September 19 11

Birth control and diet coke. Kryptonite. Work of the devil. Well. I don’t know if I’d go that far, since birth control, until very recently, has kept me from being a Duggar. But this is what I know. Until April, I was on some sort of birth control and was basically drinking diet coke straight from the fountain, which, just so you know, they frown upon at most fast food establishments. I quit both—cold turkey—and lost 15 pounds. Now, I will admit that I helped those pounds along with increased activity and decreased baked goods. But I don’t belong to a gym and I certainly don’t believe in cutting food groups because carbs are delicious.

Here’s where I take a break and say that YES, I have lost 15 pounds. But YES, it’s completely normal. YES, the number on the scale is low, but I am basically a midget, and a low number is normal for someone who is under 5 feet, 2 inches tall short. My BMI is within the healthy range, I still have plenty of discouraging inches to pinch, and I can eat an entire pizza in one sitting. So, nothing to worry about. I might not weigh enough to give blood, but, you know, neither can Peter Dinklage, and I don’t think anyone worries about his possible eating disorders.

I am now going to give a shout-out to all the hoarders out there and wish you had been there the day I had my Mirena IUD inserted. I wish you had told me to keep all of my skinny clothing for this day. Everyone always tells you that keeping your skinny clothing a bad idea, and that it motivates absolutely nothing. Now, I may agree about the motivating thing, but at least I’d have something to put on my body that doesn’t make me look like I’m playing dress-up in someone else’s closet. 15 extra pounds of thigh, ass, and boob used to fit nicely in the rather decent wardrobe I’d built over the years.

If I don’t do something drastic—soon—I’m going to be showing up to work in lululemons and Green Bay Packers t-shirts.

(Related: I probably wouldn’t have a job for very long.)

(Related: GO PACKERS!)

And here’s the thing, you guys. There’s this, well, weirdness when thin people lose weight. I don’t really talk about it much, because, well, I don’t want to be the asshole who’s all “Look at me! I’m so skinny and neener, neener, you’re not! None of my clothes fit me. Oh well, time to go shopping for smaller sizes…that are—OMG—smaller than yours!” which, if we’re being honest and you took one poke around my body image thoughts, you’d know that this is the last thing I am thinking. But, it’s like, here’s this giant elephant in the room, or almost an air of disapproval.

A few weeks ago, I ran into my bff’s mom. After receiving a positive response to her question of whether I had lost some weight, her immediate response was a very deadpanned, “WHY?”

But you didn’t need to lose weight.

Are you sick?

Are you sure you are eating enough?

Ali, nobody needs to be a size 0. 


I have worked hard to start taking care of my body. I have worked hard to help fight my genetics. I have worked hard to not have four heart attacks and have high blood pressure like my dad. I have worked hard to make sure that my children aren’t sitting in a hospital waiting room hoping that everything’s going to be okay. I have worked hard to start moving my body. I have worked hard to stop fueling it with Diet Coke and start fueling it with water.

For the first time in a very long time, I am doing everything right…and yet.

Everybody has a right to feel comfortable in their own skin, whether they are a size 22 or a size 2.

Now please stop telling me to eat a sandwich because I can assure you, I am eating sandwiches and hamburgers and chips and pizza and cupcakes and sushi and pasta and grilled cheese. Maybe your services are better spent helping me find some new clothes.




  1. I used to be one of those people who told others to eat a sammich, but then I became friends with someone who is an anorexic. She taught me how her weight issues are just as (if not multiplied by a million) bad as mine, just different.

    I’ll still be jealous and I will still probably tease a friend for complaining that their clothes are too big, but I now see the other side. The other side of mine is no better or worse than my side, just different.

    Comment by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on September 19, 2011
  2. Great post! Healthy is healthy no matter the number on the scale or clothing tags.

    Did switching from the pill to Mirena help with the weight loss? I loathe the pill and am contemplating Mirena.

    Comment by Moira on September 19, 2011
  3. both the Mirena and the pill make me gain weight. But I’m sure it’s different for everyone. I liked the Mirena for lots of other reasons, though, and was relatively happy with it.

