**TW for diet talk, emotional breakdowns about weight, body hate, EDs,etc. **
I kind of had a meltdown about my weight today. I know that may be weird to read, seeing as how I am generally positive about the way I feel about my body. It was weird and almost surreal to even feel that way, but I did. And it made me feel very, very alone.
I’ve been going and seeing a lot of doctors recently because my insurance runs out in October. I’m overall pretty healthy, but there were a few concerns. A doctor told me that I have the onset/ risk factors for PCOS, which is why it has been so hard for me to lose weight throughout my life. They attributed PCOS to my weight, a “vicious cycle.” I felt uncomfortable with this idea because I have read so many studies stating the contrary. I know it’s genetic, but I was stuck between what I know and what I was being told. I was told to get on medication, which I did not do, as I do not have anything the medication was for. I was also told to see a dietitian. I had my reservations, of course, but I decided there couldn’t be anything wrong with bettering my eating habits and nutrition.
Walking into the office, I was nervous. I felt like the people there thought I felt badly about my body and my appearance. I didn’t. Yet it still made me feel vulnerable. The tall, thin girl at the front desk had bright pink lips that had been injected with Botox. I looked back at the call center and saw many girls who looked just like her. Everyone was thin. She asked for my paperwork and a few other things, but otherwise was a bit cold to me. She was probably just having one of those days, but just being where I was, I felt like I did not deserve a conversation from her.
I got called back into the room, had my blood pressure taken and had to step on a scale. I have not been on a scale where I saw the number in about three years. I always based weight gain or loss on the way my clothes were fitting, how my body was feeling, and by just listening to my body in general. I have always found scales to be terrifying and very triggering. The minute I stepped on the scale- I saw my weight. It was more than I thought it would be. I immediately had this feeling I used to get during diets. I was always on diets as a kid. I think I was put on my first one at age 12.
I flashed back to being in 7th grade. I remember being called names for being fat. “Jelly Rolls” was everyone’s favorite, because it was the same name as those glittery pens I used to doodle with in school. I remember going home one day, and taking those pens and writing every bad thing anyone had ever said about me on a piece of paper: jelly rolls, fat ass, pudgy bitch, tubby. The list goes on and on. I wrote them all on a piece of paper and I stuck the paper to the treadmill in my parent’s room. I cried while I wrote it, and I tried to channel it into anger. I tried to channel that anger into being thin. I kept running on that treadmill, and every time I would feel myself starting to get weak, I would say those names aloud to keep myself from stopping. Through my heavy, tired breathing I would say, “C’mon fat ass! Keep running!” I remember my mom seeing the names taped to the treadmill when she got home that night and asking me about it. I told her that’s what people called me. It was my motivation. And she just nodded her head. It seemed like it was a good thing to do.
Fast forward to high school. Nothing much had changed except weight fluctuation. Thinner one minute, fat again the next. Diet, after diet, after diet. Nothing kept it off or ever got me to a weight goal. Working out every day, eating barely anything, and still not seeing a lot of results. I cried all the time. Every morning, I would wake up so hungry. I would go in the bathroom, take off all of my clothes, avoid the mirror, and step on the scale to see where I was. It was torture. It was all I knew for the majority of my life. This far away goal I was always told I had to obtain, that I was told I was able to obtain- but was never able to reach it. For thirteen damn years. And on top of that? I was always told it was my fault. I hadn’t done it right, or I was lying. I needed to push harder! I was trying as hard as I could. Hell, I even tried throwing up sometimes out of desperation and frustration with my body. I tried to go as long as I could without eating. I hated my body. It needed to be punished. Nothing was every good enough. I was never thin enough. No matter what I did I was still fat.
