I’m a Skinny Yogi, I’m a Real Woman & I’m Not Anorexic.

Via Jennifer S. White
on Oct 12, 2013
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Jennifer White

Okay, real women have curves—it’s true. Most people aren’t going to argue with that.

We nearly all have breasts—whether small or extra-large—and we all have hips, rear ends, etc, etc, but you know what? I barely weigh a buck-fifteen—and that’s okay.

Because real women are sometimes thin too.

And real women have skin folds and stretch marks and yada yada yada.

I am so sick of women arguing over whether “real” women are heavy or tiny.

Here’s the deal: I was watching Disney’s Beauty and the Beast with my daughter earlier and let me just say that I’ll admit to being annoyed.

Not slightly annoyed or mildly agitated but Belle was full-on giving me a headache—and I’m alright with princesses. I’m down with glass slippers and temporary comas. Still, there’s only so much that a lady can take.

Example: Belle is “different” and “a most peculiar mademoiselle”—because she reads.

The future princess is a bookworm and that makes her a unique female. Um, okay. Moving on.

Belle is also traditionally beautiful (read: traditionally slender).

In short, I watch movies and read books with my toddler and obviously I notice that there’s a stereotypical look for women to have. For Godsakes, I remember reading Seventeen magazine and thinking that the girls were gorgeous—and I proceeded to be anorexic for years to follow.

So, yeah, I’m a skinny yogi and I’m not anorexic—now. But I used to be, and let me tell you that judging women by appearances is never okay, be it small or large.

Because not all women are overweight. I’m sorry but we’re not. Simple fact.

And not all ladies that practice yoga are either two ends of an opposing spectrum—anorexic and teensy or overweight and “normal.” And since when was the opposite of starving yourself being obese?

You know, I’m expecting a lot of horrid responses from this—I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the barrage. Yet the thing is, why is it acceptable to degrade women of smaller proportions—calling them eating disordered and, essentially, not even “real” women—and it’s not okay to simply say that women come in all shapes and sizes, including  but not limited to extra small?

And here’s the deal too: yes, I used to be anorexic—but that was an emotional problem. It had nothing to do, really, with my shape or size. It had to do with not wanting to own my emotions and deal with becoming a woman—because women do have curves.

Real women do have butts and breasts and maybe even little rolls in their armpits. We also have responsibilities, feelings, thoughts and dreams and it’s not always easy to grow up. At the same time, just because your parts are bigger than mine doesn’t mean you’re healthier, more of a grown woman or better in any way—just like I’m not better either.

And women will not stop being criticized, compared or defined until we stop defining ourselves first.

So, go ahead: own your curves and your real-woman ass. It’s awesome—for real. I, too, am fabulous with my miniature bosom and scrawny arms—and I’m still strong. You are too.

Muscles, skin, bones, fat—they make up both of us, regardless of what size jeans and bras we wear.

So, yes, please, rock on with your bad self—I will also. I work hard to feel good about who I am, inside and out, and I know you do too.

I’m merely offering that we consider that the opposite of a “real” woman isn’t necessarily a skinny one.

No, come to think of it, the opposite of a real woman is a phony one—and I’m being genuine in my body, like you are in yours.

And let’s agree to disagree, or better still, let’s agree that a woman isn’t determined by something as inconsequential as facts—and figures.

 

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Ed: Bryonie Wise

65,980 views

About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.

Comments

100 Responses to “I’m a Skinny Yogi, I’m a Real Woman & I’m Not Anorexic.”

  1. sabine says:

    yup…I think you got it right on the money! I am also naturally slender and am glad that at age 46 I finally have the experience in life to be unapologetic for who I am…naturally. I could never understand why we are so judgemental of our different shapes and sizes…probably easy to say for a size 5, I know that…but the world would be a happier place if we could practice self love, regardless of shape and size. My endeveour, for the rest of my life, is to love myself better – no matter what my shape or size.

