On Being Ridiculously Skinny — I’m Not Proud of It

All I want to do is gain weight

chel writes


Photo by Ira Vishnevskaya on Unsplash

Toxic body positivity doesn’t only apply to those who are overweight; I’ve experienced it too — an underweight individual.

People would tell me, “You should be grateful for God’s gift,” or “Being thin is a favor,” or even claim, “All women want a body like yours.”

But at the same time, I also received tons of, “Whoa, you look like you haven’t eaten in months,” or “You are thinner than paper,” or the worst of all, “If there’s a windstorm, it can be strong enough to push and float you.”

These words echoed through my mind, causing me to question my self-worth and validity.

“You MUST accept your body or you will never be happy”

I don’t want to invalidate all the words they say because I do feel concerned about my weight. I’ve noticed that I’m significantly underweight compared to others around me.

My clothes seem to hang loosely on my frame, and I feel self-conscious about my appearance. While some people may think being thin is a blessing, I can’t help but worry about my health and well-being.

I’m not proud of it. There, I said it. The truth can be hard to face, but I can’t keep denying it any longer.

Yes, I may have a naturally slender figure, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with body image issues. The pressure to fit into society’s narrow definition of beauty is relentless, and it affects all body types, including mine.

My self-esteem plummeted, leading me to avoid social interactions and feeling too insecure to wear certain clothes that I feared wouldn’t flatter my thin frame, making me look like a walking pencil in strange costumes.

I’ve been doing some research about being underweight, and it appears that there could be various factors contributing to my situation.

Stress and anxiety could be affecting my appetite, and I may not be consuming enough calories to maintain a healthy weight. Moreover, my busy lifestyle has led to irregular eating habits, often skipping meals or opting for quick, unhealthy snacks.

I realize that I need to make some changes to my daily routine. Eating a balanced diet and incorporating more nutritious meals will be essential in healthily gaining weight.

I was once confused about whether to see a therapist — for a possibility of anxiety — or go straight to a doctor for my weight problem. In my confusion, I turned to the internet for answers and unfortunately fell for weight-gain ads instead, purchasing a high-priced honey-like product that had no effect.

I also tried making smoothies from various online recipes, but they yielded the same disappointing results. It was a valuable lesson not to trust random ads or articles on the internet.

Then, I decided to talk to a nutritionist who suggested meal plans and specific foods to increase my caloric intake healthily. I started a little food journal on my phone to keep track of my eating habits.

This will help me identify any patterns or deficiencies in my diet. I'm not going to lie, it was challenging to break old habits and adopt a new diet, but I’m determined to give it my best effort.

Weeks and months have passed, and I’m starting to see some positive changes in my weight since I’ve been following the meal plan prescribed by the nutritionist. However, I won’t lie; it’s still a struggle.

Some days, I feel bloated and uncomfortable after eating more than I’m used to. My self-esteem is also taking a hit when I think about how much effort — and money — I have to put in to reach a healthy weight.

I remind myself that this journey is about my health and not just my physical appearance. It’s essential to stay focused on the bigger picture and continue working towards a better, healthier version of myself.

Yep, it’s me — Photo by Author chel writes

A year later, I got sick. Stomach problem. My busy schedule in the new office has interfered with my good and healthy eating habits. Forgetting to take lunch and eating unhealthy foods late in the evening became a common occurrence.

The long commute to work with an empty stomach and sleepy eyes only worsened the situation. Months of unhealthy behavior led to my hospitalization, resulting in further weight loss.

I was devastated, knowing that I had to start my healthy behavior from the beginning and endure all the struggles again. However, I realized it was necessary for the sake of my health.

As a first step, I made the difficult decision to resign from that office, prioritizing my well-being.

I started keeping a food journal again and attempted some exercises to gain weight — though I must admit, due to my 9–5 daily schedule, finding time to exercise is hard, resulting in rare opportunities to do it. To compensate, I maximize my efforts by consuming more weight-gaining foods.

I understand that this is a slow and gradual process, but I’m determined to continue. My new eating habits are becoming more natural, and I don’t feel as overwhelmed by the calorie intake as I did initially.

It’s essential to clarify that my decision to focus on gaining weight is not influenced by others’ judgments of my appearance, but rather driven by my genuine concern for my body’s health.

People often assume that because I’m thin, I must have it all — that my life is perfect and carefree.

But they don’t see the battles I fight with myself or the times I avoid social situations because I fear judgment based on my appearance.

Back to the first topic: toxic body positivity doesn’t discriminate. It affects us all, regardless of our size or shape. Society’s obsession with body ideals has created an environment where any deviation from the norm is met with criticism and scrutiny.

I want to embrace body positivity just as much as anyone else, but it’s hard when the world constantly sends mixed messages. On the one hand, I’m told to love my body and be confident, but on the other hand, I’m bombarded with comments that make me feel inadequate and ashamed.

A month ago, I watched Barbie in theaters, and America Ferrera’s amazingly delivered monologue hit me deeply. Originally addressing the challenges faced by women, it surprisingly resonated with the toxic positivity prevalent in our society.

America Ferrera as Gloria from “Barbie” (2023) — Photo from Warner Release

“You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin, you have to say you want to be healthy. But also, you have to be thin — — — It’s too hard, it’s too contradictory, and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you!”

The monologue lasts longer than that and serves as a reminder of the importance of embracing authenticity and acknowledging the complexities of our emotions and experiences.

Body positivity should be about celebrating all bodies, not just those that fit a specific mold. It’s about recognizing that every person is unique and deserving of love and respect, regardless of their appearance.

To anyone who has experienced similar comments or struggles with body image, know that you are not alone. We must challenge society’s unrealistic beauty standards and foster an environment of acceptance and understanding.

Despite still being underweight and facing the challenge of regaining it, I refuse to give up on loving my body and striving to be the best version of myself, as evidenced by finding and wearing more suitable clothes for my current weight and not shying away from social interactions, as embracing self-love means giving my body and appearance the best care.

My worth is not determined by my size, and I refuse to let toxic body positivity bring me down. I will continue to work on loving myself for who I am, and I hope others will do the same.

Let’s strive for a world where body positivity is truly inclusive and where everyone can feel valued and appreciated, regardless of how they look. It’s time to break free from the shackles of judgment.

I am more than just my body, and so are you. People who say otherwise can f themselves.

Thank you for journeying your time through these words. If you’d like to show support, you can leave a tip below (next to the subscribe button) or you can buy me a coffee here. Wishing you safety and warmth!



chel writes

write articles and personal thoughts. publish drafts regularly. sometimes in english or indonesian :)