June 24, 2006
the great weight debate.
i've not brought up the subject of weight in a long time. i used to journal quite regularly over at my friend, constance's website, FINDINGbalance, back in 2002. it was during that time of my life that i was, for the first time, looking at my body for what it was: something to be loved and taken care of. through those journals (some of which are found in my abbreviated portfolio on this site), i explored the process of caring for my fitness and diet as worship, and i took quite literally the biblical charge that one's body is a temple.
i've gone back and forth since that preparatory period of my life. i know that i was trying to be authentic in all areas of my being, and staring down the demons of my history with anorexia--and overall physical self hate--was just one piece of the puzzle. exposing that intimate part of myself gave way to looking at even more intimate issues, including my sexuality, and exposing them to the light.
meanwhile, since 2002, my weight has yo-yo'ed like nobody's business. in 2002, i was able to bring myself from the edge of moderate obesity (5'6", 186 lbs) down to a passable 165. and then i went to ireland, where my diet consisted largely of bread and guinness. i gained all the weight back, but i was in a happy place, and so it didn't worry me all too much.
when i began the journey of coming out, and soon after falling in love, i lost a LOT of weight, without even trying. i ate when i could, but mostly had no appetite, and it was only a matter of time before the immense stress i was experiencing manifested itself in the form of an ulcer. naturally, this complicated my diet and fitness, and by fall 2003, i had dropped down to about 145 lbs, which is an acceptable weight, theoretically; only i had lost nearly 40 pounds in four months.
i took great solace in my new body: it may not have worked very well, but it looked nice. and as the rest of my world was in spiritual and psychological upheaval, at least i had the creature comfort of a body that was beginning to attract "pretty girl" attention. i thought nothing about the balance i'd spent a long time to create, and simply lived on my steady diet of cigarettes and coffee. working at starbucks, of course, helped.
fast forward to 2006. the existential stress i went through during 2003-2004 has diminished considerably. i'm living in a fabulous home, full of love and joy (and dogs). i can eat again. i work a squishy ass job where i sit all day. since my embarrassing accident (see entry: RICE) in november 2004, i've had a weak ankle that has made my life all the more sedentary. and so the pounds have come back. my cholesterol is higher than it should be, and my fabulous ass jeans no longer fit.
i half heartedly began a new workout routine in may, and coincidentally, have gained another ten pounds. some of my weight gain is due to meds, but much of it is due to depression-style beer drinking.
(ps i'm enjoying a beer as i write this.) my weight is way out of balance, and i'm not sure how to get it back.
here, for the small world to read, is my fucked up thought process as of today: i know the solution to this imbalance: i must work out consistently. i must rein in the beer consumption, not to mention the nicotine. i must monitor my diet. blahblaheffingblah.
one must find balance even in the imbalanced times. of this much i am sure. i am painfully aware of my limits right now. remember? i was in the hospital only two weeks ago. my med cocktail has got me especially vulnerable to emotional ups and downs. i simply haven't the capability to commit myself to a strict regimen of any sort. the physical energy required to take on a full workout leaves me emotionally exhausted. all energy is being used to keep myself okay. and so, perfectionist me really needs to give herself a break. perfectionist me needs to say, "sweet girl, it's been a rough patch. relax. bring your mental health back to a balance, and we can tackle the external situation when you're ready."
naturally, there's the voice that calls bullshit on my thought process. my clothes don't fit, i'm ballooning to uncomfortable proportions, and i'm ridiculously self conscious in any social situation. i can't believe that after years of grappling with this whole body image thing, i'm still comparing myself to bodies i will never have. that's so nicole ritchie, right?
comments are wide open here. i would really, really love some voices outside of my own head to weigh in on this topic. where do you find that balance, and are you able to keep it? because i always come back to this question: if i never lose another pound, will i ever feel physically comfortable in my own skin?
right now, as i hide the curves as best i can, my answer is shit. i don't think so. and i want to be more than that.
