I Did Need to Eat That

Dances with Fat is one of the many FA centred blogs I read. And her most recent entry (Do You Need to Eat That) reminded me of a story I want to tell. Which is good because I’ve been lacking in the update ideas department as of late.

I’ve mentioned my disordered eating before, and how sometimes it’s a response to stressors, but sometimes it isn’t. In the past, I experimented with eating as little as possible for no other reason than I thought it felt good and I wanted beyond any hope or reason to be skinny.

The first time I started doing this was in high school. Breakfast would be one packet of instant oatmeal, and lunch would be half an apple, dinner would sometimes be a binge, but also sometimes be a frozen Weight Watcher’s dinner (which, are pretty good as far as frozen dinners go, surprisingly). One of these nights, I was going to sleep early due to a new sleep schedule I had imposed on myself. My dinner was going to be guacamole and chips, since my father had made guacamole for the family dinner I would be skipping that night.

He saw me eating the chips with guac and on the third one, he asked “Do you really need to eat that?” Since the chip was already loaded, I ate it, but then said something like “I guess you’re right, I should stop now.” and did.

But the thing is, I did really need to eat that. And a lot more food, at that. But I knew and he knew he wasn’t asking that question, he was telling me to stop. I remember only one or two other instances of being asked that by someone. All I can remember about those times is being pissed off and ashamed. This culture sucks sometimes.

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

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.

Walking Doesn’t Burn Calories

My mother came to visit me last week and we did the touristy thing. The touristy thing here involves an insane amount of walking (Her: “Do you want to take a cab? Are you sure you don’t want to take a cab?”) and lots of stairs (Her: “So this country doesn’t believe in elevators?”). Also, eating delicious food. Which prompted the following conversation*.

Mother: If I lived here, I would be so fat.
Me: But think of all the walking we’ve done.
Mother: Well, walking doesn’t do anything for me. I mean, I can walk and not burn any calories.

Now, I’m not sure if I managed, but I certainly tried to convince her that walking does actually burn calories. Just like being alive does. Really, everyone needs calories so that our bodies can do their things. I know that I have, in the past, fallen into the train of thought where in order for me to burn more calories than I consume, I need to burn them with exercise. As in, if I decide to DDR for a half hour and burn 300 kcal** and then assume that a relatively inactive day added onto that would only burn 100 additional kcals so I would have to eat under 400 kcals to lose any weight.*** That was just wrong on so many levels. I’ve heard that the old diet advice “If you want to be 120 pounds eat 1200 kcals” is more like “If you are 120 pounds, you need 1200 kcals to function on the most minimal level, and then eat more if you actually plan on moving.”

And I didn’t come up with these ideas in a vacuum. My mother was a large contributor (she’s really a great mother, but still human, which is where this comes in) and she had to have heard these ideas somewhere as well. I’ve heard a lot of what she’s said about weight said elsewhere. So I’m going to try and unpack some of what she said to me this week. This time without any of the quotes.

1. Exercise is not magic. Someone who goes from being fairly sedentary to any level of activity is not going to magically drop the weight s/he always wanted to lose. Especially if this exercise is something like “walking a mile a day”. While the increase in activity will probably**** be beneficial to this person’s health this benefit will not always show up as a lower number on the scale or even a smaller pants size. This goes doubly so for anyone who assumes that an increase in activity is permission to eat what they want. Sure, you don’t need permission to eat what you want. No one does, but if the goal is to be healthy (and/or lose weight*****) exercise is only one component.

2. Eating like a normal person. My mother said something like that and I had no idea what she meant. I don’t even know if she knew what she meant. I don’t know if I know a “normal person”. I certainly couldn’t tell you what s/he eats. There are people of varying heights, weights, metabolic rates, food allergies/intolerances, able-bodyness and activity levels. Probably other things I forgot. Someone who has IBS can’t eat like someone who has no colon who can’t eat like a lactose intolerant athlete who can’t eat like a cubical worker with really fast metabolism who chooses not to eat like a vegan. Any and all of those people can be fat. Or skinny. Or somewhere in the middle. And I still can’t figure out who a normal person.

3. Gaining a pound. Anyone who has ever had an obsession with their scale can tell you that they weigh differently in the morning when they first wake up than they do before they go to bed. Before and after they go to the bathroom. Depending on how much water they drink and food they’ve eaten. If and what clothes they’re wearing. Even the spot in their cycle if they’re female. Or at least I can tell you that due to my few month obsession with a scale (I no longer own). I can also say that my pants size and my weight don’t always correlate as nicely as scale numbers gaining means pants tightening. Sometimes it can mean pants falling off. So I can’t understand why people flip out over a single pound, especially after they mention how much better their clothes are fitting. The disconnect astounds me.

The crazy thing about these three things is that while I can sit here and type the “right answers”, it doesn’t mean that I won’t say, increase my exercise when I get back to my home country and then wonder why I can’t eat like a normal person and freak out about a pound I’ve gained. The disconnect is just as strong in me as it seems to be in the people I talk to. Hopefully just being able to return to here and see that no, I’m not being logical, will be enough. It’s harder to argue with yourself than it is with someone else, I’ve found.

*My memory recall is not so great as for this to be word for word, obviously.
**I’m really good at DDR. Not like, those crazy kids at the arcade good, but good enough not to be totally embarrassed doing DDR in public.
***Pre FA days when I was “dieting”
****I’m not a doctor, I can’t say for sure. And people are individuals and who knows what which exercises might trigger especially if someone’s doing something incorrectly, etc. etc.
*****I like asterisks way too much. Also I know FA is not an advocate of dieting but I’m not going to judge. Also, in the context of my mother, this is her goal.

May 1, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Reflection. Leave a comment.