  2. Exchange from Facebook:

    Reader: I liked this a lot. Made me remember some of the flack I got by some for saying SOME women give birth and get back to looking like their pre-pregnancy selves very quickly. I was one of them. I shared how hurtful it was to get comments suggesting that I was 1. anorexic or had other disorder 2. was addicted to working out. 3. was obsessed with looking like a celebrity mother. Wow. You can't take this stuff personally, but many of those commentators completely missed the point I was trying to make. My favs were the ones implying that I was "bragging". Er, no. . .
    about an hour ago · Edited · Unlike · 2

    Jennifer White I was back in my clothes immediately after birth too. It happens. My intention with this article is not to offend. Rather, it's to consider that I'm told on a regular basis things like "you need to go eat" or, my favorite when I wasn't served cake at a birthday party, "I didn't think you would want it;" and those types of comments to thin women are considered highly acceptable, yet it's ubiquitously demonized to call a larger woman anything besides curvy, luscious or, my personal favorite, "real."
    I think it's time that we take into account that judging women for size—regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall on—shouldn't be okay.
    about an hour ago · Like · 2

    Reader: I've always been thin. I hear "You need to eat!" a lot. I agree 100% with your points.
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 2

    Jennifer White And why shouldn't you have been allowed to brag (even though I get that you weren't)? A heavy lady who flaunts and verbalizes pride over her assets is "strong," "real" and "beautiful," but a thin woman doing the same thing is "arrogant," "cocky," or a bragger? Fine. I'm an arrogant, cocky bragger—because I'm proud of my body too.

  3. Shanti says:

    You are my hero. I LOVE YOU. Thank you! I feel exactly the same way you do. Thin women are real women too. The important thing is FEELING GOOD! The whole "real women have curves" ethos (ick, so tired of it) only separates women by setting us up to participate in the comparison game (which really just shows low self esteem/self worth), which is exactly what we DON'T NEED to be doing! We need to unite and agree that all shapes are beautiful, not just the curvy ones. I don't have a lot of curves but hey I'm not going to deny it, I'm no less a real woman than someone with curves. And I love being thin. If you love your body that's all that matters.

  4. Peach Dumars says:

    I love this, and could have written every word myself (also a skinny yogi, recovered anorexic, with small children who watch those princess movies). I have had similar thoughts many times…thanks so much for putting into words!

  5. Lacy says:

    I think it's been well established now that using the term 'real woman' is judgemental and discriminatory. There have been many bloggers who have rightly pointed out that this is not a fair term and I completely agree. However, for those of you who feel hurt when this term is occasionally used, I challenge you to image being harshly judged like this every time you turn on the TV, browse the internet, read a magazine or even overhear comments by strangers about how you look. If you are overweight this is your daily reality.

    The term ' real women' should be retired, but it was borne of the need to push back against the relentless hounding of overweight people, especially women. So, yes speak up about how it makes you feel when you are judged for being thin, but also keep in mind that there is a context to this issue that should be taken into consideration.

  6. Sarah says:

    I really related to this a lot. I've always been tall and skinny. I'm also a nutritionist, I spent five years at university studying nutrition , I know I'm healthy. But I've been told many times (sometimes by complete strangers) that I need to eat more food, had people question my health (which as a health professional is actually quite insulting). One lady actually confronted my mum about me having an eating disorder, why is that OK? I 100% agree with you that women need to stop judging one another, I am no less a women than a lady wearing a 10 instead of my 2. We should celebrate our differences not ridicule them! I'm comfortable in myself, it took me a while to be but I'm a lot happier for it 🙂

  7. Caroline Behymer says:

    Love.. love.. love this… I am not or have never struggled with anorexia.. but I do have daughter who did. She is now a skinny yogi like you. As her Mom I worry about her… (you get this you're a mom) but Yoga and a belief in God and his healing powers are what I believe will keep my daughter in recovery: and having a mom who will pray for her every single day that she has a healthy and realistic view of her body and self image. Yoga has helped me look at myself as a beautiful curvaceous , big bosomed, inflexible down dog loving yogini. I probably will never get into crow pose (I've been trying for three years..ha!) but guess what I am gonna keep on trying, cause maybe in another 3 years I will. But it the small accomplishments in my yoga practice that keep me coming back to it… like maybe getting in one more vinyasa before needing a child's pose. Anyways.. all i really wanted to say, is thank you for your article.. I loved it. I love when I an reminded and encouraged to be ME and love ME for who I am, and where I am, in this moment, in this life.

