Monday, May 28, 2007

A Lot Of Not

I get on these kicks, I guess, where I start writing about my weight and/or most recent weight-loss endeavor. I'll declare some sort of new-found insight or inspiration, and then write about it a couple times.

And then I won't bring it up again. Perhaps you've noticed this?

Because it'll be a week or a month or three months later and I will have stopped whatever new approach I started, and rather than having lost weight, I'll be right back where I started. Or possibly even heavier.

And then I don't want to write about any of it anymore because even though I have SO MUCH to say on the subject of weight and weight loss and body issues and OHMYGOD, it's still the hardest thing to discuss. It's the thing I'm most private about in my whole life. In actuality I will talk about my parents or my feelings or my opinions on politics and religion and education or we can talk about deep-seated fears or even sex. I may cry and get choked up about talking about, say, my mom. But I'm comparatively comfortable doing it.

Writing about my body? That's just terrifying.

Now, sometimes it's true. Sometimes I get really good suggestions or feedback or support and it's wonderful. But at the same time, the LAST thing I want to hear is someone I don't know who has no real basis of understanding me or my background offer advice. I do not want advice. I especially do not want advice from someone who starts their advice with, "Why don't you just...?"

Because I have, just.

I also feel like I can't just write about it to write about it. Like, if I don't have a plan or idea or something in place, then what's the point? Won't it just seem like I'm whining?

Maybe. I guess.

But here it is, almost June, which is to say almost one month shy of my 32nd birthday, and I started this blog when I was 29 and you know. Lots of things have happened in these two-and-a-half years, but significant weight loss is not one of them.

And why not?

I don't really know. I have given up trying to get at The Answer. The Solution. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's lots of things. (Probably.) But I'm tired of feeling this way.

There are a ton of things I don't or can't or won't do because of my size. Did you know that? Are you the same way? I don't think it's all a matter of self-esteem, though some of it is. It's just -- there are things I'm missing out on in this life because I'm so damn heavy, and it occurred to me this morning: maybe I should list them out.

Maybe if I write out what all I'm not doing, all the things I do differently, and see it in print, exposed to the world, I can be inspired to change for real. So here goes, in no order other than how I think of them:

1. I do not get bikini waxes.
Probably a lot of things will fall under the category of "cosmetic." It's just that at my core, I do not believe that I can ever be beautiful enough at this weight to have the details matter much. Sometimes I get facials because my face is probably my best asset, and I want to take care of it. And I get pedicures because I wear sandals a lot. But a bikini wax just seems unnecessary. I don't wear bathing suits, for one. And for two, my confidence is simply not high enough to allow me to drag myself to a salon and be all like, HERE ARE MY INNER THIGHS to some poor stranger. No matter how much I'm paying her.

2. I do not wear heels.
I have a few pairs of shoes with some heel to them, but they hurt my feet and knees and entire body to wear for any length of time. In fact, I don't buy "hot" shoes at all. I buy "cool" shoes that are easy to walk in. Granted, even when I'm thinner I don't like uncomfortable shoes, but there's a huge difference shoes that are "uncomfortable" and shoes that basically make it impossible for me to get around.

3. I do not buy nice clothes.
I have some outfits that are suitable for "important" work days, and a couple standard black dresses. Otherwise, I dress for comfort. It's not like I'm devoid of good taste, it's that my options are incredibly limited. If I want to wear something that actually fits me and looks tailored, I'm a. going to have to go shopping at a "specialty" store or the "Woman" section of the department store, and b. going to have to spend a lot of money on it.

Granted, I usually spill stuff on myself, which makes buying/wearing "nice" clothes never an economical decision, but that's not the point. The point is, "plus-size" clothing, as a concept and an experience, is humiliating and ridiculous. I usually decide it's simply not worth it.

I'll stick to jeans and layered t-shirts, thanks.

4. I do not go to clubs.
I'm a little old for club-hopping anyway, and was never interested in Seeing and Being Seen, but right now, I avoid those kinds of trendy places like the plague. For one thing, I don't have the clothes to pull it off. But honestly, even if I did -- even if I found some way to dress my body in an uber-chic way -- I know that I would still appear invisible at these kinds of places.

5. I have stopped going to my gym.
I know how ridiculous this is, trust me. I need to get over this one, and I will. But the truth is, I realized I stopped going to the gym because of how it made me feel. I am the heaviest one in the whole place. That is not an easy cross to bear, or a distinction I can easily ignore. Even though I will either have to, or move to a different gym.


So crazy!

I am reading back through this list and it just seems so dumb. I want to delete this post, even, because the whole thing seems kind of pointless. I just feel so stuck and confused.

* * *

Ish and I are meeting with a personal trainer tomorrow night. I've never been to a trainer, not really. I'm very interested to see what he thinks and how he might have me/us approach a routine together.

