Home The Op-Eds An Open Letter To Skinny Women

An Open Letter To Skinny Women

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Hey, girl.

How you doin’? How’s [insert loved one]? Good, that’s good to hear.

Listen, I wanted to talk to you because I know you’re pretty comfy in your own skin and really happy with where you are in life… I think that’s awesome. However, I cannot help but notice how often you are scarfing down the fast food, ice creams and various and sundry peanut butter cups… all day. Not all day, but all day.

I know, I know, but your metabolism… your figure… you’re blessed. Got it. I mean, I hear you. “As long as you don’t look the way you eat,” (obviously acknowledging that you eat like a hot high fructose corn syrupy mess) because looking fat would be a sin, right? I mean, that’d be too much to bear, right?

I’ve got to tell you, girl, that there’s far more to being “skinny” than just “thin” or “petite.” See, society has spoiled you into thinking that you don’t have to worry about “anything” as long as you don’t look like them… so no, your health isn’t an issue. And I get that. No one wants to be pointed out on the sidewalk and featured in one of those headless ambiguous shots that newscasters use in their reports – the anonymous fat person with their pants so ill-fitting they’ve got a wedgie – and no one wants to ever be known as “the fat one.”

But do you ever think about the fact that you could be known as “she was so cute too, so skinny! You would’ve never thought she’d have heart disease!” or even “dang shame what happened to that girl.” I’m not playin’ – I know what kind of blank pass your peers and loved ones might be giving you because you’re not “wearing your food” like the rest of society, but please believe your insides are taking a beating for it. 67% of Americans are overweight, almost 40% obese… trust me – you don’t want to listen to too many of us when it comes to whether or not you’re “ok” to eat what you’re eating.

For instance, did you know that you lose about .5% of your ability to burn calories properly every year after about age 20? Our metabolism is high in our teens because our bodies are growing; but since the older we get, the less we grow, our metabolism actually slows down. So with each passing year, the amount of food we can eat without it penalizing our figures… decreases. It gets harder to maintain that body with dwindling metabolism and bad habits.

Or how about, regardless of whether or not you’re petite, you can absolutely be fat? Just because you don’t have rolls or whatever doesn’t mean that you aren’t carrying fat. A little fat is normal of course, but if you are eating acidic foods… your body is intentionally building fat around your organs as a means of protecting them from the acid! (And no, that’s not acid like citric acid in fruits. That’s acid like in things like coffee, creams, some beans, corn..) And if you’re really eating like crap, guess what you’re most likely to be eating in abundance? Corn! High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, corn meal, corn flour, corn, corn, corn. Sigh. Sucks, don’t it?

What about the fact that being petite in size does not protect you from the diseases and problems that society has come to expect from overweight people? Type II diabetes, heart disease, on and on and on…. it is risky. Very risky. Trust me, I know – food tastes good. Hellagood. But presuming that you’re not at risk until you start packing on the pounds is a dangerous game. Don’t do it to yourself.

Really, mama, I say this out of love. Don’t walk away thinkin’ “She’s just sayin’ that ’cause she wishes she could be skinny like me.” I’m not tryin’ to be skinny like you – I’m tryin’ to be skinny like me. More importantly, I’m tryin’ to be healthy and I’d like you to try right along with me. As a friend, of course. I’m not trying to knock you off of any pedestal, but I am trying to call to your attention the fact that your health is a gift, girl! Just because it’s not what you see in the mirror when you wake up every day doesn’t make it any less worthy of attention, effort or consideration. Go the extra mile to take care of yourself, and maintain your internal health for as long as you can! Your inner (and outer) body will definitely thank you for it!

With love,


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Denise S. May 28, 2010 - 11:23 AM

I really do hate the term skinny. I think it’s just as bad as calling someone fat. 🙁

I do agree with the overall point that everyone- any size- should be eating healthier.

Erika May 28, 2010 - 1:02 PM

While I hope you aren’t offended, I’m not quite sure I’d put it on par with “calling someone fat,” LOL.

