5 Reasons I Will Never Be Skinny
It’s not as easy as “just lose weight”
There is a huge problem online and in society in general of “fat phobia.” People who are overweight are often treated poorly or tossed as the butt of a joke. In TV and movies the funny friend is always heavier than the main character. Fat people are the comedic relief and often not taken seriously.
A few years back, I saw a Reddit post about how fat people should just “lose weight” and how we were starting to romanticize obesity with the rise of actresses like Rebel Wilson and Melissa McCarthy. I — stupidly — got involved and replied that it was inconsiderate and just plain ignorant to assume that fat people are just lazy. Unfortunately, the reply I got back was that I was pathetic and lazy for blaming my weight on something other than myself (I actually ended up deleting my Reddit after reading that).
So here are five reasons why it’s not that simple. I’m fat for a lot of reasons, and none of them are laziness.
1. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in high school, following two years of dangerously irregular periods. I would go months without a period, and when I finally would get it, it would last for as long as fifteen days. I got a bunch of blood work done (every six weeks to be exact) and it was also discovered that I had elevated androgen hormones, which is a male hormone. And thus, I was put on birth control to regulate my cycle.
It’s been almost ten years since I was diagnosed and my life hasn’t changed too much besides having to be on birth control at age fourteen and not being that great at swallowing pills. Some people have much more serious symptoms than I’ve had, and I consider myself very lucky.
Some common complications from PCOS include ovarian cysts, infertility, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and cancer. While PCOS doesn’t necessarily cause weight gain, it can make it very hard for people to lose or maintain their weight.
Unfortunately, the cause of PCOS is still unknown but it’s very common. Somewhere between 6%-12% of US people with ovaries are diagnosed with PCOS. There are lifelong effects beyond child-bearing years.
2. Underactive Thyroid
My freshman year of high school was crazy busy. Not only was I diagnosed with PCOS, but I was also diagnosed with a hypothyroid. My thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones as a typical thyroid. There are a lot of symptoms of hypothyroidism but the one that alerted my doctor was actually my diagnosis of PCOS.
A symptom of hypothyroidism is an irregular or heavy period. This caused my doctor to do more blood tests (again, every six weeks) and we found that my cholesterol levels were high, and my steadily increasing weight was another tick off the checklist.
Without the right hormones, weight loss is incredibly slow or near impossible. An underactive thyroid also impacts a person’s mental health and an increased chance for heart disease.
I love my family and I would never want any different genetics than the ones I got. But there is no one in my family that is naturally thin. We are short and curvy and there are no exceptions besides my adopted cousin and her kids.
According to Psomagen:
Your genes may have a significant influence on your weight if you’ve been overweight for most of your life and haven’t been successful with weight management with consistent diet and exercise. If you have a blood relative or parent that is also overweight, there’s a good chance that your weight is a genetic problem — and this likelihood multiplies if both of your parents are overweight.
While this of course isn’t the only thing that could impact a person’s ability to maintain weight loss, it does have some influence. The CDC even says that while the link is small, there are specific genes that affect obesity. It’s not something that affects everyone, but it is possible.
4. Mental illness
I’m very vocal about my mental health and the years of rollercoasters I’ve been on. Believe it or not, mental health issues can have a big impact on someone’s weight.
People who suffer from depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders have a higher chance of becoming overweight and eventually becoming obese than people without mental illness.
A study of 4000 British civilians showed that over the course of 19 years, if a person had chronic or repeated episodes of depression, they were twice as likely to become obese by the end of the study.
Not to mention there are actual mental health disorders that directly cause weight gain, like binge eating disorder.
I have been on the WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) program since April 2019 and it took me until January 2020 to hit my first major milestone; losing 50 lbs. It was a lot of hard work and a lot of tracking points and making subtle changes to get there. Even without everything I had working against me (as you see above), it would have taken a long, long time.
People don’t lose weight overnight. There are dozens of diet pills, crash diet programs, and flat tummy teas but none of them have lasting results.
I’ve never been able to lose and keep off weight after some crash diet. It’s not sustainable and sustainability plays a huge role in keeping off unwanted weight.
In order to lose weight, a combination of eating in moderation, exercise, and working with what you’ve got is your best bet. So to the jackass who chewed me out on Reddit two years ago, you’re wrong about me and about all people. I will never be a size 0 or weigh 110 lbs. My hips are just too child-bearing-sized.
Remember: Every person is beautiful no matter what size they are.