The Skinny.

Via Hannah Siegle
on Aug 30, 2011
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Did that word catch your attention?Why?

I’ve noticed lately that posts referencing terms generally associated with weight loss or body shape and size generally get more hits. What makes this topic so intriguing?

Our societies preoccupation with food and weigh loss or gain is evident if you look at any magazine cover, watch TV and movies or participate in a conversation with a group of people. Dieting and working out is bound to come up at some point, always putting us into a state of waiting for the perfect body, never satisfied with the now. What would happen if we were satisfied with how we were in the present? Would it make us any less of a person?


What does this word evoke in you?  I wrote an article last week regarding the movements to replace skinny and its connotations. I however ask this, what is wrong with skinny? Why is it a negative word? Why is it a positive word? It is after all, just a word.

Lets check out the actual definition of skinny. It appears there are a few definitions to ponder:

1 :resembling skin: (Hmmm…not what we want)

2 a: lacking sufficent flesh: very thin:

b: lacking usual or desirable bulk, qualities, quantities, or significance

Off the bat it appears that skinny has a somewhat negative quality, however I’m not so sure of this. Skinny is used in comparison to usual  and desirable but why are these terms the standard by which we are measured? Why do we have to be described on a linear continuum of adjectives.

Semantics and wordplay aside I don’t view skinny  as a negative description. Some people, animals, objects, etc are in fact, just skinny. I do however view the attempted attainment of skinny as a negative.This is where an unhealthy mindset kicks in, one that is is fueled by the media and is heavily linked to the commercial success of many industries. Instead of falling into their traps we need to consciously make the choice to honor ourselves and our bodies and find the path that is unique for us as individuals, realizing that continued attempts to be something we aren’t be it skinny or otherwise only take us further from our own truth.


What is your take?




About Hannah Siegle

Hannah Siegle began to do yoga four years ago initially for the physical practice, however she quickly discovered that the yoga began to do her in ways she never anticipated. The mind, body and spiritual connection that yoga cultivates has helped Hannah through the ups and downs of life, both large and small. She regularly blogs at Balancing on Two Feet on topics such as yoga, mindfulness, eating disorder recovery and all those things people don't like to talk about. She was trained at the RYT 200 through Laurel Hodory and is currently working towards becoming a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist. She teaches yoga throughout Central Ohio with GoYoga ,yogaServe, and also works as an Assistant Editor for the elephant journal!


16 Responses to “The Skinny.”

  1. Great post, Hannah! I was "skinny" in high school and friends made fun of me! I tried to gain weight by eating fast food fries and shakes. That didn't work until I reached college and added beer to the equation. There was a time in the 80's/90's that skinny was desirable, yet to an unhealthy degree. If someone calls me skinny, I cringe. Yes, I'm thin. But I'm fit and healthy. Not skin and bones. Posting this to the elephant facebook page. Cheers!

  2. Thanks Lynn! Healthy exists on a large continuum and is so much more than what is on the outside! Thanks for the reply!

  3. Sara Young says:

    The word has never bothered me, it is the tone in which it is said, most often. I usually clear that right up, though.

  4. bekyalbert says:

    agh. I am thankful as well for this article. I am feeling excited to check out your blog. I have wanted for years to do writing on 'eating disorder recovery' as well as recovery for and from life, and in my perception this is what you are doing. thankful thankful thankful

  5. Leah says:

    This post so closely mirrors my own feelings! I have thought the same things. There is too much stress on how we look, and not our healthfulness or how we feel. I am also "skinny" and sometimes I feel responsible for other people's feelings of envy and jealousy. They are envious of the wrong "object". It baffles me that someone would be envious of the way I look, and not the way I feel. I feel good in my skin and my body, and I hope the same for anyone, no matter how that looks on the outside.

  6. Kala says:

    Being large does not necessarily mean you are unhealthy. Check out current obesity research if you are interested. I feel you are dishing out what you have received from others who have unfairly judged you based on some arbitrary standard of what is a 'healthy' weight.

  7. It is good to think about how we use words! They can take on so many different meanings and it is essential to remember that what the words means to you may be different from somebody else!

  8. Vero, I didn't mean that being large has become the norm. I was more getting at the question what is the norm and who decides it. Why is skinny bad or in fact why is fat bad (aside from obesity, which is another story and concern)? Perhaps that is just their build and if you look at their diet and activity it all seems fine. One can be a healthy skinny, healthy fat or a sick skinny or sick fat. You never know unless you really know the person.

  9. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  10. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  11. Vero Barnes says:

    Yes, I agree that being large doesn't mean you are unhealthy.

  12. Vero Barnes says:

    These were the thoughts that arose from reading your post. I have chosen to remove my comment.Thank you.

  13. I didn't mean for you to do that. I'm interested in your thoughts! I was just responding too.

  14. Vero Barnes says:

    I understand, but I received a nasty message from someone else so I preferred to opt out.

  15. Oh no! Sorry to hear that!

  16. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.