  8. Karmamama says:

    Well I'm definitely not in the skinny category at all, but I'm not fat either, at 5'5" 126lbs and aged 44 I'm probably in the in between category I guess. In my life I have been skinny in my 20's and fat in my 30's producing 4 daughters – I'm happy now 🙂 But I have to say I loved your article – I am often shocked at how people are able to make derogatory comments at thin people, and every one is cool, but they wouldn't get away with the same commentary re fat people. We'll done for calling it out.

  9. Kristal says:

    Yaaaay I loved reading this! I’ve never been a “curvy” girl/woman if you ask most men or women. Tall and top heavy, small bottom and yet other women have critized me for being skinny and men have shunned me because “of the lack of junk in my trunk”,which apparently equates to my beauty”! It starts within as you said! It took me awhile to figure that out. I eat healthy, goto Yoga, do tons of cardio, all because I like having the stamina. If I went on a eating marathon I couldn’t gain enough weight to satisfy the masses and believe me, I tried! I thought the more I weighed the more men would like me and see me as curvy! I am learning to let it go as I have now entered 40. By the way, I love being 40 for all its worth and I’m loving my body just the way it is! I celebrate you for being so courageous! Thank you again! 🙂

  10. kaya10 says:

    Oh yes! This is one of the few things I have criticized others openly on! Yes ! Real women have curves and Real women don't too. Thank you! Say it!

  11. Jacquie says:

    I haven’t met all that many women who were ‘naturally skinny’. Every one of them ate little or nothing, puked in private, and/or obsessively exercised. Perhaps there are some, but does it really matter which side of the same fucked up coin we are on? Fat, skinny, we’re all part of the same mess and trying to figure out how to love ourselves.

  12. S.Tanner says:

    Perhaps it is not as difficult as it seems. Living in balance without "obsessive" eating/exercise is not a
    f'd up coin or anything else. Not easy, but not difficult either. Just takes a lot of forgiveness & self-compassion.

  13. Crystal says:

    Great article and interesting comments. As a woman of the larger curvier set, I gotta say that I don't look as skinny women as the way you described it. I think all women should be self accepting and loving. We grew up in the same society so I know the same pressure you felt, although I never had an eating disorder, I most certainly fell under depression because I didn't fall under what is beautiful according to American mainstream standards.But I learned to love myself because no matter what I did, I was still going to be in the same body I was given.Let' stop assuming that someone from the opposite end of the spectrum is hating on us, because really, we aren't. More love, more support and less stereo typing and less assuming.

  14. Kat says:

    Hi Jacquie,
    My name is Kat, I'm 25, I bike 10 minutes to work everyday and you might find me hiking on weekends. I also enjoy pilates once or twice a week. I love eating hamburgers, doughnuts and never deprive myself from eating whatever I want, may that be salad or pizza or a late night ice cream snack. Oh and I don't puke in private. Consider you've just met a naturally skinny woman. No fucked up coin for me.
    Ta ta

  15. befunknote says:

    I totally got the "do you even eat?" comment today. Um…yes, of course I eat, I'm alive aren't I??

  16. This response is seriously sad and totally ignorant. I don't know who you've been associating with, but I could introduce you to many, many naturally thin women who aren't harming themselves, publicly or privately. What does "it really matter which side of the same fucked up coin we are on? " That's exactly the point of this article: I'm not fucked up at all. At all. I'm 100% real, unphotoshopped, healthy yet not-deprived eater, you name it. I think you have some of your own issues to address if you think this is a normal state of being.

  17. My personal favorite: being the only one at a fairly large birthday party who wasn't served cake. I looked around for my piece and the cake-cutter said, "Oh, I didn't think you would want any. You don't look like you eat cake." Ohh…kay…

  18. Amy Landry says:

    I'm so grateful you have put this out there!

