Yeah. In the past I really struggled with disordered eating and terrible body image, and I now embrace size acceptance and body acceptance, and health at every size, and all that good stuff… But my body is my own. I am fat positive, and I am, I guess, dieting. I don’t restrict calories, and I don’t punish myself if I eat something “bad,” but because I think carefully and planfully about what I put in my body, and because there are things I don’t generally eat, I guess by any reasonably definition, I follow a diet. And I want to lose some fat.
At my current height (5’5”), I’ve weighed as little as 130 pounds and as much as 210. I think around 145 was probably best for me, personally. But I don’t even know, because I am fitter now at 175 than I was at 145. Why, then, do I want to lose fat? I’m not really trying to. And yet I have been, slowly and steadily, for the past year. I subscribe to the theory Linda Bacon propagated in her book about the set point, that every body has its range of proper weight, and I know that mine was not at 210 (or 130). I want to see where I really fall, when I treat my body well.
(I also want to compete in powerlifting and Olympic lifting at some point, and being in a lower weight class would mean a competitive advantage for me, since I’m not that strong (yet).)
There’s a rhetoric in the fat acceptance community of disapproval of dieting— for good reason. The diet industry is poisonous. But if we subscribe to the idea that our bodies are our own, it is wholly disingenuous for us to shame people who choose to do different things with their bodies than we might. I’ve seen this shaming happen a lot, even from the wonderful Kate Harding, of whose erstwhile blog I was a faithful reader. To Harding, even a “lifestyle change” is a “diet”, and every diet is bad. Well, I went from not exercising ever and eating nutella straight out the jar (really, I could go through about three or four a week) to lifting heavy, doing yoga, commuting by bike, and eating a much healthier diet. Because of this, I’ve seen some weight loss, and I have the temerity to be happy about it, and to hope to see some more. I want to see the muscles I’ve begun to build, under my skin. Masked by fat, they’re still there, but I (selfishly? vainly?) want to see them. And yes, I want to show them.
Should I feel bad about this? Am I betraying my fat brethren? I don’t think so. My body is my own to mould, sculpt, attempt to honour, and learn to love, as hard as that can be. I have the scars (literally and figuratively) of rapid weight gain and subsequent gradual loss, and my body will never be what it once was. But I have it, I own it, and it’s the only one I’ll ever get. It’s my choice what to do or not do with it, as much as it is for everyone else.
No, I don’t think you are, either.
I respect what other people do with their own bodies. It’s wonderful. And I expect that kind of respect in return.
I am not in a place where I can think about weight loss. It’s not healthy for me. I’ve been battling with it a lot lately. It’s been really fucking hard. And weight-loss rhetoric is fucking everywhere.
I don’t know where I’m going with this, I’ve just been thinking about it all for a while and sometimes I think I’m going in an unhealthy direction again with my eating habits and it’s kind of scary?
I wish it were that easy for me, to just start making the “proper” decisions and finally make that inspiring “lifestyle change” that everyone around you seems so capable of achieving. I really fucking do. But it’s not that fucking simple when you live with chronic and mental illnesses. It just isn’t.
And it seems like the whole world doesn’t respect that. Or understand. Because most of the world doesn’t.
I don’t know.