I was on my morning walk doing some gentle side bends and realizing, wow, I really don’t have excess fat on my torso anymore. Just defined oblique muscles right under the surface. Remember those old Special K ads? “You can’t pinch an inch on me!” they boasted. Well, now, on my sides….there’s no pinching an inch. Even trying to pinch a half inch means painfully gripping plain skin.
As a formerly morbidly obese woman, this begs a question I have been asking for the past two years: Am I a thin person? Somehow, having burned off these pockets of fat strikes me more than the scale or my clothes. After all, when I bother getting on it, the scale still tells me I weigh 150 pounds, technically a bit into the overweight range on BMI charts. Hard to reconcile ‘overweight’ and ‘thin’ in the same sentence. As for clothes, my tops range from extra small to mostly smalls and a few mediums. My pants are size 4, 6, and even a couple size 8. Vanity sizing makes it hard to use clothes as a gauge of much.
Here is how I’ve viewed “thin women” in the past two decades or so. Standard disclaimer applies; I only have one lived experience and can’t actually speak for anyone. These are just my perceptions over time.
Category 1: The blessed. These ladies have a healthy metabolism that hasn’t been damaged by dieting, are not consumed with thoughts about food, and eat for sustenance and occasionally pleasure. They have never been overweight and (maybe secretly) don’t understand what all the fuss about food and weight is about. They are rare and lucky, whether they know it or not.
Category 2: The stressed. This is where most women seem to dwell. They “watch what they eat.” They may or may not be on a formal diet, but they say things like, ‘Oh, that was bad of me’ or ‘I shouldn’t.’ They say no to seconds, to most desserts. They may be a tad heavier than they want to be, but they are fairly thin. Thoughts about weight don’t consume them, but they are ever present. I spent a little time in this mode in my teens, but weight quickly packed on and I left thoughts of thinness in the dust.
Category 3: The obsessed. These thin women fight tooth-and-nail to stay that way. I imagine they wake up each morning ready to fight another day of battle with the scale. They’re definitely on a diet, they are obsessive about calorie- and macro-counting, and they probably work out a ton. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with their food or their exercise, but the mindset is not one of freedom. I’ve never lived this; it’s just how I imagine it. These are the women I feared becoming when I refused to follow a strict diet. I have never even owned a food scale. Unfortunately for me, I ricocheted all the way to the other extreme, to denial and morbid obesity.
None of these categories fit me now. I’m not blessed (well, I absolutely am, but not with a metabolism or mindset where food and weight are 100% easy). I’m not stressed, because I have fasting as a tool to keep me from saying “I shouldn’t eat that” or forcing me onto the treadmill to burn off a brownie. And I’m not obsessed with my weight – I known I can live life ignoring the next restrictive fad diet to come down the pike – this is the ultimate freedom, and the closest I come to dwelling in the first camp.
For my growing tribe of friends who have found Unbelievable Freedom through the power of fasting, we’ll happily make up “The Rest” – living slim and healthy, making sense of this new identity, and sharing the good news with the rest of the world.
Happy 4th of July, all 🙂