Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Weight Hysteria

The regional VP stopped me in the conference room today and said, "Are we losing you? You've lost a lot of weight. Are you OK? You don't want to do anything dangerous."

It still bothers me when people do this.

"I'm just lifting weights in the morning," I said. "I don't really feel like I'm doing much."

"It's so strange how people losing weight just changes the, you know." He made a motion around his face, "You know, the whole way people look in their face and.." he gestured to my body, "Their body. It's just so strange."

"Uh, yea," I said, and I thought, Is this as close as he feels he can get to saying I look a lot hotter? Better be, cause if he goes there, I'm gonna snarl.

I'm startled a lot at the reactions to my weight loss, mainly because I don't really feel like I'm trying. I spent all day Sunday on the couch in my pajamas eating cookies and chips with that cheese salsa dip, reading and watching the snow. Five days a week, I do a 15-20 min morning weight routine. I walk a lot. But I haven't been to the gym in at least six weeks because of weather and personal issues. And I just went to Old Navy this weekend and bought size 12 pants because the 14s are falling off.

What a lot of people at work don't get, I guess, is that when I got to Chicago I was at an abnormally high weight for me. A 12/14 is where my body naturally sits. If I cascade below a 12, I'll get pretty scared, but for now, I'm really comfortable with where I'm at.

The problem with that comfort, however, is that I'm less likely to go to the gym because I'm not constantly thinking about weight. This is bad because being "thinner" doesn't neccessarily equal "being fitter." Weights or no, I'd like to go back to getting in a little jogging or bike riding everyday. If nothing else, it'll make our three flights of stairs easier. And you know, I still want to be really fucking buff, and no matter my pants size, that ain't going to happen if I spend all my time eating cookies on the couch. Though a day a week of that is probably good for me...

Anyway, I'm going to go and eat something. Every time somebody comments on how much weight I've lost, I get hungry.

I do feel that I have this psychological thing about weight: I feel more vulnerable without that extra layer of fat. I feel like more people are looking at me. There's this weird conflation with gaining weight and avoiding male attention, to my mind. Which is why I think that the only way for me to permanently stay at my natural size is if I feel strong enough to defend myself. When the VP eyed me over, I totally tensed up. I hate feeling like I'm on display.

I gotta get back into boxing. The urge to do so gets stronger with every size I drop.

7 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Raevyn said...

I'm exactly the same way. I struggle with the idea of losing weight for any reason, even though I want to start working out again because I get winded easily and my previously injured back is weak from my lack of keeping up with my Physical Therapy routines from three years ago. I'm sacrificing my greater health to avoid the male gaze. It's working, but I'm unhealthy and unhappy.

I completely understand.

Lymphopo said...

I eat all the time now that I have muscles. It's like having puppies all over me, they need to be fed!

I really love boxing, there are few sensations as satisfying as a good solid hard thwack! with your very own power behind it.

Kameron Hurley said...

Yea, the biggest surprise about all the weight lifting is how much and how often I can eat and still shed weight. It baffles me. It runs totally contrary to the diet industry's "Starve yourself, do 90 minutes of cardio everyday, and then fall over," weight-loss plan.

I feel like I can eat whenever I want. Not being hungry all the time - and not feeling guilty for eating - are totally new feelings for me. The last time I was at this size, I was living on three small meals a day of eggs, vegetables, and brown rice, going to the gym an hour a day, doing 20 minutes of low-weight weights in the morning, and bike riding all weekend and sometimes during the week.

Now I feel like I'm just rolling out of bed and losing weight and gaining muscle without much real effort at all. And a lot less guilt.

It's terribly freeing to let go of the diet-guilt.  

Posted by Kameron

phoebe said...

I was just wondering what kind of weight routine you were doing to be able to be losing weight and still be able to eat cookies on the couch. I work out like a mad woman but I have to confess it takes extra motivation for me to commit to weights more than 2x's a week. I also boxed a few times a week and really miss it. One of the best highs.

Ismone said...

You know, I have never had a guy (except really good friends or relatives) comment on weight loss. And a VP? Gross.

I know what you guys mean about the male gaze--I first noticed it again when I ditched my ginormous t-shirts and loose jeans (which had insured me a comfortable invisibility) this summer for skirt and pants suits. If the men got too shirty, I practice the "stare of death"--meaning I look at them like they are dead. Highly effective.

Unsane said...


Mike B) said...

I find skinny, unhealthy looking women unappealing. This is not to say that I'm attracted to fat women. Males gaze at women, even if they're wearing "Mother Hubbard" dresses. I guees, one could wear a burka or a nun's costume, but avoiding the male gaze by staying in an unhealthy state of body (not to mention mind) is utterly self-defeating. Just stay in shape, whatever your natural shape tends to be and be able to defend yourself, in case some fool wants to fight.