How do you define "too skinny?" - 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet Weight Loss Community

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Old 09-29-2010, 11:10 AM   #1  
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Default How do you define "too skinny?"

Just out of curiosity There have been a few threads popping up about vanity and vanity pounds, and I think it's an interesting concept. Personally, I quite honestly wanted to lose weight purely for vanity reasons. I wasn't large enough to start to feel any negative health symptoms based on my weight. I had low energy and got winded easily, but that was more a result of being completely out of shape than too big. And my vanity reasons weren't entirely "I want to be a hottie!" it was more of a "I desperately need to improve my body image so I'm comfortable in my own skin."

But once I started losing weight, I realized that I had control over what my body looked like to a certain extent. If I wanted that slim waif body I had envied my entire life, I could theoretically get it. So why bother stopping just because I was now classified as a "normal" weight. I still felt chubby. I felt like if I was going to make the effort to get that far, I should keep working and get a body I was completely happy with. And yes, call me vain, call me brainwashed by the media's interpretation of "beauty," but I wanted to be thin. Not concentration camp victim thin, but I wanted to be waifish, lithe, slim, dainty, tiny, etc. So sue me, I wanted to be a skinny girl. And now that I am, I can truly say that there is a significant difference in the average-weight-girl and the skinny-girl experience. For me personally, it is worth it, and I'm glad I didn't stop until I was 100% satisfied.

However, I do get comments like "Megan, hold onto the rail, we don't want you to blow away" and "Megan, order the bacon cheeseburger, you could stand to gain a few." Being at college in the South, it's acceptable for people to come and poke me in the ribs and say "you are too skinny!"

I do not feel that I am too skinny. I am within the healthy weight range for my height, just on the low end. My BMI is 19.8. I have a small frame, and still have a decent amount of padding, actually. I'm a size 2/small or extra small, I'm clearly thin, but I'm not starving. I eat a lot of food, actually. Around 1500-1800cal/day of veggies, protein, healthy fat, and carbs. I indulge in regular cheat days. I have energy and I feel great. Of course, I am absolutely not trying to lose more weight, I am very firm about my maintenance range. If I dropped below 125, you'd better believe that I'd be upping my calories until I was back in the comfort zone. I definitely understand that there is such a thing as too skinny.

So how do you define "too skinny?" Is it a clothing size? A weight number? How a person looks? BMI? How would you know that you were too skinny?
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:20 AM   #2  
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For me, "too skinny" is related to medical issues: loss of muscle, loss of bone density, lack of nutrients due to food restriction (this can apply to obesity as well though), and feelings of exhaustion - basically, when your body says NO.

I have been there. I was 107-109lbs at 5'5. I was even pulled aside by my boss (a 50 year old male, no jealousy there) and he asked if I had issues with eating. Hmm. That was a wakeup call. It was not intentional.

There's a big difference between being at a lower weight and being "too skinny". One is people's cultural perception, one related to your health. In most countries in the world, there is nothing unusual about being 120-ish at 5'7.
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:41 AM   #3  
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Some people do not have a clear concept of what "too thin" is. They do not see themselves accurately. They focus on what they perceive as a "lump of fat" somewhere, even though they look gaunt, bony, and unhealthy. This is body dysmorphic disorder.

Others get trapped in the terrifying cycles of control that cause them to continue to lose weight even when they have passed beyond the normal range. This is eating disorder. It can be deadly.

Many people who are overweight or obese have the kind of "food issues" that can only too easily slip over the line into eating disorder (if they haven't already).

For that reason, I am hesitant to try to define "too skinny" as a number of any kind. Is 5'5" and 100 pounds "too skinny" or just a small-framed person? I'd rather see it as a combination of behavior plus appearance, and it's very individual. Is someone who is already thin still losing weight? Are they hiding their eating behavior, or being terrifically strict, or going to the bathroom a little too often...?

Also, I think it's too easy to polarize things--only two alternatives--you're "fat" or you're "skinny." Frankly 5'5" and 125 isn't "skinny" in my book, even though that's how the OP describes herself. Most people are somewhere in between those two.

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Old 09-29-2010, 11:43 AM   #4  
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I got to 117 at one point, and I was way too skinny. My face looked hollow, and looking at the numbers I was below a healthy BMI range. It just didn't feel right.

People tell me know sometimes that I'm too skinny, but I feel fine so I'm not worrying about it.

Last edited by Shannon in ATL; 09-29-2010 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:50 AM   #5  
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Yeah, I agree. I think to me it's a BMI/health thing. Who am I to judge anyone's goal weight assuming it's within a healthy range. I also think there's something to be said about the right weight for your body. If you'd told us that you were eating 1200 cals a day and working out 2 hrs a day to maintain 125lbs then I'd say...hmmm, maybe that's too thin for you. But you're not so that's a good thing.
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:50 AM   #6  
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Originally Posted by mkendrick View Post
"I desperately need to improve my body image so I'm comfortable in my own skin."
This was me until I crossed that line into health related issues about five years ago. I always just wanted to be comfortable in my own skin! Now I finally am! And it only keeps getting better.

I agree with Jay that "too skinny" is relative and speaks to behaviors more than appearance in my mind.

