The Silent Agony of Staying Thin — At All Costs


  1. Thank you Gwynne for sharing your struggles. You are not alone and you make others feel less alone with this vulnerability.

    My personal belief is that anyone that doesn’t have a medical condition that requires it, such as congestive heart failure or something like that, should never get on a scale. For one thing, a pound here or there is nothing to the body, but to many women’s minds, apparently a lot! Weight does not have to be measured on a scale. It can be felt in the body – in clothes and how they fit, or just in the general ease of being in the body. If women became more at peace about how they feel in their bodies, I believe they will find a great deal more peace in general. When I went to college, I gained some weight unwittingly, then lost it unwittingly, but somewhere in there I got a message from a boyfriend that it wasn’t ok to have my size tummy, a small pouchy thing, when still I weighed less than 120 lb and cycled and played tennis a lot. It unnerved me and I spiraled for awhile trying to control my body. But once my body bore children, grew “great with child” as they say, then amazingly shrunk right back down, I felt such profound respect for it that I no longer felt animosity toward its shifting of a pound or two here and there. Granted I have always had the good fortune of a regular sized body and love movement and exercise which has helped a lot I am sure, but I have not gone thru unscathed in the eyes of men. There are devastating things women do to their bodies in the name of “beauty” – the eating disorders, the carving into breasts to puff them up with implants, and on and on and on. But one thing I would encourage any woman to do, is to throw that freaking scale out the window and just get to know your body size for what it is and how it feels to you, not to that piece of metal on the floor. Don’t let those numbers ruin any beautiful gifted day of your life. It’s just not worth it

  2. Thank you, Gwynne! And thank you Dr. Margaret for providing this shared place for us to be in. It is so powerful to hear this in your own words and thoughts, Gwynne. I also wonder when the “being settled” of being in my late 50s is supposed to happen – I often feel as insecure as when I was much, much younger. I haven’t had an eating disorder, but over the past few years I’ve developed some ridiculous (to me) problems with a way over-sensitive digestion. Gradually, I have become keenly aware of various “eating cultures” and how much more rigid I now see they are. When I could eat anything, choose anything, without repercussions, I just didn’t see the way we human beings put ourselves in rather small boxes and are shocked at anything different. And I had NO IDEA how much courage it takes, how much loneliness there is and how frightening it is to search for your own path through all of this. I have gained so much strength from reading your words, Gwynne. You have no idea.

    1. I share your admiration for Gwynne, Judy, and am so glad her words have been helpful to you. Your own struggles with food sound difficult but rewarding — in that you’re having to define what’s healthy and vital for you, and you alone. Thank you for letting both of us know. Dr. M.

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