Monday, March 28, 2011

Days 247 - 276

I haven't felt like writing. I lost 2 kilos last month. I'm at 102.5 now - about 10 kilos total in 9 months. The psychologist told me to leave 2 months to bring myself under 100. It feels like a bigger milestone for him than it does for me.

He promises me, everything will be better when I am thin. If I think I like going out and having drinks and going dancing now, just wait to see what it's all like when I'm thin. I promise you, promise you that life will be one hundred times easier when you are thin. Easier to buy clothes. Easier to have sex. I have trouble keeping a straight face.

My body is starting to feel different to be in again, just little things. It's quite nice. Little reminders of what it was like to live in a smaller body.

I wrote that last passage last time I tried to put together something for you to read.

I feel like I'm running out of things to say about all this. Mostly because I've been feeling tired of being angry lately. About fat and about client issues really. I just want to close my eyes and push through mindlessly for a while. I don't think that's such a terrible thing really.

Maybe I feel less fat and there really is less to say.

You can ask me anything.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Days 230 - 246

In my dream we are together at the opening of an art gallery. There is a crowd, people milling with glasses of wine in their hands. The room tilts and it is in the ocean. The weight of wood and concrete pulls us all toward the sea bed. People, furniture, detritus, slides across the floor and I am clinging to the wall on the high side of the room, afraid of how much it will hurt when I lose my grip and hurtle toward the lower end. I am searching for you in the mass of bodies. A bank of windows shows dark water rushing past outside and we are drawn deeper and deeper, closer to the bottom. Storeys and storeys. I want to be holding your hand when the walls crumble and the water rushes in. As we hit the bottom and the seams of the building open up I am next to you and then I am awake.

How it is that it took me 25 years to figure out how my body works? Less than a week without exercise and I feel terrible. Well, I don’t really feel terrible but it’s harder to get out of bed in the morning. Not being well exercised makes me feel like there is less to be gained from making better food choices. Which is patent bullshit. So I ate cereal for breakfast and went to Zumba. A hard slog, but I’ll go tomorrow and it will be easier again and the next night it will be easier again.

It was harder this last month. I spent a good two weeks wondering where the magic of the previous month had gone. That easy willingness to simply do the things that needed to be done – the counting of calories, in and out. Uncomplicated faith that the things I ate and the exercise I engaged in would lead to loss. I dug my heels in for the last two weeks and tried to do as much as I could.

Then I had a fantastic loss. I’m not going to tell you because I don’t want to be held to it. It would be foolish to expect this kind of loss every month. I have to accept 500g a week. I really do. I feel like there is a fragile truce between my body and I. I don’t want to fight. I just want us to be nice to each other.

You can ask me anything.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Days 224 - 229

I think as I move forward through time it becomes easier to see that people love me.

My cat, Good Girl, is skinny. She was a stray. Her neck is long and she reminds me of a big furry snake with extra bits like legs and ears. C once told me that cats are psychic. Not that they're really psychic, but that their minds are so quiet it becomes easier for them to know you. This makes sense to me - As I get older and I become better at making my mind quiet I feel like it becomes easier to see people, and to know them. To listen to a person's story and to know a little bit more than what they have told you and to know it with warm, comfortable certainty (this is handy in a job where your clients do not want to tell you everything you need to know to help them).

Good Girl comes to my window in the morning and wakes me up to let her in and then she lays in bed with me. If I leave her inside when I leave the house she will be there, sitting on the edge of the couch, waiting for me when I return. When I hang out the washing she follows me outside and then comes back inside with me when I am done. She sits on my bathmat and sings her worry to me while I'm in the shower. She knows I go to the bathroom just before bed and when she sees me in there she jumps into bed to wait for me. She loves me.

