skinny ≠ healthy

When I tell someone that I need to stop eating junk food, they give me an incredulous look and say,”Like you need to worry about that! You’re tiny!” If I mention something about wanting to work out more often, I get the same sarcastic response.

I really dislike that people think that being thin is synonymous with being healthy. Genetics, a fast metabolism, and an inability to eat large portions in one sitting, have combined to give me a naturally petite figure. But I don’t feel healthy. Prior to March, I was lucky to make room for one twenty-minute workout a week. I had little cardio endurance, and jogging for two minutes completely winded me.

Going gluten-free helped with my diet makeover, because I never realized how many carbohydrates I was consuming in the form of highly processed, white wheat products until I had to cut them out of my life. However, there’s plenty of gluten-free junk food tempting me every time I go grocery shopping. Most chocolates, my biggest weakness, are also gluten-free. Sometimes, I feel like I have a separate stomach just for candy, because I can eat so much of it at once, whereas consuming one small apple with peanut butter fills me up.

So, while I may not look it, I eat a lot of garbage. I wouldn’t mind losing the belly fat that has stuck with me since I hit puberty, but the ultimate purpose of giving up junk food 99% of the time is to improve my physical and mental health. Plus, I just feel so guilty after eating a candy bar, cookie or bowl of ice cream, and I don’t like that sensation!

The response I get from most people when I talk about my eating habits is detrimental to my efforts. I already have little willpower, and when someone compliments my figure and says I don’t need to worry about what I eat, a part of me agrees with them. That gives me the green light to stuff my face with Godiva truffles and Häagen-Dazs, which starts the cycle of unhealthiness, weight gain, and guilt all over again.

It’s high time I really changed things. I’ve considered trying the Paleo diet for a week or two, but my love-affair with lattés and coffee with cream makes that impossible. But I am aiming to cut out as much processed food as possible. Going out to eat is already an infrequent occurrence for me, as I just eat at Chipotle when out with my boyfriend. I just calculated that my usual burrito bowl has about 735 calories, so it’s a good thing that I only go about once a week!

Learning to shop only the periphery of the grocery store is still a work in progress. Too often, I wander into the candy aisle, and I come home with 1,000 calories in chocolate that I eat within three days. I already have a host of minor-yet-infuriating health issues (gluten sensitivity, IBS, chronic pain – possibly fibromyalgia, fatigue, headaches, and nausea, just to name some of them) and I believe that every time I succumb to my desire for junk, every time I let my lack of willpower win, I exacerbate those issues.

So, I may be skinny, but I’m not healthy. I want to change that. I want to feel even better on the inside as people think I look on the outside.

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