    I'm a skinny yogini… and I've not ever had an eating disorder, never. I'm healthy, fit, and strong. Both of my parents are naturally very slim. In fact not one person in my entire extended family is overweight (nor does anyone smoke, or have diabetes).

    I've had just as many insecurities over the years as curvier women do… I'd LOVE to know what it feels like to have womanly curves… breasts and a butt! But hey, that's just not me this lifetime… and I'm ok with that.

    I too am sick of reading that skinny is unhealthy. I'm sick of reading that curves are 'healthy'. Health is not determined by ones body weight or body type necessarily.

    In trying to make curvier women feel better about their weight, society has been dragging down those women more slim than the 'average'. The 'average' size of a women is growing larger each year, and 'skinny' women are becoming less and less, and somehow this has made me personally a subject to a lot of criticism from many people about my weight (even random strangers).

    It blows my mind how it is acceptable in society to say to a woman's face "oh geez you're so skinny aren't you" – but so unacceptable to downright say the opposite. Both are judgements.

    Women should not be judged on their weight or body type. It's all about HEALTH. It's all about SELF LOVE and ACCEPTANCE 🙂 xxxxxxxxxx

  19. Toni says:

    This whole topic is pretty annoying to me. I am a yogi with Crohn's disease. My weight fluctuates with my disease. Yoga has taught me to meet myself where I am. To be comfortable with myself everyday as long as I continue to move toward balance. It has freed me from basing the opinion of myself on other peoples thoughts. Their thoughts are their experience, not mine. I take care of my body to the best of my ability every day. This is where I live. I am a child of God and divine. The rest is just fluff, some days more than others. Right now I'm in the "more than" phase, and there are comments. I ignore them. Two months from now I may be on the other side. How about we all just let go of the judgement and just be.

  20. Sarah says:

    I totally agree with this! I think there is so much body hating in the world today and it really has to stop! I mean who cares what kind of body you have or don't have that doesn't make the person you are. Being that I have been both skinny and now curvy I understand both points of view and I think the comments come from people wanting to feel not so bad about themselves, i think that it's a way of trying to accept how they look by saying that "real women" are this or that,if you get what I mean. I am just so done with all the body hate and shaming and what society's ideal women are suppose to look like. You are suppose to be exactly who you are! Learn to love yourself and it won't matter anymore what people say. I love this post, thank you!

  21. Ashwin S says:

    To me there is no "real" women. There are just women in all their forms. If your naturally slender or plumb or curved that is who you are. Don't have to change it for conformation. The only change that would be important in lifestyle would be for health and wellness.

    But really, I don't believe there is a so called "Real" women or a way a Woman is supposed to look a certain way to be considered "Real". All these definitions are purely subjective to each individual. Personally character and personality is eternal.

    ~Peace~

  22. Amy, that's what I think, almost exactly. In trying to make "curvy" girls feel good, it's at the expense of another body-type of women. It's wrong. It needs to be called out. So I did. The article calling out judgment towards curvy women got largely nothing but wonderfully positive responses, and mine got a lot of negative even though I in no way judge anyone or put anyone down at all through my article. I too simply share my truth, and some reader responses (mostly on FB) simply prove to me why I needed to state what I stated.
    Thanks for your feedback. So appreciated. xoxoxo

  23. Erica says:

    Great article…and most of the responses have been positive, because you are writing from you heart 🙂

  24. jacquie says:

    I think you misread my comments, and that's fine but I am not saying I don't think there *ARE* any naturally skinny women, I am saying that the skinny women I have known were just as fucked up, – scratch that – "concerned" with their weight/looks/size/etc as the rest of us. So my point is only what does it matter if you are skinny or fat? Sorry if you read it as an attack. my bad.

