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Skinny People Have Problems Too

Last month I had the pleasure of walking around Lake Miramar with a member of our Skinny Gene Family, we affectionately call her by her nickname –Yo.  We were chatting up a storm, really taking the time to get to know each other, and then it happened. She shared (as Oprah would call it) her A-ha moment, a realization that I felt couldn’t have been more brilliantly worded.

“Skinny people have problems too”

Five simple words that seemed to summarize so many conversations I’ve been having with people lately about the true value of being skinny.

Does being skinny really equate to having a better life?

Being a part of the Skinny Gene Project, my answer might surprise you. I’d say, “Not necessarily!” 

When I think about the desire to be skinny, I’m reminded of a scene from Jerry Maguire. In the scene Dorothy (Renée Zellweger) and her son Ray are sitting in coach on a plane. Dorothy leans into the aisle and looks longingly towards the people sitting in first-class. Then Ray says, “What’s wrong, mom?” To which Dorothy responds, “It used to be a better meal. Now it’s a better life.”

I feel that somewhere along the way, being skinny has become equated to riding in first class. Something that is afforded by or given to a few, while the rest of us have to sit near the stinky bathroom in coach.

Well, if this is the case, there are a couple of things I’d like you to consider about the people seated in first–class (or for this metaphor, being skinny). Having a first-class ticket doesn’t make it easier to pay their mortgage, and it won’t make them more likable (unless they bought you a ticket too).   Sitting in first-class won’t give you a better marriage, more friends, or get you that much deserved promotion.

Okay, it’s true. Sitting in first-class does have its perks; just like there are some benefits of being “skinny”.  It has been proven that losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, some forms of cancer, etc. Having a healthy weight may also give you more energy to get out and live life.

But… before you buy into the idea of being “skinny”, and upgrade your ticket from coach to first-class, you may want to read the fine print so you know what you are getting.

Here’s what it might say…

Disclaimer (the First-class ticket’s fine print) – Being skinny is not necessarily the same thing as being healthy.  In fact there are ways of getting  “skinny”, like fad diets and quick weight loss schemes, that can damage the body and cause more harm than good. The key is to make healthier choices and to live a healthier lifestyle.


Being skinny may not change the opinions, personality, or negative behavior of others (especially of those unworthy of having you in their life in the first place). It can only change YOU.  If your desire to be skinny is based on pleasing or seeking the approval of anyone else, please know you will most likely be dissatisfied with the final result.

The problem with putting so much emphasis on being “skinny”, is that it makes it seem somewhat unobtainable.  To get over this mental block, don’t focus on being skinny. Focus on you!


Don’t wait to be skinny to love yourself. Otherwise, you’ll have the same problems, just in a skinny body.

So why do we have the word “skinny” in our name (the Skinny Gene Project)? Our name comes from a rebuttal to an excuse we once heard about not being able to lose weight, claiming she couldn’t do it since she didn’t have a “Skinny Gene”.

 That was it! We decided to call the non-profit the Skinny Gene Project, as a way to display our mission to provide everyone with an equal opportunity to create the change they want to see in themselves.

We hope to rid our community of the “skinny”, first-class mentality and evolve more into Southwest Airlines’ open seating format. You see, we all have a Skinny Gene! With it comes the opportunity to choose a different seat or perspective.

So, my advise is to stop admiring others for what they have, and start by empowering yourself to take action from within.  You have a Skinny Gene, now you just have to decide to turn it on !

-MB, Skinny Gene Project Team

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