September Surrender: Day Nineteen
What I’m Letting Go
I stepped on the scale this morning and found that I’m down three pounds. And this time, it doesn’t feel like regular nightly fluctuation. My stomach is beginning to deflate. I felt more confident in my dress at work today. And overall, I just feel better about myself. I really noticed the difference when I picked up the cat and stood in front of the mirror with her. It’s my face. It’s already thinning around my chin. It doesn’t look sallow or gaunt. It’s just like it did when I was younger and weighed under 200 pounds. The diet is working. Whatever switch I’ve switched on is working and I finally feel like I’m doing something that will benefit me. I promised myself thirty days on the carnivore diet, and think I’ll have no problem continuing it long after these thirty days are over. For the first time ever, there is no end point, and I dig it.
What I can’t do right now is pretend that I’m some sort of moral authority on the specific action of weight loss. I’ve been trying for years to get a grip on my unhealthy relationship with food. All that’s been well-documented here and elsewhere. I found something that won’t bother my sense of taste that’s been decimated by this stupid virus New York City is still pretending to care about. Does that mean I think everyone else in the world needs to go on a “health journey?” No, especially not the exact same one I’m apparently on. But there are questions and concerns I have as to how society views weight, health, diet, and a whole lot more.
There’s something that I’ve been waffling on for years: tying my weight to my worth. It’s like I don’t want to dislike my body when there’s too much weight on it, but I can’t help but feel it’s just not good enough. I’ve let myself down because it’s all self-inflicted. I don’t have medical issues bringing me to the point where weight gain is inevitable. No, what I cram in my craw and the choices around that are what’s responsible for me being this weight. People can make all the excuses for me that they want. I did this to myself, so now I’m working on undoing it. That’s my choice. But I think we do a great disservice to people, especially women, when we dissuade them from making similar ones.
The “body positivity” movement has been picking up steam within the last decade. I can get get on board with the idea of loving yourself for being a good person, no matter what kind of body you’re currently in. But it’s made this weird transformation into “health at any size,” and legitimate criticisms being labeled as “fatphobia.” While I don’t think outright insults do any good, it’s just not right to pretend that being obese is anything to celebrate. Fat women will make ‘fatness’ their entire personality, and it’s almost like many will keep on the ‘unhealth journey’ just out of pure spite at this point.
Other areas have gotten so bad that people will pay thousands of dollars to watch people get fat. I don’t know how but a low-sub “stuffing” channel was recommended to me on YouTube. I watched one video of a relatively skinny guy eating seven pieces of pizza and drinking two liters of Coke, as the camera focused directly on his torso the entire time. He was basically just shooting the shit and talking while eating, except he belched loudly several times and rubbed at his belly. And commenters were more than encouraging. “Can’t wait to see what else you can stuff!” they told him. “We want to watch you get bigger!” The ‘feederism’ rabbit hole is bizarre and disturbing to me. And worst off, I can see why people would find it appealing.
Food is just as much of a basic need to humans, just like sunlight, water, and sex. To watch someone enjoying food, having something go ‘inside them,’ ‘swallowing’ it, taking ‘big bites,’ knowing it will make them feel ‘so full’ has it’s own fetishistic quality to it. It’s gross to me, but whatever cranks consenting adults’ knobs behind closed doors is of no concern to me. The fact that something like this can get monetized and promoted on YouTube is where I feel something is utterly broken within society. You’re watching someone promote unhealthy living all while being encouraged and paid to do so. This isn’t ‘body positivity,’ it’s slow suicide. It’s watching addicts get their fix. And for some reason, we’re still in a world where obesity is the norm and it’s entirely fine to achieve it.
I don’t want to hate these people, just like I don’t want to hate myself for where I’ve let my body get to. I want to let go of trying to ‘fix’ this societal problem all on my own. I’ve got to ‘fix’ mine first. At least I’ve drawn attention to it, and at least I know what’s going on. By at least being aware, I can know what to avoid, and when the time comes, I’ll be able to help dissuade it in my own way. In the meantime, people are still going to eat unhealthily, whether I like it or not.
Wha I’ve Discovered
I fell down another YouTube rabbit hole featuring this French guy who eats nothing but raw meat. At one time I’m sure I would have cringed at the notion. But then there’s the part of me who’ll try anything once, and if I really want to live in the “food is fuel” mindset, maybe one day I’ll make that my lifestyle. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
He has all these videos calling those who follow veganism “malnourished.” He made these compilations featuring people who are strict vegan or fruitarians, highlighting how unhealthy a lifestyle choice it really is. And maybe it’s cherry-picked stuff, but a lot of these people don’t look good. Considering how much sugar fruit contains, it doesn’t surprise me. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that solely sustaining on plants or fruits isn’t good for long-term health. People can say the same thing about my diet if they so choose, but on either end of the spectrum, it doesn’t matter.
I can sit here and judge someone else’s choices all I want, even though I was moreso raising an eyebrow at how loopy they sounded talking about ‘vibrations’ and calling eggs ‘chicken periods.’ But the conclusion I ultimately came to is that they made that choice. They’re allowed to live their lives anyway they want, regardless of how much I wish things would get better for them. A lot of people in the videos complained about ongoing health problems, things the channel owner makes the case for fixing if they only began eating meat. I poured through a bunch of his other videos, and I didn’t agree with a large portion of his philosophies on lifestyles, meaning he didn’t earn my subscription that day. But so what? It’s his life. People can subscribe to it if they want. Just because one person thinks a certain way doesn’t mean I have to upend my entire life. A vegan has to live with his or her choices just like a carnivore or omnivore does. It’s not my business unless they make it my business. I have my own life to live without policing another’s, especially over what they choose to put inside their bodies. That includes a medical procedure that’s for some reason still being mandated in this city. But that’s another topic for another day.
What I Hope to Find
I haven’t quite figured out how to fight my hunger pangs. I’m dreaming about big bowls of cereal. I miss bread and sandwiches. I wish chocolate didn’t taste like nightmares to me or else I’d eat a huge bowl of ganache. But whatever, I’m still getting to eat ‘whatever I want,’ and however much I want. I’m not measuring anything, which feels good to be less constrictive about it. I am using some spices here and there, which all the guidelines tell you isn’t recommended. I’m making this work and feeling positive about it.
I do worry about the long-term. What happens when I’m ‘done’ with this diet? Will I ever be ‘done’ with it? I’m far too focused on the future at the moment. When I was a kid, I’d drive myself up the wall with anxiety in creating scenarios about upcoming events. My mom used to have to comfort me over what hadn’t even happened. It’s different this time around. There’s no so much this worry that I won’t stick to this goal, but instead wanting to know if I’ll be this way for the rest of my life.
I really hope one day I can find that healthy relationship with food, while discovering a balance between what benefits me and what no longer nourishes me. When I was in New Hampshire I got a bunch of snacks one night at the local Walmart (which is a novelty to go to as there are none in Manhattan). I got some kind of sticky bun Boston cream thingie that I had to spit out the moment I took a bite. It tasted like straight chemicals. I think I’m better at picking out which foods won’t work for me, and which ones will. All I hope is that when I do decide to eat that which isn’t straight meat, I’ll make a good choice, not an overly-indulgent one.
Forever a work in progress, only this time, with a positive spin.