Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Ten Pounds

I look at this little dude, and all I can see is bacon

So Facebook thinks that I'm dieting.

If I just click on a link (and pay some money, no doubt), I can find out how to get rid of all my belly fat by just following one weird old diet tip.  Alternatively, I could join Weight Watchers (another click) or get liposucked (a third).

Facebook can't even see me - Facebook has no idea what size I am - but somehow it knows I want to be thinner. Because the  horrible truth is that I do want to be thinner. I don't even really know why, but it feels to me like life would be better if I was thinner. Curse you, Facebook, and your freaking omniscience.

To be clear: I am not a pixie, but I don't need a crane to hoist me out of bed, either. I'm a Medium. Shouldn't it be fine to be a medium? Shouldn't I be fine with being a medium?

And actually, I mostly am fine. I think I look fine. When I think about why I want to be thin, it's really got very little to do with how I look, and much more to do with how other people think of me. To be brutal, it's about power. Every pound a woman gains means that she loses a little respect from society, doesn't it? I like respect.

How did being thin get to be about power? I'm not really sure, but I do know that I'm not imagining it. I read a book last week where the heroine saw her old nemesis, Carly, and - shocker - in the ten years since the two women had last seen each other, Carly had gotten fat. Fat! And the heroine used to be really intimidated by Carly but now she doesn't have to feel intimidated by her anymore because Carly is fat! Oh the irony. Ha ha ha ha ha! Obviously, whatever the power dynamics were in the past, as of now Carly is the loser because Carly is fat. 

Hilarious.

And not at all unique. Things like this are everywhere. It's kind of accepted that women who are bigger are less, and that leaves us all chasing some kind of thinner, better version of ourselves, even when we really should know better. We've all got ten pounds that we want to lose, don't we? (Don't we?) I like to think that I'm reasonably level-headed, but I've been trying to lose ten pounds for approximately ever. And then when I stopped pushing our twins around in a giant stroller last year, I actually put on five, so now it's fifteen. I'm sort of constantly trying to lose fifteen pounds, in a low-level not-really-doing-anything-serious-about-it way. It feels reasonable to me from day to day, until I look at the pattern it creates in my life and realise that what I'm really doing - what so many of us are doing - looks a whole lot, from the outside, like chronic discontent, like chasing after the wind.

(Who is benefiting when I am chronically discontented with my body? I could blame the patriarchy or the diet industry or my husband and dissect what maybe they might get out of it but honestly, I don't think anybody at all benefits when I let things like this add a whole extra layer to my crazy).

One of the reasons I want to be thin, I guess - and one of the reasons we think it's okay to look down on people who aren't thin - is that thinness and self-control kind of look like the same thing. Bigger women must be greedy, or lazy, or something, right? They must be controlled by food, and who has any respect for someone who is controlled by food? I don't want people to look at me and assume that they see someone who lacks self-control. If I'm thin, I feel like I'm above reproach (and I know what I'm talking about: I was thin once; it was great). That's why I always want to lose that final ten pounds. Especially when that ten is really fifteen.

But honestly? Honestly, when I'm just eating food because I enjoy it, I'm not controlled by food at all. I'm just having a great time, because food is delicious and I get to eat it three time a day. Know when I'm controlled by food? When I'm on a diet. That's when I'm thinking about food all the time. That's when I'm planning and scheming and weighing and thinking and obsessing. That's when I can't think straight because I'm always wishing that I could find a good reason to eat some Haagen-Dazs and knowing that I never never can.

That's the crazy thing, here - slightly-squishy me looks like she is obsessed by food, but totally is not. Thin me, on the other hand, looks like a paragon of self-control but is actually thinking about food constantly. Those days when I'm really seriously trying to lose weight, that's when I'm controlled by food. (Food and, frankly, vanity. Not self-respect - vanity).

Here's an idea: how about I think less about how I look on the outside, and more about how things really are on the inside. How about deciding that I'm fine just as I am, at least until I hit the high-risk category for heart disease.

I choose contentment.

I choose not letting something as boring as fat control my mind and my thoughts.

I choose that. I really, really do.

Just as soon as I lose these last ten pounds.


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(oh, and by the way - I finally got around to joining twitter, yikes. Welcome to the 21st century, Claudia. I put my new buttons on the side!)

27 comments:

  1. Heheh C, you are my hero. :D

    I have to lose 7 kg too. I was so thin once, I even was at great weight 5 weeks after giving birth!! And than I got lazy and put 5 kg on my ribs...Now I want to lose them but am also not doingh anything for that to happen... And you are right (again) - thin people are always thinking about food. :D

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    Replies
    1. But why SHOULD you need to lose 7kg? I'm willing to bet serious money you look great.

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    2. I should If I want to wear all my clothes. :)
      You know how I look, we are friends on FB. :D

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    3. eh, get new clothes. You look fantastic, now and always!

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    4. I'm sorry, I know I shouldn't butt in and, Rachel, you don't know me, but I have to say that what finally made me content with the shape of my body was getting clothes that fit me now. I know I'm a healthy weight for my height, so getting clothes that fit and then sort of keeping half an eye on whether they continue to fit has made me that much more content with ME. :) So I also vote that you should just get new clothes!

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  2. In my fantasies, I find a way to eat whatever I want and still be thin. In reality, I realize that if I'm not thin after giving up eating most baked goods in order to control my adult acne, then it just isn't going to happen. I think it's hard to make peace with our bodies and with food, when there are so many voices saying that we should be better than we are (even though that definition of "better" is questionable). There is so much freedom in just not having to think about it. And that is why I'm going to start running mountain marathons again and neglecting my family and all other responsibilities in order to train.