I’m glad that my overall point wasn’t lost though, despite the off-putting language. 🙂

Shauna February 3, 2014 - 8:49 AM

Though you may not think it carries the same weight, for many of us who are called skinny, it does hurt just as much. Society tells us that we’re not “real” women because we don’t have curves. The same women that call us skinny are the ones who would be utterly offended by being called fat. So I think that yes, in the eyes of those who wish we had a little more meat on our bones and wish we could fill out our clothes better, it does carry the same weight.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 3, 2014 - 9:15 AM

There’s a difference between what affects you emotionally the most, and what – in the real world – is the most punitive. Thin women are not being denied jobs, partnerships, graduate school admissions, or basic respect because they’re “too thin.” I can acknowledge that something hurts you personally more, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to importance or gravitas in the real world.

Y’all, this really – REALLY – doesn’t need to be the Oppression Olympics to determine who has it worst. I’m wholly uninterested in that. It serves no purpose.

ALL women suffer some form of pressure from society and the world around them based on their size. We are never good enough. We are never enough, PERIOD. Our partners cheat on us, the automatic assumption is that WE are the problem, that we weren’t enough, as opposed to our partners being scumbags. Our children grow up and make mistakes, people look to THE MOTHER, as if the child didn’t become an adult who had decades of OTHER adults teaching them right vs wrong. And, yes, our size is NEVER enough. People are hell bent on making thin women feel like crap by calling them “fat” because they aren’t muscular and lean. People are hell bent on making women feel bad. It’s a market. NONE of that changes the fact that, within what I said in my post, women need to not let society’s failure to understand health and wellness lull them into a sense of comfort with horrible eating habits, and that is my point. Not quibbling over whether the word “skinny” is offensive. It’s offensive in the same way that “fat” is offensive – it’s still a state of being, whether or not it is also used pejoratively, and context always matters. ALWAYS.

As it seems that the word “skinny” triggers you and anyone else, I apologize sincerely for that. My intention is never to offend, but I am always realistic… and an apology never takes away from that.

Lena April 14, 2015 - 3:46 PM

I agree wholeheartedly I’ve had people tell me to eat a hamburger I’m too skinny. The things I’d like to say right back would be offensive to that same obese woman. It’s not right (the double standards people have.)

Erika Nicole Kendall April 14, 2015 - 4:37 PM

I’d proffer that no one should be commenting on *anyone’s* size, which is a stance I’ve maintained since I started this site, and – as this post is over five years old – I’ve been saying the exact same thing over, and over, and over again for the past five years in these very comments.

Michelle Henderson May 28, 2010 - 3:01 PM

I enjoyed this post. I have friends that feel because they are “thin” or “skinny” they are immune to disease and illnesses. I’m glad you went there!

Erika May 28, 2010 - 3:08 PM

Thank you! Unfortunately, this is what happens when society focuses more on “looks” than we do health. We start letting our girls go by the wayside because it “looks” like they can! No ma’am! 🙂

LadyD June 1, 2010 - 2:17 PM

What is skinny – what size is skinny. I am a size 8 some folks tell me uh you skinny some say yeah you could stand to lose a few pounds

Erika June 1, 2010 - 2:27 PM

Honestly, I have no clue – skinny in Miami is different from skinny in Houston is different from skinny in Illinois, you know?

And besides, all those variations sounds like all the more reason to not listen to those “folks,” doesn’t it? LOL!

juicy June 1, 2010 - 11:46 PM

love this post! now im a lil plump in certain areas(stomach, thighs) but at a good weight for my height and in high school this extra skinny chick used to always call me fat always and i tried to eat pretty much healthy but she would always scarf down chips, pop,candy, burgers,pizza, cookies you name it and then say to me that i wish i was her size so i could be able to eat what she ate and not gain weight but yet this chick could not run down the hallway without being out of breath. sorry about the rant but this post just proved a point i already knew!

Erika June 2, 2010 - 10:46 AM

LMAO I’m not even mad at it! I see it all the time and while I may not say anything openly (I’m not that crass), I definitely snicker a little bit on the inside. LOL

Daphne December 4, 2010 - 6:36 PM

Really late to the game, but I love this post. Because all too often, when someone has health issues, people will refer to it as “weight-related issues.” And they don’t even realize the huge implication they’re making: that thinness is a marker of “health.” SMH. Oh, it can be, but it’s certainly not THE marker of health. I really love this:

See, society has spoiled you into thinking that you don’t have to worry about “anything” as long as you don’t look like them… so no, your health isn’t an issue.

