I read this article today and I just find it totally bizarre that 1) It was right next to a weight loss tip article 2) That the gentleman who she responded to assumed that he could judge her, that his opinion mattered and also assumed that she must be fat because she eats pizza 3) The comments were so vile! Before I get started I want to say that it is very dangerous to be obese and it is also very dangerous to be too thin – I think that rather than embrace either extreme, we need to embrace being healthy and identifying what is healthy for us. Health is not a one size fits all, it looks different on everyone and it can be so easy to assume that someone is doing something wrong because they don’t fit your idea of healthy.
My weight has always caused me a lot of anxiety, no thanks to my mother who tripled that anxiety. I’ve never been obese, I always played sports and ate pretty well but I have always been curvy and I hate it. The summer after I graduated from high school, I decided that I was going to be thin. I started working out 2 times a day and eating much less than I was used to. I was the smallest I had ever been, I was thin – what a delicious word thin. I loved the way I looked in clothes, I loved that other people loved the way that I looked in clothes. It was all I had ever wanted, then I got so thin that I stopped getting my period. Nothing is more terrifying than getting your period for the first time unless it’s not getting it for the first time. To be clear, I was never in danger of starvation or putting myself in real danger but I wasn’t at a healthy, sustainable weight for my body. I am at a healthy weight now, I am active, I eat right but I definitely don’t fit the ideal body type image. I strive to maintain the weight that I am now. Whenever I am tempted to break my diet I read depressing weight loss content on Reddit to shame myself into not eating poorly. I know, it is awful and I feel terrible and nobody knows this about me. Don’t get me wrong, I eat plenty – I don’t starve myself but I hate eating. I feel like for every 1 calorie that I intake, I gain 5 pounds – I’ve just always gained weight at a rapid pace. An email was circulating around work recently and it was about using shame as a behavior change tool, I panicked thinking that my secret was out. I hate to say that it does work for me though, keeping a food journal works because I don’t want to read the shitty stuff that I ate later on. Reading about people who have lost weight and now carry around 15 pounds of excess skin shames me into not eating the cookies in the break-room. For every second that I feel OK with my figure, there is a stretch mark or a dimple that makes me feel ashamed for letting it happen. Food is not a reward for me – it is simply sustenance. I can enjoy a fantastic meal but I have to ensure that I am fantastically hungry so that I don’t feel bad about it. I don’t eat socially, luckily I am allergic to loads of food and I excuse it with not wanting to risk a dangerous exposure but honestly, this is a God send. I don’t like people watching me eat and judging me based on what I eat or drink. The emotional struggle of deciding whether or not to finish something is ever present at every meal. I won’t lie though, yes, shame does work for me. If I am standing in line for coffee my order can change to anything skim real quick if a male or thinner female is standing in close proximity. Hell – just give me a cup of piping hot water. Reason being is that I know that I am being judged on what I am eating or drinking – it is the society that we live in. I don’t want total strangers to think that I have no self-control, that I am lazy or that I am a slob because of the way that I look. Maybe if she just ate less, she would be thinner. She should work out. Not knowing how much effort goes into looking just the way that I look.
I don’t have a healthy relationship with food honestly – I hate food and I only eat when I am hungry, for sustenance and that works for me. Did I feel more attractive when I was thin? Absolutely. I hate the way that I look now, I hate trying on clothes and knowing that they would look better if I was thinner. Knowing that I can be that thin makes it all the more irritating. But it is more important to be healthy. Just be healthy. Healthy looks great on everyone 🙂