Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weight loss and self image

I debated whether or not to write about this, because I try not to write too much about myself, personally.  But... this isn't really compromising the privacy for my friends or JD or even too much of my deep inner feelings.  I was also hesitant to write about it because I know a LOT of people have weird relationships with weight, and I don't want to upset anyone who reads this blog, (which is like three people on a consistent basis, but whatever) and I'm a little ashamed of how I'm reacting to this, to be honest.  But hey.  I like to be honest, and this is a really commonly discussed topic in lady issue circles.

So... I've lost weight, since my wedding and moving.  Not a lot, but enough that my average weight range is now lower than the lowest end of my weight range has been for at least six years.  About ever other morning now, my weight ends up below 1X0 instead of above 1X0, and at the time of my wedding, it was averaging at about 1X7.  (Oh, and the reason for the Xs?  My actual weight isn't relevant to this post.  Insert whatever number for X that you want, I really don't care.)  I generally consider myself to be a person who is pretty accepting of all sizes, and pretty size-positive.  I'm not an outright fat activist, but I really do believe that health and appearance are often not related, and that if someone is fat, it's their own business and says nothing about their personality or even life habits.  Like most people, I know skinny people who eat shit and drink all the time, and heavier people who work out and eat healthy.

The thing that is weird here, is that the second morning in a row that the scale was under 1X0, (because the first morning it was I dismissed it as a total fluke) I got really, really happy.  And then really upset with myself for being happy.  Because my weight doesn't matter, and I'm pretty happy with the way I look, and the way I have looked the last few years.  Hell, before my wedding, I actually knew I couldn't lose weight, or my dress wouldn't fit.  But now, I'm just dropping weight, and I'm not trying.  The main thing is that I'm drinking less, because I'm studying for the bar instead of being depressed that I don't have a job.  I'm also possibly eating healthier, because summer means MOAR DELICIOUS FRUIT, and I really like fruit but really hate apples.  Seriously, they are the WORST.

I'm also drinking more tea and fidgeting a lot.  Because man, barbri is essential, but it is BORING so I drink my tea and I basically dance in my chair the days we do lectures at home, and hope no one notices that my legs are flailing around the days we do lectures in class.  But like... I don't get it.  I still eat peppermint mochas and danishes for breakfast whenever I am slow moving in the morning, and I still am a fairly lazy non exercising person, since I don't have a gym membership and our pool is um, not really meant for swimming in and also always full of people getting drunk.

And yet, my happy-with-myself self is... happy that I'm losing weight, even though there are really no physical signs of this.  I grew up being sort of terrified of getting fat, since my mom is heavier and was pretty vocal about her disappointment with her body, and that led to some internalization of body-fear.  Mix that with the fact that I'm about half a foot taller than most of my friends were growing up and that my shoulders and hips are wide, I always felt ridiculously huge and disproportional, even though as an adult I realize the only thing really disproportional about me is my ridiculously long waist.  Which means next to no shirts actually meet the waistline of my jeans.  Thanks, body!  Anyway, I remember trying on my mom's wedding dress when I was 14 or 16, and it wouldn't zip up past the start of my ribcage.  (given that it is over 40 years old though, I don't think I would have wanted to wear it anyway NO OFFENSE MOM) It all fed into a really self conscious and uncomfortable me back when I was a teen and just starting college.  I am also a lazy person who enjoys cheese, booze, and sweets, so um, yeah.  But as I became an adult and realized my body had settled into a shape I actually liked, I stopped worrying, and I stopped caring as much, and other than weighing myself about once a week, I really didn't care.

And now I'm weighing myself every day marveling at this, and thinking that I'm only 3 pounds away from the weight I was when I graduated highschool now, and wondering what is WRONG WITH ME THAT I EVEN CARE.  Part of me is all "Yes, losing weight!!!" and the other part of me is all "NO I want to keep my boobs and hips and butt!" and the dominant part of me is all "SHUT UP OR I WILL THROW OUT THE SCALE".

Losing weight is not automatically going to make me healthier, not if the most exercise I get is fidgeting.  And while I do eat a LOT more fruit than I had been doing in Boston, I feel like I am actually eating more food here, not less.  So what is going on?  I don't understand my own metabolism, and I don't completely understand my reaction to it, and I feel a little bit like a science project, and the part of me that wants pretty new dresses is all "yessss, keep losing weight, get us new sundresses yesssssss" while the part of me that likes budgeting is telling me that I spent too much on nailpolish and peppermint mochas (WHICH ARE A LEGITIMATE STUDY AID AND THEREFORE EXCUSEABLE), and now I'm thinking that my sad materialistic/capitalist side and my sad appearance conscious side are trying to band together against the normal me who hangs out in jeans and a different color of the same tank top every day, with a ripped ugly grey hooded shirt on top, no makeup, and air-dried hair.

Whatever.  I'm still going to keep my new nightly habit of drinking 1/3 of a mug of warmed heavy whipping cream while reading before bed.


April said...

I think we're long-lost twins or something (only I'm really short and always wished I was taller).

I went through exactly the same thing after moving from the city to a nearby suburb nearly a year ago. I was mostly comfortable with my own weight and body image at that point, but once I moved and quit my job, I started losing a lot of weight, somewhat inexplicably, to the point that I got down to my own high school weight. I was thrilled, and felt a little bad about it. I hate, hate, hate fat-shaming and body-policing, and since I was eating far worse living out here than when I was in the city (farmers markets! Biking! Walking everywhere!), I was pretty perplexed. I felt better about my health and my physical activity and lifestyle living in the city, and realized ultimately that I was just eating less frequently out here than before, probably due to not being at a job with endless snacking opportunities nearby.

But, anyway, I know how you feel. And now that I got another job just a couple weeks ago and now work at another office with endless snacking opportunities, I've started to gain a little more weight again. I'm talking like, 5lbs, but now, because I spent the last 6 or so months happily skinnier, the whole weight gain shame is back in full force, and I'm trying really hard to actively remember that this fear is irrational and unhealthy.

Arg. I really don't have much else to say on the matter, other than "I totally understand."

Allison said...

One, we should talk shopping, since we are built somewhat similarly (though I'm a bit shorter). Two, I think that's very understandable. It's a big part of why I don't own a scale -- having access to knowing my weight is likely to make me worry about it. If I can't know the number, I really don't think about it, except when clothes I love don't fit (either too loose or too big).