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The Other End: Trying to Gain Weight to Fit In

Cass began her self-guided wellness and fitness journey after years of being underweight as a youth.

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Because being underweight is no walk in the park, either

While unfortunate, I'm sure we all know at least one person who views themselves in a negative way due to their weight. It's a shame, because the person often has a multitude of gifts and talents and other wonderful aspects of their life they can share with others, but they often hide them due to a lack of confidence. They may hide their eating habits behind closed doors, or hide their body under oversized clothing.

Now, go back. Re-read that paragraph.

Did you picture an individual who carried extra body weight?
Or an individual who was underweight?
Truth is, the above scenario can be very real for both parties.

Let's take a peek into my youth. For starters, I ate a LOT of food. Lots. Did it show? Nope.
Now, you may find that an envious trait (and don't worry, I've received plenty of dislike from others for it), but it's not as great as it sounds. I wasn't eating healthy, nourishing food. I was eating junk food. My thought process? "If junk food causes most other people to gain weight, it should work for me too, right?" Wrong. My body just didn't work in that way. All I was accomplishing was pumping unhealthy fats (not the healthy kind!) and sugars into my body. It wasn't until my early 20's when I finally broke the 100lb mark on the scale.

So, why did I want to gain weight? Well, for some similar reasons as one who may want to lose weight - to boost my body image, self-esteem and overall confidence.

I didn't like the way clothes fit me (or more likely, not fit).

I didn't like my "Skinny Mini" nickname.

I didn't like the way I was portrayed as delicate and weak (shoutout to the kids picked last in phys ed!)

While others would praise my petite body or exclaim envy over it, all I saw were knobby knees, no muscle definition, and no prospect of boobs or booty (which is kind of a major piece of your confidence as a teen.) As for the 'weak' and 'delicate' perceptions of me? Well unfortunately as a youth, and therefore very impressionable, I believed them. Which meant, even though I always wanted to join a community sports team, try out martial arts (I'd like to thank hours of playing Mortal Kombat for that...and I still crush that game, by the way), or try rock climbing among so many other activities, I never set out to try them. Why? Because I believed I would snap my fragile frame like a twig if I ever dared to try.

So at age 31? I still don't know how to ride a bike. Or skate. (But I am learning!)

As an adult, I am reinventing myself. I am allowing myself to be vulnerable. The talents and interests I've hidden throughout my youth are starting to emerge (and I've even got my eye on a kickboxing class in my area! *Mortal Kombat theme plays*) I have some muscle mass now, which has accelerated since beginning strength training, and I lead a (mostly) healthy lifestyle.

But is it still a challenge? Yes. I still receive jokes or comments about being 'tiny', but I'm a healthy weight and remind myself that whenever a person feels compelled to comment on my body, it's a reflection of their own insecurities, and has absolutely nothing to do with me.

I'm happy with my body, and hope someday they can learn to be happy with theirs, too.

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