    Comment by ali on September 19, 2011
  4. Great Post! I would never tell someone to put down their cookie/donut/carrot stick so why is it ok for them to tell me I need to eat more or judge what I am eatting. Yes, I’m having a big salad with a pile of cottage cheese on it for lunch and you know what? It’s delicious and I love it or I wouldn’t eat it. Healthy eating for each person is different so there is no wrong or right to what you are eatting. It is up to each person to figure that out on their own. If you ask me for advice I can tell you what seems to work for me, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you.

    Comment by Jody on September 19, 2011
  5. Yes!!! Ditto, ditto, ditto.

    Also related: I booked myself a full body skin cancer screening a few months in advance (having tanned in a bed from 17-19 DOH), and in those 3-ish months until my appointment, I can’t even tell you how many older adults told me (aged 25) that I was way too young to be concerned about skin cancer, etc. Guess what? I had a per-cancerous mole. And skin cancer is the #1 cancer in women in their 20s. So, super glad I listened to myself.

    Do what you need to do to be healthy! And congrats on all the great work!

    Comment by Brittany on September 19, 2011
  6. Right on Ali. Eat what you want to eat, weigh what you want to weigh. Taking care of yourself, being happy and healthy is all the matters! Having to buy new clothes is a fun reward, you gotta admit.
    Now I’m off to exercise!

    Comment by Aeron on September 19, 2011
  7. OH GOD YES. And it’s like you aren’t allowed to say it. I started out as a size 6 this year and I’ve lost 10 lbs and everyone is reacting like I have some mental disorder. NO. I actually eat more now. But I’m eating better and working out.

    Comment by slynnro on September 19, 2011
  8. EXACTLY. I’m eating better (and more) than I ever have…and yet.

    Comment by ali on September 19, 2011
  9. I can’t figure out how to comment without writing an entire novel.

    SO, I’m just going to say “AMEN!” and give you a virtual high five, my sister in shortness.

    Comment by Meghan on September 19, 2011
  10. Oh, I hear you on this. I git really thin after having Emily, thanks to the flu, and I got those comments all the time. Mind you, I wasn’t eating a LOT, but I was eating.

    I bulk up when I exercise (like now), but I’m fit and make healthy eating choices. And, some people like to make me feel guilty if I don’t have dessert, etc. (Not Matthew – coworkers, etc.)

    I get tired of explaining that I don’t have a great metabolism and have to make wise food choices.

    It’s not like I make comments about the crap they shove in their pieholes…

    Comment by Angella on September 19, 2011
  11. I think this is a bit different than my original point…which is that I DO eat a lot…and I DO eat desserts…and yet people make assumptions about my health because I’m thin.

    Comment by alimartell on September 20, 2011
  12. Oh, I didn’t mean to take away from that point. I was just saying “me too” to the part where people say stupid things. 🙂

    Comment by Angella on September 20, 2011
  13. I hate you because you can eat anything and you’re still thin. I’m jealous of your metabolism. Seriously, any one who doesn’t think you eat should actually spend time with you. You are not depriving yourself at all.

    And now I made you sound like all you do is binge. I probably shouldn’t have commented.

    Comment by Kristabella on September 19, 2011
  14. Ha. Thank you. Not for hating me…but for clearing the air about how much food I stuff into my gob. You’ve seen it…about 100 times.

    Comment by alimartell on September 20, 2011
  15. I wish I could “Like” this comment.

    Comment by Meghan on September 20, 2011
  16. i wrote about this exact thing in july. gets frustrating to do the right thing in a healthy way and have people put you down. i love to eat, but i also really like to run and swim, so i’d be hard pressed to not stay thin. i’m happy & healthy & that’s what counts.