  25. thank you for this, Jennifer. i love Ayurveda for the possibility of liberating us from the whole conversation of 'what is a beautiful body'. in Ayurveda, there are three doshas – energies that make up every individual and perform different physiological functions in the body. we all have a particular balance of these and that balance determines so much, including the shape, size and even color of the body…our hair and complexion. obesity is a concern as is anorexia because both are life threatening and speak to a degraded sense of self, which is absurdly fed in a culture of insecurity and competition. may we all love ourselves for who we are and share ourselves without hesitation. may we all be in the perfect form that is our own unique form of beauty in this world… we are needed in this way – together – NOW. asana is a wonderful practice for all… love, megan

  26. Robyn says:

    I seem to remember being annoyed by Lane Bryant's "real woman" campaign years ago. I was in my 20s and naturally very thin and all I could think was, "Thanks a lot." It is an annoying term. I am still thin but spend a lot of time preoccupied with how I should lose 5 lbs of fat. So many women struggle with their appearance and I'm starting to rebel against that. If I wasn't thin enough when I WAS 5 lbs thinner, when will I ever be good enough? (I've never had any kind of eating disorder, just kind of beat myself up a lot.) Yes, let's kill the idea of "if women are thin, they must have a disorder of some kind" and heavier women are the "real women." We are all beautiful in our own ways and let's learn to support each other and love ourselves more.

  27. Robin says:

    I agree with this, mostly, but I object to the word “overweight.” Which weight are heavier women over? You are not referring to yourself as “underweight.” Your word choice seems to imply the same judgement that you are objecting to. Body-shaming is never OK.

  28. Shasha says:

    Fantastic article! Doing yoga everyday is my job and when even friends say I’m too thin I just smile and change the subject. I have body fat same as everyone. I just have less than some and I put that down to my super active lifestyle! I too still have curves, they are just smaller, and ultimately I’m proud of my muscle tone and the relative wellness of my body compared to when I was less active. I like myself this way, I’m not obsessed and I apologise to nobody. If people criticise it of jealousy they have to own the fact that their lifestyle choices are reflected in their physique. “I couldn’t do that” means “I’m not prepared to do that” which is fine and also nothing to do with me. Don’t criticise my choices and I won’t criticise yours! Enjoy your body and if you are not enjoying it, ask yourself why. If you want a change be realistic and see if you’re prepared to do the work. If not accept your decision and love with it. Don’t take it out on others who do. Xx

  29. Danielle says:

    Thank you from one thin person to another. I too, have had the hate from others because I'm thin. I've just started loving myself and it's a long time in coming as I"m almost 50. The hardest one was from a close friend who wouldn't be around me because she was heavier and self conscience, and I made her feel "bad" about herself. Thank you for sharing!

  30. amphibi1yogini says:

    A-men!

    How many naturally thin, couldn't gain an ounce teachers–who in one breath state to the then plumpish me (U.S. size 12 at the time, in the New York City area–and thought of as "fat" by the [male] former studio owner–and that I was "of size" and that I had "much INNER beauty"–*asshole*) that it is okay to appreciate the body you are in, right now – and "you are beautiful" (and all that associated claptrap) … have ever said to me – in another breath – anything other than, "but I certainly wouldn't want to be FAT" …

    I guess that means there are only certain KINDS of "beautiful", n'est ce pas?

  31. amphibi1yogini says:

    I LOVE this … "concern" being translated to: going on every cleanse that comes along … to "detoxify" … *snorgle, snorgle* …

    I've witnessed more than one naturally slender yogini get super-thin (for a time) this way …

  32. amphibi1yogini says:

    Hey… I repreSENT that, I'd gotten diabetes while BMI of only 25 (and somewhat muscular at the time) for YEARS prior … and plenty of Type 2 diabetics (such as Tom Hanks) were never – as a rule – fat …

    This culture should stop demonizing BOTH conditions …

  33. Sam says:

    "I think you have some of your own issues to address if you think this is a normal state of being."
    My opinion of you has just plummeted.

  34. Angie says:

    Thank you for this. i bet you feel better after writing your emotions down. I feel your fire sparking and i appreciate your effort, honesty and strength. Thanks for speaking up, we could all use more of it and i totally agree with what you are saying.

  35. Thank you for the honest and well written article. I wish I could have in a class with me to speak this truth out-loud to my students.

    As a man, a boyfriend, a Yogi, and an established Yoga instructor I would love to maybe remind everyone to shift away from the focus of big or thin, skinny or fat. Perhaps what we should be asking is 'Am I Healthy?'

