Healthy Feels Better Than Size 3

“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

You’ve heard it before, right?  Over and over, women like to repeat that phrase.  And it sounds good, right?  It ranks right up there  with, “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.”  Both handy little reminders that we should never let the short-term pleasure of yumminess interfere with the long-term pleasure of skinniness.




I’ve never talked about it here, and I’m still not sure how many details I’m going to feel comfortable revealing, but I feel compelled to say this:


Healthy feels better than skinny.


I’ve been skinny.  I’ve been very skinny.  I’ve limited my diet to minuscule portions and transformed this typically slim-ish/kind-of-curvy body into a long, skinny, near model-like kind of thin.  I’ve been 5’7″ and less than a buck ten.


I was skinny.  I looked amazing by many people’s standards.  I thought that felt pretty good.


I know now that it wasn’t “good” that I was feeling. It was mis-placed pride.  It was a skewed value system that was partly my own fault and partly the fault of society.  It was the giddiness I felt every time someone remarked on how incredible I looked.  How thin I was.  How I could “wear anything” and look good.   Though I would have argued the point to death at the time (after all, I looked amazing, right?), I wasn’t strong.  I wasn’t in “great shape.”  And I most certainly wasn’t healthy.


I weigh more than thirty pounds more now than I did then.  I look fine.  And I feel so much better.


If you are in a place where losing a few pounds would be a healthy move, I would absolutely encourage you to make some changes.  Get a little more active.  Try to make healthy food choices.  (And know that there is more than one “right way” to eat healthy.)  It’s good to try to take care of the bodies with which we’ve been blessed.


But a tiny size doesn’t make you better.


And healthy feels better than size 3.

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21 comments to Healthy Feels Better Than Size 3

  • I’ve never been skinny … but as I am a very disagreeable person when I am starving, I would say you’re probably right.

    Thank you for writing hard truths. You rock. :)

    • Honestly? And I hesitate to write this, because I don’t want any desperate person to take it as an encouragement, but… you get used to it. “Starvation mode” becomes your new normal and you think it’s fine. But it’s not. It’s hard to explain, but I don’t actually remember feeling hungry very often. And when I did feel hungry? I wore that like a badge of honor. Kind of a “look how ‘in control’ I am… even when I’m HUNGRY, I don’t stuff my face!” It really was a kind of sickness…

  • earleyml

    Both dieting and over eating are additions just like any drugs. I’m glad you realized this and are happy with your healthy self.

    • Sadly, it was not a quick realization. I required therapy, the support of an amazing man, and some very careful monitoring during pregnancy. What I was doing went way beyond dieting… and I AM lucky that I was able to realize that and seek help. Thanks for commenting!

  • I’ve never had the will power to starve myself. I never used to have a problem with my weight. In school I was always the skinniest of my friends. I look back at my wedding pictures and I’m so jealous of “that” person. It’s hard to not be thin anymore but I’m so thankful that my body was able to grow a child. I’d take the benefit over looks any day.

    • Oh, dear Miranda, please know it is NOT willpower when we starve ourselves or limit food intake excessively. It’s a sickness, really and truly. For many (like me), it’s an issue of control more than weight loss. Willpower is when you choose to stop at two Oreos instead of twelve… not when you eat 200 calories instead of 1200. ;) Looks are about so much more than skinniness and the “look” of a happy mama is a beautiful one indeed!

      • Maria

        You are so right–it’s not about willpower. It took willpower to eat. I was 5′ 4″ and 99 pounds as a freshman in high school. I must have looked horrible, but I never noticed. And I wasn’t hungry, either. Something is messed up in your head when you don’t get hungry anymore.

        Taking a certain antidepressant several years later really messed up my appetite again. It made me want to eat all the time! And so I got fat. Didn’t care much for that either. The worst part is that since then, I still do not feel hunger in the same way I did before. I have to interpret new sensations as hunger, even though I’ve been off that medicine for years.

        Now I’m dealing with a lot of health issues, I think mostly because of lots of stress and bad diet for too many years. I’ve been praying lately that God would help me find the roots of my food issues so that I can be free to enjoy food for the purpose of nourishing my body (not for control or to fill the empty places in my heart) and so I can do the Hobbit diet my doctor has prescribed–six meals a day!

        • “It took willpower to eat.” This statement is SO true, Maria, and so many don’t understand it. I cannot tell you how many friends looked me in the eye and said, “Just EAT already! It’s not that hard!” But it truly was. And, even when I decided I had to TRY to eat regular meals again, my body revolted and I became ill. I will be keeping you in my prayers, friend. I truly do know how hard it is when your natural hunger cues are reset or obliterated. For a long time, I had to eat by the clock simply so I would remember. Thank you so much for sharing part of your story here. It helps many of us to know we are very much NOT alone.

          • Maria

            So how did you get yourself to eat by the clock?? I haven’t set meal time alarms on my phone, but I’m so scatterbrained maybe I’ll need to try that. I learned from that Not Eating actually gives you a feel-good beta endorphin rush, which may explain why I can go most of the day without eating and feel mostly okay. It’s when I start eating and go too long that I start feeling barfy and nearly pass out.

            I know it’s Very Important for me to EAT, OFTEN, but it’s very hard to train my brain to remember to do it. What worked for you?

