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Changing the Subject

I had forgotten how much smoking a pack of cigarettes a day kills your appetite. I quit smoking years ago, other than an occasional relapse at Happy Hour and a few weeks here and there in times of stress. I've been smoking like a fiend since Friday night. On Saturday, I had dinner at my favorite restaurant. The servings there are not huge and we always finish everything we order. This time, we brought home at least half of every dish. Last night, while staring at the second half of the burrito that I could not possibly eat, I had a sudden realization. This is why I weighed 105 lbs. all through college.

I never had any kind of eating disorder, but when I went to college (and started seriously smoking) my weight plummeted. I just looked it up, and 105 is an average weight for a small framed person who is 4'9" tall. I'm 5'6". Weighing 105 at 5"6" is not attractive. It means collarbones that stick out so far they cast shadows, being able to clearly see your ribs - all of them, even the floaters at the bottom - from the front and the back, and a pelvis that collects puddles in the shower. It means swimming in size 2 clothes. It means strangers walking up to you and telling you to eat a sandwich.

I weigh considerably more than that now, although I'm still fairly thin, I suppose. I work out a lot, but I never diet. I look better and I feel better, although there are lasting health effects to being that underweight for that long. Body image, however, is a whole different story. People frequently comment on how skinny I am, and I am still occasionally advised to eat a sandwich, but my image of myself was set at 105. I always feel like I'm overweight. On a good day, I think I need to lose 5 pounds, on a bad day, I think I need to lose 20. Last night, when I realized that smoking had probably caused my weight loss, I stopped to consider for a minute how much weight I could lose if I started smoking again.

I'm back on the wagon again, no more smoking. But I wonder sometimes whether anyone really has an accurate and healthy idea of their own body. And if anyone does, I really wish they would tell me how they did it.

Comments (13)

Why did you start up again? Glad to hear that you are getting back on the wagon and plan on quitting, again. Smoking is BAD! BAD Beth!

Yeah, no one does. You're not allowed to, I think.

Also, from pictures I have seen? You are, indeed, plenty skinny. No worrying! And if you get back down to 105? Ew. Just, ew.

I didn't start to have an accurate idea of my body for many years. I was about 130 - 135lbs. for ages and ages, but I felt pretty fat. That is, until I got down to 113lbs. due to a number of factors, then sky-rocketed up to 152lbs. I'm now down in around the 144lbs. area, and I'm realizing that I was WAY too skinny at 113lbs., and I would kill to be 130lbs. again.

Not saying that you should do this crazy yo-yo thing that I unintentionally did... but I bet you have a figure that a lot of women would be happy to have. It's just so hard to see it ourselves.

GAWD. I look in the mirror at my round jolly self and wonder how fat I would be if i didn't smoke. EEK!

See, I still picture myself at my thinnest. So in my head I'm skinny and cute, but not so much in real life. This only presents a problem when I see myself in pictures. Oh man, that's always a bad scene.

105 at 5'6? my god. that IS skinny. I'm just shy of 5'8 and i was able to get down below 130 a few years ago after a break up (I don't eat much when i'm depressed). I was so excited to be under 130, but that couldn't last and I eventually gained some weight. now when i look at pictures of myself back then i can't believe how awful i looked. i looked lifeless. even though i still think i had a lot of fat i could've lost, i know that weight is not at all healthy for me to be. that doesn't mean i'm happy with how i look now. i probably will never be. but i think i have a more realistic idea of what i can and should look like.

I think you are neato no matter what weight you are......I actually knew a girl in HS that started smoking just to lose weight.....how sick is that?.....I'm glad you stopped smoking again...I have no underweight stories to share cause *sigh* that has never been a problem for me

I don't know a woman with an objective self-image. If I did, man would I be annoying her with questions about how the heck she does it!

I am 5'5 and 120, which I'm perfectly fine with on the scale. It's totally acceptable. But my problem isn't with the scale, it's with the tape measurer - Agh! I feel so out of proportion sometimes and unhappy about tone. That's my problem, which isn't easily battled with laziness (one of my strongest traits!)

I bet you look super-great to pretty much everyone else! Isn't that the way it usually is?

*No smokey-smokey. Yech!

Y'know, I encourage you to smoke as much as you want to, but seriously, eat, 'cause there are very few people who should weigh 105, and most of them are called dwarves.

I thought I was fat for years and years, through smoking and semi-vegetarianism, and later through a truly remarkable depression. And then one day I was 6'3'' and 179, and it was a little on the skinny side. Maybe a little too much.

Ain't it a catch-22? Thin and killing your lungs or fat and pink-lunged. It's not fair, dagnabbit!

It's sad, but there aren't many people who are truly satisfied with their bodies. Even the celebs seem to hate something about themselves. Kinda sad when smoking seems like an appeling way to help curb eating (and I'm saying that having considered it--very briefly--as an option after reading your post!)

I don't know, Beth.

Years ago, I saw myself in a full length mirror in a hotel lobby. I honestly looked over at my friend who was standing next to me and said, "Is this a funhouse mirror, or do I really look that fat?" He reluctantly admitted that it was not a trick mirror.

But, I don't think I've ever truly been happy with my weight. I always tend think I'm overweight, although I haven't ever been quite so shocked by what I saw in the mirror as I was on that day.

If by "accurate and healthy idea" you mean that I know and embrace the fact that I'm so out of shape it's ridiculous, then I'm there!

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