19 March 2014

Regarding Questions About My Weight


Dear Readers,
I just want to send some love out there today to all of you. I know we may be biased, but we're convinced we have THE MOST compassionate and kind community ever.

Today is a bit of a sensitive subject. And it has been brought up due to some very loving readers who I am certain have my best interest in mind.

Since I started the blog, there have been some readers writing in comments or emails regarding my weight and have wondered if I have an eating disorder or if I'm aware that weight can affect fertility.


This is an awkward thing to have to say, but I just wanted to let everyone know that I do not have an eating disorder and I am certainly not trying to stay thin. I could have just ignored the inquiries, but I figured I would share this here in case others have wondered.

Dear readers, I do not eat gluten or dairy. I have Hashimotos and endometriosis, autoimmune disorders that are agitated by inflammatory foods and dairy and gluten are the worst inflammatory foods out there. It turns out that my skin (acne), my brain, my gut, my energy, my hormones/pms, my moods, and my once bloated tummy are sooo much happier without dairy and gluten. And so, I have chosen to not eat these foods out of respect for my health and my body and also my future health (currently I actually don't have any symptoms of Hashimotos or endometriosis that I can feel and I'm hoping to prevent the agitation of these diseases, if I can). I certainly know that being thin can affect a woman's cycle or fertility in some cases. But I've had 10 years of experimenting with different foods, different weights, etc. My infertility doctor also felt strongly that my particular struggles to get pregnant were not linked to my weight, but other diagnosed issues. At this point, it's liberating to not have to worry about being too thin but to just focus on my overall health. Health is related to every drop that I write here on the blog. I consider it the foundation to transforming your life.

So - to all of those who are concerned for me, know that I feel healthy and well and do my best to take care of my body each day. For me, it's crucial to my wellness, moods, energy, any ounce of vibrance that I may have, and even the ability to write this blog. And yes, I eat as many whole foods and healthy fats that I can get my hands on. And I eat tons of yummy food that Danny cooks and foods that we eat at our favorite ethnic restaurants all over Brooklyn. Being thin does come with it's own strangeness due to peoples' questions, concerns, worries, assumptions, judgements, disbelief in what I say, airs of superiority or authority, or even comments of disgust. Having those energies come my way certainly is one of those "things" that I have to face and deal with. It's not exactly fun. And every once in awhile I'll wonder if I really do just look awful to people's eyes. But, I know that people are doing their best to show concern or love. And I remind myself that we all have such different and *beautiful* body types. And I want to shout to the rooftops that ALL of you women are beautiful. And you all have so much to offer. And you can all look good, be full of light, be comfortable in your own skin, own your outfits and style, dance crazy, hold your head high, and make everybody stare at your radiance.

Much love to all of you,

Mara

P.S. During and after my divorce, my body dropped a lot of weight - likely due to just the stress of the massive life change and also a loss in appetite. I had very, very dear friends who brought me meals during that time and to this day I'm so grateful for them and will never forget those acts of love and care. There is nothing better than having a nourishing meal in your tummy during a difficult time.

If there is anyone out there who has struggled with an eating disorder, is there ANYTHING that loving or concerned friends did or said that helped you during that time? Would you have any recommendations for people who would like to help a friend and don't know how? We love you. Anonymous comments welcome.

53 comments:

  1. I must say I feel a bit bad that you felt you needed to write about this topic, but I'm impressed with how you handled it. My dream for our species - and especially for us women - is that we stop commenting on anyone's weight. If someone does have a true health issue (either obesity or an eating disorder), those close to them who actually know their habits and health status will need to step up and help out. Otherwise, let's just stop commenting on weight, positive or negative. Especially the weight of those we aren't very close to (including celebs). Even positive comments underscore this obsession with weight and women's worth being connected thereto. Did you see this article (warning, a bit of profanity):
    http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/216382/why-i-dont-give-a-shit-about-what-your-real-life-barbie-looks-like/

    It states the point really well: let's focus on what we do, not what we look like!