Yep – that’s the subtext behind so many that appear to be concerned with black women’s weight.

Pretty Keish December 6, 2010 - 3:20 PM

LOVE this. When I started referring people to this site they would snare and ask why I was on a site for folks tryna lose weight. I get comments like “your bony behind does NOT need to lose any weight!” Fine, but I DO need to be HEALTHY and IN SHAPE and being petite does not automatically afford me either. This site has really been a blessing 🙂

EmpressTaTa December 29, 2010 - 2:46 PM

Funny….I read this and thought….where was this broad (you) when I needed this talk — no disrespect though i use broad loosly.

I was SKINNY. And being called skinny is not as bad as being called fat because skinny has a really broad range. I mean i was 5’7″ 115lbs skinny. Yeah that is skinny. And to this day i’m called skinny and I weigh 150lbs now. But that’s not the point of my post…..

I got me gallbladder removed earlier this year. In fact 3 days before Superbowl….and I’m still pissed about that (I missed a great weekend – yeah i know…don’t judge me). I’ve always been a picky eater, but with the good, i’ve always also eaten stuff not good for me. Oxymoron right?

Had I ACTUALLY understood that yeah my metabolism may be high, but i’m still putting $#*& in my body…i would probably never had gone thru the pain i did with my gallbladder or any other health issues that i currently go thru.

So i support your “letter to the skinny broad”. She needs to know this. She needs to understand this. So she can save herself.

Erika December 29, 2010 - 3:04 PM

Don’t worry. I knew exactly what you meant. 🙂

I appreciate you leaving this message! Hopefully someone who needs it will see it. 🙂

Mamaof4 November 15, 2011 - 4:02 PM

I like that you have shed light on healthy eating. I have always been a healthy eater and have always enjoyed a slender build, partly because of genetics and partly because I am the type to stay physically active. But what I hate is how women actually act like they hate me because I am slender. I find it offensive for people to think they can have a conversation with me about my weight, when most of the time they dont want to talk about much else or I have to steer them away from this subject. And it seems that no matter how often I talk to them it will come up and really makes me feel uncomfortable.
Like, what do you want me to say? When I say oh I dont eat this or that, then they are offended. When I tell of something physical that I did, like walking somewhere thats close enough to drive then I’m doin too much!
And they seem to be very offended when they see that I can cook and that I have a healthy appetite. I just want to say that there are skinny broads out here really working towards living good and looking good.

Kait January 23, 2012 - 3:41 PM

I friggin adore you. Because its so true. And sometimes makes me want to scream…or smile smugly. Instead I send love and well wishes.

Erika Nicole Kendall January 24, 2012 - 9:38 AM


Angela January 23, 2012 - 7:46 PM

I love this!! This pretty much sums up “skinny fat” and I think you’re right on. I’ve been perusing your blog instead of making dinner (crap!) and am loving all of it. 🙂

Christi January 24, 2012 - 9:43 PM

First, I want to say thanks for the website and thanks for the straight talk. There’s just not enough of it out there. I discovered your website through a friend. She is both black and losing weight. I am not black, but I am on a mission to make myself lighter and free of this extra weight I wear like armor. I liken it to carrying two Thanksgiving Day turkeys wherever I go. As to this specific article, I am in total agreement. I have a sister who has always been very thin (tiny, actually). For years I was jealous of her ability to consume an entire bag of potato chips in a sitting. I was equally jealous of her ability to keep boxes of Girl Scout Thin Mints in her freezer for months at a time (smh) without the slightest trace of willpower necessary. Recently, she has quit smoking (hooray) and, at 57, is discovering that it’s not so easy to keep the weight off. On top of that, her cholesterol is higher than it should be and (rightfully so) she doesn’t want to risk using statins to lower it. So now, at this point in her life, she’s trying to learn how to eat right and exercise. It would be so much easier if she had given it the slightest thought for all those years… The good thing is that she is trying, but I wish she could have read this years ago. Maybe she wouldn’t have listened, but at least she would have had an idea.

