Life is looking more and more like a Rubens painting…minus the grapes and the nudity. It’s no secret that Americans are getting fatter, especially the kids. Some say it’s reached epidemic proportions. So if your proportions are still on the smaller side of the scale, you don’t really fit in to today’s big-bodied world. Is skinny the new weird thing in society today?
The statistics alone are enough to make you want to eat a few Big Macs. According to CDC studies from 2009 and 2010, almost 36 percent of all adults aged 20 and over are obese. The adults over 20 who are overweight, including those who are obese, comprise a whopping 69.2 percent of the population. These numbers indicate that people who are at a healthy weight are actually in the minority…and in a big way.
To look at the numbers a different way, the American Heart Association tells us that as of 2012, 154.7 million Americans aged 20 and older are overweight or obese. There are over 313 million people living in America according to the most recent census…and nearly 25 percent of them are children.
Being fat has become the common thing to be. Every other commercial on TV promotes weight loss, diet aids, fitness equipment. The other half advertise shapewear and stretch pants. If you’re skinny in today’s world of oversized fries, super-big soda pops and reinforced seating, it’s easy to start to feel like a freak.
Skinny People Problems
As the country becomes fatter and skinny becomes less and less common, those who are in shape are suddenly the ones who are shunned. Have you been to a big box retailer, like Wal-Mart, to shop for clothes recently? Chances are you won’t find women’s pants or dresses in a size smaller than eight. Forget about extra-small T-shirts or belts designed for little waists – you’re just not going to find it.
Clothes shopping for anything that’s not a plus size actually requires a ton of work. You have to go to smaller boutiques, or out to the mall, just to have a chance of finding something in the right size. Even big department stores are carrying bigger sizes, and letting the smaller clothes fall by the wayside. Why shouldn’t they, when the majority of the clientele orders clothing in super sizes?
And eating out is even more harrowing than attempting to shop for skinny sizes. Portion sizes are out of control. Even a small cup of coffee from a fast food restaurant may add 300 to 600 calories to your daily diet – because that “small” cup is larger than the big mug you like to keep in your cabinet. When even the coffee is smothered in whipped cream and slathered in chocolate syrup, eating on the go is pretty impossible for the calorie-conscious. More and more businesses are striving to cater to a bigger clientele, and those who maintain a small shape are left with fewer and fewer options.
Being a Minority
If you’re skinny and you live in America, you are a minority. You’re living in a country where most of the populace is plus-sized, and you’re not. If you feel like a freak, it’s a very common and reasonable reaction. No, you’re not imagining that feeling of isolation. You may stand out because of your size. You don’t look like everyone else, and that can draw extra eyes your way and bring extra attention to you. It can even make it harder to go out shopping or out to eat.
Being skinny isn’t necessarily the new abnormal, but it’s not very far. What you shouldn’t do is attempt to gain weight in order to fit in. Carrying extra weight puts extra strain on your body and your organs. Every medical expert will tell you that being overweight is bad for you. Being skinny shouldn’t make you feel like you’re somehow in the wrong. It’s good to maintain a healthy weight, and many people know that. Lots of programs are being put in to place to deal with the rising obesity epidemic. Many politicians and celebrities are advocating skinniness.
So stick with it, stay healthy, and be patient. Maybe soon the tide of weight will shift back toward your favor. It’s not easy being a minority of any kind. It’s not easy to stand out. And it’s definitely not easy to find jeans in a size two. But being skinny doesn’t make you a freak, even when it feels like everyone else in the whole world is pleasantly plump.