    Just kidding. Really I'm going to finish eating this chocolate bar that's in front of me and continue to buy clothes made of jersey knit.

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    Replies
    1. And that is why I love you. Even more today. ;)

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    2. MMMMMMM.... JERSEY! Best thing EV-AH, right?

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    3. Jersey is a modern fabric for today's modern woman. And I? Am a modern woman in need of a modern fabric. Elastic is also modern; I read that in Vogue, I think.

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    4. I'm pretty sure I read that too. At least I think that's what it said; it was kind of hard to make out through the bottom of my milkshake glass.

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    5. Not to mention how hard it is to focus whilst in a food coma.

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  3. I love you. I vacillate between all of this all of the time as well. Both personally and professionally (as in-as a personal trainer I don't know how to tell people they are wonderful and beautiful the way they are but also help them on their quest to get healthier-knowwhatimean?) love you. that is all.

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    Replies
    1. oh yeah, Tesi, you've got a big responsibility there, that's tough.

      Question: do you think our assumption that thinner = healthier is necessarily true? Because last time I got thin I was not really any healthier or fitter - just littler. Hmmmm.

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  4. I refuse to believe that you think about bacon when you see that thing. That is the cutest thing EVER. That little pig is so much cuter than, say, a giant-scary-rabbit it isn't even a contest.

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    Replies
    1. And it all comes back to Babe, doesn't it?.....

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    2. yeah, you got me. He's freaking adorable. But ask me again, two weeks into a diet.

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  5. Ooooh, you are so right on the money about the respect thing. I'm quite roundy. And when I was working in an office at break time, if I were seen with chocolate, someone was sure make some quietly snarky comment - ooh, you DO like your chocolate. Now, these gals all ate far worse rubbish in greater quantities. Even though they knew I have hypothyroidism and also walked to work and went for walks at lunch... if I had one lousy biscuit they felt compelled to comment. Even if they were eating cake at the time. And yes, I think it was because it made them feel morally superior for being thinner than me because obviously, my weight is a moral flaw, it can't possibly be the hypothyroidism because that could strike anyone. It MUST be some personal quality they can control in themselves and I can't. I would just tell them it is my homicide prevention medication. ;-)

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    1. yes, THAT!!!!!! LIke all you're allowed to eat if you're bigger than a size four is fruit. I hate that.

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  6. And now I want bacon.

    That's the crazy thing, here - slightly-squishy me looks like she is obsessed by food, but totally is not. Thin me, on the other hand, looks like a paragon of self-control but is actually thinking about food constantly. Those days when I'm really seriously trying to lose weight, that's when I'm controlled by food.

    This is why I cannot/will not ever diet. For me it is a rabbit hole to an eating disorder relapse. I try to make healthier choices most of the time (says the girl who just finished off a bag of chocolate chips), but thinking about it and over-focusing on it will only lead me to obsess and actually eat more and gain weight. I apparently have zero self control. I now eat what I want without guilt and let the pounds fall where they may. Ironically when I follow this method I remain a healthy and satisfying weight.

    For the record, you just posted a picture of yourself on your last post. Gorgeous lady. 15 pounds, my ass. Whatever.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. see, I want to reply to this sensibly, but all I can think about now are your chocolate chips.

      Seriously.

      Have I said how GREAT it is that you're around again???

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    2. (and yes, it is mostly on my ass. Well spotted).

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  7. OMG congrats on Twitter! I'm still not even on FB, ha.

    As far as weight--it's a tough issue for me to weigh in on :) I've been obsessed to varying degrees with my weight for forever and I wish I wasn't but I am. The only time I didn't think about food when I was skinny was when the weight FELL OFF post adoption. I'd never experienced anything like it. I look back at pictures and honestly think I look good, if maybe a bit gaunt. Sick eh? But the stress of the adoption is what did it I guess... so strange.

    Ultimately I want to be healthy first and foremost so I take my cholesterol meds, remain vegetarian, run like crazy--but yet I still want to lose that last ten pounds too. It's a mad mad world. But I agree with everyone else--you look wonderful!

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  8. Oh I forgot--my sentence about being healthy--yes I take my meds and am vegetarian and run but I EAT--and eat and eat and eat sweets and other junkie stuff. Hence the want to lose the last ten pounds. But yet I'm not really wanting to give up all that delicious food.

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  9. Facebook just suggested that I like a page called "Diet foods that don't suck"
    I get this.

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  10. Well. You just articulated so much of what my brain has been trying to figure out lately. I grew up a "skinny girl." Like the pediatricians asked if I was "having any problems in my relationships that I wanted to discuss in private with them." Like a coworker saw me in a fitted shirt for the first time one day and exclaimed loudly (in a full lunchroom mind you) "Oh. My. GOD! HOW do your organs FIT INSIDE your body?" Yes. And then one day I got married, and was pregnant 2.5 weeks later and then again 3 years later And Suddenly. I am Average, Medium if you will. "Slightly Squishy" captures it perfectly. And after years of discontent with my lack of poundage, I have some and am feeling the need to lose 10 pounds and work out and all I can think about is the ice cream in the freezer that will be wasted if I decide not to eat it and how sad and meaningless a life without cheese would be. And I feel the need to hid my slightly squishy self and be ashamed for looking more convex than concave these days. Why is that? Thank you for your thoughts. I appreciate them. Also, I greatly enjoy reading about your fascinating life and I am ever so excited to purchase your book upon its arrival.

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Over to you!