Thursday, October 13, 2005

More on Food Obsession

My run with the flu pushed me off track with my gym and weights routine, and screwed my eating habits. Well, no, that's not true. My eating had been getting out of hand again as I was swallowed by stress, most of it having to do with trying to get the rewrites on the fantasy saga done. I felt like Iwas caught up in a tornado and then dropped into a big pool of sludge and I was floundering around, sinking faster and faster with every pitiful stroke...

It's no wonder I was literally bedridden and starving for a week, dreaming of food and the day when I could once again read a book without feeling like I was puzzling out a physics equation written in ancient Egyptian.

My week post-flu was spent being hungry all the time, eating lots of bread, pasta, yogurt, and soup and worrying about how much I was eating.

Last weekend, B came into town and said, "You know, I hate to say this, but you really have lost weight. It's a little disturbing."

Well, yes, it is. Because secretly, I really don't mind the way I look. For all my wishing and hoping that I'd drop two fucking sizes, I really don't mind looking the way I do. I like being substantial. But... but...

Now that the book's gone out, the major stress is off. I'm still living too much with my credit card, but I'm hoping to take care of that by the end of the year. My eating this week has been reasonable and very filling. I feel terribly content. I've been eating a big breakfast, snacking on grapes and yogurt during the day, partaking of communal roommate dinners at night (usually consisting of pasta and salad or fish and salad and asparagus, or eggs and vegetables, and etc.).

I've had no binging stress at all.

And I worried about that.

I worried about my weight, worried that I hadn't been able to get back to the gym, worried about what pancakes for breakfast every morning would do to my waistline. Worry, worry. Not a big worry, just that little, nagging voice, "You're eating too much. You're enjoying yourself. You won't lose weight this way. You're going to be confined to buying clothes from the same 3 stores for the rest of your life."


But nonetheless, there I was, sneaking out of the house last night and going to Borders to look for a list of books about compulsive eating, overeating, and body image.

I spent an hour going from shelf to shelf to shelf. With no luck. I couldn't find any of them.

And as I perused the "Recovery" section of the bookstore, looking at books purporting to cure me of smoking, bulimia, alcoholism, anorexia, and drug addiction, I thought, "What the fuck am I doing here?"

I was struck again at how much time, energy, and effort I put into thinking about dieting, weight loss, body image. It's not on my mind all the time now, but when I get to being worried, when I'm uncertain of myself, this is where I go back to. I think, "If I could just fix this one thing, everything will be all right."

Which is horseshit. Utter, utter horseshit.

I'll still be me. I'm the same person at a size 12 as a size 16. There's no difference.

And the real kicker? The real fucking kicker is that there's nothing wrong with me. I'm totally healthy. I take the stairs everywhere. I walk over an hour every day. I eat reasonably. I have no health problems whatsoever except that I overstress about things. That's going to be the source of any of my ill health problems, not the fact that I weight 200 lbs (or whatever). No doctor has ever told me to lose weight. I don't have any strange aches and pains in my back or my knees. I don't have diabetes. I don't smoke.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with me, and here I'm standing in the "recovery" section like I'm slowly choking to death on whipped cream.


So I left the Recovery section and went to the "General Military History" section and picked up a ridiculous number of books for God's War.

Fuck this shit.

I have more important things to do with my time.

Yea, I'll get back to the gym and hopefully jogging next week, but I don't intend to lose one bloody pound doing it.

I'm so tired of hating myself over a number.

9 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

kate.d. said...

right on. i stopped looking at what the scale said a few years ago- after college, during grad school, when i started realizing there were better things that i could be doing. go to the gym, don't eat like an insane person, and i'll be all right. now i get on the scale every 2 or 3 weeks at the gym, but no more than that.

funny how easy it is to fixate on the number, right? i just stopped looking at it as much! 

Posted by kate

AFM said...

I think it's time to make fat sexy again! I know I confuse the crap out of the gentlemen cause I'm all curvaciously plump and they like it! But they think they only like supermodels...

Brians try to explode cause they have no idea how indoctrinated they are and how little it has to do with real people and biology.

Women are sexier and heavier at 30 than 20. :D Love this site! 

Posted by marsha

A.R.Yngve said...

Natural curves are sexier... IF a woman can carry her weight gracefully. (A person can be skinny and totally lack grace.) 

Posted by A.R.Yngve

Kameron Hurley said...

For me, it's not so much an issue of being "sexy." This time around, I got myself a partner who's nuts about me at this weight, or 30 lbs heavier or 30 lbs lighter. That's not an issue.

I learned in college that the "all men only desire size 2 blonds" thing was a load of horseshit, much the same as the "all straight women desire muscle-bound rich guys" was BS as well.

For me, I think my worry about weight comes from me feeling out of control, and wanting to use eating/weight obsession to find a sense of control. It also has a lot to do with feeling socially acceptable. Not really desireable, but merely acceptable. I don't want to be the fat girl everyone points at. I don't want people to assume I'm poor, slothful, lazy, incompetent, stupid, because of how much I weigh. I'll be content to have an average frame and feel that I can shop at an average clothes store.

Sad, really: cause where the hell else in your life would you want to be average? 

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley said...

I'll also add that there's nothing wrong with being thin - lots of women are naturally that way, as are a number of men, and they don't lack for mates any more than I have (I was single for years and years by choice, not because I didn't have any offers).

I don't want this to become a thin-woman bashing session. We're all different. That's the cool thing.

jeff said...

Great post.

And your responses in the comments section are really great too--thoughtful and yet again insightful. I'm glad you pointed out that your concerns aren't centered on what potential romantic interests might think, and that there's nothing wrong with being thin, in general, either.

Over the past 3 months I've been modifying my diet and exercise routines (mostly thanks to your recommendation of, thanks again) and one of the most interesting things is that when I tell people about that, they almost always first respond with:"How much weight have you lost?" or "How much weight are you trying to lose?"

And I'm *not* trying to lose weight--not as a primary goal, anyway. I'm trying to feel more healthy, to be more healthy, and--as is obvious to anybody who is interested--it's not the same thing. I decided when I started that I wouldn't weight myself at all during the first six months or so of my workout/eating change. After six months, after I feel like I have a pattern/habit established, then I might see how much I weigh then (I have a suspicion that I'll weigh less, but I don't put much into that). But that will have more to do with being able to give people an answer of some sort when they ask me than anything else.

(I should point out that I think that, just as it is 'ok' to be thin, it's 'ok' to weigh yourself regularly, if one of your primary goals is to lose weight--AND if that's a reasonable, smart goal for you...)

Thanks again for the post. Sorry to go on so long... 

Posted by jpjeffrey

That Girl said...

Ive never seen you but I can tell you that I like you just the way you are! 

Posted by That Girl

Kameron Hurley said...

jeff - yea, I want to be careful on this blog that thin women don't get beat up on. It's a stupid reverse-discrimination; just like there are lots of people predisposed to be big, there are lots of people predisposed to be small and who are really frustrated because it seems like no matter how much they eat, people still comment all the time about how they're too skinny. The "norm" box hurts lots of people.

And yea, especially when you're starting a weight routine, it's good to stay off the scale for a couple of months because you're building muscle mass and losing fat, but muscle weighs more, so for awhile it'll look like you're either not losing or actually gaining weight, and that can put a lot of people really off it.  

Posted by Kameron Hurley

Anonymous said...

Kameron, I just wanted to say thank you for another great post. Your particular combination of candor and asskickingness are an inspiration to me. When you write this kind of stuff, I just go, YES, YES, YES (not *that way* but almost) 

Posted by tr1c14