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An off-topic expression of frustration

March 1, 2012

Tomorrow’s blog post is a lengthy hockey rant.

Today’s post is neither original nor earth-shattering but it’s what’s on my mind.

I am so so so so so sick of talking about this.

At work, when we’re not talking about work, we’re talking about dieting, needing to lose weight, what we’re eating, what we’re planning to eat, being “good,” and being “bad.”  That is seriously all we talk about.

When I’m with family, we talk about dieting, needing to lose weight, how “good” we were this week, how “bad” we should allow ourselves to be. That’s not all we talk about, but it’s pretty much most of what we talk about.

When I Skype with my parents, we talk about how many times I went to the gym over the past week, or how “good” my mom has been over the past two weeks and how she’s making sure my dad is being “good” too. That is not all we talk about, but it’s a huge chunk of what we talk about.

When I’m out with my friends, we talk about whether we should be “good” and get the salad or be “bad” and get what we really want. That is not all we talk about, not even a significant chunk of what we talk about, but we can’t seem to get together or go out without going through that exercise.

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t feel like my worth was determined by whether or not I ate [some arbitrary definition of] well. I don’t think such a time has existed since I turned 10.

I know I’m not alone because when I’m not driving myself crazy about this, other people are driving me crazy about this. And I don’t care who is to blame. I don’t care if it’s society, the media, men, women, our moms, our childhood pets, whoever.  I don’t care how it started, I only care that it stops.

I’m insane enough without having to think about this stuff.

If you don’t know what it’s like to be overweight, I mean to really be overweight, not think you are overweight (learn the difference), I can tell you. It’s pretty much the pits. Yes, it’s bad for your mind, but it’s also bad for your body. Hauling around 60 extra pounds sucked, and hauling around 30 extra pounds still sucks.

Here’s the thing they don’t tell you about losing the weight. It’s good for your body, but it’s not so good for your mind. Yes, you feel good every time you see the number on the scale drop, but your life becomes about what you ate, whether or not you worked out, how many pounds you lost in the last week, month, year. I’m 0-fer in February, which obviously makes me angry at myself, but I’m 30 down since January/February 2011, which obviously makes me proud of myself, with the end result being a brain short-circuit.

In any case. I have to think about this enough for health reasons. I don’t need to be thinking about this for self-worth reasons.

So if you ever catch me talking about whether or not I’ve been “good” or “bad” or whether “I shouldn’t really be eating this right now,” please smack me upside the head. If you catch me talking about how I’m fat or ugly, please smack me upside the head.

Smack me upside the head and say the word “Alaska.” I’ll tell you why later.

Thanks in advance 😉

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Karina permalink
    March 1, 2012 3:41 pm

    Try and make it about lifestyle, not your weight. I’ve never been more than 10-15lbs so I can’t relate to that, but when I started wanting to get back into shape, I started calorie counting. It sucked. And there are some foods I just really enjoy. I think the point is to not over indulge. Have fun at the gym, or play a sport outside or just do anything you think is fun and control how much you eat. We all have real lives to live and there’s only so much we can do at one time.

    • theactivestick permalink*
      March 1, 2012 10:32 pm

      Thanks, Karina 🙂

  2. Artie permalink
    March 1, 2012 3:46 pm

    Yes it’s important to eat healthy and work out and blah blah blah… but here is my simple theory. You can do all that and it may add 4-5 years to your life, but they are all at the end of your life.

    Live it up now while you still can.

  3. March 1, 2012 4:04 pm

    Women in North America are obsessed with their appearance/size, as are men (obsessed with women’s appearance/size). It’s gross. GROSS.

    I gained 85 pounds when I was pregnant with my son. It was the first time in my life I had ever allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, and went completely overboard. No one cared, saying all that mattered was a healthy baby. When he was born he weighed 8lbs, not 85. Losing the weight took forever and I detested my image. I had my entire life been obsessed with how much I weighed and how my clothes fit and what I ate and didn’t eat. And continued being obsessed with it after the birth. I had never before been overweight and weight and image ruled everything in my brain. Eleven years later…I don’t own a scale now and have no idea how much I weigh. And my brain doesn’t think about it. And I feel good. Like I lost 85lbs between the ears. I think too that at my age, I don’t give a flying ***#$ what anyone thinks about me but me. I’m good with me now but it took a long time.

    My 9 year old daughter asked me the other day if she looked fat. They start early these days. I gave her a proverbial smack upside the head, to the degree that I’m fairly certain she’ll not be mentioning weight/size issues anytime again soon. I really, really hope.

    I’ll smack you too if I hear you talking about it! Alaska!

    • theactivestick permalink*
      March 1, 2012 10:46 pm

      Oh man. 9? That made me really mad. I’m glad you took care of it.

      And you know how beautiful I think you are!

