We’ve all seen the Facebook Meme for the month of November–Things I’m Thankful For–during which people list a different thing they’re thankful for every day of the month. I don’t remember if this started last year, the year before, or the year before that or whenever, but quite frankly, right now I’m more in a “things that irritate me” or “things that piss me off” or “things I’m sick and tired of seeing and hearing” mindset.
Maybe that’s wrong of me, but it is what it is.
Are there things I’m thankful for? Absolutely. But I try to express that thankfulness and gratitude on a regular basis, whereas I don’t often express the things that really, truly bother me and WHY those things bother me. So fuck it, here we go.
1. Fat. Seriously. Fat fucking bothers me. It irritates me. Namely, MY fat. The fat I’ve gained back over the past few months. The fat that just seemed to appear OUT OF FUCKING NOWHERE and that is making me feel awful. Awful physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m absolutely disgusted with myself. I’m disgusted when I look in the mirror. I’m disgusted when I stand up, when I sit down, when I climb stairs, when I do pretty much anything. And it isn’t necessarily what you’re thinking–that I’m fat shaming. I’m not. I’m disgusted with myself because I let myself get back here, because back in July when things went to shit I gave up. I didn’t realize at the time that I was giving up, but I was. It was all too much, I felt personally attacked on several different fronts, emotionally bruised. Medifast didn’t believe me, which is apparently a big trigger for me. I got fired, and in the process my capabilities were attacked on a very personal level (intentionally so by that person, and I knew it at the time but it still got to me). I switched my birth control, and I’m guessing the increased estrogen only exacerbated the situation. I was hurt, and so I did what I’ve done since I was a kid–I put my armor on. And boy did I put it on quick. 20 pounds in 3 weeks. That’s ridiculous. I’ve put on even more since then, and last week was at a lovely 218.3. This wouldn’t bother me anywhere near as much if it wasn’t so much fat. Yeah, I’m sure there’s some water in there, too (I FEEL bloated and think that maybe I’m about to have a period again, which I haven’t had in a few months thanks to the birth control that made me feel like I was pregnant but that I’ve since gotten off of completely), but for the most part it’s just fat. Fat fat fat. And I hate it.
2. Fitspo type stuff. Seriously. These images and memes get shared like crazy by tens of thousands of women. They’re everywhere. Facebook. Tumblr. Pinterest. These images and memes are doing nothing more than promoting self-hate and body shaming, and aren’t inspirational at all. This guy does a wonderful job of poking at fitspiration photos, and every single one of his arguments is valid. The thing is, fitness happens at different levels for different people. But you don’t see that reflected in fitspo stuff. The only model of “fitness” you see is someone who’s probably an actual fitness model, meaning she (or he) does this as a job. They’re going to be thing with well-defined muscles and bodies most women say they would “kill” for (and sadly, I think there are some women out there who are desperate enough to actually kill for that type of body). For most of us, though, who have day jobs and families and meals to cook and houses to clean and errands to run, the fitspo ideal isn’t realistic.
We’re told to basically punish ourselves for skipping a workout (doesn’t matter WHY you skipped the workout, because according to fitspo you should ALWAYS make time to workout and only the lazy ever skip a workout, and lazy = fat, y’know). We’re told to punish ourselves for having a cookie (because, y’know, one cookie is going to make us blow up like the Goodyear blimp). And we’re (irresponsibly) told to keep pushing ourselves even when our bodies are trying to tell us to just stop already. I hate this shit, and I hate that basically the message has shifted from the ideal of being skinny or thin to the ideal of being “fit” and yet the only pictures of that ideal we see are of, well, skinny women who just happen to have well-defined muscles. And as a marketer, I’m not blind to the subtle (and not so subtle) marketing messages in these images too. How many of them feature a Nike Swoosh or the Reebok logo or Lulumon yogo pants?
And as a marketer, the sheer amount of irresponsibility by the marketers for these companies makes me sick. Because, seriously, how can you feel good about yourself, your job and your product if the way you choose to market that product promotes an unrealistic ideal that leads many women to disordered eating? I’m just…fed up. Why do we–as women–CONSTANTLY compare ourselves to other women and want what we don’t have? Why can’t we just be happy with ourselves–as imperfectly perfect as we are–and recognize that EVERY. BODY. IS. DIFFERENT.