As always, I'm skeptical but optimistic. I figure, something's gotta work sometime, right?

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step toward high-heel shoes...

21 comments:

  1. Well, hey, I have no advice for you whatsoever, just encouragement. Of course, I don't know you at all, but after reading your journal for a few years, I know your public persona pretty well and THAT person can do a hell of a lot more than she even realizes. If you are anything like that person, you can do it. And if you are nothing like that person, maybe you could pretend to be her long enough to accomplish what you want to.

    Does that make any sense at all?

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  2. I'm with you on 3, 4, and 5 (ok, I haven't belonged to one in like 10 years).
    But for me 2 is the best. I can't outgrow my shoes, so that is where I spent money on, high heels that make me 1) look taller 2) which in turn makes me stand straighter 3) makes me look skinnier. Plus it gives people something to look at and it makes me feel somewhat sexier. Not necessarily like 4 inch stilletos, but 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 inches, even in a wedge heel does wonders for my outlook.

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  3. Oh, thank goodness. I thought I was the only one who skipped those things because of my weight.

    I hope you have a great time with your trainer. I had a trainer a few years ago (when I had a job that gave me a free apartment--now that I have to pay rent, I can't afford it), and I loved her. Seriously, she was skinny and bitchy and completely intimidating, but I still loved her and she made me feel really strong! Good luck.

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  4. boy, i so know what you mean about not wanting to discuss your body issues with anyone.

    answers. if i had any, i wouldn't still be struggling with my own issues.

    i will say, though, that i took up a new and physical hobby last year (hula) and that prompted me to want to get into better shape -- more than anything i've done in recent years -- simply so i can dance better. and while i haven't lost a ton of weight, i have lost some, and i'm definitely in better shape. i feel stronger.

    maybe this trainer will help you find the key.

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  5. I always assumed that if I didn't bring body issues up to other people, then maybe they wouldn't notice. Completely flawed logic, of course, but whatever.

    I remember meeting a girl at work who was quite overweight, and there was a group of us talking. For some reason we were talking about bicycles, and she was saying how she wanted one of those bikes that folds up so that she could transport it easily, but she said that they only hold 250 pounds. She said she would need to lose about 50 pounds to ride one. I remember thinking that she was very brave to reveal her weight and call attention to it. I guess it is not like people can't tell that someone is fat, but I guess I always held on to the hope that no one would notice.

    I have found that when I lost weight recently, that I didn't like it much when people commented on it, even when it was a compliment (I wrote about this on my blog a few months ago). Getting compliments on weight loss meant that everyone HAD noticed how fat I was before and that kind of bummed me out. People can be very rude about their comments too.

    I went to a "powerful communication skills" last week, and one of the things I learned was that the difference between venting and whining is that the whiner does not want a solution, but only wants to whine. I do not think that is true of you, I am quite certain that you do want a solution. But you have to decide for yourself what path you are going to take, and commit to it to make it work. Someone else's miracle method may not work for you at all.

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  6. You're smart and you're brave, you'll figure this out, you will.
    Everyone has their own answer, and you'll get there.

    Also, I've never gotten a bikini wax either and now I know i never will, cuz your "hello here are my inner thighs" line will ever be stuck in my head. :D
    Thanks for that.
    JC

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  7. Ericha2@yahoo.com4:56 PM, May 28, 2007

    K,

    I know what you mean about not wanting advice. Sometimes you just have to vocalize your frustration without unsolicited advice to figure out where you are and where you go from there.

    I've recently been through this myself. I just changed jobs and moved into a new place and started taking classes again...I haven't been to the gym in a about a month and a half and I've felt VERY bad about it. Got on a scale this morning, realized I hadn't done as badly as I thought...and hopped back on the wagon. Back on a "diet", starting back to the gym next week, starting back on the elliptical at home tomorrow morning...now that I've moved the boxes around and I can get to it.

    Everyone has their own time and own way to do things. I love hearing about how you're doing with your weight loss and I hope that you can find the strength to talk about it as you have found the strength to talk about so many other difficult things.

    Good luck with the new trainer!

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  8. Body issues. Boy, do I have them! *sigh* But reading your post, and the comments, helps me realize that I am NOT ALONE in how I feel about myself and the way I look.

    I think it's a good thing that you and Ish are going to the personal trainer together. It's much easier (well, not "easier", but . . . )to stick with a routine if you have a partner sharing the pain with you. Misery loves company, and all that . . .

    Oh, and? Bikini Waxes? Don't get them, won't get them. Even if I was a gorgeous skinny diva bitch - - I have a VERY LOW pain tolerance! :-)

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  9. It's not dumb -- weight is an incredibly difficult, personal, emotional thing. I always have said that my weight was not really about cookies, it was about WHY I was eating the cookies... therefore, losing the weight didn't just mean "eat less, move more" but "uncover the awful stuff buried deep down inside that you are covering up with 100 extra pounds of fat."