    Comment by ohjennymae on September 19, 2011
  17. Thankfully I finally did gain some weight (I needed it!) but I spent most of my life having people tell me I was way too skinny…I was anorexic – neither of which were true. I, like you, could eat whatever I wanted and not gain an ounce. It got so bad that during my grandfather’s wake (I kid you not!!) my mother marched into the house and grabbed the scale. Brought it outside and told me to stand on it…to prove that my weight was in fact over 100 lbs. I had 2 aunts spending more time on my weight that on the reason we were there. Funny thing…I’ve gained almost 20 lbs in 7 years (I’m healthier looking, but would love to lose 5 of them) and I still comfortable fit in many of the clothes I fit in when I was 20 lbs lighter.
    I feel your pain…pound of fudge anyone?! 🙂

    Comment by Amanda on September 19, 2011
  18. Good for you Ali. I am jealous. But happy for you! You have done really awesome and we should just be happy for you and proud of your efforts. We should attempt to emulate, not berate. Ah, humanity. Again, good for you. And now, I’m going to the gym!

    Comment by Heather on September 19, 2011
  19. AMEN. People just shouldn’t comment on each other’s bodies, period. I love this post.

    Comment by Karen Sugarpants on September 20, 2011
  20. Ali, thank you, thank you, thank you for this! For some reason it has become acceptable to deride skinny girls, and suggest that their weight is due to lack of enjoyment in their life, and/or that an expensive personal trainer is directly responsible. I’m 5’4″, 32 years old, I’ve given birth to two boys; I love me some baked goods (and since I’m baking them, I will assure you that they are full of butter, flour, and sugar)…. And I weigh a little bit less than I did before my first pregnancy for my 6 year old (also, I gained 60 pounds with each pregnancy). I recently started exercising again after a bit of a break, but I dislocated my kneecap, so that’s on hold for now.
    End rant. Basically: I do not assume that women that hold their weight differently are sitting around, shoving bags of chips and chocolate chip cookies in their m

    Comment by Sara on September 20, 2011
  21. Mouths, so please do not assume that I am constantly running on a treadmill and starving myself.

    Comment by Sara on September 20, 2011
  22. That’s exactly it. EXACTLY. No one should be making any assumptions about anyone’s bodies.

    Comment by alimartell on September 20, 2011
  23. Thanks for this great article. I really like all of your articles you wrote so far. I really like this article because I might want to start with google places. Thanks.

    Comment by Chloe on September 21, 2011
  24. This is a great post, I will let my friends read this for them to understand me, let me do things i want, which is eating =)

    Comment by Berna on September 21, 2011
  25. I’m currently taking part in a healthy weight research study. So, basically, in order to qualify for the study we already had to be within a healthy range. But then I got put into a group that had to loose 5-10 pounds for a “buffer.” I did it because I’m goal-oriented and, hey, it’s for science, right? However, I received so much negative feedback from my friends and family! It’s as if they thought that I was going to develop an eating disorder just because I was thinking about what I ate and how much I weigh for the first time in my life.

    Other people in my group experienced similar negativity from loved ones. A suggestion someone had was to emphasize that the change in lifestyle was due to an effort to be healthier (lower the likelihood of developing diabetes or heart disease, etc.), not to be smaller. The more they emphasized that, the less crap people would give them.

    It sounds like you have the same attitude, so congrats!

    Comment by Jessica on September 21, 2011
  26. […] see now how it didn’t come across that way. I read something Ali wrote last week discussing this topic from the perspective of a thin person losing weight. And I nodded, […]

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  27. Ali, I feel like we could be BFF’s. I feel the exact same way. Obviously you know that I loath the thought of giving up a food group- especially carbs. Also, after my first and only child, I lost about 10 lbs on top of the baby weight that I lost and literally was eating more than ever before (intuitively) and exercising less (and this was after breastfeeding). I have comfortably maintained this weight and feel great by, well, not doing much more than eating healthfully (in a realistic way) and exercising when I can. Virtual high five sister!!

    ps. I’m a midget too (5.1ft) Double high five!

    Comment by Sarah Remmer on May 4, 2012
  28. […] I have asked that people STOP saying that someone thin needs to eat a sandwich, or, you know, a chee…. […]

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  29. […] see now how it didn’t come across that way. I read something Ali wrote last week discussing this topic from the perspective of a thin person losing weight. And I nodded, […]

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