The Struggles of Being Skinny


Media by Akhila Swarna

My mind began to race as I made my way through the crowd to find my mom, avoiding the swarm of acquaintances and small talk. I approached my mom, who was speaking with her friend and reminiscing about tea and gossip. 

My mom abruptly ended her conversation and introduced me to her friend. 

“Why are you so skinny? You should eat more,” was the second phrase spoken to me. 

Do I laugh it off? Should I raise my eyebrows with concern? Or should I respond with a funny innuendo?

Regardless of what my response was, the ultimate implication was this: I am too skinny and I should eat more.

These words may seem easy to overlook and easy to forget, right? Wrong. 

The days following my encounters with the body-shaming people sparked a frenzy of Google searches on my browser history.

“How do I gain weight fast?”

“How to increase weight?”

“What are some weight gaining hacks?”

These articles made it seem like it would take a long time before I was at my vision of “ideal weight.” 

The time constraint finally made me realize I may never be able to gain the weight needed to impress my parents’ friends or myself. 

However, I did quickly realize that my personal opinion of myself matters more than what others think of me. 

I am not alone in this fight. 

There is less awareness about how the struggles of being skinny result in a lack of confidence, being overly conscious about appearance, and even a constant need to increase weight. 

Some cannot fulfill their wish of increasing weight because they physically cannot. 

According to Harvard Health, having a high or faster metabolism may prevent a person from gaining weight faster than their peers. Having a high metabolism means that someone can “burn more calories at rest and during activity.”

Similar to my experience, many people who try but cannot gain weight may not be satisfied with their body image. 

Only 26 percent of women and 28 percent of men are satisfied with their body image, according to a study published by in the journal “Body Image”. 

According to the National Organization for Women Foundation, at age 13, about 53 percent of teenage girls are unhappy with their bodies. 

This is appalling. 

In society today, women and men feel out of place in their own bodies. 

We have to fix this. 

Let’s create a new mindset that allows people to understand that all people are beautiful, regardless of weight and appearance. 

It will take effort. But together, we can help everyone feel beautiful in their own skin, just like I do.