3. Myself. I pretty much went over this in #1, but it bears repeating. I haven’t liked myself much here lately. Oh, I’ve PRETENDED to like myself. I’ve tried to convince myself that I like myself just fine, and that I love myself and my body no matter what size it is. But honestly? That’s such a load of bullshit. To be fair, I like myself as a person. On most days. Some days. It doesn’t feel like it much here lately. But I hate the fat. And that’s why I have a hard time liking myself here lately–I see the weight gain as a weakness. After talking over stuff with Phillip the other day, I now realize that the weight gain was me trying to protect myself. I was hurt, and I don’t like people to know when I’m hurt. I like to pretend and project this image of being a “tough girl” who can get through shit and bounce back quickly. And sure, I do bounce back fairly quickly. I think it’s a blessing, but it could be a curse. Maybe a double-edged sword. Jury’s still out. But the fact of the matter is, I think I’m a little like a turtle. I’m pretty strong mentally and emotionally, but I have my soft spots. And like a turtle, when those soft spots are poked I withdraw into my shell in order to protect myself from what my brain perceives to be a major threat. The only problem is that for me, that shell is fat. In some ways, I’ve wanted to be invisible the past few months (which is super difficult when one’s job-hunting). I’m still struggling with wanting to be invisible. I’m dreading the holidays, because it means I have to see family. Family who hasn’t seen me since I put the weight back on. I’m afraid of what I might see on their faces or hear from them (or not hear or not see, to be fair). Last Christmas it was a lot of, “you look great” and “I’m so proud of you” and “way to go.” I wasn’t necessarily super comfortable with that, either, though. But this? I’m really not comfortable with this. And I don’t need others to judge me when I do a damned fine job of that myself. That thought process, in and of itself, is illustrative of just how screwy my head is. What should I care what other people think? And if love and affection and respect from FAMILY is based upon my weight, that isn’t a reflection of some moral failure on my part, but a moral failure on their part.
4. My body’s inability to tolerate gluten and dairy. While I can work to change the outside of my body and hopefully lose the weight I gained back, there really isn’t much I can do about the fact that my body simply does not like gluten and dairy. I’ve figured out that if I have wheat once or twice a week I’m okay. More than that and my body freaks the f out. And dairy? Forget about it. Cheese I seem to be okay with (in moderation), but milk, ice cream and yogurt do awful, awful things to my stomach. Yes, even lactose free stuff. And yet I still want the stuff. Not all the time like I used to, but every now and then I want a muffin, or fajitas, or some freaking Greek yogurt, but I know that if I eat those things I will pay for it. The weird thing is that I know that I’m highly allergic to peanuts and that they make my brain swell, so I stay away from peanuts. It doesn’t bother me at all to have to stay away from peanuts (I mean, seriously, brain swelling is nothing to really play around with). And I know that soy causes all kinds of gastric distress that you simply do not want to be around for, and I have no problem staying away from soy. I don’t generally want those things or products with those things in them (every now and then I do wish I could have a PayDay or Butterfinger, but those are honestly rare occasions). But I still want stuff with wheat and dairy. WTF Then again, when I first discovered that I have to be careful with almonds, I had a very similar reaction. To be honest, I think I know what it is–even when I’m restricting for an honest to God VALID reason (my health), my brain’s all like, “Restrictions! That means you must binge on all the things!” I got through it with the almonds, so I’m sure I’ll get through it with wheat and dairy (I can have almonds every now and then, too, just not all the freaking time).
5. My brain. It reacts to stuff in funny ways. See the above few sentences regarding restricting and then wanting to binge, even though logically I know that if I eat those things I will feel bad afterwards. I’m going through those thoughts with other stuff, too, although it’s pretty much focused on wheat and dairy. Long story short: Eating a pretty much Paleo diet seemed to really work for me. I was maintaining my weight without really having to track calories every single day (although on the days that I did I was incredibly obsessed with macronutrients), I had energy, was sleeping well, was having really good workouts and generally just felt GOOD. Sure, I was weighing in at around 170 pounds, which according to the BMI (which is a piece of shit, IMO) meant I was still pretty overweight for my height. But I had good muscle tone, and I felt great and to be honest looked really good. At the time, I felt a little irritated that I still had a bit of a belly, but I felt good. Unfortunately, when I (subconsciously) decided to retreat into my turtle shell a few months ago, I REALLY retreated into my turtle shell, to the point where I’ve been holding a bunch of shit in. My poor husband hasn’t known or understood 100% what’s been wrong with me, or all of the crap going through my head or my current level of self-hatred (oh, he knew I wasn’t happy and that I didn’t like myself, but I don’t think either of us realized the extent until I finally let it all out this weekend), just that all of a sudden I gained a shit ton of weight back and then wasn’t happy. Honestly, I’ve been feeling sorry for myself and wracked with guilt because we spent so much time and money on Medifast only for me to gain it all back in much less time than it took me to lose it. I’ve also been trying to normalize my eating and my relationship with food, to stop looking at foods as “good” or “bad” but rather by how they make me feel physically. I’m getting better at that, but still feel like I wrestle with it sometimes (see: wheat and dairy). I’ve been trying to find what works for me, but apparently I haven’t found anything so far since I’ve just continued to gain weight (and have honestly felt like crap–I’m tired again, I’m snoring again, my ankle that I injured hurts more than it did just a few months ago and the stairs at work make me feel like a fat, lazy slob who loses her breath by the time she’s done). I haven’t felt this bad in a long time, folks. Even though I’m basically the same weight now that I was when I started Medifast, I feel like I’m in worse shape now than I was then. Part of that is because I gained the weight back so freaking fast. Part of that is because I’d lost a little bit of muscle and stamina while doing Medifast. Which brings me to number 6.
