Women are constantly judged on weight, appearance, and any other thing that makes us different. There’s always something that separates us. Unfortunately, those diversities often create a negative division that is used for harm and not good. Sometimes, we judge others without even realizing what we are doing. We think things about the person next to us in our head or we secretly snap a picture to send to our friends to get a quick giggle out of them. None of us are immune to these thoughts and behaviors. We have all been there, simply because we are human. We have all taken part in body shaming whether you would like to admit it or not. I have seen tabloids and wondered how a celebrity with private chefs, stylists, and trainers could be anything but perfect.
As a 30 year old woman who has never seen the scale hit what doctors would say is the average weight, I know what it feels like to be uncomfortable in my own skin. I know what it is like to be turned away because of my weight or to be a regular at the tailor because my jeans don’t fit just right. The negative thoughts can consume us and rob us of our joy.
When I was in college in the early 2000’s, there was a blood drive on campus. I had never given blood before but thought it was a good time to start. The free t-shirt and cookies were the motivating factors. I approached the table and eagerly signed in. The woman helping at the table asked me what I weighed. I stepped on the scale, confused, because I did not know there was a weight requirement to give blood. As a college student, I ate pizza, instant noodles, and drank sodas every day. At the time, I was working in a tanning salon making $7 an hour, so I was not one to pass up free snacks in the common area on campus. We ate junk food constantly and never thought twice about the consequences of our choices.
When the woman at the blood drive saw the number on the scale, she informed me that I was not eligible to donate blood because I did not weigh enough. At that time, a donor needed to weigh 110lbs. Surprisingly, I was not anywhere near that number. I tip-toed off the scale and brushed it off as their loss. I continued about my day, free cookies in hand, greatly affected by the number on the scale. Occasionally, I would wonder why weight was even an issue. I did not do drugs or starve myself, so why couldn’t I donate? I was not sick, so this was pretty alarming, but then again, skinny does not equal healthy. During the next few months, when I would go home to visit my family, my parents would make comments such as “what are they [the college] feeding you?” I think they were shocked that I never gained the infamous “freshman 15.” My mom told me several times to get my thyroid tested.
Over the years, I have heard “Eat a cheeseburger,” “Just wait until you turn 30,” “A moment on your lips, forever on your hips” so many times. I am now 30 and no longer battling the scale for a number that will define me as “average” because I am not average. I am an individual who fully understands what my body needs to survive. Instead of relying on junk food to help me hit that number on the scale, I turned to heavy weight lifting and a high protein diet to get me there. I am proudly at 120 lbs today. That number has been fought for. I have endured hours of training and eating well portioned meals. It is a journey that needs to be talked about without shame and ridicule. I am thin. I am healthy.
What some do not know is that there are similarities between someone with low weight and someone with high weight. We both struggle with hurtful comments, we find shopping an exhausting task, and some of us have sadly endured the health consequences that land us face to face with a fertility specialist. Doctors have never told me that my low weight is the cause of my fertility problems, but fear, doubt, and worry try to make me believe that I did this to myself. I now know that my body needs whole, nutritious foods to maintain a healthy weight. It is a decision I make daily. I say this with the most compassion possible, but we choose how we fuel our bodies and need to take responsibility for what we eat.
About Holly Baudier
I am the wife of my high school sweetheart, Tim Baudier, and the mother of 2 dogs and 3 chickens. Together we own an accounting firm, Didactic Services, that specializes in individual and business tax returns and we develop real estate throughout New Orleans. I was raised in Folsom, LA but moved to New Orleans after college to pursue my Masters Degree. I enjoy doing crossfit at Supra Crossfit and truly believe that health and fitness are what keeps me sane. We are currently pursuing fertility treatment at Audubon Fertility and hope to one day be able to post our success story on our blog. You can read more about our fertility journey on my blog.