Pissed off skinny chick February 8, 2012 - 3:25 AM

I’m upset. I understand your points and I agree with them. However your choice of words and the tone of this post are hateful. (At least I think so). I’m Black I’m 5’6 and I weigh 113lbs. Yes, I eat most if not all of the foods and snacks you refered to. The problem I have with this post is that its biased. You are assuming that all skinny girls eat “junk” because they can and don’t have to worry about health. You’re wrong. Yes some skinny girls do beleive they don’t have to worry about health but not most. You completely skipped over the issue of body image (especially in the Black community) and enjoyment. I eat these things because I enjoy them. I used to eat them because I wanted to gain weight and be a little thicker. Yes, it does hurt to be called anorexic and bulimic to your face. It hurts even worse to be told you’re not good enough because you’re not thick enough. And FYI just because you see me eating junk and not exercising doesn’t mean I don’t exercise. I mean hey getting glares in the gym because I’m skinny working out is just annoying. My point is don’t make assumptions about people. And I’m not nor have I ever been an evil skinny bitch and I don’t think fat people are gross like you suggest.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 8, 2012 - 7:08 AM

1) I’m entirely certain that you’re more offended by the fact that you’re being “called out” for eating crap than you are by the rest of this post. Above all else, your diet is suspect and you need to do something about it. It doesn’t matter if you enjoy it. You can enjoy things that aren’t made of garbage – I certainly do – and not endanger your health in the process. So, no, I didn’t skip over enjoyment – I didn’t need to. I talk a lot about quality on this blog, and I do so because quality matters.

2) This post isn’t about body image – there’s an entire category for that, and there are even posts where I talk about how we need to leave thin women alone and stop body snarking them because, quite frankly, of what you’ve written here – it’s about women who DO think like what I’ve written above, and telling them that “yes, you ARE hurting yourself on the inside just because you’re not wearing it on the outside.”

3) I’m sure it hurts to be called anorexic or bulimic, and I hope you have enough self-confidence to tell those people exactly what to do with their comments. Trust me, I’ve been there – there’s nothing worse than someone telling me I got to where I am because I have an eating disorder or because I had “surgery.” There’s nothing worse than someone implying that you’re where you are not because of hard work, but because you’re sticking your finger down your throat.

4) Again, society doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing with itself. Of course you’d see a thin woman in the gym… how else does she maintain her figure? *confused face*

5) This post is a “check yourself.” And no, “skinny women” aren’t the only ones I’ve checked, either. If it doesn’t apply to you, then step aside. If it does (and apparently, so), then think about the next bag of crap you “enjoy” and whether or not it’s truly worth it. You can gain weight while eating better than that, you can lift weights and you can join a sport (actually, joining a sport might be your best bet.)

6) Look at EmpressTaTa’s comment. THAT is why I wrote this post. So, as “pissed off” as you are, just take what applies to you and leave the rest behind.

Mrs. D January 15, 2013 - 9:47 AM

I really think you need to put aside your sensitive feelings and go back and read the article again and REALLY make sense of it.

I think you had inner issues to begin with and when you saw an article about what you are going through, you came in pissed. By doing so, you didn’t allow yourself to read and comprehend the knowledge that was being shared in the article.

My suggestion to you, is to sit back, calm your butt down, let go of all of your rage and read again. Once you’ve read the article, sit back again and reflect on it….then hopefully you’ll see the light.

Stop being so bitter and angry. You don’t live for the world, you live for yourself, now put down the garbage you eat and allow your life to prolong so you can enjoy it.

Be blessed dear.

Smaller but still beautiful November 18, 2013 - 9:45 PM

I got the same impression from this post. I am small, too – I’m usually a size 6 at my biggest (currently a size 0), but began to work on being healthy as well when I realized that being smaller-sized does not equal being healthy. I am also working on a positive body image after being bashed by comments such as the kind you make in your letter. Thankfully, I know better than to let them affect me too much. Sometimes people are just so bitter about their own weight struggles that they unfortunately try to take that out on those of us whose health journey is not as obvious as I suppose they would want it to be. I just wrote this response to state that pissed off skinny chick is not crazy, and that I agree that while you have valid points (that apply to EVERYONE), your tone in this post – and in your response to her – leaves a lot to be desired. Not everyone who disagrees with you is insecure or has issues. If you did say it all out of love, then hey, I can’t dispute that. All the best in your weight loss journey!!

Erika Nicole Kendall November 18, 2013 - 10:26 PM

It can’t simply be that I believe that ALL of us need to be concerned about what we’re putting in our mouths, and we live in a society that gives you a pass on eating garbage food as long as you’re thin… as if apparently heart disease and type 2 diabetes only happens to fat people.

