Over the weekend I did this weird dancing video to Jesus Christ Superstar when I was reunited with my weird sister, and I shared it on TFID instagram. As I shared it I thought maybe it was a mistake, because watching it back I noticed I looked so thin.
I don’t show my full body often in my work with TFID – when I do, it raises lots of questions that I think are ultimately unhelpful distractions.
Like this comment from a follower:
First of all, think about what it means when you say, “you are thin and you look great.” What are you implying? That if I wasn’t I wouldn’t look great? That people who don’t look thin don’t look great? Think about the implications of the way we choose to compliment people, women especially. This is why we are dysfunctional with food. This is why we are at odds with ourselves. I understand that this was a lead-in to her questions about what happens with weight on the fuck it diet, but still.
I am not trying to be aggressive or difficult… this just happens all the time and it’s tiring.
I have a fat mirror
A year ago I moved into a house that had put up a flimsy full length mirror on the bedroom wall to cover the water damage to the exposed brick. This also means that the mirror puffs out and turns into a WIDENING or “fat mirror”. I know this and I accept it because I am currently too overwhelmed to deal with the brick water damage in the house I bought.
What this also means is that every morning I look wider in the mirror than I actually am. In my laziness I figured this maybe was also a sort of interesting TFID experiment. Because, no it’s not fully accurate, but like, ultimately so what?
This is not something that I would have ever been ok with say… 5 or 6 years ago? Back then all I did was check out how wide I looked in windows, mirrors, everything- just always so so so afraid of being wide.
Everyone who comes over to my house and looks in that mirror says, “CAROLINE THIS IS A HORRIBLE MIRROR!?!?!? WHY DO YOU HAVE THIS?! I LOOK HORRIBLE?!?!?”
What they mean is they look SLIGHTLY wider than they do IRL.
They say, “CAROLINE, YOU NEED TO GET A NEW MIRROR!” And I say, like ok, eventually. But it’s not like a fucking emergency. Calm down.
Anyway, what this means is that when I see a rare video of myself, even I am shocked that I look so thin. Woa, I have some extra padding in my warped bedroom mirror.
I am steeped in thin privilege. Because yes, I yo-yoed hardcore, 20-30 lbs, all the time, many times a year, for 10 years. And I’d gain weight in my face and boobs and I would vacillate so much that clothes, bras, dresses wouldn’t fit and acting teachers didn’t know what kind of scenes to give me because like, was I mainstream pretty or not? Who knew. It changed month to month.
In college, a freaking creep of a headshot photographer told me at my creepy headshot photoshoot that when we had our consult he thought I was the chubby friend, but now I looked liked the hot, thin ingenue. (Screw him and his epic creepiness.) But yea, there was always a microscope on my weight, thanks to acting, and even though I was like “ingenue chubby”, I was probably always real-world thin, and that is also why media beauty standards are extra fucked up.
But all of this to say: Yes, I have yo-yoed. Also, yes I am sometimes a bra size G. Yes I also have always had a naturally lower weight set range and have lots of thin privilege. With this out of the way, let’s talk about the questions people ask me about my weight.
BUT CAROLINE WHAT’S GONNA HAPPEN WITH MY WEIGHT THO?!
When I show my full body on TFID these are some of the questions I get:
Can I/Will I become thin by not dieting?
Can I NOT trust you because you are thin and I am not?
How much weight did you gain?
How much weight did you lose?
Are you thinner now than you were before?
And I’m positive that the answer to those questions isn’t necessarily helpful, because it won’t necessarily be the same for you.
This is what I can tell you: We all have genetic weight set ranges, fully governed by the hypothalamus.
It is actually difficult to go below or above your healthy weight set range.
When you go below, your body freaks out and slows your metabolism way down in order to help you gain back. And going above is hard because your body will adjust your metabolism in order to keep you in your healthy range.
One of the only things that can actually mess with this homeostasis, and make you go above, besides endocrine or other health issues, is restriction. Dieting.
Dieting can raise your set point, because your body wants to make sure you have enough stores if the diet famine comes back. This is a crisis mode that also has other implications for health and stress levels.
So, what happened with my weight? And this is an answer that, remember, is still prioritizing the reason we are so dysfunctional with food in the first place…
I would say right now I am near the lower end of my weight set range. In my past, I would sometimes diet down to this weight, temporarily. One time in high school I went way below but in retrospect I was pretty much anorexic that year. I was also so anemic I almost needed a blood transfusion. It was not a good time.
I would also yo-yo up to the top of my weight set range all of the time.
When I went on The F It Diet, all I knew was that I had to let my body do whatever it needed to do. I bought bigger clothes and left acting, so no headshot photographer could ever say that to me again. And I gained weight to somewhere around the top of the range. Then I slowly lost some of it. And my weight is generally here no matter what I eat and what I do. And I still fluctuate hormonally, seasonally, and depending on, like, whatever man. I fluctuate, and I always will, and you always will too. I make sure I have clothes that fit. I have an underwear drawer filled with different bra sizes, and I have one romper that I can only wear when my boobs are small. And I should get rid of it.
Do not compare your own weight journey to mine, maybe compare your weight set range journey to my weight set range journey, maybe. Maybe.
But here is the truth:
I’m lucky to be so thin that people don’t give me push back with my anti-diet stance and writing and business. I am lucky. I know this. Strangers and acquaintances and distant relatives tell me, “Oh wow, well it WORKS for you! You’re so thin! You look great!” Shut up Brenda, you sound like my grandmother and you have no idea what you are talking about.
It’s comments like that that make people obsessed with becoming and staying thin.