and trying to explain “I don’t feel like me” and the interior feelings of lost control was brushed off as me being silly. It’s not silly to struggle with your body image at ANY size.

    So I hear you and I’m glad you’re talking.

    • Pam Says:

      YES. I was just thinking the other day – “If I walked into WW or Curves I’d be laughed out of there…” and do I really NEED those things? The questions are many sometimes.

      I’m honored by your kind words — I’m a longtime (though way too lurky) reader. Thank you.

  9. Raven Says:

    Dude, THANK YOU!


    • Pam Says:

      I have holes in my tongue and have closed my laptop screen a bit too hard a few too many times.

      I so get it. 🙂

  10. Shannon Says:

    So very well said my friend! As a short curvy girl I must admit I have rarely {if ever} considered the struggle thin girls also face and am sure I’ve uttered those “What are you complaining about you silly thin girl?” comments {verbally or internally}. Thank you for the insight- you ROCK my sweet thin friend!

  11. kollette Says:

    I am all for women speaking about their struggles. All women. I used to be thin and now am curvy. For me, medication I must take is largely (stupid pun) the cause. I had to confront my pathettic vanity when this happened and really ask myself what was more important to me: my overall better health or my thin body? What’s sad was that it was an actual debate for me. Sometimes still is. It is hard to get older and wiser. Lately I’ve been thinking that maybe we women start to lose some of our physical beauty later in life because it forces us to discover how we are beautiful and valuable in so many ways besides the physical.

  12. Mr Lady Says:

    Dude. Seriously. WORD.

  13. Penney @MaybeThisDoor Says:

    I just turned 29 (Yikes) and I’m heavier than I’ve ever been at 140. 5,8′. I was just sharing how I felt and the fact that I was in need of a gym overhaul to a group of woman who pish poshed me because I wasn’t in their minds “fat”. As women we need to always be aware of trying to see thru the eyes of others not only our own point of view. Good post dear!

  14. Christine Says:

    Your “you might like” plugin decided to show me this post – and I DO, in fact, like it. A lot. As a NOT thin girl, you are right – there was a point in time when I would have been upset if you complained to me about those 10 pounds, because I wanted to lose 70. I can lose 10 pounds in two weeks sometimes, because my weight fluctuates that much.

    HOWEVER … as I have specialized in photographing women, I have discovered something. Every woman wants to be thin, and yet we vilify thin women. Oh, you’re cold? Well, you really should eat a cookie.

    It is terrible. It is mean. It is hurtful. And I want to apologize to you for all the times and all the women I’ve said that to. I am so sorry. Your struggle is a sincere struggle, but more importantly you are a truly beautiful person inside and out.

    Just like no one should make me feel bad for my weight, no one should make you feel bad for it either.

    • pamlewis Says:

      There is no need to apologize, my sweet friend. 🙂 You and your mission are awesome! We grow old, er, wise don’t we? xo