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    1. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! You said this SO well. I had these thoughts on my mind as well as I wrote the post but didn't quite get it all out. So I appreciate you writing this here.

      And yes, let's all focus on what we do, not what we all look like!!

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    2. Is this how you truly feel:"And yes, let's all focus on what we do, not what we all look like!!" If so, then why even sit and write a post like this that obviously is ONLY about your being very thin. The absurd need bring attention to the fact that people think I'm too thin (under the guise of stating you are healthy) is just begging for debate. And you knew that. So why pretend like you don't want it. Seriously.

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    3. I probably would have said it differently. Not that I disagree with the original poster, or with Mara's comment...but I feel there is still a deeper question.

      The individual worth of a human being is not tied to how they look, nor what they've accomplished. That we are trained to focus on seeking worth from the outside in, instead of the inside out, is one of the great illusions of life. The idea that something outside of yourself can bring you the fulfillment you seek, is what causes ALL of us (myself included) to waste so much time seeking approval in the eyes of others and by the way we look, the things we do, the possessions we accumulate, and on and on and on.

      I am happier in life when I stop seeking validation from others or from things. And THAT is something I truly hope this blog is able to consistently convey.

      That you didn't feel that message in this post, or in some others, doesn't mean we might not do a better job at conveying that simple truth tomorrow. But that is what we believe, even if we fail to recognize it in every word we say or write.

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    4. Responding as the original poster: I think in your comment you are talking about something different from mine. Nowhere do I touch on validation from outside or anywhere at all.

      If we are allowed to talk about people and ourselves, we will have to talk about something. In that case, I'd rather talk about what we do. You do it all the time on this very blog. You are talking about the travel you do, your IVF journey, your past marriages and how you've come to see love and relationships through those experiences and the active things you and Mara do to make your relationship and your individual selves what you want them to be. That is talking about what you do.

      It is different from accomplishments. It's what your daily activities are, what you are doing in your life, how you spread you message, etc. Focusing on what we do rather than what we look like is what I think we should be doing and what I think you do with every blog post here. If you aren't talking about what you do then...I'm not sure how else to describe this very blog!

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    5. Original Anon,

      I think we agree and probably it is a difference of semantics and what comes to our mind when the word "do" is used.

      Based on how you worded things here, I would largely agree with you (and by the way, I enjoyed the article you linked to).

      My comment the other day was in part a response to the second Anon's objections.

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  2. As a recovering anorexic, I credit a support group for saving my life.I am grateful for all the love and support I rec'd from friends and family, but it took me deciding to get healthy and sharing with other people who had been there and did not judge to get me on the right path.

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    1. Thank you, dear, for writing in. I'm so, so glad you found a support group. May anyone reading feel inspired and empowered to seek help and begin their healing process. Much love.

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  3. Hi - I'm delurking to say that I'm sorry you had to write that post even though you did it with such grace and love. So many people make assumptions based on our appearance and end up misjudging someone and possibly missing out on an opportunity - either for friendship or a good life lesson. You continually put forth love, happiness, kindness and forgiveness and it's such a joy to read your blog. Thank you for being you - no matter what size you are!

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  4. I'm overweight and get the comments and "helpful" suggestions all the time. I have a sluggish metabolism and family history of chubby people. I went to a dietician who said I don;t eat enough! Said I need to eat more because my body is conserving energy. I don;t snack or eat large portions. I hate it and have tried every diet.People feel free to comment of weight whichever end of the scale you tip.

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    1. May you feel whole and well in your beautiful body, despite suggestions or comments. And thanks for writing in. Your comment will help inspire others to stop commenting on people's weight. Much love.

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  5. Was this post really necessary? C'mon.

