Sometimes, I read something that I wish I had written. Or that I wish I could have sat down with the writer and discovered from them on my own, through a meaningful discussion. Most of these writings involve good stories, experiences that I have been curious about or yearned to learn more about.
This piece “What Losing 180 Pounds Really Does To Your Body–And Your Mind” is one of those, as it finally deals with–in an extremely real and intimate way–the psychology behind weight loss and the myths that accompany it. The author opted to get weight-loss surgery and expected her life to magically turn into a fairy-tale overnight–as fat people are taught that life is only worthwhile and love is only possible when you become skinny–and guess what? It didn’t.
When she goes to have a consultation for weight-loss surgery, the doctor makes a comment about how freeing it will be to be in public without people staring or without causing a scene.
He said that like it was a fact about all fat people. All fat people hate themselves. All fat people know that what’s good in life is really only accessible to thin people. Thin is the most important variable in of life’s equations. Thin equals happy, thin equals beautiful, thin equals a life worth living.
The most embarrassing fact of my life – and oh, how many embarrassing facts there are in my life – is that it was true. I was angry at him for saying it, for buying into the cliché of the fat person. For assuming that my life would transform immediately. Because he was saying all the things I had secretly thought. He was reinforcing all the secret fantasies I had about the way everything about me would be more amenable and lovable and acceptable to the whole rest of the world. To everyone on airplanes and everyone in my life. To myself. When I lost all the weight. When I got weight loss surgery.
I wish I could just copy and paste the entire article, because there are so many important realizations and confessions and knowledge that this woman gained (while losing the weight) about sense of self and body image.
The problem was that I lost all those pounds, but I didn’t have to change a thing about my self. I didn’t have to address any of the emotional or psychological issues. I didn’t have to figure out why I had been depressed – why I was still so, so depressed, despite the fact that the one thing I thought had been ruining my life was suddenly gone.
It doesn’t go away, you see. I thought that my body was wrong when I was obese; I thought my body was wrong when I was thin past the point of health. I thought there was something wrong with my body whatever I looked like, because there’s always just one more thing to fix before I look perfect, feel good in bed with hands on my body, feel sexy in a dress or a bathing suit, feel comfortable in my skin.
There have been endless articles recently on body image (when aren’t there?) in the media and on the internet recently that I’ve been meaning to post about, but I feel like this is a good one to start with. It’s amazing to me that these impossible standards of beauty are still upheld (and I subscribe to them too, I am not immune at all) and that people equate outer beauty with inner happiness. If there were as many articles directed towards women on “how to create a beautiful soul” instead of “how to get perfect calves,” I think our world would be a much different place.
(Image courtesy of WiseGeek)
Last week (February 24th-March 2nd) was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Unfortunately, I was ill all week so I didn’t get a chance to post then, but I still wanted to highlight this important cause as it’s never too late to be aware.
This year’s NEDAwareness Week theme is “Everybody Knows Somebody” because awareness of eating disorders is certainly spreading. Last year, NEDAwareness Week registrants spanned all 50 states and 30 other countries. The aim of NEDAwareness Week is to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses – not choices – and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder.
NEDA asks everyone to do just one thing to help raise awareness and provide accurate information about eating disorders.
This is a really important mission and there are so many different ways to get involved or get help. Please do check out the website and be compassionate and supportive of those around you (or yourself!) if anyone you know is struggling with an eating disorder. There is hope and people who care and want to help.
The brilliant Postsecret project featured many secrets these past weeks relating to themes of eating disorders and recovery. Here are some of my favorites:
The average American eats 3,800 calories a day. This is twice the average daily requirement.
Obesity has reached the epidemic status, with about 65% of U.S. adults overweight.
$100 billion a year is spent on treating obesity-related disorders.
300,000 U.S. citizens die from disorders caused by excessive eating.
… So who’s hungry?
Hunger is defined in my Biopsychology book as “the motivation to eat.” According to this textbook (which is cited below, and used for all of the facts presented throughout this post because it’s the most amazing textbook I’ve read) the goal of hunger is to increase the probability that we will eat.
