Huge Again and My Family

Or at least part of my family. I decided to watch Huge on the television this week. Since I’m home with my family, this means publicly viewing this show rather than hiding away in my room and waiting a few hours for it to appear on Hulu. I decided it shouldn’t be something I’m ashamed to watch, and not a bad thing to introduce to my mother if she were to watch some with me. It looked like I was going to have the TV room to myself as I was squatting the TV and watching the end of Cake Boss. Then my mother and brother pretty much both come in at the same time right for the beginning of the show. My mother to zone out and watch whatever I’m watching and my brother to be on his laptop.

Mother dearest asks what I’m watching when she sees a bunch of fat people on the TV and I tell her “Huge”. She asks if that’s really what it’s called and then says shows like this are what give people eating disorders. Last I checked, she still thought of “The Biggest Loser” as an inspiring watch, so I’m really not sure what she meant by that. My brother responds that eating disorders are caused by “dumb bitches”. I really want to tell my brother to shut up and start respecting people like a decent human being, but I don’t because we have an incredibly good sibling relationship and warring with someone in your own house never seemed like fun to me.

My brother continued to make fun of the fatness while my mother decided the show was “actually pretty good.” In fact, she asked if the previous episodes were on On Demand so she can catch up. Score one for team Huge. The show today was pretty awesome as always. I love how Poppy identifies as asexual. I do have a nitpick in that she’s also aromantic which isn’t always tied to asexualness but I still give major props to the show.

A little background on my family is that my brother grew up as a chubby kid and then turned around and now is just big as in muscular. My mother pointed out that she was about as fat as Becky until some random dude did a drive-by shout and called her a fat-ass and then she lost weight and is now one of the 5% of people who have managed to lose weight and keep it off. Not just for over five years but for over something like twenty. Maybe that means genetics should be in favour of me also having a transformation story like that, but I’ve yet to see any evidence. I also think it’s safe to say I’m no longer looking.

July 27, 2010. Tags: , , , . Current. Leave a comment.

Bad Day

I’m reluctant to write about today, but I keep reminding myself that the whole point of this blog is to publicly (and I use that term loosly) reconstruct my ideas about weight and body image etc.

Today was the first time I stepped on a scale in five months. It didn’t suck. Five months ago, I weighed less, but six months ago I weighed a lot more. I’m pretty much where I always am, and I’m fine with that.

The problem came when my mother was like “But you’re going to lose weight this summer right?” When I offered her a skirt that didn’t fit me and I don’t particularly like anyway. I said “No.” She said “Why not?” I said “Because I haven’t lost any the last four summers.” And then she offered to take me to an endocrinologist because clearly that means something is wrong with my thyroid*.

She also told me I had gained weight since the last time I was home (not true). To me that “No” was hugely emotionally … something. I’m still not over it and it was an hour ago and she apologised for hurting my feelings. I then did 50 crunches. I don’t know if I’m going to eat dinner tonight. I’m going to start jogging tomorrow with my mother since her apology was “I’m sorry but it isn’t like you can’t fix it with exercise.” Since I’m doing it with her, I want to get it over with ASAP. She might be thin, but she’s not in very good shape.

I’ve done this before. Being the friend someone chooses to go running with because they assume since I’m fatter than they are, I’m in worse shape. At the very least they assume I’m not in better shape. It doesn’t make people feel very good when I am. I wanted to play that time. This time I just want to get this over with. I’ll play your game, I’ll play by your rules, but don’t blame me when you quit because I’m winning.

I know I’m being irrational because I was thinking of doing this anyway (without my mother), but the way this came about does not make me happy.

I don’t know if the “No” is a small step, or a step forward accompanied by several steps back.

*Granted, thyroid problems are not unheard of in my family.

June 3, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Current. 1 comment.

Two Setbacks

So updating is something that maybe I should do at times when I have a blog and all.