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  6. Thank you for your post. I write on my blog often about body image. I have several more posts brewing in my mind. I am on the other end of the scale and have struggled with my weight all of my life. It wasn't until I decided to stop struggling and start loving my body that I began to see real healthy changes in my life. I decided to focus on all of the wonderful things I was thankful for that my body could do for me. Bodies are wonderful and once we stop objectifying them and start loving them we will find true peace. I love this quote: Susan W. Tanner said "He [Satan] has filled the world with lies and deceptions about the body. He tempts many to defile this great gift of the body through unchastity, immodesty, self-indulgence, and addictions. He seduces some to despise their bodies; others he tempts to worship their bodies. In either case, he entices the world to regard the body merely as an object." Thank you for not listening to the voices that would have you hate your body. You are a beautiful person inside and out--and to be able to radiate that through a blog is amazing.

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  7. You are the best. Glad to hear your response to this as I was one of the worried ones but no longer feel worried. You are such a beautiful person, Mara. Inside and out

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  8. Mara, thank you for sharing! I have recently been diagnosed with Hashimoto's as well! It's been horrible! Taking thyroid meds haven't helped at all. Was cutting out dairy and gluten what helped you feel better? How long did that take? What lead you down that healing path? Thanks so much!

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    1. I have been very lucky in that I didn't ever have any hashimotos symptoms that I recognized really (at the time). My thyroid hormones have pretty much always tested normal (I am not hypo and hyper) and I've never been on thyroid meds. It was more like I was diagnosed with thyroid antibodies, went off dairy/gluten as a preventative, and then started noticing my life improving in other ways. After going off gluten, I felt better within a week (more energy, less fatigue, no bloating, digestion issues). Later I went off dairy. It took about 6 wks for me to feel great. I went through a crazy withdrawal that I didn't expect. My doc said it was like going off of a drug as dairy has a similar effect on the body as morphene. It definitely felt like what I would imagine a drug withdrawal would be like (anxiety, feelings of anger, depression, jumpiness, spaced out.) After about 6 wks of this, I felt amazing. The acne I had my whole life shockingly cleared 100%! All those feelings listed above went away completely and it's extremely rare that I feel any of those. In fact, it's if I have any cross contamination of dairy by accident that nearly ever one of those symptoms will return for about 2 days. Dr. Lipman writes a lot about this stuff on his blog. I can't recommend going dairy and gluten free enough!!! Also, fish oils, vitamin D and antioxidants are HUGE recommendations for Hashi patients. I try to take these daily.

      Also, I initially started down this path to just try to prevent further hashimotos symptoms and to also hopefully help me to get pregnant (by reducing inflammation).

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    2. Thank you SO much, Mara! Your insight is so helpful! I think I've started to realized that diet is the key with this...you've given me the final push to go try going gluten and dairy free!

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    3. Thank you for posting this! I was recently diagnosed with Hashi's as well (In November, right before my wedding). I haven't seen a doctor about it yet but I have gone off gluten and dairy as best I can. I also love coconut oil and use it for everything. It's amazing how much better I feel because of these things! I still have so much to learn and do. Thank you for all your posts and uplifting thoughts. I respect you and your husband so much.

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    4. I also have Hashimoto's. :) (I also had thyroid cancer - BONUS! - and had the left side of my thyroid removed, which makes me a weird case, and I take Synthroid to compensate for the missing portion.)

      I eat a gluten free diet (no cheating!) and keep dairy and sugar super low. I've never loved dairy, so it's easy to stay away from it for the most part. But gluten and I go way back, and I love it dearly. :) That said, I don't miss it AT ALL. I saw visible and marked improvement in my symptoms, weight, energy, EVERYTHING after just a week or two of eliminating gluten. It's honestly easy to NOT eat it because it makes life so much better!

