Men and Their Diets

People in my life like to not conform to gender standards. I like this, but sometimes it presents interesting challenges.

Today, I had three conversations with male-folk. One was about Halo Reach and the other two were about how they want to lose weight. Now, as awesome as Halo Reach looks, I’m the high end of bad or the low end of mediocre at FPSes and this blog is about my path to body acceptance, so sadly that’s not going to be the subject (though if you like that kind of thing, the extended trailer for that game is just breath-taking).

I’m getting better at being anti-diet pro-body love when it comes to talking with the people who normally talk about these things AKA women. I can say “Check out these great FA bloggers!” though I usually don’t. But I could. Interestingly, I have not had a conversation about weightloss with any of my female friends recently. But if I were to point them in the direction of any of the FA bloggers that I know about or even read, those friends will be the target audience.

But that’s not the case with my guy friends. It’s not that I don’t think they should be exposed to feminism, but FA is baby steps. Feminism brought me to FA so seeing all this feminist rhetoric mixed in isn’t something that strikes me as at all weird. But anyone coming at FA without feminism (without even being female) is now approaching two concepts. I don’t mean to say that men cannot be feminists, but often their feminism isn’t as active. I know at least one of the friends I mentioned tends to agree with my feminist ideals, but sometimes the idea is new to him. So it isn’t that they now have to both accept gender equality and body acceptance, but they have to actively participate in the dialogue of these ideas, even if it is just by reading.

Not only that, but anyone who hates their body, is dieting, whatever is probably going to be touchy on the subject of their body. And when you mix new concepts with even more new concepts going back to the status quo has a lot of comfort to it. And then there’s seeing a post called “Vagina Friendly; Make Friends With Your Area“. This makes it clear who the target of these entries are, but weight loss commercials often have at least one token man, so they get to be all inclusive! And commercials for muscle building equipment are not only targeted at men, but almost always mention weight loss (and they don’t always pair that voice over with the token woman).

To be fair, The Rotund also has her most recent post (as I’m typing this) titled “What about the Mens; Gender, Gender All the Way Home”, but even that is seeped in feminist ideals. It’s not just Marianne, either. Fatshionista and Kate Harding also mix and alternate between FA and feminism.

I don’t think it’s wrong that FA is mostly targeted at women. I think a lot of points about space and women and feminism and society are all very important ideas to get across to the dieting women out there. And maybe there isn’t as much feminism as I think, after all, that’s who I am and so that’s what I’m gong to find. However, the size issue is not an approach that is even relevant to men. They’re allowed to big, they’re even supposed to be big, they’re just not allowed to be “sideways” as one friend put it.

This post is both an observation and a call for help. I know I mentioned something about not responding to comments at some point way earlier in this blog, but I would really love some now. Word Press is still insisting I get a few hits. Who and/or where can I point my friends the next time they talk about how they feel fat and how they want to lose weight and how eating is totally ruining their diet?

One last thing. I know there are a lot of FA blogs that focus on a lot of feel good self esteem exercises. This is not what I’m looking for. My generation grew up on self esteem building and being special snowflakes and how everyone is wonderful and deserves to be loved. I cannot speak for everyone else, but I know I have witnessed too much disconnect between this kind of discourse and the “real world” to do anything but roll my eyes at these ideas. I know my peer friends have expressed similar sentiments when this kind of topic comes up. Blogs that like statistics are preferable.

Note: I’m at that awkward age where people are no longer “girls and boys” and while technically “men and women” identifying as such is uncomfortable and not quite fitting. So any odd gender nouns in this entry is due to that.

September 14, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 3 comments.

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.

Food Logs

Food logs are my big evil. Most of my serious previous attempts to lose weight have come coupled with food logs. This is because everyone says how wonderful those things are. They make you take responsibility for your eating etc . etc. It’s also because my mother is a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and I’ve unofficially been on the points diet several times (My mother is familiar enough and has enough of their literature that the only thing I ever failed to get out of my unofficial version is the weekly meetings) and a huge part of said diet is writing down everything you eat.

Well, the thing with me is that my disordered eating doesn’t appear when I weigh myself every day. It doesn’t show up (as much*) when I try to restrict calories. Mine shows up with food logs. I start out writing what I eat. I also stop snacking on say, one cookie, or one chip because then I’d have to write it, and that’s just silly and not worth it, and I guess in that way the log works. But then I look at the list and go “Wow, that’s huge!” because I list every food individually because I want to see what I eat** . This means milk and cereal takes up two lines, a third for a vitamin. Sandwiches can take around four or five. And I start wanting to make the list smaller and smaller. I have a page in my “take everywhere notebook” that has several attempts at food logs, and I can always tell where a new food log begins because I am writing on the lines again in my normal (but still small) handwriting. The last day of the previous food log tends to look like a date with three things (one of which is almost always the multivitamin) crammed in-between the lines of the paper.

At this point in the log, I tend to be so super proud of myself for managing to fit all my food in one line of space (one and a half if you include the date). I’m also wacked out, crazy pants, mood-swinging insane and cannot make up my mind about anything. Which is why the log then fails.

Hopefully the next time I’m thinking of doing a food log, I’ll read/remember this post and just avoid the crazy. Or, at the very least keep a health log (including exercise, sleep and water) on my computer so I can avoid the unhealthy attitude.

*My calorie restriction is also crazy because when I don’t or cannot check something, I will assume an apple is 150 calories and an avocado has to be 375. Also, one Oreo is what, 120? And as I sit here looking at that, an apple has to be at least 200 and an avocado can’t be less than 450, but the Oreo looks right. Quick googling tells me a large apple is 110, an avocado is 300 and a single oreo is 55. I obviously have no idea what I’m doing.
**”Veg and cheese Sandwich” doesn’t say nearly as much as “Whole wheat bread (2 slices), cheddar (2 slices), tomato (half), lettuce”

March 11, 2010. Tags: , , . Reflection. Leave a comment.