Lately I’ve been much more accepting of my body. Partially because it’s been shorts weather (for me, anything above 50 is shorts weather), and I’m so much more comfortable in my shorts than pants. This is because pants have to fit thighs and bellies and butts and then also preferably not extend past my feet too far. Shorts are easier. Shorts have to be baggy, have pockets and comfortably fit my waist. All the other nonsense is covered by their excess bagginess and the fact that they’re short. They’re like skirts without the chub rub (’cause my shorts are also knee length.) I guess it comes down to the fact that I know what I want with shorts but even though I’ve basically been in this body for at least five to seven years, I don’t know what I want in pants yet.

I had one really good week. Every day that week I felt more and more confident in my body. But then it got cold and I was changing in front of a full body mirror and I feel like all the body love I managed to accomplish that week managed to fall apart when I was standing in front of the mirror in those pants. While, as I’ve mentioned before, I generally fit in straight sizes due to my height and what might actually be a tenuous status as a fatty*, I feel like this setback in clothes has made me feel even more strongly about all bodies being able to find clothes that fit them. It isn’t just a question of visibility and versatility, though those are probably the two most prominent reasons. It’s the fact that accepting our naked body is one thing, it’s something only you and those you let in (and also medical professionals) are allowed to see. Accepting my clothed body seems to be a lot harder than accepting my naked one. Because clothing doesn’t always fit right. Because clothing impacts how everyone else sees me. Trousers of all sorts seem to create a roll that wasn’t there before. They seem to highlight the size of my thighs. They throw all the proportions that were fine a second ago into some sort of weird shape I don’t want. It’s not that I’m wearing the wrong size pants, I’ve considered it. It’s that I’m not comfortable with the uniformity my legs get. All the muscle and the fat just gets lumped into one casing. Or maybe that I’m just not comfortable. When I notice this happening to me when I have all the options that I do, I can’t imagine what someone who is solidly plus-sized has to go through.

My other large setback has to do with the fact that my temporary apartment is soon to become my former apartment. This means that I’m having a hard time cooking or going grocery shopping and again, limiting my calories to an unhealthy number. This is part to do with the fact that I keep odd hours and partially because I’ve eliminated meat from my diet for moral reasons and this makes finding a decent sandwich a bit more difficult. I’ve already felt the mental/emotional side effects of the self-imposed starvation** kick in this morning when I had my breakfast with me on the subway and I absolutely did not want to eat it in public. I am pretty far along in this whole body acceptance journey, I think, especially considering that my active and reflective participation has been happening for fewer than six months. That said, I would be a liar if I weren’t hoping I’d lose a few pounds and keep it off for a while if I’m going to do this silly diet*** anyway. I am far enough along though, to say that when I am back in a more permanent residence, I will stop this nonsense. Which is a huge step for me. Usually I’m promising myself that as soon as I can, I’ll halve my calories and double my exercise. It’s liberating going the other way (well, for the food anyway, I still plan on exercising more ’cause it helps me sleep better). So while this is a setback it’s one that’s let me see how far I’ve come.

*I still don’t have enough body and cultural awareness to actually make this call.
**I believe my current caloric intake is around 1,200 kcal a day. So still within “normal” diet rules and starvation might be too harsh of a word, but I’m kind of hungry right now, but nowhere is open and I don’t have any food.
***Diet in this particular instance means what I eat, not a means to lose weight.

May 28, 2010. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Brainwashed

As I mentioned in the previous post, I did a lot of walking this past week. And my feet were killing me. Hours of walking and my feet were screaming to the point where I had to sit down every 20 minutes or so even if my legs felt fine, I just could not handle the pain. And I thought to myself “You need to lose weight. Your feet cannot handle the pressure you’re putting on them. You need to carry a lighter bag. It’s all this weight.” And similar scoldings.

One of the many “fat issues” that constantly comes up a lot is the fact that our bodies aren’t meant to handle the fat we’ve accumulated. And therefore all fatties will end up with joint issues and foot issues and bone issues and various other issues due to the overwhelming medical problem that is fat on our bodies. And I must have taken this to heart.

It took my mother pointing out that my shoes were really, really old before it occurred to me that maybe there was another explanation. But I figured they were tennis shoes, how much pain could they cause? Then I thought, well, I bought them at least three years ago, and retired them from fencing at least a year and a half ago due to loss of grip*. And the sole’s heel was really worn. Half way through the week when I was putting them on and the heel split, did I finally concede my mother was right and it had nothing to do with my weight. And while I haven’t bought new shoes yet (I have a style I really like and two other pairs of shoes here that I should start wearing), I have added inserts, and the difference is notable.