      Hashi's is really quite manageable if you commit to taking care of yourself. :) Google around - learn what others have done. Clean eating and exercise are huge in helping manage Hashi's. Good luck! :)

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  9. Like others have commented, I feel sad that this has even been made an 'issue' you needed to address. Your photographs and writings display a healthy, full-of-life woman with so much energy to give the world. As someone who has also been on an infertility journey, I can say that there is never an end to the "if only I did this..." as I struggle to find the missing piece that will somehow solve my troubles. Many women of many different shapes and sizes get pregnant every day. Gaining or losing ten pounds for the woman who has already gone through years of trying and multiple rounds of IVF is not going to be the missing piece. One of the most troubling aspects of infertility is this blind belief that there is a cure for everyone, it's just a matter of trying hard enough. Assisted reproductive therapy has given us this illusion, when at the end of the day, there are limits to what it can do. The "if only you did this..." thinking is yet another way of making women feel guilt and shame about their bodies, their lives, their choices, and so on. Sometimes a woman who wants more than anything to get pregnant simply can't. I think many of our family and friends want to try to solve the problem, take away the hurt, and so they add to the never-ending list of "well, have you thought about this?" But sometimes there is no magic cure, it just is what it is. Bravo to you for addressing these comments with love and compassion. I hope this puts an end to it.

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  10. Mara, thank you for being gracious enough to not only defend your health where it should not necessarily need to be defended, but also taking the opportunity to direct the comments towards the help of others rather than focusing on your diet & health.

    I've never been diagnosed with an eating disorder, but I've noticed a strong trend in my diet. I eat all sorts of nutritious foods, but if I am not purposefully pushing myself to eat between 1700-1900 calories per day I'll end up eating somewhere between 900-1100. It is not enough, by any stretch of the imagination. In addition, when I get sad or stressed, my body drops weight very quickly. I have loving friends & family that are honest with me when I begin to look gaunt. They'll also ask to come over for dinner (so that I can cook, which gives me joy, and I'll have to eat with my guest), take me out to eat, send me texts asking how food is going today, etc. The support system makes all the difference.

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  11. That's so interesting people have commented on that! I think you look super healthy! Sure, you're thin, but who wouldn't be without gluten (and I imagine much sugar) in their diet? :-) SO much better to be thin and healthy than eating junk. :-) Your commitment to health is an inspiration.

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  12. Mara, I have loved reading your blog and this is my first time sharing a comment. I am sorry that you needed to address such a personal issue on such a public scale. No one should ever make you feel bad, embarrassed or judged by your weight. As a society we a lot more careful about what we say to those who my be over weight and not as careful when the scale registers at the other end. I have been very thin my entire life. My mother was even skinnier than me, to the extreme of weighting 110 when she was full term and pregnant at age 30. I have heard a lot of criticism over the years and have had several people including doctors sit me down and ask about eating disorders. Of course I have never battled with one and actually eat pretty well. My point is however that I am sorry, really sorry that you have had to experience similar circumstances. However, your practice of love before anger is very evident in your response and I think you are an amazing example to us all. Your post was genuine and full of love as you looked for other's good intentions.

    I will be going through IVF in the next few weeks and specifically asked my doctor if my weight was an issue. It surprised me when he said he wasn't worried about it. He said that if I'm healthy and feel good then it shouldn't make a difference.

    I just want to let you know, that I think you are incredible. I think you are such an amazing strong, beautiful women from the inside out. I have been so impressed with your dedication to this blog and to your readers. You really go above and beyond in so many ways. I love how you and your husband have become missionaries of our Savior's love and have been sharing your message with youth and YSA literally around the world.

    I hope you love the time you get to spend in Ecuador. I served a Spanish speaking mission and there is something so wonderful about Hispanics. They really just get it. They understand what life is all about and how to enjoy it to the fullest. Wishing you all the very best!

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  13. Mara,

    What a lovely post that shows just how much you care about your readers and their inquiries.

    Those last words made me smile big. After we met, I couldn't believe the radiance of your light! You have such a wonderful energy about you, and I appreciate the wisdom you share on this here space :)

    much love,

    Krista

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  14. I recently read this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frances-chan/yale-eating-disorders_b_4921382.html and was so disturbed. What one weighs is no one's business, period. I feel like, actually, the only people who are ever justified in making inquiries, however loving or well-meaning, about personal matters like that, are very close family and friends. I appreciate this post, because I think it's becoming a larger problem in society and needs to be addressed. For what it's worth, I think you look beautiful!