    So yes we know everyone comes in all shapes and sizes, however there is a healthy version and an unhealthy version of every size. Skinny doesn't usually mean anorexic and it doesn't usually mean healthy either , or more accurately these blanket terms are a distraction from what should be the real issue of 'Am I Healthy?'.

    By healthy I mean, do you eat healthy, have a healthy relationship with food, diet, exercise, sleep, socializing, etc. We can say Fat is beautiful until the end of time but that can be a bit of a bias in-itself, just as saying lean is healthy. Because as the writer so perfectly communicates that there can be a healthy version of skinny and one that is not..just as there is a healthy version of a not skinny person and a version that is not.

    Lets forget about sizes and stop labeling people by sizes. Let's instead begin to discern wether something is Healthy or Not and wether it is rooted in a healthy lifestyle or not.

    Men, until recently had the luxury of being free of this labeling for themselves. Though now I am starting to see the same bullshit labeling towards men, and surprise, men are now developing just as many negative body issues and eating disorders that we historically attributed to women.

    So lets stop saying 'Fat is beautiful, or Lean is healthy' – Instead let us ask ourselves 'Am I eating right, living right, feeling right'? If not change THAT and then let your physical body to transform to support your healthier version of your True Self ..whatever that hell that may look like.

  36. Thank you for the honest and well written article. I wish I could have you in a class with me to speak this truth out-loud to my students.

    As a man, a boyfriend, a Yogi, and an established Yoga instructor I would love to maybe remind everyone to shift away from the focus of big or thin, skinny or fat. Perhaps what we should be asking is 'Am I Healthy?'

    So yes we know everyone comes in all shapes and sizes, however there is a healthy version and an unhealthy version of every size. Skinny doesn't usually mean anorexic and it doesn't usually mean healthy either , or more accurately these blanket terms are a distraction from what should be the real issue of 'Am I Healthy?'.

    By healthy I mean, do you eat healthy, have a healthy relationship with food, diet, exercise, sleep, socializing, etc. We can say Fat is beautiful until the end of time but that can be a bit of a bias in-itself, just as saying lean is healthy. Because as the writer so perfectly communicates that there can be a healthy version of skinny and one that is not..just as there is a healthy version of a non-skinny person and a version that is not.

    Lets forget about sizes and stop labeling people by sizes. Let's instead begin to discern wether something is Healthy or Not and wether it is rooted in a healthy lifestyle or not.

    Men, until recently had the luxury of being free of this labeling for themselves. Though now I am starting to see the same bullshit labeling towards men, and surprise, men are now developing just as many negative body issues and eating disorders that we historically attributed to women.

    So lets stop saying 'Fat is beautiful, or Lean is healthy' – Instead let us ask ourselves 'Am I eating right, living right, feeling right'? If not change THAT and then let your physical body magically transform to support your healthier version of your True Self ..whatever that hell shape that may look like.

  37. Wow. Your opinion of me plummeted because I don't think that all women are fucked up? You must have had a pretty low opinion to start off with.

  38. Jacquie, I didn't read this as an attack at all, but I do completely disagree. There's nothing wrong with your feedback and you certainly don't have to apologize, but I will maintain that not all women spend their mental energy worrying about their weight. I don't even own a scale. I know many women who simply eat without deprivation but without also eating away their emotions. The point of this article is not to pit heavy women against thin women; that's not the point at all actually. All I'm suggesting is that "real" is a term that's more often than not applied to only women in a certain way (for one, not thin). (Read Kate B's article shared on ej FB.)

  39. amphibi1yogini says:

    🙂

  40. amphibi1yogini says:

    Total. Value. Judgment. You are no better than me, only DIFFERENT.

  41. Robin says:

    Many people work out regularly and are healthy and strong, but not thin and muscular looking. You know zero about a person’s mental or physical health just by looking at them. Enjoy your body, but please don’t judge mine.

  42. Robin says:

    Calling out judgement towards *all* women (people, really) should be the goal.

