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Are thin people more successful?

Kicking off the next few weeks looking at the relationship between health and success, we’re looking at male and female body size and how it correlates to wealth. I’m sharing my experience with food because I know I’m not alone. My story will be different from other people struggling with disordered eating. There are a million ways to try and control the way your body looks, and most women I know, and a lot of men nowadays, struggle with food and body image too, even if it’s not spoken about.

What I found this week about body size in relation to success made one thing clear- the body that is most likely to make someone a millionaire is not the same as what is likely to make someone healthier and therefore happier long term.

If you want to read the data about the body size of successful males and females start at the section: Success and body size

If you want to read my story start reading here.

Story: trigger warning DISORDERED EATING

I just finished “I’m Glad my Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy. My friend Candace gave it to me. I loved it. I loved how honest she was, but I’m afraid of how much I related to Jennette’s story. Not the mom part because I love my mom and she is very much alive, but the parts around calorie restriction and secrecy almost brought me to tears.

Everyone has demons from a cigarette after the kids go to bed to buying a holiday when you’re already £500 in your overdraft. My demon is food. As I’m writing this, I’m currently on my way to Tunisia to work remotely for a week while my boss is in Japan. I feel a weird sense of comradery with the woman to my right, who said hello to me as soon as she sat down. She seems nice. I really hope she’s not looking at my laptop screen, I tilt the screen towards the window to my left. I’ve got a green tea in between my legs I’ve just bought for £3.00 off the cart, and the lady next to me is sipping the English breakfast tea I bought her too. Small happiness tip, The Wall Street Journal said “giving to others leads to greater happiness than spending on oneself”. Today I’ve chosen to do both.

I’m in seat 23A, this next paragraph is TMI but I used to have to pee a lot because the diet girls on YouTube said to drink a lot of water to feel full. In the past, seat 23A would’ve freaked me out because, on a three-hour flight, I’d have to inconvenience the two people to my right at least three times. Now I just enjoy the movie out the window as I listen to a combination of piano pop covers and old playlists to try and chill out. I’ve still got a lot of issues- which you’re about to read about, but at this moment, I feel grateful this isn’t one of them.

How my problem started

I’ve been so stressed lately, I didn’t help myself this morning having coffee on an empty stomach, but I had a small dash of almond milk in it- the first time I’ve had milk in my coffee in two months, so I consider the morning a triumph. I also ate tempeh with some kale chips and cacao butter drops, about a month ago I would’ve avoided both because of the carb content. I log everything I’ve eaten on my fitness pal, and the number seems reasonable- it will be enough to hold me off until lunch, but I still worry about being hungry. The mental preoccupation with food is a consequence of the food restriction I haven’t been able to shake since I was 13.

My problem with food started when I was five and my kindergarten teacher made me finish my entire lunch if I wanted dessert. I threw up almost every day until one day my stomach adapted. I got pretty chubby. By the time I was eight and my doctor told my mom I was overweight and she put me on a diet. There’s one memory from a family gathering around this time where my uncle told me I couldn’t have more than two slices of bacon in front of everyone. I felt so ashamed and embarrassed.

Later I was told he was instructed to tell me that by someone else, which doesn’t change too much except the person who instructed him is highly influential in my life and my self-worth to this day.

Why I’m struggling right now