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  15. Thank you for this post, Mara! I'm so sorry you felt you needed to write it. Your weight is none of our business, and if people have been asking you about having an eating disorder, they're way out of line.

    I went on the Paleo diet for a month last year and lost quite a bit of weight. Dairy and gluten just aren't good for us, it's as simple as that. It's clear that people just weigh less when they're not putting junk into their bodies. You clearly respect yours very much, and that's so admirable. KEep letting your light shine!

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  16. Having been on the receiving ends of similar concerns for my whole life, I'm sorry you felt you needed to address this. You look healthy and constantly talk about how important your body is to you. Something that has truly inspired me to do more to put healthy things into MY body. Our infertility was for three years, but there were plenty of people who were convinced if I just put on weight, it would all be fixed. If only it were that easy :) After finally being able to meet with a fertility specialist they immediately squashed that idea. It isn't as common as one may think that being underweight affects fertility.

    Keep being healthy, inspiring, beautiful, and awesome :)

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  17. As a real life friend of Mara, I can testify to her great level of energy and vibrance. She's as healthy as anyone should be. Now if only I could learn a few lessons from her eating habits...

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    1. Collin, I think we all need to meet at Fonda to discuss this further.

      :)

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  18. You handled this with all kinds of class. I think you look beautiful, and your blog makes it obvious that you are very mindful about your wellness. Carry on, soldier!

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  19. Dear Mara,

    What a courage you have to write about this very intimate and personal question. I personally still get amazed by how much people just share their opinion when they are not even asked:)
    Even though we only met twice in person, I did not even think about your weight AT ALL. My first impression was that what a gorgeous, beautiful person you are inside and out! You have such a calming, safe presence that I rarely feel around others!
    I love how you respect your body and health! Just before I read your post I was thinking to myself about how much nicer I could be to my body (eating is pretty good but I am not working my body enough). You just gave me the extra push I needed and I thank you for that!

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  20. Thank you for addressing this Mara. And thanks to all of the people who lovingly (versus with negative intent) inquired about your weight. It is NOT a bad thing to show concern about the health of someone you care about. And caring about someone can mean you know them through a blog, and you're also worried about the model they set because they are a public figure.

    So many people - myself included - suffer with anorexia so much longer than needed because everyone ignores it. Worse yet, people heap praise and compliments on women who are sickly thin and who show obvious external signs of an eating disorder. Sure, thin women also receive some critical comments. But overall, our culture - and men in particular - worship thinness. I remember having raging anorexia and being medically underweight, and people would express jealously over how "thin" and "good" I looked, people would comment that I should model, I got way more attention from men. It's a sickness in our culture. When I had anorexia, I recall also being a little sad by how many friends and family members would ignore it or be oblivious. A lot of people don't know how to address "taboo" issues like this one, so they don't. That's dangerous and sometimes deadly. What kicked me and some other women I know out of anorexia is an eventual accumulation of comments and interventions from the people who knew us and who were brave enough to say something and speak out.

    Lots of issues go unattended to in our society or fester because people ignore them or because they are considered taboo. Please do not stick your head in the sand when you fear that someone you care about is suffering from an eating disorder. You'd be amazed by how many women suffer this way. Say something. Just be sure your comment is rooted in love, encouragement, and an open mind to what you might learn. It's true that women don't need more comments about their weight that are just intended as criticism.

    Eating disorders and other (constructive) concerns about peoples' health are not "personal" or "no one's business." These issues are often made better by being brought into the light and by repeated interactions with the hurting person who might be in denial.

