Weighty Matters

February 7, 2014

Since moving I’ve been active (particularly on weekends and during the summer when the sun sets at nearly 10 pm), but I haven’t been religious about a dedicated workout program for weight management. I was also prescribed a daily asthma maintenance medication that made me mysteriously start gaining weight.  (My prescription ran out and while I waited for my refill I immediately lost 5lbs, when it came back I started gaining again.) Marathon training had also lulled me into a totally unrealistic head space regarding my daily calorie requirements.

This isn’t a huge build up to confess I’ve gained back all of the weight I lost 2 years ago.  I’m heavier than I was in the fall of 2012, lighter than I was in the summer of 2011.  I am a totally acceptable weight, for a woman of a certain age.  (Hi there, 36, I see you, coming at me with all the speed and gentleness of a freight train.)  The biggest problem with this weight is that I’M not comfortable.

I’ve been circling around why I care about losing this weight, who would I be doing it for? Why does it matter? Does it matter?  Should I bother? How hard should I be trying?

I could play it off and say, “I’m focused on losing weight and maintaining my weight for me! I want to be healthy and I feel better when I’m thinner!” And that is true, anyone who knows me knows that I am terrified of growing old, infirm, and dying.  I like being healthy enough to do whatever I want.* But the biggest reason I will continue to care about how much I weigh and what size pants I wear is because other people care.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had a conversation with a close friend or relative, or even an acquaintance, where we didn’t talk about my weight (you look like you’ve lost/or gained) and eating (carbs are your problem!) or working out (you need to come to cross fit!).  Everyone thinks that their diet and their workout is the right diet and the right workout for everyone else and it’s emotionally exhausting to be even a little overweight in that environment.

Listen, I am not skinny.  I have been skinny and I was a miserable bitch the entire time.  1. I was hungry. 2. I was judgmental of everyone around me who wasn’t skinny. 3. Have I mentioned I was hungry? 4. I was killing myself to be thin. Please do not put me in a position where I have to feel defensive about this.  Please do not speak to me, or anyone else, in a prescriptive manner about diet or exercise unless we have come to you asking for help or advice.  Please do not look at me as though you know exactly what my “problem” is, because I can almost guarantee you do not.  In fact, this may shock you, my not being skinny is not one of my problems.

As someone who has lost, and gained, and lost, and gained, and maintained, and lathered, and rinsed, and repeated, and binged, and purged, and obsessively exercised, and seen ALL of the DOCTORS let me be clear here:  The same thing doesn’t work for everyone when it comes to losing weight.  Let me be even clearer: what is hot right now for workouts and diets will fall out of favor in about 3 years (I have seen and tried it all – from grapefruit to cayenne pepper, from ephedra to shakes, tae bo to pilates, from Reebok step to Reebok slide).  If you find something you like enough to do enough to make what you feel are positive changes in your life I am thrilled for you.  But, when you’re someone who has an eating disorder, and you’re working a program that a physician has worked out as safe and healthy for you, people shaming you for eating wheat or not wanting to try cross fit make you want to either stop eating all together, eat an entire pint of ice cream, or straight up punch them in the face while screaming, “LISTEN, I USED TO EAT 100 CALORIES A DAY AND WORK OUT FOR THREE HOURS, DON’T TALK TO ME ABOUT BEING STRONG OR WILL POWER.”

People keep telling me I’m perfect for cross fit because I am tenacious and competitive.  This is exactly why cross fit is a toxic environment for me.**  There are no half measures in the world of the perfectionist with an eating disorder, it is all or nothing.  Those fitspiration photos that everyone shares on facebook?  13 years ago we called those thinspiration photos, in online eating disorder forums. I had binders of those photos and phrases, I had post it notes stuck to my computer with those words. Somehow this shit got mainstream clearance and it’s driving me bananas.

My endgame goal is not to be the thinnest, or the strongest.  (If that’s your goal, that’s great, I truly hope you’re having fun getting there.)  My goal is to be comfortable in my own skin and all of the eyebrow wiggling or talk about abs being “made in the kitchen” in the world are going to shame me back into a lifestyle that will get me into a size 4.  What it will do is make me feel bad about myself while I lay in bed at night and make me think you’re an asshole.


*I don’t want to play team sports.  Or really anything that involves a lot of hand-eye coordination.  Stop asking.

**Also the tires that they flip, I am allergic to them.  Literally allergic, not “allergic to the idea” or the “work” – airways swelling shut after I touch them allergic.***

***Avocados, too. Stop offering me guacamole.

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