onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “unsolicited advice”

Some unsolicited advice to unstick my proverbial craw.

I was reading an Internet forum for people who have their eating disorders under control, and a woman said her husband, who recently lost a lot of weight because of a medical issue, started speaking judgmentally about her weight and how much she was eating. 


I wanted to write about that issue here because it sticks in my proverbial craw.

I write this blog for myself. I write it as a means of getting thoughts out of my weird, dangerous, sick, and sometimes brilliant mind. Once they are out into the open, I can see what is sick and what is brilliant. I am always honored if someone gets something out of my writing. And I love hearing about it in the comments! But I am not writing an advice column. And certainly, if you want to try my ideas for yourself, you are welcome to, but I’m not promoting anything here. 

OK. That’s kind of a lie. Peace. I am actively promoting self-acceptance as a means of attaining inner peace.

But both here and in life, I get a lot of people giving me advice. Unsolicited and unwelcome. Lately, it is usually when I talk about the weight I gained when I quit smoking, but it has been going on for many years.  And yes, it is hard for me to be with the extra weight. But this is not a weight loss blog. It is a blog where I share what it is like to be a woman who lives with eating disorders.This is a whole blog where I talk about how I was miserable (and yes, fat) because I couldn’t stop eating. And now MY EATING IS UNDER CONTROL! (Yes. I am yelling that!) 

And even more frustrating, I find that this unsolicited advice often comes from people who are riding the wave of being high on whatever diet/exercise/quick-fix food scheme they have discovered within the past year. And I will be blunt (and judgmental), sometimes I look at what they are suggesting to me and all I can see is them acting out an eating disorder because their eating is not under control. And I think, Oh, sweetie, been there, done that, when I was an in-so-deep-I-couldn’t-see-the-surface addict. So thanks, but no thanks. But I only think it, and I don’t say anything. Because they are not looking for advice. And I don’t do unsolicited advice.

I have been doing what I do for over 9 years. 9 years and 4 months. 3,407 days! I am past the “pink cloud.” I am no longer “high” on losing weight and eating well. I have stuck to this through life tragedies and screwball comedies. I do it when it’s boring. I do it when I don’t want to. I do it every day always. No matter what.

Yes. It makes me mad when people tell me how to do it “better.” I know it shouldn’t. I know they are just excited about something. Or they are trying to help. Or even if they are not, even if they just want to feel superior, because they have managed to wrangle their body into a socially acceptable shape and size, I should be grateful that I have my own solution. And that I know it without a doubt. I mean, how many things work for over 9 years? And since it has worked for over 9 years, I am confident that it will continue to work.

I will close with this. A lot of people want to know “how I did it” (referring to losing 150 lbs), but when I tell them that I have not eaten any grains, starches or refined sugars for over 9 years, they tune out. They want an easier way. But I have tried that “easier way,” and it  looks like exercising to the point of exhaustion and injury. It looks like starving myself for long periods so I can binge on sugar. It looks like being miserable in my body and life because I can’t stop eating. It looks like being obsessed with food every second of every day. 

We have a saying in the community where I keep my eating under control. “Keep your eyes on your own plate.” Today I’m giving you unsolicited advice. And that’s it.

Is it just as judgy to judge people for judging?

I’m a little less body-miserable these past few days. Maybe it’s because, with weigh day behind me for the rest of the month, I put my body hatred it in its compartment. Maybe it’s because I have hope that by next weigh day, my metabolism will have started regulating itself again, and I will start losing this weight I have gained. Or maybe it’s starting to seep in that I am not, in fact, grotesquely fat in this body, and that I can have some peace if I can surrender to it being what it is. (That last one’s a stretch, but I believe in miracles.)

My big issue this week is how aware I am of people giving me unsolicited opinions and advice. And how offensive I find it. And how aggressive it makes me feel. (Not act…Ok, maybe a little. But I have managed to keep my clever and cruel remarks to myself.)

There is a saying I love. “If you want what I have, do what I do.”

I keep hearing from people who do not have what I want.

For example, I do not want health and lifestyle advice from a morbidly obese girl more than 10 years my junior.

I do not want to be told that my quitting smoking is “really for the best” by a woman I never see smile. And who looks something between bored and disgusted. Always.

I am glad that I quit smoking. For all of the pain that has come with it, there has been a new clarity and a deeper level of self-love, self-awareness, and self-confidence. I love that, even though it has not been an easy six months. But I don’t want other people telling me what is best for me. I like to decide that for myself.

And today, I can. When I got control of my food, I stopped doubting myself. I could trust my eyes and ears. I could trust my thoughts. I could trust my assessment of situations. I stopped wondering if I had it all wrong and was doing it all wrong.

And another thing I lost when I got control of the food, was the need to get it all right. (Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. There are still things that I get very angry at myself for getting wrong.) But every day that I don’t eat compulsively, I have a lot more room for my humanity. And for everybody else’s.

And even one more thing is that I stopped feeling the need to give other people advice. I stopped needing to show that I had all the answers. That I was so smart. I started to understand the value of minding my own business! Who knew!?!? (By the way, I had zero answers when I was eating all the time. I sure hope nobody was actually taking the advice I kept forcing on people…Oh well. Too late now…)

So why am I so upset with people giving me their unsolicited opinions and advice? Why can’t I have room for their judgment? Why can’t I let it roll off my back?

I think because cigarettes were how I numbed the feeling that other people didn’t like me. Didn’t approve of me. Didn’t think I was doing it right or well. Didn’t think I was good enough. Being judged hurt. And cigarettes made that pain go away. It was a kind of manufactured indifference.

But now I have to acquire a new coping mechanism. And I don’t think I want it to include indifference. But I don’t want to own someone else’s judgment of me either. I need to figure out what that’s going to look like. Because I don’t know.

What I do know is that I don’t want to judge those who judge me for judging. I want to acknowledge their right to have thoughts and opinions about me and my actions. And know that those thoughts and opinions are none of my business. Even if they insist on telling me. I want to have room for their humanity, whether their words come from love or spite. I want to be protected by my confidence and personal sense of security. I want to learn to love my fellow human beings. Not because they deserve it. Because I do.

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