    Thank you for addressing this, Mara. I'm glad to hear you've reflected on the concerns and feel you are healthy. I disagree with others who think you shouldn't have had to address this. For better or worse, you're a public figure. Your readers do "know" you (at least in some sense) and care about you, and just as you dispense advice and wisdom, they share their concerns and thoughts. Also, as a public figure, you set standards of beauty and desirability (I'm sure you don't want to, but you do). So, it's good to address that your weight is healthy for you, because if women with different bodies strived to look like you, that level of thinness might become a disorder for them.

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  21. You are a class act!

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  22. My dad thought I had an eating disorder for a while. I am very naturally thin, but I eat all the freakin' time. It is just my body type. My sister is not like that, and she has been a little jealous in that area. I still remember one time she questioned me about my weight when I was in college. We were at a family dinner and I answered, my dad heard the question and in front of everyone challenges me that I have an eating disorder. Even thought it was just my own family, I was so embarrassed. While it is good to show concern, some people can imagine how it would sound to say to someone who carries extra weight, "Are you having a hard time controlling your appetite?" I mean, there's a pretty good chance that is just their body type, and they do actually try to control their appetite. My husband, when we were engaged kind of agreed with my dad that, "Maybe you do have an eating disorder." On our honeymoon was the first time we spent all day and all night together for days. I still remember him saying, "You're hungry AGAIN?!! I guess your dad was wrong about that eating disorder. And I realized I guess I have to eat IN FRONT of someone for them to see that I am not starving myself.

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  23. Mara, you always manage to say what needs to be said with such grace. I also am thin and endure remarks and questions that I would never dare bring up with others regarding their bodies/eating habits. It's as if you're fair game if you're thin! I am constantly told by other women that I need to gain weight, I need to eat more, I look hungry, I'm not healthy, that I will not be able to get pregnant, etc. I actually eat a lot--healthy foods--and exercise daily. Normally I just state this when faced with comments about my weight.

    My mother and I had a discussion about this topic when, on the night of the Oscars, a mutual Facebook friend of ours shared a photo of a thin (but healthy) celebrity at the Oscars. Women were posting comments to the photo such as "She needs a big mac", "How unhealthy", "She's anorexic", "What a horrible example to young women" and on and on. I've been seeing such comments on social media frequently, and this "thin-bashing" is a problem in our society. Rather than teaching that "real women have curves" the message should be that real women come in all shapes and sizes.

    Thank you for addressing this, and for being such a beautiful example of healthy living!

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    1. I sometimes wonder if this "thin-bashing" is a reaction to the "fat-bashing" that is also prevalent in our culture. I agree completely with your point that "real women come in all shapes and sizes". The fact of the matter is that personal weight and health are sensitive subjects and often are intrinsically tied up in feelings of insecurity, shame, and unworthiness. Any comments or questions about an individual's weight or body size should come first and foremost from a place of love and must always be carefully examined for ulterior motives by the person commenting/asking the question. I love that Mara has used such questions to create a constructive platform for this conversation.

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  24. Seems like forever since I've been on your love blog, it's nice to see you're doing so great!

    What a awkward question to ask a blogger but you answered it with such grace. I have 2 close friends that struggle with eating. Which for me seemed like such a strange alien thought. The place I came to empathize and grow compassion for their struggles was during some late night story telling. Listening to her describe her mind was so intriguing for me a validating for her. I'm never sure about the right words but I think giving those close to us a safe place to be and share is what we can do. xo

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  25. I am so glad you wrote this today. It helped me put something I had happen to me today in perspective. It is sad that people assume they "know" what is going on and they do not, then make comments that are meant to help, but in turn hurt! Just keep doing what you are doing. I always enjoy reading your blog! :)

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  26. First time commenter… Mara, you are one classy lady. Once again you are graceful in the face of adversity. While I'm here, I'd just like to mention that while each day I work hard to keep a positive attitude, some days are easier than others. When I find myself struggling not to veer off towards negativity, your posts help to reset my course. Thank you for sharing your unique perspective on life and know that you make a difference in the lives of your readers.