Winter weather makes me want to curl up with a giant pizza wrapped around me and snooze while I nibble at my delicious blanket. Seriously.
And thus winter weather is when I end up really packin’ on the pounds. All I want to do is eat carbs! That’s it! I’m not sure if this counts as an FML, but this feature has not been done in a while, so I thought I would bring back Hangry’s favorite FML’s that feature weight, beauty, self-image, and lots of schadenfreude.
- Today, my three-year-old daughter rushed in, excited about her new baby brother or sister. She was so excited, I didn’t have the heart to tell her men can’t have babies, and I just have a beer gut. FML.
- Today, after months of dieting, I finally reached my goal weight. Excitedly I told my boyfriend who gave me a beautiful dress as an early Christmas present. It was a size too small. FML.
- Today, I was at the doctor’s for a regular check-up. When my appointment was over and I was about to walk out, she yelled across the room in front of everyone, “Oh and if you could lose some weight, that’d be great.” FML.
- Today, I went on a run with my crush. She expressed how happy she was to have a decent running partner, because the last one kept complaining he thought he might throw up. We got to the top of the hill and I puked right in front of her. FML.
- Today, I had a proper look at myself in the mirror. I have recently lost 5 lbs. Turns out that it mainly shows on my boob. Not boobs. Boob. Right one only. FML.
- Today, I finally felt motivated to do some exercise. As I got my weights out, I noticed out of the corner of my eye someone moving about outside my window. I got scared and dropped a weight on my foot. The person outside was my own reflection. FML.
- Today, I yet again purposely avoided the ‘Health and Fitness’ section on pinterest to keep my self-esteem up. FML.
- Today, my boyfriend broke up with me because I’m now about 15 pounds overweight. When I called him a hypocrite as he’s over 40 pounds overweight, he said that his weight didn’t matter because “it’s the girl’s job to look hot.” FML
- Today, I found out what getting slapped in the face with lettuce feels like FML.
- Today, my boyfriend and I were in Victoria’s Secret. I saw a picture of a model and said, “I wish I looked like that.” He replied with, “Me too.” FML.
- Today, my beloved pet chicken ran away from home. I got so distraught that my dad offered to buy me dinner. Specifically, KFC. FML.
- Today, I was finally hooking up with a girl I was after for a long time. Things got really hot and heavy but she stopped and looked at me weird. She said “I can’t do it, you’re really wet. It looks like chicken fat.” FML.
- Today, I was lying in bed with my boyfriend. He grabbed me double chin and goes “gobble gobble.” FML.
Interestingly, a lot of poultry references in that batch. Hmmm…Anyways! Hope your lives are better than these people’s!
(Image courtesy of Postsecret, another addiction of mine–although that particular secret is not mine, as I do not eat fast food. So there.)
So, clearly the world did not end (sigh) and I’ve been MIA for a bit (sorry about that, folks) but I’m ready to get back in the game (put me in, coach!) as the world spins madly on.
But it’s good to be back.
And in my absence, I was nominated for a “Very Inspiring Blogger” award by the lovely and amazing Psychology of Art blog! You seriously need to check this fabulous blog out, as posts such as “Food is Sex” make me jealous that I didn’t write them and inspire me to think about life in different ways. So go check it out!: http://theartofpsychology.wordpress.com/
Now, per the requirements of this award, I must now share 7 things with you about myself:
1. The above song (“World Spins Madly On” by the Weepies) is one of my all-time favorites, that I can listen to on repeat for hours on end, usually in the winter under a warm blanket with a cup of tea and a good friend on the phone. But it’s also put me in a trance on long car drives and The Weepies inspired my friend to gift me a fabulous ukulele and teach me how to play.
2. I play the ukulele, steel drums, Javanese gamelan, African drums and gyll, piano, kazoo, basics of the drum kit…and am currently learning the accordion and harmonica. I’m trying to learn the basics of every instrument possible and I adore making music.