6. The fact that I have to do this shit again. Sure, I could let myself keep gaining weight or try to maintain where I am, but I would be fucking miserable and feel like shit. I don’t want to be miserable and I don’t want to feel like shit. I’m pretty pissed that I have to do this weight loss crap again. I’m tired of it. I am so fucking tired of it. But now, this really is about my health. I think before, I kept saying it was about my health, and it was about my health. To be honest, though, it was also about my looks and my weight and thinking that being skinny would somehow magically make life better. Well, here’s a newslfash to ANYONE who’s thinking about losing weight or trying to lose weight or in the middle of a weight loss journey: IT DOESN’T. Being skinny isn’t some magical elixir that suddenly makes things better. You’re still you, just smaller. In fact, some things get harder (for example, I actually had a harder time finding clothes that fit properly because it ends up, when I’m at a healthy weight I have a fuckton of curves, and women’s clothes are seemingly made for women who don’t have a fuckton of curves). I guess the good news/bad news is that I now have a really good idea of where my “happy place” is weight-wise. It’s nowhere near as low as what I’d originally planned with Medifast (139, FWIW), and is actually higher than what I’d originally set for myself when I first started this journey almost four years ago (165–my happy place seems to be between 170 and 175). Granted, I think body fat percentage and lean muscle mass also play a role in that, but I know where that place is now. And it’s not unattainable. I’m just pissed that I have to do this again. It’s tempting to reach for the lightning in a bottle again, and go for the “quick fix” that causes you to drop a shit ton of weight really freaking quickly (coughMedifastcough), but I know that isn’t the way to go. You can’t maintain that kind of weight loss, it screws with your metabolism, it only exacerbates disordered eating behaviors, etc. I don’t like feeling desperate, though, which is what I feel like right now. Desperation was what made me choose Medifast in the first place, and we all see how that worked out. The fact is, though, after losing weight so quickly with Medifast, I feel pressured (by myself–not by anyone else) to lose it again that quickly. I know it isn’t realistic or healthy. But I still feel pressured. So I feel stuck and immobile and like a deer in headlights. I’ve been working out this entire time–maybe not as hard as I should, or as often as I should–but it’s felt like a chore (which it often does, no matter what size I am, because I either like to be lazy or do manual labor like lift all the bags of deer corn rather than sit on a stationary bike or a weight bench). And we decided that maybe I should go Paleo again (I have reservations, because of the aforementioned restricting and bingeing), and I decided that I would basically do Paleo while allowing myself to eat grains and potatoes every now and then, just not all the time. High protein diet and a renewed commitment to exercise 5 days a week. I have no enthusiasm for this. I just feel…blah about it all. Which means I probably really need to do it, because I’ve obviously slipped into a mild depressive state.
7. Diamonds Direct commercials. There, I said it. I hate those fucking commercials. They make me want to punch someone in the face. They’re stupid and lame and make me embarrassed to be a marketer. There, I said it.
8. I totally forgot this, until I’d posted the original blog, but another thing that I HATE is this cockamamie, stupid, degrading idea that some women apparently think is a great idea: AR Wear. When I first saw this posted on a friend’s Facebook, I got super excited thinking, “Ooh. AR Wear. Tactical clothing for women. Sweet!” Imagine my disappointment when I clicked through and found that it was two women thinking that special underwear and “passive resistance” can keep one from getting raped. Um, how about no. Go home, AR Wear, you’re drunk. In all seriousness, though, this idea is just as harmful as the fitspo shit I posted earlier. It does nothing but promote rape culture and the idea that the onus of rape is upon the victim rather than the rapist himself (or herself, in some cases). The creators claim that “passive resistance” will keep you from getting raped. Not necessarily. And in fact, passive resistance will often leave a woman to have the shit beat out of her AND raped if not killed. Why is that? Because rape isn’t about sex, which is something these idiots don’t seem to understand. It’s about control and power. So instead of selling women incredibly restrictive underwear that would make peeing in the club’s bathroom stall while drunk in six inch heels an Olympic sport, how about we teach women how to defend themselves? Because believe me, some stupid AR Wear boyshorts aren’t going to keep me from getting raped, but you damn well better believe my actual AR WILL.
(Note: I realize that out of the three people who read my blog, probably all of you…or at least one of you…will automatically get super worried about me after reading this. It’s appreciated, believe me. But you don’t need to worry about me. I’ll be fine–I’m always fine. I’m just going through a rough patch right now and needed to get it all out and sorted out in my head rather than letting it continue to be a jumbled, tangled mess up in there. Weight loss isn’t a magic pill, but when your weight makes you feel physically bad you have to do something about it. And when I feel physically bad, it tends to make me feel bad mentally and emotionally, too. Funny how the brain and body are connected like that.
So thank you for your concern. But I will be okay. I promise.)