There was a time in my life where my mind was so noisy. I was so preoccupied with my concerns that it was hard for me to understand what was going on around me. I was worried about uni, and work, and the gym, and a boy, and my relationship with my housemates, and my relationship with my friends, and getting work experience, and whether I would get a job when I finished my degree, and whether my doctor would prescribe me more duromine, and whether the weight would come back, and whether I looked any good, and whether I was any good, and whether something terrible would happen and I would have to quit uni and go back to Caboolture. I wasn't able to name this anxiety at the time. I think I just really thought everything was on the brink of falling apart and that I was holding everything together by tenuous threads. I was racing towards the end of my degree because I thought education and a good job would keep me safe from all the things I was afraid of. With a good job I could buy all the duromine in the world and I wouldn't have to worry about my fat either.

I got a call from the clinical nurse. Out of the blue, so my mind is racing.

They're sending me for an MRI. The clinical nurse doesn't tell me why and I don't ask. But I understand that she is worried by a throwaway comment I made a fortnight ago about having a cramp while sitting in a movie theatre. It didn't go away straight away and by the time I went to bed I had intellectualised it as the implant moving around in my body, pushing on my organs. I lay, and meditated and told myself that if I relaxed enough everything would rearrange itself into the correct configuration by morning. I woke up feeling fine.

I know they hope that this is why I haven't been losing that much weight - if the implant is simply in the wrong spot then they can put it back in the right place and lash it down with occy straps and I will start losing 3 kilos each week and 5 every third. Not really. I'm sure it works out slightly different as they imagine it. I would be at goal weight in 9 weeks, imagine that.

I will go, after fasting for 6 hours, and I will eat creamed rice out of a tin before I insert myself into the machine. So they can see the shape of my stomach with the implant sitting on top. Or maybe it's somewhere else.

Do you remember those terrible fucking kids' shows? Old mate wants to ice skate but he can't, he's too scared and also he's shit. But then someone gives him magic sunglasses that help you skate. But really they don't. And everyone learns the value of friendship? Maybe that's what the implant is like. It's really just chilling on top of my ovaries and not doing a goddamn thing but I think it's there and it is so I can get to the end of the day with a balance of 1100 - 1300 calories whereas I had trouble keeping it down around 1700 before.

If it has detached am I willing to let them go back in and reattach it and continue on with the trial? Or do I make them take it out and go back to begging GPs for duromine? Or do I take money out of my savings and get some other surgery? I'll have been with my health fund for 12 months and be covered for obesity surgery this March. Maybe the timing of all of this is serendipitous. Or do I take it out and just see what happens. If you suspect that I'm not going to take the last option, I'd say you know me pretty well already.

What is life if not an adventure?

I should meditate more.

You can ask me anything.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Days 215 - 223

The last week has been kind of shitty. I didn’t count all my calories and over the weekend I didn’t want to exercise. I’ve felt unfocused. I wonder if I’m sabotaging myself.

I was feeling so positive in the last month before my appointment. Maybe I'm disappointed that I only lost 2kg. Maybe I'm having trouble accepting that 2kg per month is the most I can lose without making weight loss an obsession.

There's other stuff. I keep on thinking about stats I've seen on lapband - average total loss plotted on a graph month by month, rising tantalisingly higher but with n reducing each month. What happened to the people who dropped out of the study? 812 participants down to 12 over 48 months and THAT is information they use to sell you a surgical device?. When I hear about people dropping out of this study I wonder about n. I don't want to think too hard because I'm scared I'll break the spell and next month that 2.1kg will be right back there where I left it.

There might not be any answers.

The dietitian was really happy. The clinical nurse hugged me. The psychologist seemed concerned. He was pleased but it seemed like he was worried I wouldn't do it again next month. Maybe I'm the one who is worried.

16 units of exercise – 4 per week, at least 45 minutes each.

Clear spirits and diet mixers. Only once a week. Keep it under 6 standards.

Minimum weed.

Avoid takeaway excepting salads, clear soups, asian vegetables, rice paper rolls, subway. If a steak, no chips. But the salad is better.


Cook at home.

Feel good. Feel safe. Feel beautiful. Feel positive. Breath.

Exercise to feel good. Eat what you want, make up for occasional foods with extra exercise. Zumba! Maybe some stretching. Gym.

You’ve done this. You can do this.

Cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch. Red bull when peckish. Consider whether it is better to save the calories at breakfast. Don't eat stupid shit for breakfast on a whim.

