Friday, November 12, 2010

Days 131 - 133

I haven’t been near a set of scales for a while. Last time I went to the clinic I had put on a kilo. I keep telling myself that this is the first time in my life that I have been disappointed by putting on one, singular, kilo in the space of 30 days.

Biggest gain in shortest amount of time? Probably 5kg in 2 weeks when I was 17 on band tour in New Zealand. I ate tinned fruit with cream for breakfast every day and every meal was all you can eat.


Another friend who had the surgery a few months after N and I had a substantial success in her weight loss in the last month. Of course, your duty as a friend is to feel happy for the other person, and proud of their achievement. But it's bittersweet because it puts in relief what you perceive as your own failings when you're both engaged in a challenge you feel so invested in. In a way, it's a selfish way to be because you end up turning something wonderful about someone else's life into a negative reflection on your own life. In doing that you simplify someone else's efforts, you deny efforts they made, and you make it all about you. The fundamental attribution error most definitely applies, specifically, the self-serving bias and you've made no effort to get around this cognitively. How do you get around these sorts of biases? How do you feel ok?

Number one, it's important to know that we all tend to do this, if we don't think too hard about the world around us - you're not an asshole. You can also look for consensus information - if the same results occur for most people in the same situation, you can safely assume that the likely cause is the situation. You can also ask yourself how you would act in the same situation. Finally, you might look for unseen, and less salient factors that can affect the outcome.

The second and the fourth strategies are fine: most people who have weight loss surgeries lose substantial amounts of weight; and I know nothing of my friend's medical history or anything to do with her eating or exercise habits. The third strategy causes me strife at the moment because I'm not doing that well right now, but of course I'm not in the same situation as my friend. I may be female, of the same age and have also have had the surgery, but our lived experiences are entirely different, as are our relationships with food, exercise and our bodies.

So really, I should just stop comparing myself to other women. Because upward social comparison can be a bitch for your self esteem if you're not careful.

Last time I went to the clinic I saw the psychologist and the dietician at the same time as a group session. It wasn’t an inquisition, I didn’t need a shower afterward. How are my serving sizes? Yeah, not a problem. Marijuana use? Nonexistent, almost nothing on my plate but study. Food choices? Could be better, could be far far far worse. But assignments meant that I didn’t exercise and at least on two occasions in the last few weeks I snacked on biscuits or chocolate while studying. So we talked about making little changes. A bit more activity etc etc.

Today I have had:
• Tub of forme yoghurt
• Small mocha, skinny, equal
• Chicken and salad sandwich, no butter
• Half an apple

This is a menu old me would have been so proud of. Now it’s just pretty run of the mill.

I just put the other half of the apple in the bin. Congratulations.

I was more assertive (aggressive? assertive) this time in asking questions. ‘Who is doing well and what are they doing?’ - They are the people who are consistent, the ones who just ‘plod’ along.

Well fuck it. I’m tired. Assignments are over. I’m not going to enrol in Summer Semester. I’ll write papers and when they are more or less done I’ll enrol and submit them and that can be that. And it doesn’t matter how long it takes because it’s not like I need a Masters degree to get a job. I already have a job I love and enough money to live on. I don’t think I need to kill myself to do this and I don’t want to.

I’m talking with both sides of my mouth at the moment though. On the one hand I don’t want to have to knuckle down to finish off the (admittedly nonessential) Masters degree because I want to ‘have a life’ and ‘be happy’, but on the other hand I am here dreaming of duromine and boiled eggs and 5:30am starts to go to the gym and exercise myself into oblivion. I’m dreaming of nothing but protein and going to sleep hungry. Is that ‘having a life’ or ‘being happy’? Is it? I don’t know. I’ll be happy with my weight.

I forget how it came up. I think I showed Br a pro-ana blog I’d seen ages ago where the author had posted in September 2009 saying that everything in her life was falling apart but at least she was losing weight. That was her last post. Br made me promise that if it came down to keeping things together or being thin, that I would just be fat and ok.

We went out and I wore a new dress. I drank. I think at least 3 boys approached me. None of them was particularly charming or interesting or said anything aside from complimenting me on my tits so I had no interest in engaging with them. I danced with a boy who then propositioned me - ‘No thanks, I have an S’, I reply. He goes on to say that we don’t have to have sex, we can just hang out, it’s not like that. ‘No thanks', I reiterate, 'thanks for the dance, not interested’. This joker approaches me at least 3 times on the dance floor and then another 3 times off the dance floor.

This is fine, I just tell him no each time.

Br finishes work behind the bar and we go to have a slice of pizza and feed $2 into the little machine that tells you just how drunk you are. Another boy, unrelated, comes up to me and rests his hand on my arm comfortingly and earnestly tells me that he doesn’t think I’m a bitch, and I look good in my dress and I looked good out there dancing. (ok?). I chirpily thank him for keeping me up to date on the shit strangers are willing to say about me when I’m out of earshot and bid him adieu.

