Posted: Jul 25, 2013 9:00 AM
 
There are stories all around about overweight women trying to shed the extra pounds. But what about the other side of the coin? The women who are already thin, possibly even underweight and are afraid of gaining weight. Here's one woman's story about the pressures of staying thin in a society where that is exactly what is expected.

For as long as I can remember, I've weighed around 105 pounds, with the exception of two pregnancies. This changed the winter I turned 30 when I gained 10 pounds. Looking at pictures of myself during that time, I think I look terrible. Fat, if I'm being honest.

According to the body mass index (BMI) calculator, at five feet four inches tall and 115 pounds, I was at a normal weight. But I didn't feel good about myself.

My weight loss mission

fresh fruits and vegetables

After seeing pictures of myself and not fitting into many of the clothes in my closet, it became my mission to lose those extra 10 pounds. Already a fairly healthy eater, I focused on decreasing my portion sizes and increasing my water intake. Over the course of three to four months, I lost about eight pounds.

The next step I took was to cut out meat. The meat I used to eat was replaced by fresh fruits and vegetables. Within a few more weeks I had dropped the last two pounds plus some. Standing on the scale now it ranges between 99 and 101 pounds each morning. According to the BMI calculator, this is classified as underweight. To me and most of society, I look exactly how a woman should look. Thin. Skinny.

Jessica Torres- pressure to stay skinny- before and current

My desire to stay skinny

People made comments after I lost the 10 plus pounds about how great I was looking. I imagine what negative things they were saying about me when I weighed 115 pounds.

I don't think I have an eating disorder. I eat when I'm hungry, have never made myself throw up, am not trying to lose any more weight and indulge in the occasional chocolate chip cookie. But I also don't want to gain any of the weight back. If the scale reads 102 pounds on any given day, I start to worry that I am gaining the weight back. I become cautious about what I am eating.

As a person who has always been thin, I feel a lot of pressure to stay that way. People made comments after I lost the 10 plus pounds about how great I was looking. I imagine what negative things they were saying about me when I weighed 115 pounds. Fat, overweight, she let herself go, I think to myself.

What about my daughters?

I worry that they will want to be as skinny as I am, even if they have a different body type. I worry they will also feel the pressure to be underweight.

I have two daughters, ages 9 and 4. I don't talk about my weight in front of them and the word diet is rarely used in my house. But they are smart and observant. They will one day see that their mom is very skinny. I worry that they will compare their own bodies to mine as they get older. That they will want to be as skinny as I am, even if they have a different body type. I worry they will also feel the pressure to be underweight.

I don't know what life is like for people who struggle with being overweight, but I can say it's also not easy for those of us who are thin. We struggle too.

More on body image

What I love about my body: Real-mom version
Are you your own worst body critic?
Moms celebrate their bodies, rolls and all!

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