You are afraid of consistent success because it will place an expectation on you to continue to take responsibility for your own freedom. Choice is terrifying.

You are the lead guitarist sinking drink after drink before the show and no one will ever know if it was the booze or if you actually just sucked at guitar.

You are terrified that trying and failing will be harder than failing and failing.

It’s so ok. It is your life. Fuck everyone else.

Sleep 8 hours. Don’t be in a rush if you can help it.

There are some things you don’t recover from, they just change you. It’s ok.

You can ask me anything.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Days 209 - 214

So, to recap, this month has involved the following:
• The rejoining of my preferred gym
• Attendance at the gym 4 days a week for at least 40 minutes each visit
• The throwing out of my scales
• Visits to the hypnotherapist and engaging in trance work each day
• The partaking of 1 x joint and 2 x half cone
• The eating of 1100, 1300 or 1600 calories each day. There was one day where I lost my rhythm and ate 2000 calories.

I did not abstain completely from alcohol as originally planned. I engaged in the following boozing:
• Barbecue at L’s house – 1 x vodka, lime and soda UDL
• Australia Day – 6 x sugar free cruiser
• Some other day, I don’t remember why, whatevs – 2 x sugar free cruiser
• Drinks out with L – 6 x gin, lime and soda
• N’s going away party – 2 x frozen margarita
• H’s birthday – 6 x sugar free cruiser
• Flood party with N and Br - half a bottle of gin with diet mixers + 2 glasses of mango wine

All of the above was accounted for in my daily calorie limits aside from the flood party drinks. I was taking a bit of an eyes wide shut approach to the calories in alcohol previously. I guess I just assumed that what I was eating was going to be far more problematic. This could have been incredibly naive.

Tomorrow they’ll weigh me and I’ll know.

Earlier in the month I told my hypno that I was feeling guilty that I’d fallen down on my commitment not to drink this month – that I’d essentially promised I wouldn’t drink at all to see if I would lose weight as a result. ‘What will that prove?’, she asked me. Even if I do lose weight by not drinking at all, do I plan on never drinking again? No. Probably not a valuable strategy then.

I have mixed feelings about tomorrow. My jeans feel a little looser. Maybe I’ve lost weight. Maybe.

For 3 weeks I was feeling very positive and it was simple to keep my calories down.

Then they started to creep up again.

a) There is a large backlog at work after Christmas and the floods. The senior solicitor is going on leave and the other solicitor who was going to fill his position is on sick leave for at least another 2 weeks. This leaves only me and another solicitor who works 2 days per week.

b) I have a number of large, grown up, financial demands at the moment – getting the cat desexed, and the car fixed, rego renewal and new glasses.

c) I recently discovered that a number of people have exited the trial due to lack of results. Some of these people are getting sleeves or bypasses done.

d) Weigh in is getting closer and I’m terrified that I won’t have lost.

I’m not sure if I can do much more exercise than this or eat much less than this without forgoing a social life altogether. I’m not sure where there is to go after this without drugs.

A work colleague has suggested going and consulting an outside dietician. That could be a goer.

N says what she’s read says 1100 calories per day is too low. I managed this probably 3 out of 4 days for 3 weeks this month before things got heavy and the cals went up a bit.

So I've been aiming for 1300 per day.

Last time I lost anything substantial I think I was on 300 a day. That’s Portia de Rossi style. It was also drug assisted. I'm ambivalent about going back to this.

Not doing anything but weight loss for 6 months or a year might be possible. It might be something that can be done. But I worry about what would happen to me if I did that.

I read a nice piece by John Birmingham the other day that touched on some issues around fat politics. I made the mistake of reading the comments. I stopped after the first one:

‘...I'll say it, Obesity[sic] is disgusting, unhealthy and almost without exception the result of someone who did not know when to say no. I am 37 and recently looked over some old primary and high school photos, the fatties where a slim (boom tish) minority, now they are everywhere. Sorry, but there has not been some mysterious illness that has stuck[sic] the population in the last 30 years that has lead to the condition, nothing more than idleness and complacency.

