There was once a skinny girl who lived inside of me. She was full of fat-free hopes and low-cal dreams that she could, one day, proudly take the center stage in a pair of skinny jeans. 

She did irritating things like making me feel bad about eating a brownie while writing an article about diet tips. She berated me for shortening my time at the gym when I was sick, and she pointed out every ounce of fat on my body when I looked in the mirror even though I was only a size 7 at the time.

Oh, and that day we went to the buffet and they had just set out a freshly-made pan of crab Rangoon—well, I think that might be the last time I saw her.

I couldn’t meet her expectations or handle the pressure of staying thin, and my skinny girl was gone.

I wonder what happened to her (some say she wanders produce aisles at night crying into the Brussel sprouts). Because despite the bad, there are some things I miss about her.

She was one who fearlessly marched to the dressing room with that floral jumpsuit at Kmart.

She took on college like a champ. Even though she was the oldest one there, my skinny girl wasn’t intimidated by all the pretty twentysomethings.

From going to interviews to walking through Wal-Mart, I always walked taller with the skinny girl.

Now, here I sit staring at an empty plate on the coffee table. The dirty fork sitting on top is the only evidence of the reckless act that just took place.

I feel so dirty. No wonder my skinny girl left.

Only a few short years ago, I lost 70 pounds with that skinny girl pushing me to do better. To keep going. And for that, she was great.

We had a history too—the skinny girl and me—but never could make the long haul. This time, despite my many past fails, I was convinced I could make it work with my skinny girl. And believe me, we had our honeymoon phase.

We did gym check-ins and took selfies rounding corners on the indoor track.

We posted salads without cheese and just a splash of vinaigrette.

It all changed when my doctor found aggressive precancer cells in my cervix. We decided the best route was to do a total hysterectomy, and while my husband and I had already decided our two boys made a complete family, I felt a loss.

Slamming shut the door to another pregnancy made me mourn the possibility of that surprise third baby. And in my post-surgery body, I felt broken. Losing the ability to have children made me feel like less of a woman.

I ate those feelings (oh how yummy feelings can be), and as my pant size went up, I could hear my skinny girl calling.

And she was downright mean.

“Look at who you’ve become.”

“You are disgusting.”

“How can your husband still want you?”

The dirty plate on the coffee table blurred, as I accepted everything that skinny girl said.

And that’s when it hit me. That girl is me. Those are the things I am saying to myself—and it has to stop.

It never should have been about some shallow skinny girl who berated me with numbers on a scale, or who told me I was only beautiful in a size I couldn’t maintain.

It should have always been about becoming healthier and bettering myself because I am worth fighting for. So today, I am standing on my own two feet to move life in a new direction. I might not have a testimony yet, but I soon will.

I am ditching that skinny girl and saying hello to a healthier woman.

Meg Duncan

Meg Duncan is a Christian author and columnist. Her writing takes readers to recognizable places and assures them they aren’t alone. From raising children, navigating marriage, sorting laundry piles, and avoiding carbs (or blissfully embracing them, depending on the day), she combats self-doubt with humor and grace.