The Thin Fantasy

Came across a journal I used to keep about 7 years ago, when I was at my lowest weight as an adult. Here’s an entry:

“Weighed myself. Lowest ever. I felt kind of numb ~ there was no one at the gym to tell. I think I felt fearful like, wait… I’m this weight and I’m still a loser? Woke up with a swelled lip. Broke out into hives. Had to go to the emergency room. Got a shot and an IV. The whole time I kept thinking, will the Prednisone make me gain weight?”

Never mind the fact I was in anaphylactic shock, and my throat was beginning to close up. (Note: My mom insisted on coming over later that day to see how swelled up my face was. I don’t even think it was out of concern for me, she just wanted to see the freak show that was my face! I wasn’t angry, just a little pissed. Now, it just makes me laugh! Isn’t this behavior against the Mom Code?)

Intriguing ~the things I was feeling, the struggles I was facing…

Honestly, it seems like I was so much more in touch with my feelings then, however the sickness of dieting consumed my every thought and action.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad body thoughts. I’d love to be 60 pounds lighter. But, I don’t have that frantic screaming in my head telling me that food is bad, and I am bad as a result of eating it.

I still am challenged with the same things I did 7 years ago… relationships, lack of intimacy, financial responsibility, & organization. However, there isn’t a high piercing scream that absorbs my every waking thought.

Living in the thin fantasy, means you can’t appreciate what is going on in the present. The present is a gift. We must open it up, relish it, and live vibrantly.

A thin fantasy cannot provide that. It keeps you small, quiet, waiting for something you may or may not ever achieve. I remember my ideal size was a 12. And then I got there, and it wasn’t good enough. The ideal size kept getting smaller & smaller. Genetically impossible for me to achieve without having my limbs amputated.

And so many of us face life as an amputee. We live life without parts of us. We exile those parts into hidden places. We have distractors and prison guards to keep them away. But until we can ask these distractors, managers, firefighters to step aside… we stay shielded from our true selves. For our true selves contain all of those scary parts. We listen to them. We ask them to share their stories. And we let them know they don’t need to take over us. That there is a Wise Woman Self inside ready to embrace them.

The fact is, even if I do lose those 60 pounds, I’m still going to struggle. My life won’t be perfect. I still will be easily triggered by people, places, and things.

We can’t change from the outside in, rather inward to the outward. And still, even though I may be at peace with myself, I cannot be certain I will achieve a BMI of 23.

A full life with a full body is much richer than a thin fantasy.

Have you ever lived with a thin fantasy, or even a thin disguise? What did you do to break free?

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Learning to savor food, yoga, & life.
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21 Responses to The Thin Fantasy

  1. Sonja says:

    Remembering my 20s, thinking I was fat. 50-70 pounds ago. Wishing now I had appreciated my body more. But the same issues in my life, just different players. At that time I focused on the food/weight loss. Somehow that would make my life better. Now I deal with the issues and don’t avoid them by focusing on my weight.

  2. Yep…I truly believed that if I could just get to my goal weight, I’d look like a supermodel (even well into my 40s LOL). Now I realized that even supermodels don’t look like supermodels. Learning to love and accept my whole self in the moment (and then practicing this on a regular basis) is what helped me break free.

  3. Ashley H says:

    I deal with this basically every day. I’ve reached my old goal weight but every time I hit a goal, I lower it again because It just doesn’t feel good enough. I actually started doing yoga about a month ago to help me appreciate myself more, so we’ll see how that goes.

  4. Megan says:

    Ahh, the thin fantasy! In mine, I believed I’d end up well-proportioned, cellulite-free, and definitely more outgoing and with nicer hair.

    Instead, at my lowest weight, I had a limp from the damage I’d done to my ankle/foot with overexercise, all my ribs were visible in my back, my hair was straw-like, I couldn’t go *anywhere* because I didn’t know what food would be there (so much for outgoing!) and yet my pants size remained stubbornly 3 sizes larger than my shirt size. I was basically just a shrunken-down, damaged version of what’d I’d been before. The fantasy kind of ended there. And I remember that too well for it to have gained any real traction since then.

    I still have moments of wishing I could be thinner, but I at least now know that just means I’m looking for something in my life – I try to examine what “thin” could give me in that particular moment, and go after that thing instead.

    • Megan, thanks for sharing your perspective. The thin ideal can lead to dangerous behavior. You are right -our desire for “thinness” is really a search for something else. We need identify what that is.

  5. allison says:

    You hit the nail on the head with your ‘never living in the present statement’. And reading your blog now it seems like you are very in touch with your feelings as a whole vs your feelings as they relate only to food, body image, and fantasy weights. But obviously that is from the outside looking in :). I really admire your ability to put onto paper exactly what you are thinking.

  6. Kara says:

    Since I was about 13, I’ve always wanted to be thinner, and I always thought that getting thinner would make my everything else in my life OK.

    Even now, I’m at peace with myself, I’m eating and craving healthy food (and losing weight), I’m a little envious of those people who are losing two pounds or more a week and seem to lose a clothing size in a matter of weeks.

    I’m somewhere between 80 to 100 pounds overweight right now (no idea what my ideal weight should be), so I think certain aspects of the thin fantasy will be with me for a while.

    Great post, I very much like your writing style too…

  7. Nancy says:

    Love your blog. You are a gifted writer and hit the mark!

  8. For me, breaking out of the thin=happiness fantasy requires me to keep my focus off of numbers (calories, weight..). Instead, I have to focus on choices based on what will contribute to my quality of life (which is what I’ve determined I’m ACTUALLY after.)
    Sometimes I do still get sidetracked, though, and have to be roped back in to a healthier mindset.

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