Stop whining, eat some vegies, step away from the burger and get some bloody exercise, it is not difficult. When there are millions of people every day not knowing where their next meal is coming from it is revolting and selfish to sit on your fat acre cramming garbage down your neck and moaning about being so fat.

Go on, skip a meal, know what it feels like to be hungry, remember what it feels like to be hungry; it is not something to be feared, once your body looses[sic] the ability to gauge hunger and fullness obesity is luring around the corner. Try not eating until you really feel you need to, then have some veggies and wholegrains and lean protein, walk away before you feel like you want to spew, in fact go for a walk!!!!

Time for the gloves to come off, softly softly isn't working.’

Em - February 01, 2011, 7:01AM

I don’t think this is necessarily a troll because I think this is a relatively widespread belief – that my fat communicates to you in no uncertain terms that I am greedy, lazy, undisciplined. That I am smelly in summer. That I am unattractive. That I am weak. That my sexuality is distasteful. That I have a poor relationship with food and exercise. That I cannot create, pursue and achieve goals.

If hateful, judgmental people on the internet or IRL had the power to shame you thin, there wouldn’t be any obese people in the community.

Shit like this makes me wonder how long I have to eat 1100 calories a day before I can start calling myself the ‘Immaculate Fatty’.

When I was 14, I was 74kg and 165cm tall, placing me 5 kilograms into the ‘overweight’ bracket of the BMI. It was probably a good weight for me at that age – hips, boobs and ass is what my Mother’s side of the family is all about and those things don’t weigh nothing. But that’s hard for you to appreciate when a good chunk of your friends haven’t started developing yet. I felt like a behemoth.

I dated a boy for 3 weeks. It was his idea and I reluctantly agreed. On this basis I can only assume that he quite liked me. He would sing to me. I would have to take my retainer out after class and keep it in my pocket during lunch because he would always wanted to kiss down behind the school swimming pool.

So I felt terrible because I didn’t really like him that much. So I ended it. ‘Let’s be friends’ all the usual garbage. He was quite hurt.

A month or two later, a boy from my grade, a bit of a lad, pulled me aside. He wanted to tell me about a rumour that was going around because he felt like I had a right to know. I guess this meant that he understood it to be unfounded.

In the story we are about to have sex for the first time. I take off my clothes and there are rolls and rolls of fat. They are disgusting and he loses his erection. There is a terrible smell and he realises it is my vagina.

I don’t want to deconstruct this today.

I’ll just show you a photo of me from that time.

I’m skipping dinner tonight, in honour of Em. To her, and her gloves.

You can ask me anything.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Days 203 - 208

I am in my apartment. My lamp throws soft shadows from the floor to the ceiling. There is a party next door. The animated chatter of voices, the splash of bodies in the pool, music.

I am in bed. My body is cool, smooth, quiet. My mind is quiet.

After my first session of hypnotherapy a few weeks ago, I asked Br to throw out my scales for me. They were a set I bought on the internet a year or two ago because they would measure your body fat percentage. The personal trainer I had at the time preferred me to track my body fat percentage rather than my weight. I set up the scales as the instructions directed, entering my information to allow them to accurately report my body fat percentage. When I stepped on I received an error message. Further reading of the instructions revealed that the scales would only produce readings up to 47%. A healthy body fat percentage for a woman my age is 21-33%, 33-39% is overweight and over 39% is obese. Slightly higher percentages are recommended for older women – the bottom end of the obese category for women 61-79 years begins at 42%. So I guess what the scales were telling me was that, in their opinion, once they had determined I was obese it was no longer useful for me to know how my body fat percentage had altered unless it was to tell me that I was nearing the bottom of the obese bracket. Fuck you scales. My ideal weight is just beyond the cusp of obesity. I think I look amazing at this weight. I feel amazing at this weight. Fuck you B.M.I.

Whatever. It’s my body. I do what I want.

When I run my hands over my side I feel slimmer. I could be wrong. Who knows? Br threw out the scales just like I asked, so I won’t know until my next appointment.

