I was bullied for being ‘too skinny,’ now I lift weights and eat 5,000 calories a day
I needed to make a change and do it for myself
by Gigi Gupta
I don’t even remember how many times throughout my whole life people told me, “You look like a toothpick,” or even asked me if I ever ate. I’ve been pretty skinny my whole life due to genetics, and no matter how much I ate I couldn’t gain a pound.
A lot of people assume skinny people have it easy and probably don’t get bullied, but I felt so harassed about my body every day that I was embarrassed and ashamed of showing it off at all. I was barely 90 pounds senior year of high school, and I had absolutely no curves. I never wore yoga pants, tight jeans, body-con dresses, or leggings as much as I wanted to. No one ever wrote a rap about a flat ass, and in a time period where there was is so much emphasis on having a booty and being curvy, I never felt like I was good enough.
It got even worse when I moved to Florida after high school to go to Florida Atlantic University before transferring to Maryland. FAU is known as one of the ‘Top 10 schools for hottest girls’ which is no surprise since it’s basically in Miami. My insecurities got 100 times worse and so did the bullying. I think people didn’t even realize they were bullying me or didn’t mean to but their words hurt a lot.
I was constantly asked if I was sick, and sometimes when I introduced myself to someone the first thing they would say was, “YOU’RE SO SKINNY!” which got annoying fast. People would tell me they were scared to hug me because all they felt was bone. I didn’t even stand up for myself because I agreed with all of them. Instead, I dealt with my low self esteem by trying to make everything else about me as “pretty” as I could. I spent three hours getting ready every day even if I was just going to class. I’d put on pounds of make up, 24 inch clip in extensions, fake eyelashes, fake nails, and the most revealing shirt I could find with the biggest push up bra.
Nothing about how I felt really changed. I thought maybe if everyone thought I was really pretty besides my body I would feel better. But I was still unhappy and felt like I wasn’t good enough. I would party all day and night to distract myself, but once I got back to my own apartment and took off my make up and clothes, I saw my body and would cry myself to sleep every night. This is when I realized that regardless of what anyone else thought of me, I wasn’t happy at all with my body. I needed to make a change and do it for myself. So that when I’m alone, I can still look at myself and be comfortable without anyone’s validation.
It’s not like I chose to have the body of a 12 year old boy, but I wasn’t really doing anything to change it either. I played lots of sports and danced throughout school, but I never even set foot in the gym or thought about picking up a weight. Looking back now, the only regret I have is not starting earlier. When I did start going to the gym, I had so much anxiety because I was still stuck thinking about what everyone else would think of me. I had to tell myself every day, “Focus on yourself. Make yourself happy. Get the body you want. Do what you want.” And that’s been my motto throughout this journey.
Yeah, both pictures are me. The one on the left was taken senior year of high school, and the one on the right was taken recently. You know how some girls think that if you lift weights you’re gonna get manly and bulky? My body has never looked and felt more feminine. I currently don’t play any sports or do anything involving even a little bit of cardio. I’m in the gym five or six days a week, lifting heavy.
I eat almost 5,000 calories a day. Yes it seems a bit intense, and back in the day if someone told me, “Just lift really heavy weights and eat everything you’d see,” I’d think this person wants me to turn into The Rock. However, this has been my routine for the past year and I’m LOVING the results. I’m in my junior year of college now, and I finally have the body people told me I’d never have. Has my life changed because of it? Definitely.
I still wear baggy sweats everywhere so most people don’t even see my body in a way I don’t want them too. The change in my life is mostly because working towards my body and making physical gains has given me mental gains as well.
I have a whole new positive outlook on life where I feel like any goal is achievable with hard work. I have so much more confidence. I’ve learned not to compare myself to other girls and look at myself as my competition. I’ve learned to wear whatever I want that makes me feel sexy or comfortable instead of being ashamed of my body. I no longer wear make up and dress a certain way to impress others while I’m miserable. Now, I wear make up and dress a certain way because it makes me happy and I’m confident. And most of all, I love inspiring and motivating others to reach their own goals which is why I got into personal training.
I’m definitely not trying to bodyshame anyone and say that skinny bodies aren’t feminine, or that everyone should go squat. Everyone has preferences. I’m just saying that if you personally are unhappy with your body, you have the power to change it more than you think. I never even thought I’d reach 100 pounds and now I’m 110 and counting. I don’t think my body is perfect, and I’m still working on it every day. But looking in the mirror and thinking, “Wow, I BUILT this, I WORKED for this,” is really one of the best feelings.