It can’t be that I’m actually trying to call attention to the fact that people are looking for excuses to eat trash food, and develop habits that result in them being in the SAME position I was later on down the road because all they’ve ever known was how to eat trash food.

No, it’s got to be THIS:

“Sometimes people are just so bitter about their own weight struggles that they unfortunately try to take that out on those of us whose health journey is not as obvious as I suppose they would want it to be.”

I’ve got to be BITTER. I’ve got to be JEALOUS.

You know what I am? I’m sad. I’m sad that [assumedly] grown women can’t think outside of whether or not someone wants to be them or be LIKE them. We can’t discuss the topic. We’ve got to lob passive aggressive insults at one another.

Not once did I call her crazy. Not once did I demean her. I said that her habit of eating junk food and thinking its OK all because she’s still thin is dangerous and unhealthy. Period. The fact that my post applies to fat girls is irrelevant – to reduce this to a mere “Oh, Erika is hating on [size trope] eating junk food” tells me you’re missing the point. I’m not just saying “Skinny girls, stop eating junk food.” I’m saying “Skinny girls, the messaging you might be receiving from the public could be putting your health at risk, and you need to be aware.” To ignore that because your feelings are hurt at being called out – which is a VERY DIFFERENT feeling from being insecure – feels ridiculous.

I’m not bitter about my journey, my life, or my experiences. And the fact that I have to quantify that, ALL because some thin women who eat trash for fun and got offended by the fact that I wrote about it calling them out exclusively (and, looking at the other comments, for good reason) would rather derail by talking about my perceived bitterness than SELF-ASSESS is disgusting.

So please, tell me more about my tone and my bitterness. I’m so interested.

Mindi February 25, 2012 - 2:32 PM

Phew, at first I was afraid that this would be another thin-vs-curvy article, so I’m happy to see that the focus was health rather than appearance! And you are totally right, everyone should be watching what they eat in the age of processed food, and I know lots of thin gals (myself included) that gorge on crap without really considering the consequences. I think that whatever size or shape you are, you should treat your body right with good, healthful foods and exercise, but without completely depriving yourself of the things you love. The goal of being healthy should NOT be to achieve a particular dress size or image, just to treat the body nature gave you right 🙂 Good message Erika!

tinabobina September 11, 2012 - 9:37 AM

Well, this confirms things for me.

When I used to try to eat healthy and exercise in my teens, people used to tell me that I didn’t need to do that–I was “skinny.” My family even tried to sabotage my efforts because I ended up losing weight on my already thin frame. My goal at the time wasn’t to lose weight–it was to be healthy because I was fatigued all. the. time. I was starting to feel better because of the small changes I had already made, but others convinced me that I didn’t need to do all that. That I had “plenty of time to worry about weight” when I was older. What? When I already had high blood pressure and diabetes, which run in my family? No thanks.

I am, several years later, once again transitioning to a healthier lifestyle. And this time I am prepared to deal with the reactions and the realities of eating healthy in environments that don’t promote this.

Gail December 10, 2012 - 8:12 AM

One thing I can say about this wonderful, timely post is that I know what those skinny girls are REALLY feeling. In my teens and twenties I could gorge on junk food and not gain a pound. Amazingly enough, I had long, thick, lush hair and beautiful skin. People would rave about how “lucky” I was to eat garbage and stay slim/pretty. My Arkansas grandmothers and aunts would encourage me to eat more fatty, sugery, fried crap because I was too skinny (by their distorted pov). But ya know what? By my late twenties I finally admitted something to myself that I’d truly known for YEARS…I looked beautiful but I felt HORRIBLE. I was depressed as hell and kept trying to blame it on other life events that MANY (not all) young women blame their mood swings.Yep. Soooo, in my late twenties I started asking questions, reading books. Got the info, began incorporating it into my life. Fell off and on “the wagon” many, many times over the years but ALWAYS got back on. Today, I’m 60 and I KNOW I’m healthier and HAPPIER than I was at 20. That should scare the skinny pants off the I-can-eat-anything-and-not-gain-a-pound skinny young uns.