I feel calmer since I started hypno again. Previously, where I perceived that I’d had a bad day I would refuse to count my calories and just feel hopeless. In the past few weeks I’ve just been counting them anyway and I’ve made a startling discovery – even when I think I’ve eaten too much or eaten lots of crap I’m not consuming that many calories.

How odd. Calorie counting has become something that brings me comfort and reassurance rather than being something that feels oppressive or punitive. Counting my calories after each meal lets me know that I am headed in the right direction.

I went to a barbecue today. I ate barbecue food. I used to fucking dread barbecues – the combination of fatty meats and booze just killed me. Today, after meat, potato salad and sugar free cruisers I was still within my calorie limit.

What does this mean? I don’t want to go getting ahead of myself, but it could possibly mean that I can trust my body.

I’ve increased my exercise. Biting the bullet, I've taken up a second gym membership because I simply do not enjoy going to my current gym. Rather than waiting until the end of my current membership, I've joined another gym where I know I enjoy going despite it being a little further from home. I’ve been going most days. At the rate I’ve been attending I’ll actually have engaged in 25% more exercise than the psychologist asked me to this month.

Exercise is something that has brought me a lot of anxiety in the past. Like wearing form fitting clothing the simple act of engaging in activity has, in the past, felt as if it invites the judgment of strangers. I’ve had concerns about my fitness before – ‘if I can’t spend at least 15 minutes on this machine people will know that I am fat and unfit’. I once had a panic attack in a spin class, trapped on an uncomfortable bike in a dark room full of strangers cycling to oppressively loud dance beats. I felt like I couldn’t go on, like I’d run out of puff for that particularly intense class but how could I bring myself to get off the bike and admit to all the people around me that I had so neglected my health and fitness that I couldn’t simply ride a bike for 45 minutes straight? My throat flattened, tears on my face and I was so sure I would die, or at least pass out. In the dark no one knew. I had regained my composure by the time the class ended.

I’ve made another startlng discovery – I’m not unfit.

I’ve been getting through classes without a problem and then even doing some extra cardio on top. I’ve certainly been spending more time at the gym than the 30 minutes per visit the psychologist asked me to commit to.

I can trust my body.

Time to go to sleep.

You can ask me anything.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Days 195 - 202

N and I forgo yoga for mall walking. We eat dinner in the food court. I've been thinking about sushi and that’s not such a bad thing. I am in line and I have only $6 whereas I thought I had $15. This is only enough for 2 sushi rolls and I was thinking about being terrible and having 3. Panic rises in my throat. What am I going to do? Do I leave the line and go and get more money and come back to buy 3? This seems like extreme action just for a third sushi roll when I am not even that hungry. I promise myself that if I am hungry after I eat two I can buy a third. Calm settles over me again and I realise how odd this moment that I have just had with myself is.

I am ok.

I am 5, 6, 7, 8. My mother hoards plants too I guess. The little house is wrapped in dark greenery and the moon is full and high and I can see it, beyond the canopy. The driveway is made of little river stones that crunch when the car moves over them, my feet are soft and walking over is a clumsy dance. Warm domestic light spills out the kitchen window, geckos sing and this is my childhood and I am safe and unsafe and loved as best as is possible given circumstances. This is everything I know and I don’t know something different yet. Steak for dinner, the fatty rinds on a plate, for the cat. Her name is Sweetpea. I put some of the cooked fat out for her and I am pushing the rest in my mouth. I feel such a strong need. I am swallowing as quickly as I can and I am evening my breath so I can return in a timely and unsuspicious manner. I am a small child and I have already learnt that my hunger is shameful and punishable.

I grow to hate this place.

When I leave it is the end of summer and I am 20 kilos lighter by the start of spring.

Tonight I am a hundred kilometres and years away in my apartment. I can eat anything or nothing. I will never be hungry and I don’t need to be scared anymore.

You can ask me anything.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What do you think stops you from sticking to a diet and staying away from alcohol or drugs?

