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I’m Not “lucky To Be Thin” — I’m Chronically Ill

I lost 15 pounds in two months. Supposedly I should be excited, but at 5’3″ I now tip the scales only at 93 pounds. So in reality I should be horrified. The truth is, since my diagnosis of celiac disease (an autoimmune condition in which ingesting gluten causes inflammation and damage to the intestines), I’ve transformed from, as my mother put it, a 106 pound “muscular Barbie” at the peak of soccer season to a skinny minnie and I don’t know how I feel about it.

Many people associate “thinness” with happiness, but from a lifetime of experience with it, I knew differently. I still cringe at the memory of fifth grade girls discussing my “chicken ankles” in the corner of the class. Not to mention that with my gained weight, I could finally fill out a pair of jeans! I even trained to bump up my weight for soccer season when I transitioned from the under 16 to the under 18 playing bracket.

Because of celiac’s lovely hand, in only a few months, all the muscles I worked so hard to tone have disappeared. Goodbye Marilyn Monroe and hello pant-sagging prepubescent Justin Bieber wannabe! Yet, at rare times, a small part of me looks at my slim body in the mirror and thinks, “Yep. That’s how, according to everything I see, a teenage girl’s body is supposed to look.”

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The fact is, we live in a society that glorifies thinness. The magazines perched on grocery store shelves boast phrases like, “Lose 15 pounds in 30 days!” or “How I Lost Half my Body Weight!” And the odds of seeing a Victoria Secret model that mimics an oak tree instead of a twig? About as likely as me, the celiac, gorging on a gluten-filled buffet.

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