3. If I could, I would eat pizza every.single.day.
4. Two of my favorite movies are “Amelie” and “Lars and the Real Girl.”
5. I’m a night owl.
6. I want to travel and scuba dive the whole world. Anyone want to buy me a plane ticket?
7. My weekly yoga class is keeping me sane.
Yay! I am quite honored to be considered an inspiring blogger, and will now share with you 15 blogs that have inspired me. Thanks so much for reading!
Please do check them all out and thank you all for the wonderful writing you do and inspiration you provide!
Now, this post may be seen as “Off topic” (as it’s not about weight, health, body issues, etc.) but with the world coming to an end this Friday 12/21/12 (!! so soon !!), I feel that it is actually extremely “on topic.” And we’ll get back to our normal postings if and when the world does not come to an end (so, next week).
I wrote this a while back, when I first heard about the end of the world (correction: this end of the world, there have been so many!), but never published it and at this point in time, I figured: why not? If the world is ending, what does it even matter anymore? So, I hope you enjoy this satirical piece on economics and the end of the world (and in response to what an absurd amount of people have been asking–What would you do if you knew it were your last day on earth?–my answer is: eat chocolate peanut butter cups and host my own private dance party. There.)
My Current Economic Plan: 2012
Many, if not most, of my friends—mid-20 somethings with degrees, careers, apartments, significant others—have explained to me recently that they are “saving up.” “For what?” I asked, sincerely. “It’s 2012. Don’t you know the world is coming to an end? What are you saving for?”
And therein lies my current economic plan. In the past few years since graduating college, I have been unemployed, employed, underemployed, and overemployed (this was when I worked multiple part-time jobs to try to scrape by), and I have enjoyed none of these situations at all. What with bills flying at me from all directions (health insurance, car insurance, cell phone, students loans, credit cards, parking tickets, shoe purchases, that time I thought my date was going to pay for dinner and didn’t damnit—my life has turned into a silly Destiny’s Child song!), I have almost never had money sitting pretty for me in the bank, have had to move back home, and have been utterly miserable when trying to even peek at my finances. And so, when 2012 came about with the Mayan prediction of the end of the world, I sighed and said “At last.” Debt be damned, it’ll all be over December 21st! Before the holidays! How glorious!
I am not one of those people who would fight to or accidentally survive an apocalypse or zombie infestation, like the man in The Road or Shaun of the Dead. As soon as I realized that everyone else was gone/walking dead, I’m fairly positive I would have no will to carry on. Living in the middle of nowhere with nothing around me and nobody to talk to? Going up against disgusting creatures covered in blood and goo who have no moral compass or shame? Shouldering the responsibility to perpetuate the human race in an even scarier, more treacherous world than the one I knew before? No thanks. Grateful for the time I had on this earth, moving on.
When I was 24, I worked at a bankruptcy law firm. It was one of the most awful jobs I’ve ever held (and that’s saying a lot) for multiple reasons, but mainly because one of my duties was going through all the unopened bills that clients looking to file Chapter 7 had collected over the years and calculating just how much they owed. Many of these seemingly naïve or irresponsible clients were pretty savvy, however, in that they often accrued as much as they could right before filing. Sure, they’d have that jet ski/fancy motorcycle/house repossessed in no time, but they got to enjoy and pretend these things were theirs for a period, however brief, and live the life they always wanted before it all came crashing down. This is almost a 2012 Economic Plan, but with one catch: life went on. And life after bankruptcy is no fun, this much I learned for sure.
Recently, I received a replacement credit card in the mail with the expiration date 01/2013. “What?” I thought. “Is this some sort of joke? Don’t they know that there will be no 2013?” But many people seem to be operating as if there will be no Doomsday, as if we should not heed Tim McGraws advice to “live like [we] are dying.” I’m not sure if we should ever heed advice from a man who has a cowboy hat permanently superglued to his head, but what I’m actually saying is: good for these “rational” beings, not hedging their bets on a particular day, placing all their metaphorical golden eggs into a single basket.
But, as for me? I’m loving this jet ski.
(Image courtesy of TheBeauseJourPulpit)