"Many people assume that weight is mostly a matter of willpower - that we can learn both to exercise and to avoid muffins and Gatorade. A few of us can, but evolution did not build us to do this for very long. In 2000 the journal Psychological Bulletin published a paper by psychologists Mark Muraven and Roy Baumeister in which they observed that self-control is like a muscle: it weakens each day after you use it. If you force yourself to jog for an hour, your self-regulatory capacity is proportionately enfeebled. Rather than lunching on a salad, you'll be more likely to opt for pizza."

You can ask me anything

Have you tried hypnotherapy or something that will help with your willpower?

I tried hypnotherapy around 3 or 4 years ago. I found very effective for anxiety at the time. I actually feel like it gave me a skill set to deal with anxiety on a long term basis as well, it's not as if it just took away the symptoms at the time just for them to return later. I'm still not great at dealing with anxiety when I've got a lot of stress in my life, but hey, that seems pretty normal to me. But it's not something that follows me around every day like it used to.

I went back to the same hypnotherapist assuming that it would be just as effective for weight loss. At that time I think I just had so little insight into why I was having problems getting to the weight I wanted to be at, or even maintaining a consistent weight that the hypnotherapy was bound to be of little use.

I had concluded at the time that I was just genetically predisposed to having a low metabolism and having a big appetite. I now drawn different conclusions about why these two things might be true. I've started seeing another hypnotherapist again and I'm enthusiastic about the process. I think the last time I went I really did view it as a 'quick fix' - I would go to a session or two and then I wouldn't be so hungry anymore. And then I would lose weight.

So that was a little naive.

I'm committed at this point to go to sessions regularly for as long as it takes. What I consider to be excess weight on my body, I think at this time, is really just symptomatic of a whole range of other issues. There's a lot to sort out - as evidenced by this blog. To say that I became overweight or that I have remained overweight due to a lack of willpower would be a gross oversimplification. Unfortunately, to assume that a person is heavier than they might like to be simply as a result of being weak willed is a quite understandable and common misconception. I wouldn't hold it against you.

Friday, January 14, 2011

have you ever considered just giving up and living with whatever weight you are ?

Not until recently. I'd been dieting for so long, and felt like I gained so quickly every time I let go of the reins. I took it as a sign that I would just gain and gain if I were ever to lose vigilance.

It's interesting that you use the words 'give up' and not 'acceptance' or something similar. I think this is telling of the tension that might exist between ideas of fat acceptance and ideas about the value of self improvement. Fat acceptance as a movement certainly has a lot to say about the idea that one should strive to achieve an ideal or near to ideal weight.

Either way, I'm not ready to quit yet.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Where is that tattoo again?

Sounds like you already know

Days 191 - 194

There are no fat animals in the wild.

Instinct drives you. You feel famine, winter, natural disaster around the corner and you eat everything you find. Warm, soft, secure, blubber. Insurance. Your fat between you and death.

S and I in the Netherlands, outside our tent. Finally dark after 10. A hedgehog skirts the edge of the bushes. S tells me how when you are young, you find the hoglets asleep in the winter and you gently steal them and keep the at home in a box until spring. No, he tells me, you can’t wake them up to play with them or they might get sick or die. They don’t have enough fat for the winter unless they are asleep.

Somewhere in your life a switch was flicked and it was never turned back off. Your primal mind, perceptive beyond your understanding, foreshadowed disaster.

Protected for 9 months and held warmly, lovingly, within the dense darkness of your Mother’s body. You exit helpless, immobile, and the world is so strange and indecipherable. I mean, fuck, aren’t you still trying to figure it out now? You cry. You are held. You are fed.

Food becomes your security. Pavlov’s dogs at your heels. Endless, bottomless, inexplicable hunger betrays a soft gentle undercurrent of fear, cool waves lapping.

You leave a continent after famine, you hoard food in tins, in a cupboard.

I don’t know why my Mother hoards food. Or anything else. But I do think it lends her a sense of control over her universe.

At intake, when I disclosed physical abuse, the psychologist subtly indicated to me that this was essentially a ubiquitous disclosure amongst trial candidates.

Your world is as safe now as it ever will be. Time to switch off.

You can ask me anything.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Did I see you at Dr L's office today by any chance?

Not yesterday, no :)

What's your bra size?

