Recently, I had a very insightful conversation with a woman from one of my classes.
I was so happy she felt comfortable enough to open up a bit because she said she never gets to complain about this issue. People are quick to roll their eyes and say, “I don’t feel sorry for you,” she said.
What’s her problem?
Well, this woman has a hard time gaining weight, is actually underweight and wants to be stronger, not skinnier.
Now, you already assumed she doesn’t eat enough or has an eating disorder, right?
In fact, she is very educated and active in trying to gain weight. She eats a very healthy diet full of protein, good healthy fats, carbs, fruits and veggies and all in very high quantities.
After having kids and still nursing her youngest, her weight has dipped lower and lower and now she finds out she also has high cholesterol (it runs in her family).
She works out and is doing all the right things to gain healthy weight but still struggles.
Now, how many of you have already said to yourself, “I really don’t feel sorry for her” or “I wish I had that problem!”?
Well, her struggle is no different than somebody who is trying to lose weight.
Struggle is struggle. We should not discredit what somebody is going through simply because we don’t understand it. We should all step back for a second and before we diagnose the eating disorder of a stranger, try and see them as a person who struggles just like we do.
I have to say I have been on both ends of the spectrum. I work my butt off to maintain my health. It doesn’t come easy, and if I stopped working out and ate like I used to, I would be overweight in 6 months (remember, I haven’t always been athletic!).
I am at this time considered a small woman. I am only 5’3″ and 110-115 pounds (depending on the time/day/month – weight fluctuates). I focus on being strong and athletic.
I can say I have felt this woman’s pain. People look at my plate of food and say, “Is that all you are going to eat?!” or “I bet you only eat salads” (FYI, salads are not always the healthiest option) or I see their eyes judging my food choices.
I have even had people ask, “What size are your jeans?” or “How much do you weigh?” and I can hear the disapproval in their voice.
Now, tell me how wrong it would be if I asked an overweight person those same questions? If I walked up to somebody and said, “You’re going to eat all that?!” I would instantly be reminded how unkind that was.
Yes, I eat healthy. Yes, I workout. No, it’s not OK to ask me ridiculous questions about my food, weight or clothing size. Next time somebody asks me what size my pants are I am going to respond with the same question – let’s see how they like it!
I have heard people comment about underweight women: “She needs a sandwich” or about overweight people: “Put down the fork.” Neither of these comments are OK.
I have even had to heal wounds with my own child. She is 11 (we all know middle school kids are not very kind) and she is tall and thin. She is taller than I am (she will be so happy I finally admitted that) at 5’4″. And at 90 pounds, she is very active, healthy, strong, smart, talented and amazing.
But girls at school tell her she is anorexic and looks too skinny. I have seen how much it hurts her.
In today’s society, we are not supposed to feel sorry for somebody who is “skinny.”
But that is my little girl and you can’t tell me her pain isn’t valid. Those words from mean girls make her feel like she needs to “bulk up” or change herself to better fit their image of beauty.
Why do we have to hurt each other?
Stop hurting and start trying to see things from others’ points of view! We are all human beings with feelings. Let’s be less judgmental and more uplifting. Let’s tell each other how amazing we are, how inspiring, motivational, strong, whatever nice thing you want. But STOP judging and hating!
Like your mom always said, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
We are all made of different shapes and sizes. That is what makes the world a beautiful place.
Samantha Williams is a personal trainer with her company Fit 4:13. She owns Rhema Music & Clothing Company in Fruita and is also a fitness instructor and personal trainer through the Fruita Community Center. She is the mother of two beautiful girls and the wife of an incredibly talented musician. She was born and raised in Fruita, and can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. Join her March Fitness Challenge on her Fit 4:13 Facebook page. No matter what your size, you are welcome to participate in the free month of workouts!