This is a little off topic, but then again, my views don’t fit into the allopathic approach. My emotions are connected to my body, and this is just another issue that makes me grow in tune with my body and away from ill health.

They call me petite but I was actually very chubby when I was little. My family thought I was cute, but they had to. My brothers were all very slim. So were the celebrities I liked. I didn’t like being chubby, so I was lucky to hit puberty and start growing up and not out. In high school, my friends and I dieted and exercised trying to keep slim. I think a lot of them still do that, and I’d still be doing that if I hadn’t become chronically sick later in life.
I continued to be an average weight, jumping between 115 to 125 pounds. Anything in between was okay by me. Sometimes I’d weigh less and be ecstatic. On the rare occasion I’d weigh more and be upset.

Then I contracted Lyme disease. At one point in my struggle with Lyme disease, I felt too sick to eat. I went from 125 pounds to 100 pounds. To give you an idea of how little I was eating, I actually gained weight on a juice fast! I always wanted to be 100 pounds. COOL. Wait, not cool! I was finally “thin” but it was only because I was wasting away.

Lyme disease skinny

I’ll keep this article short. It doesn’t have to be long because the lesson is simple. Aspiring to be thin is not healthy. Aspiring to be healthy is healthy. In hindsight I don’t know why I wanted to be so thin. Hollywood aside, I no longer think I look good when I’m 100 pounds. It was always a nice thought, until I associated it with my demise.

Working at a gym, I made a lot of fit-friends. I complained one day to one of them – a coworker hired as eye-candy with a BMI of less than 10% – that I wanted to be more toned. He said to eat less calories. Sorry, man, but I can’t cut foods I love. Sure, I can keep track of my macros and micros for the sake of health, and I can eliminate foods that I am allergic to. But if wasting away taught me anything, it is to love food and to strive to be healthy. I can’t afford to have an unhealthy relationship with any foods when my alliance with them is so new.

With food as an ally, there is no pressure to eat what is “right” and instead I eat what naturally interests me. Without dietary pressure I don’t eat 9 cups of kale a day to be healthful, nor do I binge on cheap candy out of shame for not eating 9 cups of kale. I love root vegetables, fruit, honey…shiet, I eat ice cream to help me sleep!  I got upset with myself for eating too many carrots, once upon a time, because of their carb content. Sick or not, please don’t be like that!

I won’t cut calories, but I will use them efficiently. I weight train without worrying about getting “big,” without measuring my waistline or checking the scale. I instead look for results in how easily I walk up the stairs or how many more push-ups I can do. Then, when my muscles feel sore post-workout, I take it as an sign to chow down on whatever my lil’ stomach desires. Why go to weight-loss websites for my health advice, when I can go to bodybuilder forums instead? I’m not out to lose.

Sick-and-Skinny “Fat” Lesson

I can see why my fit friends put their looks before their energy – they’ve never battled to hold on to their weight, or their lives. It was so easy to be vain back then, but my vanity has been usurped by my aspirations to be strong. Now, instead of thinking about my looks, I think about how exercise boosts mitochondrial content and gets my lymphatic system going; looking good is just a secondary thing that follows.

When I feel strong and healthy, it shows on the outside. And if you ask me, aspiring for these instead of weight-loss was the only way to know what my beauty-standard weight would be. And I must say, even without my vanity, I look prettttttty good.

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4 thoughts on “What Being Sick and Skinny Taught Me about Being “Fat””

  1. I have Lyme. Just found your blog. Thank you.
    I am on antibiotics and have been struggling with giving EVERYTHING up. I feel like my body is craving carbs. Very confusing.

    1. Jen, firstly I think only you know what is best for you. I am not sure if you have read the articles on this website about why we SHOULD eat carbs. Here is one: http://itsnotjustlyme.com/lymies-eat-your-carbs/ Underfeeding and overfeeding are both capable of making infections worse – it’s just that underfeeding is far more common in Lyme disease patients. I know that “carbs feed the bugs” – so do amino acids like L-Carnitine. So do minerals like magnesium. So does collagen. The thing is, they feed us, too. Carbohydrates are the easiest to metabolize form of cellular energy; they keep our mitochondrial-furnaces burning, our body temperature up, our thyroids functional – and so, in their own way, they DO kill the bugs. Starving your infection of “sugar” might have some merit – its an easy source of fuel for bacteria as well. But a) it’s not their only source and b) we simply do not live in a sterile world and starving some bacteria starves your 4-pounds of microbiota that exist to usurp other foreign bacteria. Now, I’m not suggestion you stuff your face with Halloween candy. Just try not to cry over eating 1 too many carrots (which actually happened to me…once).

  2. I was diagnosed with Lyme a year and a half ago after more than a decade of mystery illness and countless specialists. Four years ago I developed IBS (which, like my kidney disease, and my thyroiditis we later learned was very likely connected to the persistent Lyme infection). I am almost 5’8″ and went from just over 150lbs to 110lbs at my most sick. I also used to want to be thin. But like you, it didn’t seem so great when you realize that being that thin means you are actually wasting away – I lost most of my muscle mass and was barely able to get myself up and down the stairs. My skin sagged. I was bony. You could see all the veins in my hands. My skin looked sallow, and I looked a decade older. I hated looking at myself, and I couldn’t imagine anyone finding me attractive that way, much less wanting to touch me! I’ve put on 10lbs over the past couple of years and fight hard to keep every pound of it. It still hurts to sit without a cushion or to put my elbows down on the table. But at least now I’m forever cured of the desire to be thin. Too bad it took getting sick to have this insight. It’s weird the kind of things you discover through this god-awful experience. It was great to hear from someone else who’s had this same experience and epiphany. Thanks – I’ll be checking out your blog from now on.

    1. I was starting to wonder if the article has any relevance to Lyme disease but Piper, your comment is good assurance that this article is relevant after all. Getting sick DOES provide strange insights. I hope you have many more to come. I recommend checking out some of my posts on metabolism and diet – I’m not sure what your diet is like, but I believe that most Lyme disease patients are underfeeding themselves.

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