Sunday, July 25, 2010

What is "Thin?"

Genie, one of my favorite bloggers, recently wrote:
It's the big weight loss conundrum of intelligent women: I know how to lose weight, and I don't want to be overweight, so why can't I apply the knowledge to the desire in order to become thin?

Her words make me think about another conundrum of intelligent women and men: What is thin? What is thin enough? Where does thin begin and fat end?

All through my life of dieting, I've tried to change the wording to escape this question. I say physically fit or in the normal range for my age, height and gender. Yet, while abhorring the word fat, I'm in love the word thin, especially in my thoughts and daydreams. The word taunts me.

If only I were thin.....
When I get thin....
Because I'm not thin....

Thin is elusive. It exists on a sliding scale. When I'm 230, thin looks like 182. When the scale says 185, thin looks like 160. I haven't been there for many years, but I recall about 41 years ago, when thin looked like 125.

These numbers are crazy-making! At this moment I am celebrating my decision to stay off the scale (unless the Dr. orders... and even then I don't need to know). I understand the risks of this decision. But it makes me feel like I've finally donned my big girl panties... I don't need a scale to tell me how much to eat, if I'm bingeing or if I'm following my food plan. It's the first time ever that I've lost weight without tracking it, weighing myself and writing down the numbers. And it feels great!

So, for me right now, the scale is not relevant to thin. Yet, not weighing does not the conundrum solve. Thin haunts and taunts me even without the scale. I'm still plagued by thin thinking. For example, my 50th HS reunion is in September. Since I'm thinking about going to it, thin invades my peace with thoughts like these:

How thin will I be compared to the other women there?
Am I thin enough to risk being seen by classmates?
How much thinner will I be by then?
Will I be thin enough to deserve a new outfit?

It's not my weight (or even my appearance) that needs to change. It's my state of mind, my perception about the importance and relevance of thin, that must change. May recognizing this fact be my first baby step on a new and more comfortable pathway.


  1. Interesting take on this. I have asked myself about that word as well and plan to write about it someday. But my own thoughts make me wonder "What does it mean to feel thin?" "Will I ever feel thin?" I think what I mean is that even when I am a very "normal" weight, I am not sure that I will view myself as "thin." I am thinking that "fit" is a much better word for us all. And even "trim" is better. What it is about "thin" that has a connotation that does not sit well with me?

  2. To Karen ~ I'm eagerly awaiting your post on this topic. And, yes, I think the word "trim" may be less "loaded" than "thin." Exploring the concept of "feeling thin" is interesting too. Yay!

  3. Hey, PB!

    I was going to answer this question when you left it in "comments". Now, I have to rethink it, after your introspective post. Gotta get to the office right now, though. Talk back at ya later! Have a good day!

    Thanks for the plug!

  4. Interesting thoughts! I went through a similar contemplation and finally arrived at the realization that what I was seeking was "fitness", not "thinness". I also realized I could be fit at any size, and that I could control my results. The rest, as they say, is history. :) It was a shift in thinking that unlocked some sort of chains I had placed on myself. I wish you a similar breakthrough for your own truth.


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