Thin is Beautiful, My Cognitive Distortion

What is your cognitive distortion? For me, it’s that I have to be thin to be beautiful.

I’m at the heaviest I’ve been in my whole life. Last night, I weighed myself and was surprised to see that I gained a few pounds. Despite walking thousands of steps everyday and practicing yoga religiously, I was not able to prevent weight gain. Thankfully, I still fit into my clothes. I’m not sure how, but I still do. I have to admit that sometimes, I feel like I’m in this scene from the movie, White Chicks, in the morning when I’m putting on clothes for work.

I’m a petite Asian girl and stand at 5”2. In Western standards, I think I’d still be categorized as skinny. In Asia, I think they’d tell me to buy a Peloton. For some reason, I have always subscribed to Asian ideals more than Western standards, even though I live in the first-world. I guess this is because I am an Asian girl myself.

This is a picture of me in Summer 2013 when I was still truly size 0.

For the longest time, I was a size 0. I was proud of being a size 0; it was like a badge of honour. Whenever I went to American stores like The Gap, I would not be able to find pants or shorts that fit me. They were all too big. At one point, I weighed 87 lbs. when I was an undergraduate student. Even for my height, that put me in the underweight category. Guess what? I thought it was a good thing. In my mind, I had room to gain some more weight and still be considered skinny, which was a win-win situation.

Much of my unhealthy relationship with my body came from getting called “fat” a lot when I was a kid. In retrospect, it’s perplexing that this happened because I was always of normal weight, and not once was I overweight. People were just unnecessarily mean. It’s also worth mentioning that I was a kid in the late 90s and early 2000s. At the time, the standard of beauty was different. Thinness was desired; muscles or curviness were not. In high school, my ultimate thinspiration was Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl. I thought she was so glamourously and beautifully thin; she was my “GOALS”.

Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl

Fast forward to present time, body positivity has now become a movement, which I wholeheartedly support. Plus-sized women are now owning their bodies and proclaiming to the world that they are beautiful and that they love their bodies. Whenever I see posts like this on social media, I think “you go girl!”. I love seeing women empowered and exuding confidence.

Though I admire these women and think they’re beautiful, for some reason, I can’t think the same for myself. Why haven’t I evolved like them? A part of me still wants to fulfill my high school dream of being as thin as Blair in Gossip Girl. This idea of thinness as the standard of beauty is so ingrained in my identity that I’m not sure if it’s even possible to change it.

It’s interesting how I’m aware of this cognitive distortion and know how harmful it is, yet I can’t change the way I think.

The story I was told is this: “thin is beautiful”. For some reason, I can’t rewrite this story for myself.

2 thoughts on “Thin is Beautiful, My Cognitive Distortion

  1. There are sound logical reasons for not being rail thin that goes beyond just positive thinking. It’s medically beneficial to be on the plus side of the scale by a few pounds. In care of serious illness, your body draws on its fat reserves to help recover. A person that is on the underweight side doesn’t have much reserve fat to share, if any and that impacts recovery time and the illness may grow worse. It’s amazing how much weight drops when one is so sick to not be able to eat. If there is nothing “extra”, the body will start eating into muscle, which will further weaken a person in a vicious cycle.

    There have also been plenty of Instagram confessionals of models who show the tricks of the trade to make themselves appear so slim using lighting, angles, contortions, and photoshop. Looking at images in media are like looking through an idealized looking glass- it’s not real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments 🙂

      You make very good points about the health benefits of gaining some weight. And yes, the pictures we see on social media are mostly manipulated and don’t represent reality.

      I am aware of these things, but I guess the idea that you need to be thin to be beautiful is just so ingrained in me. I’m conscious of my toxic beliefs. I am trying to adopt a more positive and healthy view of my body. I guess one way to do this is to constantly remind myself that I am still of normal weight, reasonably fit, and healthy.


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