  4. Andrew permalink
    March 1, 2012 6:46 pm

    Hey, Laura!
    First off, let me just offer kudos for the 30 lbs. you’ve dropped over the last year. I wish I had your willpower. 🙂

    As long as you’re happy with yourself, it really shouldn’t matter how much you weigh, unless it’s impacting your health. With me potentially having a daughter in a matter of weeks, the last thing I want to be drilling into her head is that unless you look a certain way, you’ll be a social pariah. But at the same time, I try hard to instill a value towards healthy eating. These are things I know how to do…I just don’t for myself, for whatever reason.

    As much as you’re loathing the whole, “Being bad.” and “Being good.” conversations you seem to have in regards to your food choices, all it really is is an externalization of of your thought processes in regards to making healthy (and occasionally bad) choices. This isnt a bad thing, it’s your brain reprogramming itself to make the conscious choices, where maybe you wouldn’t have in the past. As long as you dont beat yourself up for being occasionally bad…it’s ok to have the crappy food now and then. It’s just the moderation of when you indulge that matters.

    I’ve just recently started liking who I am, and maybe soon it’ll be time for me to be having these good vs. bad conversations with myself, as my weight is impacting my health, and it’s way past due that I lose weight. But I’m not quite there yet. But when I am….look out!

    Keep up the good work, Laura…you’re an inspiration!
    🙂

    • theactivestick permalink*
      March 1, 2012 10:59 pm

      Thanks so much, Andrew!

  5. Doogie2K permalink
    March 5, 2012 1:49 am

    LTTP, but I can definitely relate, having dropped around 80 lbs from my peak weight when I was a teenager. I’ll admit, I do sometimes get myself into a tizzy over not getting to the gym often enough, or eating too much crap, and I really lose my shit when I’m up 5 lbs over where I “should” be.

    The best advice I can offer is doing things gradually. Make one or two changes you think you can live with or keep up with at a time, wait until they’re ingrained habits, then make a couple more. In theory, that should mean that you have to think about it less, because you just know you’re going to order a garden salad and no dressing instead of fries and gravy, or you’re going to buy whole grain bread instead of white bread, or you’re going to take the stairs two floors instead of the elevator. And if you’re thinking about it less, that means there are fewer opportunities to obsess over it: you just *know* you’re making good decisions, because you’ve taught yourself to do so.

    Again, I say this with both the benefit of experience and the implicit understanding that I still have my moments. I never said it was perfect advice. 😉 But it worked for me in terms of the actual losing, and I do the best I can to not get down on myself, and most of the time I feel good about myself, especially after a nice, hard run. Just remember that good feeling if you ever have a down day. =)

    And congratulations on your progress so far. 30 isn’t easy, and it takes a lot of dedication to get it off and keep it off. Be proud of what you’ve done. =)

  6. March 5, 2012 4:03 pm

    I hate how weight-related issues can interfere in relationships. I hate how our weight defines us. I hate how, when it comes to eating, self-deprivation = good and indulgence = bad. In most areas of our lives, most of us don’t strive toward asceticism; must do we do that with food? It doesn’t matter where the self-flagellation comes from, you’re right. But learning to stop it would be awesome.

    • Doogie2K permalink
      March 7, 2012 10:42 am

      Unfortunately, food is so plentiful, and we’re hardwired to stuff our faces with all kinds of unhealthy shit, as a result of our evolution. Combine that with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, and it’s easy to see how things start to go sideways. And then the ladies in particular have unhealthy media pressures to deal with, while speaking strictly for myself as a guy, I mostly felt like an ugly, worthless bag of shit because I figured no woman would come near me looking like I did at 5’10” and 245. (I probably pushed more women away from a combination of social ineptitude and self-pity, but I digress.)

      I think the self-flagellation partially comes from media/social pressures, and partially because we’re forced to counter our genetic programming in terms of eating, while at the same time having to go out of our way a bit to be active: we have elevators and escalators and cities designed around driving instead of walking and generations of kids who don’t play outside and so forth. We fall into those habits in the first place because they’re easy, and living healthier is harder. Not only that, but eating unhealthily is, for the first time in human history, much cheaper and easier than eating healthily. It’s easier than ten years ago, because there are now new products being marketed at healthy eaters, and it’s easy to fact-check them if you know what to look for, but it’s still by no means a simple thing.

      Which is why we need good social support networks to encourage us along the way, and ensure that we not only stick to our healthy habits, but to celebrate with us when we do so. Positive reinforcement goes a long way towards ingraining new habits, in my experience. As I said in the post above, I still have my “fat days,” but they’re also much rarer than they used to be, and I can credit my family for both going through this with me (my mom’s also lost a tremendous amount of weight), and for helping me keep my chin up when things were bad. Though having a girlfriend for a few months last year who thought I was hot stuff probably also helped. 😉

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