    It has definitely been a process, and not an easy one, but in many ways it's been a WONDERFUL one because I've discovered so many things about myself, and I've grown so much as a person... I never knew what I was getting myself into when I first started losing weight, I certainly never thought it would change my whole world the way it has (and that's not to say that losing weight = losing all my problems, but it does mean that in losing weight, I gained a whole different perspective on myself and my identity).

    You'll do it when you're ready. The trainer is a great first step. So is talking about it... it's the first sign that there is less discomfort with the idea of change.

    There's a pretty incredible internet-based support network out there in the form of weight-loss blogs... it is what has been the difference for me "this time" vs. "every other time" I've tried to lose weight.

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  10. Man, I am what most people would refer to as "thin" but I hear you on "The Answer" frustration.... I always compare myself to what I was in college. The cycle is this:
    1. I get hella motivated
    2. Start feeling great
    3. Put my guard down and start eating some bad things
    4. Get frustrated and start eating ALL bad things
    Then it's all downhill until I can't fit in my clothes anymore and I HAVE to get motivated so I don't have to go buy all new crap. If I wasn't such a cheapskate I wouldn't have any motivation at all.

    I still don't do alot of those things b.c as I get older it just doesn't appeal to me... walk around in heels that pain me and I can't do what I want in? Meh.... I would rather sport flip-flops. And in clubs people act like they are better than you regardless of weight (I feel like like that at least..and I would rather just not deal with that). And I hate our gym and make up any excuse to not go b.c it's full of posers (seriously, guy in the Mohawk, I am looking at you. You can do something other than work your 'beach muscles'). And bikini wax - yikes! - just would rather not! Am scared of the pain!

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  11. K -
    I really loved this post. I don't think you're whining at all _ I recently lost 45 pounds (I still have about 30 to go) and I found before I could do it I had to do a lot of introspection. Like you I have struggled with my weight on and off for most of my life and it was so hard to think about trying to lose weight again. A lot of what gave me the motivation to do it was journaling about issues like the ones you discuss and really considering what my weight means to me. I wrote about it in my journal every day for probably two months or more before I really got serious about diet and exercise.
    It's funny, like a previous commentor, I am the opposite of you about shoes - when I am big I absolutely MUST wear high heels to feel presentable in public because 1. I think (or hope) they make me look less dumpy and 2. They are the only chic thing you can get when you are in the plus size range (besides handbags, I guess). It's amazing how far some killer heels go towards making an Old Navy-plus size outfit look fashionable. I find it weird that I am vain enough to endure the pain of wearing high heels every place I go but somehow not always vain enough to just keep my weight down, given that I am much happier, sexier, and more comfortable being slim in flat shoes than fat in even the cutest heels.
    Also to your list of things that I don't feel I can do if I'm big, I will add:
    1. Travel. Because beach vacations involve wearing a bathing suit in public, and in Europe I feel like my weight is more noticeable than ever - I don't know if it's in my head or not, but it feels like the locals are all staring at me and thinking "fat american!" and it makes me unbearably self-conscious.
    2. Interviewing for jobs - there is nothing that will motivate me to lose weight faster than the prospect of job-hunting. Society seems to make so many unfair character judgments about anyone who's overweight - once again, who knows if it's mostly in my head but it really shakes my confidence and I think it's kind of a vicious circle from there.
    Thanks again for the great post.

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  12. You are so not alone. There's a yoga place near me that was running a special, and since I need the structure of classes and obligation, I signed up. The first four or so classes I went to, I cried through. Two months in, I've lost no weight, but am mildly more flexible, which gets me nowhere. I am still the fattest person in the entire yoga school. It's VERY embarrassing. I've said on my blog that there should be fat-people-yoga-classes.

    I also have no nice clothes. They don't make nice clothes in my size that are also affordable. I need to interview for a new job and my old interview outfit doesn't fit and I can't tell you how humiliated I was to have to buy a swatch of fabric in Union Square to bring to a tailor to add more room.

    1-4 apply to me. I've never been a club type, but I'd also never go to a bar (last time I went to one, I had to walk outside to cry, I was that uncomfortable).

    I only have one month of yoga left, and my brother is coming over tonight to show me how to use the machines in the gym at my apartment complex (which I specifically chose BECAUSE it'd be free). Yeah I moved in January, and I'm first going to the gym in Almost June.

    I will tell you though, that both in FL, and now here in SF, nobody has EVER said anything negative to me or about me when I work out. My brother (not overweight) told me he always silently roots for fat people when he sees them working out, and I like to believe everyone else is also.

    My goal is that on the nights I don't go to yoga, I'll go to the gym. I bring my Walkman and tune everyone around me out, and it's okay.