Later I cry and Br drives me home.

The thing that shits me off is that the whole thing is so fucking dehumanising. I end up being nothing but tits and a vagina hiding under a skirt on a dance floor. This guy knows nothing about me. So unfortunately he doesn’t understand that I don’t like to have sex with people who wear hats at night. So it just makes it all the more easy to slag me off and call me a fat, slut, bitch.

Which brings me to my next point:

(click image to view)
I should start by pointing out that I know the original poster to be a certified ‘nice guy’. Not the type who tells you in a pub that he’s a nice guy and then fucks you around, like an actual Nice. Guy. We can see here that Old Mate starts by reassuring Nice Guy that he’s not actually mean because he is only being judgmental of the part of this woman that is killing herself. So we can see a separation of person and problem which is heartening but we end up with the same result which is judging her and naming her, ‘Trollop’. I manage here to humanise myself despite my fatness and we can see him change from taking a fat shaming stance to taking a stance of reassurance. So we can probably conclude that he’s not a total cunt. And I have friends in common with him, so says facebook, which I hope would tend to indicate that he’s not the worst person on earth. But I don't want to pull that whole thing apart. I just wanted to demonstrate that fat shaming isn't something that happens in far off universes where everyone is a bastard. People I know, who know me, do it. People who are nice do it.

I make plans to eat nothing of substance. I make plans to go to the gym every day, walk to work and home AND go to zumba classes. In my mind all of these things become rational and doable. Then I am disappointed by reality and the failings of my body. Whatever. I feel desperate today.

Desperate to never drive past a sushi shop, a kebab shop, an Indian takeaway, a McDonalds, a Subway. I dream of a world with delicious, ethereal, insubstantial salads on wings, bobbing above my head. I chase them around fields of flowers and butterflies and when they reach out with uncurled, unfurled tongues and taste the salty sweat on my brow they know that I have burnt the exact number of kilojoules they will provide to me when they flutter down, touch my nose gently with their opening and closing wings and whimper quietly in ecstasy as I eat them.

Fat, race, religion and everything to do with gender and sex mean nothing, everything is beautiful and I have nothing to post on facebook but links to youtube clips of kittens riding robotic vacuum cleaners and I never compose deconstructions on culture and fat.

N was telling me how when we were in uni, I just never seemed to care, that I was so confident. I still cared, I cared a whole bunch. I'm just not scared that being honest about it makes me weak anymore. Don't be scared that falling apart means you've failed. Each day pushes relentlessly into the next. You'll have so many more chances.


  1. Reading the Facebook status with it's comments after getting into the feeling you have about your weight made me pretty concerned but I guess the authors of those wouldn't feel that much different. As soon as the other side of that story loomed the content changed pretty much. Realizing people are making fun about something you feel involved in always gives you a bad feeling and easily makes you feel insecure about yourself. Every person has a wide range of emotions and one way to get along with aggression, depression and your own feeling of insecurity is just to make somebody else look worse than yourself. Especially doing it as a group or just following somebody who started something like this makes it much more effective for yourself because the more people are doing it the less it seems to be wrong. But I don't think this is really about her being "fat" but much more about her being weak. Everybody makes fun sometimes about people we feel unrelated to, those who are different to us. It doesn't matter if it's about weight, size, religion, sex, race, style, location, believes or whatever else. It's just about "them" being different to "us". If this author or the people commented the status had a "fat" grandmother, it wouldn't have stopped them from making those jokes as long as they'd be sure she'll never read it. But they would also never make them in front of her. Sometimes fat people make fun about other fat people. So at the end it doesn't matter what you feel insecure about, people will make jokes about it. But what's easy to forget is that they also make fun about other things about yourself. You just don't realize this that much because you're fine with those and you don't give a fuck about what other people think about it. The reason he write so explicit about her weight is because of the triumph he got out of this situation. If she would have confronted him and managed to get herself into a stronger position than his, he would probably not even have mentioned it to somebody else. But her being silent, making room for the impression that he is right and it's her own fault that he makes fun about her made him being in the "right" position and her in the "wrong". She has to think about whether she is too fat, he doesn't have to think about himself being an asshole. Him making this big story about his victory just shows how much he needed not to feel like the looser himself. The comments show that those people don't see a feeling human being behind the girl in the story. I doubt those people who wrote "she deserved it" would even have the guts ever to say something like he did themselves. Doing this would bring them into position of being confronted with the effect it has. The author himself was just lucky she made it that easy for him.

    There is not one real world, only the one we see and those we share with others. If you dream about tolerance and no desires it's up to you just to look for them, because they are all around you. But to wish for a world without prejudices and temptations is wasted energy. Even if it would be possible it would just take the chance for everybody to overcome their weaknesses, their desires, their selves. You can make this vision become real in yourself and reflect it to the outer world but how do people say: it's always easier to turn off the light inside yourself than to fight the darkness of the world.

  2. i'm not going to get my flying salads am i? :)