So I sit back down in the chair in the doctor’s office and the doctor comes in. She is warm, kind, and she asks me why I am there. I tell her it is out of health concerns and she seems to completely understand. She goes over a food plan with me, which was very close to diets I had done in the past- under 1000 calories, workout 4 days a week, mostly protein, veggies, fruit, everything organic. She had supplements, appetite suppressants, medication to help lose weight, detoxes, biofeedback, and some holistic remedies to chose from. Great. I can do that. I feel really, really weird about it because I know that diets don’t work. But maybe I am being skeptical and this will be good. I’m all about organic eating and moving your body, at least. Oh, but it’s $1800 for three months. Oh, and my insurance (that has literally covered EVERYTHING else I have had done) does not cover weight loss. So let me get this strait… You will cover medications I do not need to help with issues you attribute to being overweight but you will not contribute to a dietitian and actual weight loss? That makes sense! So if you want to be thin, hell, if you just want to be healthy, you need to have the money, not only to afford medical attention for weight, but the price of eating organic, hormone free, super expensive food that goes bad somewhat quickly? And you need the time to cook it all! Awesome. Not classist at all. I told her I would have to think it over and would let her know.
I called my dad on the drive home. He is about 400lbs, and I physically take after him from body shape, to health, all the way down to the thickness of my hair and shape of my nose. Although we are not close- I have always felt that he is the only one in my life that knows exactly how I felt about my body issues and struggles. I tell him how much it is and that I can’t afford it. Without me asking, he tells me he would love to help, but no one has the money. I talk to my mom- who was extremely thin most of her life. She is upset I even went to a dietitian. Apparently, I should be able to just look up stuff on the Internet and “fix the problem myself.” Oh it’s that easy?! I had no idea! Why didn’t I think of that?!
I’m feeling really discouraged. I’m deflated. Here… here is this out, or so it seems. This out of size 22/24s. Back into my 14/16s. Maybe even a 12! Out of this cycle of weight gain. Out of losing friends over my fatness. Out of weird looks from people. An out from constantly defending myself for my body. Out of not being able to breathe when sitting in the desk at school. No more feeling my ass hanging out about an inch over the chair. No more tops not fitting. I’ll be able to buy jeans I like. I won’t feel like people are laughing when I go out dancing or being scared I’ll be turned away at the door. All of these thoughts coming from the idea being sold to me, that there is a way out of the struggle with society and it’s tiny fucking booth seats with the table attached to the wall and expensive plus size bras. I won’t have to worry about what I will look like in pictures for my wedding in 5 weeks. Holy shit! This sounds amazing! And I can’t do it. It’s not graceful, logical, or even about the money, but I cry. Hard.
I cry because I am fat. I cry because I love myself and I love my fat body. I cry because I was told to hate my body. And the fatter I am, the more hate I have to combat. I cry because I know it is so silly of me to feel this way. I know that diets don’t work. I know this is a social construct that was put in place to make me feel bad. It’s there to make me buy things and blame myself. I cry because even though I love my body and have accepted my body- the path to full acceptance is never over. I think it’s an ongoing process. And sometimes, even those of us who are dedicating their lives to promoting self-love and body acceptance don’t like our bodies. Sometimes the struggle against the constant beratement that one gets from the media, friends, peers, family, even doctors, can be too much to bare. I felt all those old feelings about my body come up from somewhere I thought I had banished them, and they say to me, in a Gollumish tone, “Don’t you want out of this? It’s so hard to resist! Give in.” And I really want to, which makes me feel awful. I’m tired of the struggle against diet culture. I’m tired of being judged. But I realize, I’m even more tired of everything telling me to diet and hate my body. I’m tired of EDs and people not feeling like they’re beautiful. I’m tired of being told I’m not beautiful. I’m tired of being treated differently because of my size. And instead of giving in, I’m going to keep fighting back. And in that moment, I felt everything I have learned about HAES, from reading your stories, everything I have read about fat acceptance, all the art, all the beautiful bodies, bigger and smaller than my own, that I found to be damn near ethereal come up in me and tell me it’s okay. It’s okay to feel this way. It’s okay to feel beat down. Some days you’re not going to like your body. Sometimes you may even feel like you hate it. You may feel so frustrated at the way society is and how there is a war being waged against your natural self. You may be tempted to give in. You may be tempted to hate yourself. And you might feel really, really alone when that happens. But you’re not. You’re really, really not.
I just wanted you to know that.