The struggle to put on weight…the other side of the scales
We have all been in lockdown and put on a few pounds here and there, but what about if you struggle to put on weight? This is a taboo that does not get much airtime in contrast to dieting and being overweight. We are used to being empathetic towards people that are overweight and those that are constantly on diets. We all support each other at the weekly weigh-ins, but who supports those struggling to put on weight and feeling inadequate in their own skin and clothes?
I was passionate to discuss this topic as I know friends that have gone through this and when they told me their experiences, I was genuinely surprised because I didn’t even know that struggling to put on weight was an issue. I was desensitized to it, I guess because of the media focusing on losing weight, when I saw them, I would think ‘’clothes horse’’, anything will look great on you and carry on with my day. I spoke to two of my friends who went through this and here they share their stories.
”I have always been on the slim side. In my twenties I was always a size 6. I was one of those lucky people. It didn’t matter what I would eat, or drink, I just wouldn’t put weight on. And although a lot of people think it’s great to be slim, I hated it! I would always receive comments from people saying ‘’you need to eat a burger’’ or ‘’a robin probably eats more than you’’ and these comments would hurt. I hated my body and hated the way people thought it was fine to make a joke about my size as I’m skinny. Words hurt. I remember saying to a friend that people would be unlikely to say to a larger person ‘’you should lay off the burger’’ as it would be seen as an unkind thing to say but a lot of people will comment on slim/skinny people without realising the hurt they can cause. I’m now in my thirties and my metabolism has slowed down, and like a lot of people, I have put weight on during lockdown and I’m probably feeling more confident in my body now than I was 10 years ago”
”I was underweight since I can remember, so it was nothing to me, my weight was in the normal range but bordering on underweight, I was healthy and my Mum was always skinny too, so me being skinny, seemed natural. I really liked my skinny legs and my prominent collar bones. I must say I got a lot of compliments about them and felt great. When I went to Junior high school, I realised I was skinnier than most of the girls. Back in the day, I took advantage of being skinny and celebrated it. I did get comments about being too skinny, but it actually made me feel proud of myself.
By the time I got to high school, I was still very skinny and blood tests revealed I was underweight. People would start telling me that I had to put on some more weight, but I never listened. The parts of my body I loved, were my visible collar bones, my legs looked stunning in certain dresses and I had a perfectly flat stomach, but I hated that even super skinny jeans looked loose on me and that I couldn’t wear oversized clothes without feeling drowned in them. Luckily, I didn’t find it hard to put on weight in the end, as I got a job where I was doing a lot of lifting and this built muscle.”
It Just goes to show, whatever size you are, words hurt. We all have struggles with our bodies and we just need to be kind to each other because we don’t know what anybody is going through on a daily basis. Thank you to my two dear friends for sharing their personal stories. Their names have been left out for their privacy.