How Thin is Too Thin?

Via Waylon Lewis
on Feb 2, 2009
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A good friend of mine, a realllly cool guy, happened to watch an episode (or two) of MTV’s The City the other night. No big deal, accidents happen. Anyway, in said episode, the founder lady [Kelly Cutrone] of People’s Revolution asked (repeatedly) with a mix of concern and rudeness whether a model, Allie, was too thin. “Are you okay?,” she kept asking. The model lady was offended, hurt.

It got me—I mean, my friend—thinking: what kind of society is it where we like the idea of honesty, but not the reality? I mean, it’s not like the boss lady was being honest slash rude about the model’s dress or makeup or hairstyle—she was bringing something up that not one of the model’s friends had dared/cared to bring up, but who all had likely thought about more than once: “Does my friend have an eating disorder, or is she comfortably thin…as she’s expected to be in her profession, rightly or wrongly?” 

So, two questions: one, if your best friend is too thin or getting too into drugs or in a bad relationship or…do you have the guts/lack of tact to bring it up? Do you care enough to get uncomfortable for the sake of your friend?

And, two: how thin is too thin? And how do you know, whether you’re the observed or the observed?



About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


7 Responses to “How Thin is Too Thin?”

  1. kristina says:

    ah hum, “a friend of mine” just read your post.

    you bring up a terrific point to ponder. there have been times in everyone’s life that situations have arisen with concern and there is that inner turmoil to compassionately confront or do nothing. i (i mean, my friend) believes that the truth hurts…but it can also set you free. although, believing and doing are two separate things.

  2. Teresa Robbins says:

    I agree, that we have a tendency to gloss over uncomfortable topics with friends sometimes. I have a dear friend that is somewhat lost right now – battling the body image box that she thinks she should fit into, and a lot of other things. I’ve tried to be as supportive, and also honest, as I can be with her and everyone else in my life, although it isn’t easy. At times it’s downright brutal. I think of it this way – I would want my friends to offer the same courtesy. We spend more time criticizing ourselves vs. loving ourselves, and I’m all about bringing it back to the love side of things.

  3. Lindsey says:

    This is a very touchy subject with girls. I know from personal experience with my friend, that even after talking to her about her eating disorder (which was hard enough to do with my best friend), it was utterly impossible to show her that there was a problem. The hardest part wasn’t overcoming my fear of hurting her feelings by telling her the truth, but watching her do nothing (literally nothing since it looked like she would break if she stood up). Truth hurts but a lot of times its not going to change the problem. My friend dug herself out of it and is (almost) back to her normal, healthy weight, but it was because of changes in her life that began to make her feel more mature and comfortable with herself.

  4. daoine_o says:

    i, sadly, have the opposite problem with one of my oldest friends (known for ~30 years, since high school.) she is morbidly obese (~ 300lbs), pre-diabetic, asthmatic/chronic bronchitis, eats junk/fast food/drinks coke non-stop (at least 2 liters a day), chain-smokes clove cigarettes (yep, holdover from previous goth lifestyle we both shared). she dresses in ratty sweats and oversized t-shirts and bedroom slippers (slippers even when going out in public), and is chronically depressed and has no self-esteem but puts on airs or ignores the situation. over the years i’ve tried various subtle suggestions or merely ‘doing what i do’ as an example, having lost some needed weight (from a gradual lazily-accrued 180lbs back to my more-normal 130) and improved my own health thru healthy natural means), since they all seem to backfire or cause a ‘cut off nose to spite face’ reaction from her. even her mother (lives in another state, who i am in occasional contact with) is horribly concerned, but feels powerless. we both feel she has a death-wish…like she just doesn’t care and wants to slowly kill herself.

    (sorry if this sounds like a ‘daytime tv talk show’ kinda rant, but i truly feel helpless, like my own good health and happiness is a slap in the face to her. *sigh*)

    and i suppose some will say the real problem is with me?

    suppose so…like i should just let go…?

  5. I think this girl is going to be HUGE (as in popular heehee)She is gorgeous. Maybe a little thin but sometimes people are really that thin… if they do not eat well that’s just sad. It is refreshing to see someone in the biz say something as no one usually does. Models are getting bigger though it seems. Va Va Voom Curves!

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