Personally, I prefer running around barefoot, but I’m in a city and ew. Hopefully this has taught me that my weight might not be (and probably isn’t) the cause of any sort of body problem I’m having. Especially considering my thought last week where I realised I’m more of an inbetween, and if people much larger aren’t having this Obviously Caused by Fat problem, I should look for other explanations and it’s not as Really Common as the media wants me to think. I also need to stop convincing myself I’m diabetic and that my arteries are clogged and I’ll need some sort of heart surgery soon, which while related probably has to do with my tendency to worry over things that don’t matter and inability to apply logic to myself.

The Rotund’s post about stairs was something of an inspiration for me to post this as well as another good reminder about mental/physical disconnects.

*While this is important in any sport, it’s super important in fencing, as shoes that have no traction cause surprise splits.

May 3, 2010. Tags: , , , . Reflection. 3 comments.

Confession

I’m short and fat. But I’m short enough that I fit in to straight sizes. I’m also fat enough that I fit into plus sizing but if I were any taller and my body were to stay proportionally the same, I’d be shunned out of all the straight sizes. So yeah, even if I can’t reach that shelf, I’m grateful I’m short. My fat is such that I have boobs and hips (not so much of a butt and some pretty notable thighs and a belly) but if anything it would be a slightly modified hourglass shape. That means that it is easier for me to find clothes that are flattering*. It also means I’m able to smuggle novels in my waistband if I “suck it in” a little more than I usually do. It also means that when I don’t have pockets I can carry things in my bra. There are a lot of benefits to my shape and it is one that is on the border of acceptable and shameful.

There are several things I’ve been thinking about this past week. The one that has formed the most coherency is the one one where I realised I think the Fat Acceptance movement applies to me. And there’s no argument it doesn’t. I have body image issues. I’ve had doctors have an unwarranted fixation on my weight. My BMI is “overweight”. I cannot always find clothes in my size when I walk into a store (usually, but not always). I’ve had dieting issues. And I’m listing all of this because I somehow have to prove to myself I’m worthy. So yeah, FA applies to me.

But what I found odd is how I read these blogs and they speak to me deeply. Now, in a way it isn’t odd because society likes to comment about people’s bodies. And if one’s body happens to be outside society’s norm suddenly it’s open season. But it’s odd because a lot of these blogs are written by women who are in the range a hundred pounds heavier than I am. Not weird. But I have a friend, and I’ve had this friend for years. She was one inch taller and about eight pounds lighter than I was when we last hung out a few months ago. In my mind she has always been the unreachable goal.

I knew her during high school and my mother would tell me “If you just lost ten or fifteen pounds, you could look more like [friend].” And I can’t blame it all on my mother because I would have the same thoughts. I don’t know if her clothes could have fit me because I was always under the impression I was So Much Fatter than all my friends. I always put myself in this other group because of what, eight pounds?

So what’s weird is how I think of myself Exactly Like some of the leaders of the FA movement in terms of my body and Nothing At All like my friend. When I found out the fact that she was only eight pounds lighter (and one inch taller, but I knew that) than me, I realised that this person whom I had been trying so hard to be for so many years of my life might actually have body image issues of her own that I never really heard because I was wallowing in my own bubble. And FA doesn’t just mean accepting the fat people and myself as fat but actually seeing my body for what it is and where my body is on the spectrum of bodies. So while I can certainly say the experiences and the emotions these blogs are expressing speak to me, I don’t know what it’s like to the extent they face it. On the spectrum, I’m much closer to my friend than I am or have ever been to the people I’ve been looking up to lately. And that, to me, is weird.

*Where the modern concept of flattering means “doesn’t make you look as fat or fatter than you are”. This is true. This is also unfortunate. If we could get over that, there are so many more sparkly, brightly coloured clothes that I’d jump all over because my inner six-year-old is pretty strong.

April 20, 2010. Tags: . Reflection. Leave a comment.

