I’m having an interesting week with my body. I have been continuing to think it’s beautiful. Loving the way it curves. Really enjoying how big and round my butt is. No seriously. I’ve never had a butt before. I carried all my weight up front when I was fat. I’m not trying to escape my body. I’m not disowning or disparaging it.
But then, weigh day is coming up again. Like it does once a month. So I am attempting to stay off the roller coaster that has me worry myself sick, and then be devastated by any weight gain anyway. Even just writing this I am starting to panic.
I want to start being in control of my body again. I want it to go back to making some semblance of sense. Eat less, walk more, lose weight. Or at least even out. At least stop gaining.
I wonder how much of the panic and unhappiness is the lack of control. How much is about feeling crazy. And wanting to explain all the time that I haven’t eaten sugar! I’m not eating compulsively! I haven’t done anything wrong!
Because I feel like I look like I’ve been doing something wrong.
When I was eating compulsively, it felt like a moral issue. Eating the way I did felt wrong. Shameful. If I were a good person, I would be able to control my eating. And that I couldn’t control my eating, that I was weak and pathetic, or just plain bad, was written all over my body. And here I am, being incredibly “good”. In fact, some people think my boundaries are “extreme”. And I feel like my body is saying I’ve been bad. I feel like I have gained more weight than is natural.
Of course, it is natural. It is what happens when people stop smoking. And I was a heavy smoker. My poor body surely doesn’t know what the hell is going on. It’s doing the best it can. It’s built to survive. That’s how life works. It’s the nature of evolution. The body that is best equipped to survive goes on to produce survival-equipped offspring. Humans have been around for a while now. So it’s probably safe to assume that the human body has learned a few tricks. And I’m sure my body is doing its best to keep me alive.
But that feels so incredibly unfair. I want everybody to know it’s not my fault!
But that, of course, is not exactly true either. I was a heavy smoker for 20 years. I can’t expect that doing a drug 20 times a day for most of that 20 years isn’t going to affect my body. It’s like saying “I wish actions didn’t have consequences.” Um…Ok, Kate. Good luck with that. And wouldn’t I be pissed if my body didn’t get healthier because I quit. How interesting that I want it to all work out the way I want.
But I have also been thinking about beauty culture in America. And how standards have gotten more and more narrow throughout my lifetime. And that as we as a population have continued to get fatter, we have glorified skinnier and skinnier woman. Women who are so skinny that their bodies stop working. Women who only exist in photographs, because even the model was “too fat” to represent the clothing line, shoe line, makeup line.
I keep saying that the amount of weight I have gained (27.4 lbs from June 1st to Feb 1st) is a lot for a girl with eating and body image disorders. I have just exclaimed to you that it’s not fair! I weighed 300 lbs. I completely changed my life to get into a healthy, beautiful body. I did my time. I paid my dues. I should be exempt from this.
But I am not the only one who is in a body they wish were different. I am not the only one who feels less than. Who feels judged. Who feels her body isn’t “perfect enough to be beautiful.” Welcome to being a woman in media saturated 2013 in America, Kate.
I never wonder why I bother maintaining my food boundaries. Even in the face of gaining so much weight. My weight certainly has something to do with why I keep boundaries around my eating, but I mostly do it to stay sane and clear-headed. I do it so I can keep on liking and respecting myself. I do it because it affords me dignity. I know that food makes me crazy. That I am bad at life when I am eating sugar. Plus I know that this weight gain has to stop at some point. Where as if I were eating compulsively, it would never stop. Screw 9 months. The way I eat when I’m eating compulsively, I can gain 30 lbs in two weeks.
So let me tell you what I would like. I would like to stop pitying myself. I would like to stop comparing myself. Even just to myself a year ago. I’d like to be grateful that I quit smoking with ease. That I have not struggled or relapsed. I would like to be grateful that I have gotten through the hardest part. And most importantly, I would like to remember that I am incredibly lucky to have a solution to my food problems. When so many women don’t. And that while my food is under control, I stand a chance to love my body. And myself. And my life. While so many women can’t.
I don’t know what will happen this week. Or on weigh day. And I don’t want to be too hard on myself. Because I have a serious problem with eating and body image disorders. Which is not trivial, or shameful, or something I can just “get over.” And I do a fantastic job of living in the solution every day. But I want to have a good attitude. I want gratitude and humility. I want to love my life the way it is. And I want to be an example of that. Of self-love and grace. So I’m telling you now, that what I want is to love my body as much on weigh day as I do today. And maybe, just maybe, because I have told you, I can have that.