Perkisha January 15, 2013 - 12:37 PM

Love this Erika. All the women (on Momma’s side) are overweight, except for my one Aunt. The “skinny” one who could eat whatever and stay thin and trim. By the time she got older and the weight did start to pile on, it was too late. She had fluid around her heart, and blood pressure so high it began to cause serious problems with her eyesight that requires several surgeries. it’s not about being skinny, it’s about being healthy!

Niteowl_janet February 14, 2013 - 10:56 AM

I used to live on the 6th floor of an apartment building. One day the elevator broke down and we all had to take the stairs.

I took the stairs at the same time as my super hot ‘skinny’ neighbour. The one all the men in my building kept lusting after.

Girl got winded after one flight! (And no, she wasn’t a smoker) By the time we got to the top, she was red faced, sweaty, and breathing heavily. Meanwhile, I was merely a little winded (and I’m classified as obese).

That was the first time I realized that the way someone looks, doesn’t denote how healthy they are.

I hope many ‘skinny’ women GET the message that you’re trying to relay with this letter.

Saundra February 17, 2013 - 2:12 AM

Great post. I have an aunt who is a tiny woman and she is diabetic and has other health issues that you would not expect looking at her size. She never had a weight problem. She takes (too much) medication for several issues so you are right. Being “skinny” or “thin” does not mean you are healthy. Might just mean it hasn’t caught up with you yet.

Bre February 25, 2013 - 2:21 AM

I’m surprised this is the first time I’m reading this, considering I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now. This is great; I am now making healthier eating choices thanks to you and Fran (heyfranhey), but there definitely was a time where I was intentionally skipping the clean eating info on this blog because I was/am genetically thin and/but I exercise somewhat regularly…With time and baby steps however, I became both brave (I was actually scared of eating healthy for some odd reason) and willing enough to focus on health versus “how good (thin) does my body look naked.” Thanks so much for shifting my priorities Erika.

-a skinny Black girl

Erika Nicole Kendall February 25, 2013 - 10:49 AM

Awww, and Fran is my boo. <3

Samantha March 15, 2013 - 5:20 PM

Wow! What an amazing read. In fact, everything I’ve read on this site has been amazing. I cannot agree more when it comes to worrying about the slim junk food addicts in my life.
When you go your whole life being seeing as slothful, slovenly and gluttonous compared to peers who you see consuming days worth of calories in one sitting, it’s often difficult not to be resentful. That you can see these women are just as much victims of our harmful societal body attitudes as anyone else is really cool and insightful.
This white girl is obsessed with this website.

Bethany June 6, 2013 - 11:35 AM

While I don’t agree that calling someone “skinny” is as bad as calling someone “fat” is still does hurt. I have been thin/athletic all my life. Up until I gave birth to my daughter (17 months ago)) I could eat whatever I want, no matter how unhealthy and would not gain weight. Mind you I was active in sports at the time and just indulged like any normal person. I loathed the term skinny, because skinny to me meant unhealthy and unnatural looking. All of my friends in adulthood were overweight and obese and the term skinny to me was always said in a negative way. It was almost as if it wasn’t fair that I still looked “skinny” and not “fat” like they did. It didn’t matter that I was still active playing sports and could indulge. I never called my friends fat I would always discuss their good features and never dicsuss the “bad”. But if I mentioned wanting to tone up (because almost all of us still need it) I was looked at like a crazy person. I am 5’7 and 150 and I wear a size 11. People look at me and think I’m a size 4. After I gave birth I can see how indulging too much can impact my metabolism and body. So I am making healthier choices. Long story short we need to stop thinking we know everything about every one. I’ve always eaten like a horse and that hasn’t changed. We can’t assume every person is one way or the other.

KelliZee June 6, 2013 - 2:48 PM

“Don’t walk away thinkin’ “She’s just sayin’ that ’cause she wishes she could be skinny like me.” I’m not tryin’ to be skinny like you – I’m tryin’ to be skinny like me.”

This right here. I want to scream this from the rooftops sometimes. I have finally reached a point where I am doing this for me–not to look like anyone else, not to look skinny, not to be lusted after by men who think thin is the only way to be sexy–for me and for my health, which comes before what anyone else may think about me. It took me a lot of years to finally realize this, but without a healthy lifestyle, what I see in the mirror doesn’t matter one bit.

Thank you for bringing sanity to the asylum.