It’s Easy. . .

It was easy for me to start this blog because after living some of the fattest months of my life*, I was, when I made the first post heading toward what I thought might be some of my thinnest. My pants which had fit me fine when I bought them and tightly only just a month or two before were pretty much falling off. Now they’re heading back toward tight and I’ve been avoiding this place.

I’ve been snacking like a crazy person and I don’t always get out of my apartment some weekends. I’m not the healthiest I’ve ever been right now, but when my pants were falling off, I wasn’t the healthiest then either. I need to realise that I may have a weight I’m supposed to be, but I’m likely to stray from that in a range of about 7lbs either side of the middle. And I need to accept the fact that I’m fat and it’s fine even when I’m regular fat (median), or fat fat (the highest weight) not just when I’m not so fat (my lightest weight).

Right now I’ve got the superficial acceptance for the majority of my weight range and only something that even resembles a real reflection when I’m weighing less than usual.

*With access to a scale to tell me this.

March 25, 2010. Tags: . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

BMI

I’ve been eating more, two to three meals a day, or you know, one big massive one like today. Not that I did anything deserving of food. I read somewhere that it takes 500 calories just for your brain to work properly, and I assume who ever said that meant per day. If so, I had been stunting my brain again, not by eating fewer than 500 calories (though that was true for one or two days I’m sure) but by eating fewer than 1000. Because if 500 gets devoted to your brain imagine what it takes for the heart, the lungs (well, the diaphragm), everything. I’ve been gaining weight again since I started eating. It makes eating distressing, but I know that if I can eat regularly and healthfully I can convince my body I’m not starving, and it will stop hoarding calories. I realise this isn’t about BMI yet but I think I should reflect on the moment as well as the whole.

As for the issue of BMI, well, I think it’s terrible. First of all, there’s that disclaimer that it’s not meant for measuring health or fat, but everyone does it anyway. Companies, colleges, doctors, individuals — everyone passes judgement on people based on this number. I’ll admit, I’ve spent most of my post-pubescent life inside the 25-29.9 range. Though only a few months ago I was flirting with 30 being two or three pounds away from that threshold number when I weighed myself every day. I was also at the highest weight I had ever weighed myself at. I had passed my magic number and all my pants were tight and I’ll admit I was probably at my least healthy point. I had been exercising less and caring less about what I ate. To an extent, I think it’s was probably healthier for me to not care so much about my diet. It was certainly liberating until I started weighing myself daily.

During these months I read an article about how a university had a BMI requirement for graduation. While it was true that anyone who didn’t have the right numbers would just have to take a PE class, it still wasn’t something that sat well with me. Especially since I was on the verge of facing that requirement (matriculation aside) and was normally only somewhere around eight to ten pounds away from obese even when eating healthy and exercising regularly. As I’ve mentioned before I’m short so while I may be only ten pounds away from the dreaded diagnosis of obese my BMI is two points away from obese and three from “normal”*.

In a fit of rage after reading that article I cruelly asked my friend to guess my BMI. She said 25.6 when I was 29.4 and 3 pounds away from 30.0. Now, even if this friend deducted a point or even two points in the name of friendship, she was very, very off. Even with these extra two points she was still lower than my BMI when I considered myself healthy. Today, an study showed that 3 in 10 teens didn’t know they were overweight with males mistaken twice as often as females. Is this really a surprise to anyone?

Even after BMI gets discounted as a measurement of health, I regret to say, I will still use it. I’ve already been indoctrinated even though I fight tooth and nail every time someone else uses it. I still have a BMI calculator as one of my tabs. I will still sit there and go “Well, what if I’m this weight? What if I lose 5 more pounds? What if I were an inch taller?”. My personal ideal weight, the weight I want to be and think I have a chance of reaching is has a BMI of 24.7. I know when I get there, I’ll see that if I gain two pounds I’ll be over weight again and try and lose another five. That’s a start of a slippery slope. I hope if I ever get there, I won’t go too far.

Still, something that always is nice to see is the BMI Project.

*Approximately.

February 10, 2010. Tags: , , . Reflection. Leave a comment.