Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Being Slim: Not That I See It

Editor’s Note: The following article mentions details surrounding the author’s experiences with dieting and body image, which may be upsetting for some readers.

The plus of cancer is that I became thin without having to do anything. I’m mental about my weight/appearance. I was fat when I was little. I think that I think I was so much fatter than I actually was at the time.  I remember how I felt, and I felt huge.  I don’t know if I actually was. When I look at photos of me when I was little and fat, I just see a sad little girl.  I see a fat girl.  I don’t see how I actually was.  I don’t see how I am now.  I just see fat.

People tell me today that they can’t imagine me being fat.  They are amazed that in my early 20’s I was a UK size 14-16 on a bad day.  I think the heaviest I was was 12 and a half stone (175 pounds) and I’m 5ft 6 and a half (1.67 meters).  That was all down to booze and drunk food in my first year at Edinburgh.  A very carb filled time!

Unexplained weight loss

When I was little, being overweight was more noticeable. Far fewer children were overweight in the 80s than now. I was never bullied or made to feel it by others. I just told myself that I was fat and ugly. That voice is still there. Quieter…but still there. And then by magic, I was thin! I didn’t have to do anything. It just happened over the space of about 6 months. And it was AMAZING!!! A UK size 8-10. This was winning! And then being told I had cancer.

Well, That explained it.

Other than a blip, I have stayed that size. I put on around a stone and half (21 pounds) in 2010 and then became obsessed with My Fitness Pal and calorie counting. I was limiting myself to 1300 calories a day and got anxious if I went over it, or didn’t input something I ate into the app, which felt like I ‘lied’ to myself.  I had to delete the app.  I was getting mental about food and I refuse to have anxiety around eating. I did lose the weight though.

A mixed relationship with exercise

I also started running again around this time. I have a mixed relationship with exercise. I love it and hate it. I was signed off from sports at school due to bad knees and have always felt self-conscious exercising in front of others because I’m fat/have no body strength/am rubbish at classes etc etc etc.  But I discovered in 2009, when I agreed to do a half marathon, that I liked jogging and I didn’t care that people could see me doing it.  I have since then done 2 marathons in 2012 and 2016. The last in 2016 was horrific. Doing it with chronic fatigue and working nearly killed me. Not literally. But I was in a dark, dark place.

I’ve had to stop exercising as I can’t manage jogging and work.  It’s too much.  I also push myself.  I’m not happy with 3 little runs of around 2 miles each a week.  I want to be doing 5 miles, 3 times a week.  Because the more I exercise the less I have to beat my self up about not being as thin as I was.  When I was really really ill…..

The downside of not knowing how ill I was when I was diagnosed is that I just remember what I felt were the good things.  And I casually ignore how my body was showing that it was in serious need of help.

Cancer has taken away a lot of things.  But it’s made me thin. And for that, I will always be grateful.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    8 months ago

    It’s amazing that anyone would fault an individual experience. I guess someone is always going to complain about something… the minuet things that still exist with cancer I suppose. I myself have had dips in weight (up and down) and I’m already a tiny person in general. When it’s gone really low, it was concerning for me, but keeping to plan I would eventually bring it back to my comfort level. I go by my team who are happy with my weight up rather down. The end of the day it’s about how you’re doing with meds, mental and emotional state to in this new stage of your life.

  • Ronni Gordon
    8 months ago

    These days you really have to be careful when you talk about being thin. I know what you mean because I have also talked about cancer making me thin. I was pretty slender before, and almost emaciated when I lost 20 pounds after chemotherapy. To some people it seemed OK to comment on my weight, but when I wrote about some problems I was having related to my weight, some women accused me of fat-shaming and thin privilege. They called me a lot of worse things and went after me on social media. I had a real meltdown. My stomach has popped out due to graft vs. host disease of the skin, and I don’t like it at all, but in some circles I would be afraid to write about it for the reasons I stated.

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    8 months ago

    @ronnigordon I can tell you from 15 years of writing and publishing (sometimes controversial) articles on the net, that no matter what you do there will be some people who don’t like what you say. I even had someone complain when I wrote a piece on chronic pain and how I suffer from it. They said I was shaming addicts talking about opioids. It’s just gonna happen on the net, and even in real life, the more visible you are, the more people are going to snipe at you. If sharing your feelings helps then do it.

    @katieruane I totally get it. I have had awful extra skin because prednisone put me up 100 lbs and I lost some of it. Well, not eating in the hospital for a month will take care of that, thank you very much. I was down to 115 lbs from almost 200. Now, I’m putting health weight back on and im up to 138, but a lot of it is muscle. Chemo did make me thin, and i said even then it was a silver lining because, as you know, with this horrible illness you have to find the positive where you can. Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

  • Poll