Confessions of a Newbie

I felt like finding an article to verbally shred to bits. But as I clicked through the Fatosphere today, I kept coming across the Diet/WLS issue as it pertains to Fat Acceptance. I commented a bit. And I pondered.

And pondered.

And pondered more.

And I decided to admit that I sometimes find it hard to separate diets and WLS from my new-found movement. (Damn, that’s hard to type.) This is only because I’m still new to so many of these concepts. In the interest of full disclosure, I was, well, on a diet when I found the movement. And I have to admit….dammit, it’s HARD to purge myself of the beliefs that have been pounded in my head since I was 10. It’s hard to admit that no matter what diet I try it is not gonna work. Now, don’t think I came to the “diets do not work” mantra simply from reading. I LIVED it. And yes, they work short term—but that weight came back despite my new-found healthier habits. And yes, like many folks who have done the same tried, succeeded, and failed cycle, I felt like it was my fault. Because I believed the misconception that had been hammered into my head: I made myself this way. I eat too much. I must be on this diet, because being on the diet makes me a GOOD fat girl. I mean, dieting means I’m making an effort, right?

Now, before everyone wonders, no, I don’t do diets anymore. Not only because they don’t work (and no folks, I don’t care what the fuck the Nutrisystem/Jenny Craig/Weight Watchers/whoever else had done told you, they DON’T WORK), but because I realized I was becoming obsessed with the calories. I’d been told for years that I was fat because I didn’t care what I ate, but dammit, putting so much emphasis on what I did eat was draining. Do you know how unfun I became when I could recite, by memory, how much fat and calories were in a cupcake? A donut? A can of Coke? A chicken sandwich? Do you know how draining it was to look over my food log and either be elated I stayed within my calorie range, ECSTATIC for going BELOW the range, and pissed when I went over? Now, the moment I started reading the info on diets I knew that perhaps I was fighting a battle that I was set up to lose (forgive the pun) from the beginning. And I embraced it. Not because I was “giving up” but because I was going about getting healthy completely wrong. It shouldn’t be about vilifying food. It should be about making better choices and ENJOYING what I ate as opposed to, say, analyzing it to death.

I don’t believe in WLS either. Personally, I’m afraid of surgery (for whatever reason, I tend to react badly to anesthesia), but when I see that the risks outweigh the supposed benefits, I already know that’s gonna be the wrong answer for me and for anyone else. But both diets and WLS are just like free speech to me: I may not agree with what you do, but I’m gonna defend your right to do it. And sometimes, even though I know supporting a person doesn’t equal supporting the institution, I feel as if I am conflicting with my new beliefs. I KNOW that I’m not; it just feels that way.

But what breaks my heart is that as a fat woman, diets and WLS are the solutions presented to me when I go to the doctor for something as routine as a pap smear: all before they do my blood work and realize that I’m just as healthy as any of their thinner patients is suggest that, you know, you could stand to lose a few pounds. And since I’m still slightly impressionable, despite what I’ve learned over the last few months, I still feel that twinge of inadequacy. It’s tiny, but I still feel that pinprick. And I still get that feeling (less and less now) that wow. If I could just drop some weight…I’d impress so many people! But I know that I would be unhappy as hell, because as I’ve said before…diets and WLS don’t change who a person is…just what they look like. And it’s heartbreaking to think that the only thing that would be impressing these naysayers is that all of the same wonderful me they got in the 290lb body they’d value more only in say, a 175lb body. That cuts deep.

Which brings me back to square one. In my mind, diets and WLS have jack shit to do with FA, and essentially are detrimental to the concept. As such, you won’t ever see me glorifying either on my blog, because to me both cause more issues than they purport to fix.

But I have to admit…it’s still hard to reorder disordered thoughts.

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