Megan, I can't believe it's ok for people to poke you in the ribs! I like my personal space, thank you very much! LOL!
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:03 PM   #7  
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Everyone is different and we all carry our weight different. For instance there are several people on this board that have lost weight and are around 150-165 and they look like they are 130-140 to me. I am a very solid person always have been and when I tell people my weight they NEVER believe me no one has ever guessed that I weighed over 200lbs but for me i see it plain as day. For me I dont want to see my bones sticking out. I want to have my figure and I want my curves once I break the 200lb mark it will be more about how I look and feel in cloths rather than the numbers on the scale.

Anything below 160 would be to small for me. My lowest adult weight was 165 and at the weight my tummy was flat Iw as a size 12-14 because my hips and behind are def not going anywhere lol but basically I want to be toned not to muscular and I want to look fem. As long as you are happy thats what really counts if you ask me!
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:12 PM   #8  
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I personally think a woman looks best a little more rounded, than a little less..say in the mid to higher end of a healthy BMI. But that has nothing to do with health, only what appeals, or what one considers attractive. I think guys with red hair look funny (sorry to all the red headed men out there!), but that doesnt mean there is anything wrong with them or anything like that. It's simply a matter of personal taste. I would look at you and think to myself Mk, that you would look just about perfect (in my eyes) if you put on about 10 pounds or so. But I don't live in your skin, and it is certainly not my place, nor anyone else's to try to turn others (or even suggest it to them) into what I consider an ideal body size. You look great the way you are, and it all comes down to health. If you are healthy, and feeling good, then what others say or think really shouldnt matter in the slightest. I mean, if someone said to you "ya know, you really should go get your hair done, you would look SO much better if you cut your hair short", would it make you seriously consider running to the beauty salon and chopping it all off? Telling you are too skinny is no different. Unless health is a valid concern, its none of their concern or business.

Last edited by TornadoSiren; 09-29-2010 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:12 PM   #9  
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Judging by what people where I live think, you can look at my picture and see "too skinny." I'm healthy. I eat all the time. I don't work out too much. I have muscles. I weigh 140 pounds, though apparently I don't look it - people here have as much SAID they don't believe I weigh more than 120. Guess it's my height.

Sometimes those comments get to me a LOT. It's easy to sit here and type on this keyboard that I understand that their comments are from jealousy, being used to seeing me at a higher weight or just cluelessness entirely. But I don't always.

I get the comments every single day..."Why are you eating THAT?" "Go eat a burger." "You can afford a day off." "You look sick." "You know it's ok to eat, right?" Even "You don't have cancer do you?"

After a while of that every single day, it gets to you. You start to second guess things. I thought I was ok until the comments never stopped. Now I wonder if I DO look emaciated or sick to others. Maybe I should gain a few pounds. Should I NOT be a size 2/4/6 at my height? Is that TOO thin?

So I get where you're coming from, but I don't have an answer. I wish I did...I'd probably be much happier!!
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:11 PM   #10  
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I would say too skinny to me would be when you can see all of someone's ribs and they look like you could snap them like a twig. not sure why that is my frame of reference but that is honestly what i picture. XD
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:17 PM   #11  
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When I got to 107, many years ago, and still wasn't happy, and thought I'd finally look right at 105 ... when I exercised for three hours a day, in a morning & evening session, and turned down all social invitations that would interfere with that schedule ... when my period stopped for 20 consecutive months (yeah, that's right, nearly two years) because my body fat percentage had gotten too low to support it ... when the restriction was so tight, I started having a problem with binge-eating, which I'd never in my life had before ... then I was too skinny.

The creepiest thing is that I had body dysmorphia then, just as much as people on this board who say they still feel fat even after achieving a normal weight. I felt huge. I couldn't see my ribs sticking out but it really bothered me my thighs weren't thinner. I didn't notice how stick-like my arms had become; I was always looking at my calves. Honestly, I've never enjoyed being thin because even at my thinnest, I wasn't convinced I **was** thin enough yet.
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:20 PM   #12  
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Personally, I think it has to be a combination of factors, not just what the scale says. (I think we women give that scale too much importance, at times!)

I think if you're at a weight that you like, you're healthy, you have energy, you're eating enough, you are in good physical shape, you're not obsessed to the point of avoiding friends, family, events, and all that stuff in order to stay thin, then you're probably okay.

Each body is so different, it can be hard to gauge what is right. In my case, I'm really solidly built, so I look to be 20 lbs thinner than what I actually am, and shapely. I may be shorter than you, but I may never reach 125 lbs because of I'm so solid.
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:23 PM   #13  
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Personally I have never ever fallen in this category... but I have seen it... there is a group of young women at my gym that I see almost every morning. I refer to them as the "cult". They seem anorexic to me. They travel in a pack around the gym and are so boney and frail looking that it surprises me that they do work out. They have no boobs, no but, and I really don't see a lot of muscular defination even though I see them on weight machines. They baffle me.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:14 PM   #14  
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last week when i first joined, one of the 1st threads i created was called "My mini VANITY goal." i make mini vanity goals all the time so that i have something of a reward at the end of the time period (cute vacation pix, party pix, G.N.O, etc.) i don't see the problem with using vanity as one source of motivation.

as far as defining too skinny, for me it has less to do with vanity and more to do with self-esteem.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:51 PM   #15  
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I have the same definition for "too skinny" as "too fat" -- it impacts an individual's ability to lead a healthy life.

Otherwise, it's completely subjective. What I consider is *aesthetically* too skinny is going to differ from what mkendrick thinks. And it's not for me to decide for other people.

Last edited by rachinma; 09-29-2010 at 02:59 PM.
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