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    1. Thank you SO much. It's always an honor to have anyone comment, and especially one who is writing in for the first time. We're so glad you wrote.

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  27. Dear Mara,

    I came across your blog when I most needed it - after a failed relationship and a major health scare resulting in a surgery that has forever changed my life. As a result of this surgery, I lost a significant amount of weight and I will never regain it all back. I am slowly recovering (both body and spirit), but in the meantime, I've had to put up with many insensitive comments. I've had well-meaning nurses tell me that they would willingly have my surgery if only it meant losing weight. Some of my co-workers gossiped that I had been treated for anorexia during my six month sick leave from work. These comments are hurtful and a constant reminder that my life has been irrevocably changed. I truly wish people would not judge others based on their appearance - weight, skin colour, etc. You never know how your comments affect another person. Thank you for addressing this topic so openly and honestly in your blog, but I really wish you hadn't felt the need.

    S

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  28. I'm always amazed how people don't realize that skinny-shaming is just as real as fat-shaming. It's not ok to comment on someone else's weight (large or small) unless you know them really, really well and even then, it should only be out of concern for health. I have family that comment on my weight constantly telling me I need to eat more and "put meat on those bones" just because I eat a lot of fruits and veggies and live an active lifestyle. They are all overweight due to unhealthy choices (watching tv, processed foods) yet try to make me feel like there is something wrong with me. I can't even imagine what they would say if I said, "Hey, do you really want to eat that candy bar? You should get off the couch and go run a lap"... But I would never say that because it's rude and wouldn't help them. It would only embarrass them, like it does me.

    Truth is, I think we should push for being healthy. Both physically and mentally and that will redefine beauty. Not putting down other women and forcing the "Real woman have curves" down everyone's throat. We don't all have to have the same body shapes and that is what makes us beautiful. Not our curves or the fact that our thighs don't touch. It's all about finding the balance and being at peace with ourselves. It's proven that being healthy and active supports this. Anyways, sorry to go off.... :) I think you are beautiful and I truly hope people's comments were out of concern.

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  29. Love your Hair and the Photo!!!

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  30. Just an aside, starting off by explaining that you don't eat gluten or dairy as explanation for your thinness I think gives readers the impression that most people would also be super skinny if they followed suit. I eat neither as well and am slim, but not super skinny. I've been super skinny when I intentionally reduced my calories. (Sitting with a boney but is no fun, that is what I remember most from that phase.) I think it would have made more sense to say, my body responded to removing these two things from by my body by dropping 10-15 pounds, whatever the case was. You can certainly remain the same weight or even gain weight being gluten and dairy-free. It is, in the end, calories in and calories out and genetics. I imagine it is super tough to be perceived as frail and troublingly skinny, instead of just slim. I remember seeing your daily food log from a you did some time ago and thinking: Wow, she really doesn't eat many calories per day. It partly explained your weight, that and obviously, genetics. If you are happy with your food intake and energy, that is what counts.

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  31. Thank you so much for the heart you put into each post..even the difficult ones :) I wish we could stop defining people by the number on a scale. The saddest part of this habit is when we let that number dictate the beauty and love we share with the world. It IS hard not to feel defined by this measurement (I've been guilty of this), especially in our culture today, but we each have so much beauty to contribute to this world. We can't let something so trivial dictate our lives or hold us back from making a lasting impact in this world! Thank you again for the beauty and love you share :)

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  32. Dear Mara - I actually think you have a wonderful figure. You look like a model! What got my attention in your post, however, was the auto-immune issue. I too have thyroid issues and other auto-immune problems. I really really hope this doesn't upset you in any way, but I just wanted to say I had problems getting pregnant, I did three IVFs and none worked. I did a lot of research into auto-immune problems and (lack of) IVF success and I found a wonderful doctor in Canada who had also researched this topic and treated women with this condition. We went through the usual process, and in addition he added iViG (intravenous immunoglobulin) twice during the process. It basically calms down the immune system, allowing the embryos to implant. It worked with me, like a charm. None of the others had at all. All the other women he had used this with it had worked (all had auto-immune issues). I honestly really don't want to bring this up to hurt you but just in case you ever want to go down that path again. I am really really sorry if this does upset you. I don't think weight has anything to do with IVF success.

