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Let Me Be: An Open Letter from a Skinny Fit Chick

Let Me Be: An Open Letter from a Skinny Fit Chick

"Why can't I just strive to be fit, without the descriptive label that screams, 'Hey! I'm fit, but don't forget that I'm skinny!'" Dani Kelley tells Hey Little Rebel what it's like to be skinny shamed.Slim fit chick. I’m not sure why, but this phrase has always irritated me. I just strive to be fit, without the descriptive label that screams,

Hey! I’m fit, but don’t forget that I’m skinny!

I have been thin my entire life. For most of my childhood, I looked like a curly-haired version of Olive Oil. Complete strangers were so concerned about my weight that they would approach my mother and give her “tips and tricks” on how to help me gain more weight. Little did they know that by the time I reached the age of 5, I could surpass most teenage boys when it came to eating. Whole medium pizzas and a dozen tacos were the norm (sick, I know). I am very grateful to my parents for passing on their great genes and introducing me to sports at a young age. Because they were both active in sports, I was active in sports for most of my childhood. Playing sports was my fitness routine until I grew into adulthood and joined my very first gym.

As I became an adult, I worked out regularly, but I ate like shit. When I started working out in a gym, I did so consistently, but I never lifted weights. I didn’t learn what a squat rack was until about 4 or 5 years ago. Seriously. I fell in love with yoga and running, but I was constantly reprimanded for it. “Why does a skinny person need so much cardio?” “Don’t get too thin!” “Running is bad for your knees!” “Yoga is so boring!” Blah, blah, blah!

I am a firm believer that a person’s workout routine is like happiness. It’s very personal and really shouldn’t have anything to do with anybody else except the parties involved: yourself! It was so important for me to keep fitness in my life, and to find what works for me. I still run and do yoga today, however I’ve incorporated lifting into the mix, and I’ve seriously entered into a brand new world.

I recently started being consistent with my “diet.” I know what you are all thinking. “Why hell does a skinny person need to diet?!” Calm down. I’m not on a special diet. I never have been, and I never plan to be. I just eat as healthy as possible. Why? Because I feel fantastic when I do, and because I’m a 30-year-old woman who can make adult decisions. I’m obsessed with fruits and vegetables: it’s a love affair. Spinach is probably one of my favorites, and I consume it almost daily. For me, I feel fantastic when I eat cleaner. I don’t, however, restrict myself. Ever. My soulmates are chocolate and wine, and if I couldn’t have either, I would be devastated.

It’s amazing what happens when I order a salad at a restaurant or explain to humans how much I love my morning smoothie that’s filled with spinach, protein and mostly good things for my body. “You’re skinny and can eat whatever you want. Why do you choose to eat healthy foods when I know you can eat a cheeseburger and fries pretty much everyday?” I can, and do, indulge in fatty foods like cheeseburgers, pizza, and french fries. I love my wine just like the next millennial, and if I could have dessert before every meal, I totally would. Do I eat like that everyday? Hell no! Even if I don’t gain the weight as easily as others do, it doesn’t make me feel good.

Others should not assume that skinny people can eat whatever they want to, not workout, and are completely happy with their bodies. Being skinny does not mean happiness. It’s a body type. I am human just like everyone else. I have stretch marks and a dimple or two. I have days where I feel so bloated and ugly, that the thought of wearing anything besides sweats and a hoodie is too much work. I’m also taller than the average woman (I’m 5’9 and 1/4), so on top of the backlash I get for being thin, I also get remarks for being tall.

Being skinny in a world where people are dying to be skinny hasn’t been a wonderful experience. Why? Because those striving to be thin resent me. Those completely unhappy with how they look love to vent about how miserable they are to me, and how I will never understand what it’s like to have to watch what they eat. That having to work a little harder at the gym while simultaneously watching what they eat is a lot of work.

Guess what! It’s a lot of work for me as well. Most people don’t understand that it took almost a year and a half to build proper muscle in my legs. The abs that are slowly peaking through didn’t just magically show up overnight. I had to work hard for this! Am I where I want to be? No, but I’m mostly comfortable in my own skin. I’m realistic about my goals and understand what it would take to actually put on muscle.

Overall, I’m healthy. I’m probably the healthiest I’ve been my entire life, and that makes me happy. Being happy also makes me happy. Surrounding myself with happy, hard-working individuals makes me the happiest. I think to myself, “You know what? Good for her for working hard and focusing on herself. She deserves that.”

I really want others to stop with the skinny shaming and rolling their eyes just because another person has a faster metabolism, or offering their opinion on food just because they can’t eat what I can eat. If I constantly compared my body, my success, my well-being, my height, and my goals to everyone else’s, I would be one miserable human. It’s okay that other people are different. It’s okay that I love to run, but some hate it. It’s okay that I like chocolate, but also love salad. It’s okay that I am skinny. It’s great to see the fitness community growing and becoming empowered, but we are all on a journey that’s specific to us. Just like body types. Let me be.

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Danielle Kelley

Danielle is a coffee loving tech enthusiast, music loving feminist and wannabe developer. She absolutely loves to travel, used book stores and will make you her best friend if you laugh at any of her jokes. She loves connecting with new humans, so go say hi!

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