Posted by bananie at June 24, 2006 5:04 PM
You need to take care of your insides first. Get calm and know you are loved regardless. Accept that you are talented and amazing. This working on your inside will ultimately include how you feel about your outside. But please remember: Comfort and health are so much more important than looks -- and if you *feel* better, that will project to others and you'll look good. My only idea: If you are already registered and stuff for grad school, check if the college has a personal trainer program for the students. (Belmont does this.) If they do, sign up. Seriously. It's much cheaper than a gym membership. Yeah, you'll get a fellow student as your trainer but they are highly skilled, insured, and really eager to learn to relate to people because many of them are physical therapy majors and the like and they want to work with people who need some help. I finally admitted I needed some help just a few months ago. It's really been a blessing. Personal trainers sound so Belle Meade, I know, but I'm really grateful that I tried it out. Okay, rambling now (I should so be in bed). Wish I had something more profound to tell you. . .
I really don't have any conclusive answers to this, but I can tell you what has gone on for me in the last few months.
I was at my weightiest right before my breakup in January of this year: 270. Everyone told me I held it really well, so I really wasn't worried about things.
I was so busy with so many thing for so long, up till March, that I didn't realize that I had lost 25 pounds, like during a blink.
Then I decided to watch what I eat and only eat fried foods, cheescake, or alcohol on the weekends. I lost another 10.
Then I started exercising four times a week and lost a net 5 pounds after gaining 5.
So, all I can figure out from all this is that there is no rhyme or reason to my weight loss. Should I recommend complete life upheval? Not on your life...it's ridiculous. But recommending exercise every day: where's my quantitative proof? I lost a piddly 5 pounds.
So, all I can say is this: my goals lately have not been anything about losing or maintaining weight. Instead, my entire goal with eating well and exercising is just feeling good on the whole. Or feeling whole, come to think about it. I can breathe, which means I can think, which means I can make another good choice, which means I can eat good and exercise, which means I can breathe. I don't have time to be hot in a bathing suit, but I do have time to do my things with a fully functioning body.
The only practical tip I can give: when you start to worry or feel guilty about not exercising, strap on the ipod and get going...it'll be unfathomably hard to do for the first 20 minutes (in fact, it so hard that I was laughing about it at the gym and everyone probably thought I was crazy), but then it somehow gets precipitiously easier...and it beats spending time on the mind stuff that won't get you anywhere. =)
Love -- Keith
First, go buy a fabulous fat outfit. I lost 30 pounds a few years ago and kept it off until recently, when I decided it time for the next thirty to go, I notice some of the first thirty, about half, has crept back. All my clothes were uncomfortable, though not unwearable. So I decided to go out and buy a fabulous fat outfit. Something that I look smashing in, with no regard to the size.
The pants are already a bit big and my clothes are finding ease. But I still need to get back to the original 30 loss and contemplate the next 30 further. Yoga is what is missing for me. It was a constant for a few years that made keeping the weight off effortless. Knowing this has done little to keep me motivated, but when life is otherwise good, a few pounds in the balance, ok more than a few, are really not too much a concern.
I am otherwise in good health but the pounds still need to go.
I wonder if women in other cultures have body issues? I'm really hard-pressed to think of ANY friend who doesn't have body issues...even my friend Jo - who won a national body building award when she was younger - will pull at half a centimeter of skin on her flat, tight abs and complain that she's gaining weight!
After Olivia was born, I was obsessed with my "gross" body, and I finally decided I was going to tell myself every morning, "I am a beautiful woman with a beautiful body." It lasted for a week, maybe.
I have to blame it on our culture. Then I have to blame myself for being sucked into the hype. Then I pray, "Please let my daughter be spared this insanity." Then I think about moving to Zaire...or somewhere women don't obsess about body image.
And just for the record: I think you're gorgeous. Every time in every way I've ever seen you. Stunning and brilliant you are.
have you read 'fat is a feminist issue' by susie orbach? it's pretty good. although i read it last week and am still fat so who knows if it works.... :)