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    1. Hello! Thanks for writing in! I've heard of the immunoglobulin. My dr. used to use that but started using intralipids instead for the same purpose. He's an autoimmune specialist and treated me to the max with multiple additional drugs during the IVF in order to suppress the immune system. So we did all we could there. But at this time, I don't plan on any more medical treatments at all. I don't think anything could entice me to do it again. But thanks for sharing the info. as maybe someone else reading can benefit.

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    2. Thanks Mara. My best wishes are with you and looking forward to reading about your adventures in South America. So exciting!!

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  33. I too am very thin and do not have an eating disorder. I receive comments about my thin weight all the time and I hate it! I've told my boyfriend that being thin receives just as much bullying as being overweight. It's amazing what people say isn't it? Unfortunently I just can't gain weight whatever I do! I've had my doctor even say to me to try to drink eggnog everyday! ha! I understand your struggle with addressing this topic Mara, you have provided comfort to me today xx

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    1. You must have never been overweight. People need to stop saying things like "thin receives just as much bullying as being overweight." I've been from a size 2 to an 18. I assure you that being overweight in our culture is infinitely more difficult and receives more bullying than being thin. (Not to say that being thin doesn't also attract some unwanted comments.) Overall, being thin is still worshiped in our culture. Even when I was so thin that I was struggling with anorexia, I received at least 10 positive comments for each negative comment. People would see a too-thin, anorexic body and tell me they were "jealous" and I looked like a model and I was "lucky" that any clothing fit me and that I looked great. Strange given that I was slowly killing myself to be thin at that time. Being overweight in our culture is a million times harder, though. I speak from personal experience. In addition to the regular rude comments from people one knows, strangers (especially teenagers) yell insults in the streets, most men stop paying any attention to you and treat you as asexual, everything you see in the media condemns your body type, people in stores (especially high-end ones) ignore you, etc.

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    2. I actually don't think it's fair to claim which type of bullying is more "difficult". A bully is a bully. Mean comments are still mean, whether you're overweight, underweight, or somewhere in the middle. Because no matter how you look, we all have insecurities, and it still hurts the same when people judge you and question you and make snide remarks based on how you look (or don't look).

      I cannot tell you how many times my mom, a grown woman, in her mid 50's, has called me on the verge of tears because people make sarcastic and totally inappropriate comments about her weight. It usually happens in very public places, from both her acquaintances to random strangers.

      She's walked into a hair salon and her dresser will say, while another female client sits in her chair and chimes in, "Ew. Have you lost weight? Boy, do you look TOO thin! Get some meat on your bones! You look so unhealthy! I could snap you. Seriously. Are you okay?"

      Another time she was in a pretty high end clothing store and while she was trying on a pair of pants and walking out to look in the mirror, the clerk blatantly said: "Ugh. You are too skinny! Have you even eaten anything today? Please tell me you'e eaten lunch?"

      I never think bold and rude comments are acceptable- no matter how much you weigh, or how you look. I wish we would stop comparing what "hurts more". Why do we feel the need to trump one another? It's just so destructive. We are ALL insecure about things. We ALL have feelings.

      Bullying is bullying. Plain and simple.

      I really appreciated this post Mara. Thank you for sharing.



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  34. Thanks Mara for writing this nice article!

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  35. Dear Mara, I'm a bit shocked (but not surprised) to hear you are getting comments on your weight. It is probably a culture thing. Here in France you wouldn't get comments on you being too thin. You're just fine and gorgeous. And you do whatever the heck you want, it's your body. (And you're treating it well). If you're fine by some people's standards and not by others', those comments have no value whatsoever. Trust what you think is right for yourself. Bises.

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