Excerpted from An Open Letter To Skinny Women | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss

Ayeesha June 6, 2013 - 5:18 PM

I was that skinny girl eating everything in sight because I could, huge steaks, ice cream every night, hot cheetos, all the pastries etc… Friends would joke, that I had a cast iron stomach. I was very thin for a long time eating everything I wanted, and I was proud of it. A few years ago I went for a check up and was told my cholesterol was high, and that I needed to start exercising. I was still thin, but not healthy. In 2007, I changed everything. NO Fast Food. My meat (mostly fish), fruits, veggies are all organic. NO sodas. I cook most of my meals, and when i go our I am very selective. I don’t do chain resturants. I look for places of high quality that serves organic food. I started running. I run 4-days a week between 25-30 miles. As a 42-year old woman, my health means everything to me. Also, I started watching food documentaries, and they scared the heck out of me. I’m all for clean eating and spending money on food instead of medical expenses. The title of your article was an attention getter. It got my attention.

ngungi November 20, 2013 - 1:48 AM

i am 22 years old i weigh 103 pounds and i am 5’6, i eat very healthy. i follow my nutritionists diet plan to the letter but i dont seem to add weight.. i brought all this to myself though, i was 65 kilos two years ago and i went to extremes to loose weight.trust me there is nothing i didnt try, how i wish i had someone to guide me maybe i wouldnt be here struggling to gain a few pounds just for my body to be strong enough.. i get sick so often now, trust me my fellow women take your health more seriously, eat right, exercise. believe you me every choice you make has its own consequences whether good or bad. yes i can wear any thing i want now, but i barely have energy to go out have fun and flaunt the body i was dying for… take heed to erikas advice she knows exactly what she is talking about. peace and blessings from africa <3

Janice December 23, 2014 - 1:00 PM

I can see how people on the thinner side can get offended with this. I’m personally not offended but I can really see, that despite the good message, there is some self righteousness in this post. It even extends to the author’s comments when some “skinny” people got offended by the generalization.

In addition, this post also ignored other possible reasons other than metabolism – calorie expenditure, total calorie intake. And must because one see a person eating junk food does not necessarily mean that person always eat that way. For example, a coworker saw me eating chocolate and I professed my for chocolates. She asked, how was I not fat when I keep eating chocolate? In her mind, I managed to be thin and eat lots of chocolate. Yeah, I love chocolate but I do not eat it 24/7. I wasn’t personally offended but I found it weird that someone would really think that a person lives in eating chocolates….

The problem with this post is that it isolates “skinny people” (which is annoying since skinny is subjective – in an aerie instagram photo, an overweight commenter called the model skinny. The model in aerie was far from skinny but was not fat either. She appeared to be at a healthy weight). With the increasing pop culture of isolating and trending discrimination of girls “who are not overweight” (not necessarily skinny – as in underweight), the snob tone in the post does not help nonhealthy eating person into eating healthy. This is similar to taunting an obese person into not eating crap and exercising rather than saying it in a kinder way. It just isolates people rather than get them listen to you and accept your point. This is the same reason why the best leaders are the charismatic ones rather than the authoritarian.

And one thing, when one commenter said that skinny girls arent as lucky and priveledged as fat girls, the author said that the commenter was making it oppression olympics…which is far from the truth. The commenter was not even saying they have it worse than fat chicks. She’s just saying that “skinny” is not what it’s cracked up to be and they also have issues that has to be brought to the table to. That is not oppression olympics. That is bringing their issues to the conversstion table. She never said thin/skinny people have it harder than fat people. The ones who brush the concerns of the “other” are the ones participating in the “oppression olympics”.

I think all these dismissing of the issues of skinny girls are jealousy that people don’t admit. People who arent jealous or dont hold grudges (assuming that the person is honest with his/her feelings) dont brush issues and dont call it opression olympics just because the “percieved” privileged person said that they also have issues that they face. It’s pretty much like brushing off the concerns of big breasted people(oversexualization, people assuming they are dumb, asking if they have implants, lack of proper bra sizes etc) simply because their breasts are the ideal and big breasted women are likely to get advancement in their career compared to a flat chested woman (studies show that women who have bigger breast – natural or augmented – are likely to be promoted than their smaller chested counterparts)