    I hope your trainer thing goes well. Personally, I would need to go by myself, and wouldn't be able to have a boyfriend there, but this is one of those things where you should do whatever works for you. Good luck.

    (Sorry this came out so long.)

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  13. I've found that every time I spend a lot of money on new clothes, I lose weight. I think there's a causal relationship there, not just bad luck. When I feel good in my clothes, when I look the best I can for my current weight, I don't feel the need to do the moetional eating thing as much. It works. Also, I did figure-drawing for a while, twice a week. The models were of all shapes and sizes; some quite heavy. But looking at them without clothes, looking for the graceful line, the most elegant curves, I found beauty in all of them. That experience made me feel much better about my body, and I started to lose weight. Around the same time, I made a collage of nudes from great paintings that framed my bathroom mirror. Somehow looking at myself in the light of the various beauties of times that valued all sorts of different bodies was very freeing and empowering. I'm not recommending that you do any of these things in particular. But if you have the trouble even writing about body issues that you describe, maybe exploring some different ways of looking at bodies would be a good experience. I don't know.

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  14. I wrote this about a month ago. It seems on point. For perspective I was 425 lbs two years ago and today I still tip the scales at 300. I know what it is to wait, to know that you are simply too big in volumn and weight to accomplish something. I also know that sometimes it is the shield or excuse to hide behind when you are just plain scared.

    Two Years Ago, Today, Tomorrow


    Two Years Ago
    I couldn't walk.
    I couldn't stand.
    I could barely dress myself.
    I couldn't put on my shoes.
    I did nothing but work, eat and take care of others.
    I cut.
    I binged.
    I purged.
    People looked thru me.
    I forced myself to be alone.
    I waited to die.

    Today
    I walk(almost jog).
    I'd rather stand.
    I dress myself to look nice(sometimes).
    I wear heels again.
    I workout, do yoga and martial arts(learning).
    I take care of me.
    I don't cut, though I think about it.
    I (almost) don't binge anymore.
    I don't purge, even when I want to.
    People see me.
    I force myself to socialize.
    I wait to live.

    Tomorrow
    I will run.
    I will stand strong.
    I will look even better.
    I will wear really sexxxy,killer heels.
    I will play soccer & dance again.
    I will find balance between taking care of myself & others.
    I won't think of cutting.
    I won't binge.
    I won't want to purge.
    I will see me.
    I will be surrounded by good people.
    I will be alive.

    Since I wrote this I have joined a soccer team and found a new dance class. And to top it off I made arrangements to learn how to surf this summer. I'm gonna be the fattest chick out there but screw it. I've waited long enough. AND SO HAVE YOU! - Rock on chicky. If I can do it anyone can.

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  15. Motivation's such a fickle thing, isn't it. I get all excited to get back in shape and then get derailed by the littlest thing. Like a really great piece of chocolate cake. And a nap. And a good movie on cable.

    Best of luck with the personal trainer. Since my "personal trainer" has a bum paw, I'm trying to self-motivate. Depite craziness at work, broken bike shoes and strange pains in my ankle-formerly-known-as-broken. Let's just say I've got an uphill battle going. Good thing the hills help work the butt!

    You can do it!

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  16. Please write as much as you can about these things! As you can see, many many people can relate.

    And dude, Danielle? Crying at work here...

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  17. jenny please don't cry! my point is that it is and can get better. i'm living proof. i was dead and i was less then human and now i rock. and if i can do it all you ladies who so bravely put out there in words what the rest of us can only feel or think can do it too.

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  18. As always, I'm skeptical but optimistic.

    LOL!

    I feel you. Totally.

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  19. It sounds like you like to be comfortable (regarding clothes).

    I don't think being comfortable in ones comfortable clothes has anything to do with weight.

    I can show in the "normal" section.
    I can "pull off" outfits.

    BUT, I can ALSO wear jeans to work every single day - with birkenstocks. SO, I do - because I enjoy the comfort of the clothing.

    I am not convinced that your enjoyment of comfortable clothes is/had to be linked to weight.

    :)

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  20. don't forget, at least for me, turning down days at the beach with friends and trying yummy foods at parties (everyone is looking at ME scarfing down food!).

    good luck kristi! i recently lost a small amount of the large amount i need to lose and the renewed confidence is really nice.
    we all know the difference between getting dressed when you are feeling fat and gross and getting dressed when you are feeling better about yourself. just the simplicity of my ams now is keeping me motivated. good luck :)

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  21. Wow! This is like free therapy--I love it. I myself have planned to go to so many things...weddings, social events, even family events-and find a reason to cancel at the last minute because I am too self-conscious to go. Ugh.

    For me, I think I am too hard on myself. If I don't do everything perfectly, I consider myself a failure. However (this is seriously like therapy because this next statement is a revelation to myself) I need to realize that any progress is a step in the right direction. I am just not a patient person--and what I need the most when it comes to weight loss is patience.

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