As a kid, I was average: scrape covered skin that seemed to regenerate like Time Lords, practically unbreakable bones,* toddler chubbiness that dissolved into a child of normal proportions. It wasn't until middle school (seventh grade, really) that I evolved into something that most people refer to as "skinny."
It's funny, really, to watch people react to this physical characteristic. So many times, after I've contemplated aloud if my consumption of another food item will affect the likelihood of my stomach actually undergoing combustion, a friend will go, "Oh my god, Vita, shut up, you're so skinny." And I'm like, yeah, my metabolism likes me. Suck ittttt.
Except not really, because who gives a shit? My response is automatic: I-have-a-faster-metabolism-than-you. You-are-better-at-playing-sports-than-me. If-we-were-alpha-lions-cat-fighting-this-out-you-would-win. Why-are-you-jealous-of-me?
Fine, so I only respond with the first part. Regardless, the whole thing is true.
I'm not being facetious in saying that I would gladly trade my freakishly fast metabolism for a Polish-British-American sixteen year old girl version of Cristiano Ronaldo's freakishly fit body. (And yes, I mean "fit" in both the American way and the British slang way.) Perhaps I would tone down the huge-ass muscles a little bit, but the sentiment remains.
In a way, never having to worry about my weight is a long-term disadvantage. When you're skinny no matter what, it's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. When everyone around you is whining about being a size six, it's easy to feel like you can eat whatever you want because you'll still be thinner than them. (Let's not even get into how idiotic it is that people convince themselves that being a size six is bad. Really? Really? Really? Do we have to delve into a conversation on how western society promotes a standard of "beauty" that no one can feasibly hope to attain?)
Allowing myself to be lazy because I have mastered the art of being skinny is terrible. Like, really legitimately prolonged suicide.
I don't want to put myself at risk for contracting Type 2 Diabetes due to poor eating habits. I don't want to morph into a thirty year old three hundred pound woman. I've joked to my Drama friends that the only reason I'm going to exercise when I'm older is because I refuse to become the stereotypical obese American. But it's more than that: when I'm an adult, I want to spend my time on a career I love, on writing, on spending time with my family, on maintaining friendships and making new ones, on taking adventurous vacations, on being in the Peace Corps, on being a volunteer EMT, on helping people, on contributing to politics, on art, on appreciating the funny side of life, on relaxing, on living. I know life throws curve balls. I know I could very well contract cancer and spend years fighting that. But I have control over some things, and I do not do not do not want to have all my dreams crushed because I couldn't find the energy to eat well and to exercise.
That's why this summer, I'm challenging myself to get healthy. If anyone who's reading this (even if I don't know you!) wants to do it with me, please do. Please write down a schedule for yourself. Please be specific. Please write out a contract and sign it. Please make note of foods that you won't eat or at least will eat less of. Please stick to it, whatever it takes. America (and Canada, and Mexico, and France, and the United Kingdom, and every other country out there) needs to get in shape.
It takes more than two months to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But it's two months of relative freedom. It's two months to start new habits. Think about it: during the summer, you have more time to be aware of what you do and what you eat. If you spend time now making sure you have healthy snacks in your house, by the time school rolls around, it'll almost be second nature. If you start exercising more frequently now, you'll see how good it feels and you'll want to squeeze it into your busy schedule.
Damn, with all this motivational speaking and flagrant italicizing, I should be writing articles for Seventeen magazine. Really though.
* Excluding that one time that I, you know, broke a bone.