  43. Kim says:

    Love this. The longer I live, the more I think we really don't have much control over our size or appetites. Until I was 45, I couldn't put on weight if I tried. I am male, 5'8" and for most of my life I was 120 lbs. I had a pretty typical American diet of pizza, cheeseburgers and doughnuts, whatever I want really…..and sometimes I would gorge…..old country buffet, bring it! A whole pizza? No problem! I enjoy running because I have a natural affinity for it but my running volume could not possibly account for the extra calories I eat…..I often eat 4000-5000 cal/day. My friends say I have a wooden leg.

    I didn't choose to be 120 lbs and I don't think someone who is 300lbs chooses that either. Whatever size you are it is not a moral or characterological flaw. Let's be kind.

  44. Annabella says:

    As a woman who has been called 'underweight' (not by a doctor, just those opinionated laypeople….), i can totally understand your point Robin. The idea of a ideal weight can only apply to each individual based on their particular metabolic functioning, genetics and lifestyle and how they feel their healthiest.

  45. Annabella says:

    Thanks Jennifer for fighting the good fight. I've been saying 'ALL women are real' for years, every time it comes up in social media. The divide and rule tactic is used by media and commercial interests to keep us fighting amongst ourselves AND against our 'selves'. As you have experienced……I am lucky that i've never had an eating disorder although being thin means i've often been told i have! This is such a Western issue. There are so many women in the world who are thin because they do not have enough to eat, who have to work their butts off every day to provide at least one meal for their families of which they usually take the smallest portion……Let's all be thankful we have choices over what we put into our bodies and stop playing into the hands of capitalist producers by turning against the sisters around us and put the energy these sorts of issues take up into supporting our sisters in places where the real issues are control of food resources and exploitation by multinational corporations who plant monocultures and export the produce back to the West as animal feed and processed non-food……Thanks for being pro-active and being prepared to take the flak Jennifer! 🙂

  46. Stefanie says:

    I like your conclusion: "let’s agree that a woman isn’t determined by something as inconsequential as facts—and figures." I've seen several articles like this recently on both ends of the spectrum – either written by larger or smaller yogis. Truth is, whichever end of the spectrum you think you fall on, this is a huge issue for so many (both women and men). I can't help but think there is a bit of a "grass is greener on the other side" thing going and our shadow self sees something in the person we are judging or criticizing: maybe it's envy, disgust, pain over past struggles…the list could go on. Not that I am perfect (either with my own body issues or judgement of others), I think one of the best things we can do is love ourselves and our own bodies first and see if that dissolves some of the outward judgement and/or reaction to others' criticism. Peace, yogis/yoginis of all sizes!

  47. Megynn says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful, honest article. It's lovely when someone shares their perspective from the heart. It's hurtful to be judged by size, shape, weight, color, "prettiness" or some other arbitrary standard of what we're supposed to look like according to whatever this decade decides. As someone who has struggled with weight my entire life, I can say that at 46 I am healthier and more accepting with myself than ever. I'm sorry that it has taken this long. I've only been noticeably "thin" when I've been very ill with my eating disorder or drug use. Now I'm active, healthy, curvy, flexible and imperfect – and yet, that's perfect for me. Trees are all different shapes. My three dogs are different shapes. Clouds are different shapes. The sky is a different color of blue every day. I have freckles and age spots and a few wrinkles here and there. Others have browner skin or paler skin or younger skin or pinker cheeks.. ad infinitum. The problem is not that we judge fat women or thin women – the problem is that we judge ourselves and others by appearance at all. I know, I know. That's just part of our nature. There's probably something primal about it, stemming from species survival and breeding and whatnot. It's long past time to use our big brains and open our hearts to one another, rather than killing ourselves and harming others with judgement and criticism. Thank you again.

  48. Hullabaloo says:

    Why are we even discussing what a real woman is? All women are real, including Angelina Jolie and Madeline Albright and Michelle Bachman. I'm reminded of Dr. Freud's question: What do women want? The answer to that is, The same as men, namely, everything. We all want self-determination. Tall or short, thin or heavy, we all are in our bodies, and all our bodies are different. Go forth in peace and love.