baa baa black sheep

5.17.2006

Fatty Fat Fat? What?


8:55 a.m.

Yesterday I felt very sexy all day (until my eye appointment, when the doctor dilated my eyes and I looked like a wasted creep on shrooms for the rest of the evening). My clothes felt good. I didn't worry about my hips, didn't stress about my ass or tummy or upper arms. I noticed I'm getting some muscles in my arms, even. My skin was clear, my hair stayed unfrizzed yet curly. I felt attractive and slim when I woke up in the morning, I kept on what I put on first. I pulled out the four inch heels, because even my feet felt sexy. I smiled at myself in the mirror a few times, I saw my shadow and liked the outline. All day, I felt good. I felt slim and happy when I went to sleep. I felt so good.

All day.

This morning did not go so smoothly. I put on about five different outfits. I stood at the mirror and stared at my hips and ass in dismay. My stomach felt huge, my arms gross, my thighs massive. I stepped on the scale and saw that the few pounds I've gained back were still, in fact, there. Attempting to comfort myself that the weight is probably the bigger, more defined muscles in my arms and legs didn't work. At all. I wondered why I was bothering, why bother counting calories if I'm only gaining? Then I immediately flipped to thinking, well, what if I go down to 900 or 700 calories for the rest of the week, or what if I just stop eating lunch for a while, or blahblahblah, you get the point. Batshit insane obsessive thoughts and worries that were wildly exaggerated and idiotic. I was miserable, and somewhere I knew I was being crazy, but that didn't stop me from just feeling absolutely disgusting and horrible about myself. I looked in the mirror and heard the familiar hissing voice, "Fatty. You're so fat. You're so ugly. Look at you. Fatty fat fat. You're gross. Fat."

WHOA.

This distortion of my body image has got to stop. It's been driving me crazy for years. At this point, I have no clue how I look, if I am fat or not. I went most of my adult life thinking I was five feet and eight inches tall. And I'm actually not even five feet four! I feel like a giant most of the time. I'm afraid. I'm afraid, I'm afraid. I don't understand how I can feel so good one day and so horrible the next.

I think it started in high school. My best friend was tiny. Tiny-tiny. I was average weight, or slim. I'm pretty sure I was slim, but I compared myself to her a lot. My senior year I got a nasty boyfriend, who told me I was fat several times and oh-so-nicely suggested that I eat less. He would compare me to girls, and would say I would look hotter if I looked more like her. (Usually a blond professional model.) Instead of kicking him in the nuts and slashing his tires, I listened to him. I went through periods of eating next to nothing. I got a sinus infection, and discovered gleefully that some decongestants and cold medicines curbed my appetite. So I just kept taking Dayquil for most of the summer. When I started college, I was at my thinnest adult weight. Not dangerously so, maybe, but I have photo evidence that I looked...not great. Not healthy. Not happy.

College was an up and down time for me, emotionally and weight-wise. I'd go through depressive periods where I didn't want to eat, and I'd go through depressive periods where I couldn't get enough food. I had periods of making myself vomit after I ate, I had periods of only letting myself eat 500 calories a day. I had periods where I only ate cheeseburgers and drank bottle after bottle of sugary soda or sherry. Sometimes I'd eat a big breakfast, then on my way to work I'd stop and pick up a candy bar and some chips. These were always emotionally horrible times, and I finally realized food wasn't filling my emotional gaping wounds.

Went through therapy, started being happy again. So I lost a lot of weight, somewhere between 30 and 40 pounds. I did it fairly healthily, in fact, I didn't even think about it. It just happened. After I was healthy emotionally, the pounds just sort of fell off.

But I still have these days. I still compare myself to every woman I come in contact with. "Is my butt way bigger than hers? My thighs are huge compared to hers." I still see women in magazines and on television and feel sad and angry that my hips just don't look like theirs. I still feel very, very bad about my body on some days. I don't know if I have more of these days when I'm tired or stressed, or if they come and go with the wanings of estrogen, but they still happen.

Lately I've been reading women's blogs where they just announce, THIS IS WHAT I WEIGH AND THAT IS OKAY. I didn't think I could ever do that, but I'm going to now:

I'm just about five feet four and I weigh 142, give or take two or three or four pounds. I wear a size five or size seven jeans, but I also have some elevens. My dress size is small or extra small, sometimes my top size is large or extra-large.

A woman's blog I read described the feeling of doing the above as something like "Unnnrggggh."

Yes. She was right. But there it is.

I think, more than I hate my hips, I hate the way I see my hips. More than I hate my arms, I hate the distorted view I have of my arms. I am not fat, but I see myself as the fat girl.

I am running to be stronger and healthier, not to lose weight. Why do I feel so differently about food? Why can't I also just "eat to be stronger and healthier, not to lose weight"? How can I stop the distortion? When will I be able to see myself and my body for what it is? How can I stop comparing myself to everyone and just love the good parts about my body? Why can't I just be comfortable in my own skin?

Instead of seeing my thighs as big, I should think of them as powerful. Instead of being embarrassed by stretch marks, I should be proud that I healthily lost the weight that caused them. Instead of hating my hips for being wide, I should rejoice in my fertility and strength. Instead of craving waif-like arms, I should admire the muscles growing there and be happy I can depend on them. Instead of worrying about the size of my butt, I should be happy that it looks nice in skirts, that I got some back.

I should remember that when I just live happily and healthily, my weight reflects that. No need for the stress. Less about restriction and more about respect.

I think learning to love a body I have so vehemently hated for eight years will take some time. But the morning I had? These mornings of self-loathing and fear and sadness? They have to stop.

black sheep

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude. you are not fat.

10:54 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger linz said...

Agreed. But I understand the sentiment completely and you need some good old Maya Angelou or some Anne Lamott. Trust me on that one.

And I stopped thinking of my thighs as abnormally huge, (and lets face it they aren't little) and started thinking of them as "National Championship Thighs" Because the muscles in there did something cool... so I'm not going to wish those muscles away...no sir.

Love you! And you were way skinny in high school (in case you were wondering)

12:47 AM, May 19, 2006  

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