          • Well, I truly did “eat by the clock”… if it was 7:30 am, I ate breakfast. I ate lunch by 1 pm. Supper by 6 pm. I also had a handful of “old stand-bys” that I seemed to be able to choke down better than most things for those days when I was struggling. I’d eat an apple and a half cup of cereal for breakfast. Or a half a turkey sandwich on wheat for lunch. Very easy, very predictable stuff. And I know it doesn’t sound like a lot of food, but, for ME, at that time, it was a real triumph. Also, if by some fluke I EVER actually felt hungry… I ate. No matter what time of day. I always tried to capitalize on those rare times and I think that ultimately did help in “resetting” my body a bit. I think a meal time alarm could be a very good idea and a great step… it may not seem “normal” to those who’ve never struggled with an eating disorder but, in a way, it’s another way of having “control”, and that can be very comforting.

  • 5′ 6 /12 “, 110-115 was my not-so-healthy build going into college. I know better now. ;)

  • Mellodee625

    I try to live my life within the concept of “moderation in all things”. (I don’t starve, I don’t gorge, I know that a hot fudge sunday once or twice a year is not going to hurt me.)

    If one can follow that tenet, all the rest balances out. It works on everything too, not just food! It’s a good way to live! :)

  • [...] and confidence… two things that are true blessings to the man I married.  I need to eat healthy- and adequate- food.  Despite how difficult it can be, I need to schedule those doctors’ appointments to [...]

  • Jami

    Thanks for posting this, I am a mother of 3 who relates to this in so many ways, I am 5’4″ an maybe 110, I have to force myself to eat, I know I have to for the kids and my husband, I pray for an appitite. I have never been labled with an eating disorder but do think in many ways my eating is out of order! I read “The weigh down diet” in highschool and went from a healthy 145 to a skinny 110 in no time and have stayed that weight now for almost 14 years, even with the babies I’d gain 35 then it was nursed off in weeks, people all the time say things about me, how little I am, If I could change it I would, I said I wanted to gain 20 lbs this last summer to not be so freezing this winter (MN) that didn’t work… I do try and eat whenever the kids are but many times I eat very litte or can’t stomach anything. My 6 yr old says mom why are you such a small mommy. Guy at the gas station, “you sure have your hands full today- hope you are getting paid well” thinking I was their highschool babysitter! Any suggestions welcome- Thanks again for this post!!!

    • Jami, I’ve mulled over your comment for a week now… trying to dig deep and figure out if I have good tips/advice to offer you. Most of all, I want you to know that I’ve been (and will continue to be) praying for you. As far as suggestions… I am lucky to be in a better place now. I really DO get hungry and have pretty “normal” eating habits. But it wasn’t always like that. I would say that, for ME, the following things really helped me during the toughest times: 1) I ate “on schedule”– if it was breakfast time, I ate. Didn’t matter if I was hungry or not. 2) I didn’t fill up on water and I never got my calories from liquids. It was important that the volume I put in my stomach was food. Water is vital to good nutrition, certainly, but when your appetite gets off-kilter, you need to be careful not to fill up on it. 3) I ate ANY time I actually felt hungry. I can remember once saying to my then-boyfriend (now husband), “I’m… hungry” and he rushed me off to get something to eat, despite the fact that it was 9:30 pm. It’s so important to train our bodies that those are good, healthy cues and that we WILL respond to them. I don’t know if any of that is helpful or new to you, but please know that you’re in my thoughts and I’m here if you ever need to talk!

  • Erin

    As a woman who has struggled her whole life with the weight game (my Mom had me on diet soda in 3rd grade) I felt compelled to bring another perspective to the game. “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Well, I would like to be able to say that I agree – but never knowing how “skinny” feels, I can’t agree or disagree. We are each fearfully and wonderfully made, by GOD – do you think He has some BMI chart on the gates of heaven that He holds us up to?! Short of surgery, I’ve tried every diet and exercise plan known to man and I’ve never been smaller than a size 12, or below 180, for that matter. I am defined as morbidly obese and plus size. I can’t shop in the misses department. I could work out 7 days and week and diet until I was blue in the face and I would never, ever be the right BMI. But you know what? My blood pressure is PERFECT. My cholesterol is LOW. I eat well and stay active. I can work people half my weight (literally) into the ground. How can this be?! God made me who I am, inside and out, and oh-by-the-way, He doesn’t use a biscuit cutter. We, as a society, are CRUEL. We drive people to miserable extremes, for stupid, superficial reasons. Let the numbers go, the ones on the clothing tags, the ones on the scales. They are arbitrary and only exist to group and label us like cattle; not the wonderful creations that each of us are.

    • And THIS, my dear friend, is precisely what I’m talking about. It’s about being HEALTHY (because I do believe God wants us to take care of the amazing creations He has made in us)… and that is not in any way tied to a number, be it on a tag or a scale. Our society is a hot mess, quite frankly. There was nothing, NOTHING, healthy about being 5’7″ and 102 lbs. But I’d be lying if I told you people didn’t tell me I looked fantastic all the time. It’s crazy. I love that you shared your story and this perspective because it is a very true and important dimension that too many people refuse to acknowledge.

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  • […] did reveal to her, however, that I had, at one point, been significantly smaller. I told her that the only photos of myself in which I had thought I looked “normal” […]

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