And if you think that systematic discrimination against skinny people are not institutionalized – well, they are starting to. One Yale student who went to the health clinic in her school forced her to gain weight REGARDLESS of other health indicators. She originally went to the clinic for a lump in her breast. They ended up being “concerned” of her weight over the lump (wha, theyd obsess over her weight over the possible development of breast cancer?! Genious!). The end result was, the lady forced herself junk food so that she could gain weight fast (apparently, the school clinic was just concerned about her gaining weight, not what she’s putting in her mouth) to no avail. The student was Asian and it is but natural for Asians to have smaller frames, hence lighter than other ethnic groups. In addition, Asians are more suseptible to obesity related diseases at a lower BMI/weight. Which is why in Asia, there is a lower threshold to identify who are overweight and/or obese.

Erika Nicole Kendall December 23, 2014 - 10:10 PM


“there is some self righteousness in this post. It even extends to the author’s comments when some “skinny” people got offended by the generalization.”

Right. Okay. A blog, full of one person’s writing, one person’s opinions… when you don’t like what’s being said, EVERYTHING’s self-righteous.

“In addition, this post also ignored other possible reasons other than metabolism – calorie expenditure, total calorie intake.”

This is irrelevant to the ultimate point, which is “Sure, you might be able to eat junk and not gain weight, but be mindful of what these things can do to your internal healthyour organs, your blood pressure, your pancreas.”

“The problem with this post is that it isolates “skinny people””

It’s supposed to – and, if you read for context instead of offense, you’d realize that it specifically isolates people who use their ability to maintain their size as an excuse to eat food that is otherwise deleterious to their health in other ways.

“It just isolates people rather than get them listen to you and accept your point.”

Isolation, as a critique, is cherry picking. If I gave a speech and specifically targeted challenges that individual groups of people who are most likely to experience certain kinds of challenges, those who listen for context as opposed to assuming the worst coming into it will understand that this is about realizing that you might not be thinking about things in the most helpful of lights. Not “Oh, I’m going to pick on skinny bitches.” That’s not my swag. But, if you don’t know that and don’t know me, I can understand why you’d think otherwise, especially if you’re used to people bashing thin women.

“And one thing, when one commenter said that skinny girls arent as lucky and priveledged as fat girls, the author said that the commenter was making it oppression olympics…which is far from the truth.”

No, it’s not, and I’m going to tell you why. I can listen – AND SHARE – the struggles of being thin and being called out and challenged unfairly and have that be a respected conversation WITHOUT having to juxtapose it against another group’s struggles and say, “SEE? I HAVE IT WORSE.” An inability to be able to listen to another side without chiming in with, “But what about ME?” Sis, we can talk about EVERYONE. It’s not a competition. We ALL have struggles.

In FACT, this is something that ALL women face, because while we SHOULDN’T be chastised for our size AT ALL – our sizes should be something that we determine on our own with the support and guidance of trusted people in our lives – we ARE. Often in ways that don’t affect men. So, no. Doing the comparison game when we should ALL be listening to one another IS, in fact, trying to play a game of “Who’s got it worse?”

I just also find that to completely non-germane to the conversation at hand, much of which you still haven’t addressed, and I’m two-thirds of the way through your comment.

“I think all these dismissing of the issues of skinny girls are jealousy that people don’t admit.”

This is intellectually listless. You don’t want to address the core of what I’m saying, so instead you want to brush it off as “jealousy.” Jealous of what, sis?

Listen – if this makes you feel better, go with that. It doesn’t serve me any good to argue it. Yes, sis. I’m jealous. You got me.

“It’s pretty much like brushing off the concerns of big breasted people”

Except, it isn’t, because that wasn’t my point at all.

“And if you think that systematic discrimination against skinny people are not institutionalized – well, they are starting to.”

And guess what, sis? When that happens, I’ll blog about THAT TOO, because my stance has ALWAYS been the same: a woman’s health care, ability to gain employment, ability to be promoted, ability to find a mate, and ability to be accepted into a graduate school and set on a path for economic advancement shouldn’t be based on her size, regardless of where she falls on the spectrum.

We done here, or what?

Thin and healthy August 8, 2017 - 3:20 PM

You’re jealous.

Erika Nicole Kendall August 8, 2017 - 4:59 PM

LOL, if only the subject was as simple as you are.

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