Psssssh, what are we? 16?

Big enough for you to wear as a hat.

Seriously, what's up with bra size? Is it so you can head down to Kmart and be like 'Aah yes, this is the space those breasts would take up, yes, I see...'

Breasts don't need to be academic. They're breasts.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Days 189 - 190

I bought a corset, almost 30kg ago, to wear to metal shows and I never wore it because I thought it made me look thick.

This is a cautionary tale.

You can ask me anything.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Days 185 - 188

“Fat people are often supported in hating their bodies, in starving themselves, in engaging in unsafe exercise and in seeking out weight loss by any means necessary. A thin person who does these things is considered mentally ill. A fat person who does these things is redeemed by them. This is why our culture has no concept of a fat person who also has an eating disorder. If you’re fat, it’s not an ED — it’s a lifestyle change.”
Lesley Kinzel

Only up 900g over Christmas. Confirmed that I had halved drinking in the last month and that I had exercised at least 3 times per week, though no exercise over Christmas week.

The psychologist tells me that he does not say this to many people, this is not what he recommends for many people – other people can have an amount of flexibility in how they approach this – he thinks that the best way forward for me is All Or Nothing.

I already knew All Or Nothing works for me. But I didn’t want to have to do it forever. I thought it would send me crazy. That’s why I had the surgery.

Then again, I’m relatively confident that once the weight was off it would be far easier to maintain the loss.

I bought a magazine I’d picked up in line at the supermarket. Some former athlete had shed 26kg of baby weight in three months. I wanted desperately to know what her secret was (of course there's no fucking secret). I sat at home and read – a highly restrictive diet and treating exercise like a full time job. Possible slight exaggeration.

3 months.

If I lost 26 kilos I would be exactly where I wanted to be.

3 months.

All Or Nothing. Exercise 4 times per week for 45 minutes optimally, at least 30. Be sweaty. No alcohol. No weed. No takeaway.

Then it occurs to me that my entire social life involves either drinking or smoking. I have no hobbies. Fuck.

What do people do? Go to the movies?


I ask if it’s easier for people a bit older, or people with families. The answer is yes, essentially. Their lifestyles are more stable. And my weight loss keeps being interrupted - holidays, study, Christmas.

What will I do with my time?

Do I like gardening, the dietitian asks. Oh lord, no, um, of course not? She is young, fit, pretty. Does she like gardening? Really?

I should just stop being a bitch.

An entire change of lifestyle.

The end of your life as you know it.

I don’t think I ever really thought about what that meant.

Are you happier now with things the way they are, with the failings you’re familiar with? Or do you break out, to see how the grass on the other side tastes? The thing you have to understand is that I really do like what comes with a social life that is so thoroughly anchored on booze and weed. I know that might sound empty. But I don’t really feel like it is.

I look at job ads in hospitality.

If I start work at the office at 7:30 in the morning I can finish by 3:30. I can be at a hospo job by 5. I can work weekends. I can make a meagre amount of money and save it for holidays. I can get 5 hours or so of exercise per shift. I won’t have the option of going out drinking and I’ll always have an excuse to turn down invites to dinner or drinks. I could probably be down 15 kilos within 3 months.

Can I keep up that sort of momentum without duromine, they ask me?

All Or Nothing. You going to give me the script? I didn’t think so.

You know what, I honestly do think it would be easier for me to do that, then to stay at home. Maybe I’ll take up knitting.

I mean, you can go out for coffee but then there’s the calories in the coffee to account for. The temptation of tiny cakes. The tunnel vision I feel like I get when I’m over-caffeinated and the creeping sense that my hair is eating me, left overs from days when anxiety picked at the corners of everything with ragged little nails.

UQ ping pong club.

Yes, I know how terrible this all sounds. Boohoo. B won’t be able to get wasted every weekend.

Rachael Oakes-Ash discusses in Good Girls Do Swallow the pressure you might put on yourself to have a full dance card. I’m fat, but I’m a big fat party animal. I’m fat, but I’m smart. I’m fat, but I’m funny. I’m fat, but I’m interesting. Clearly. Look how many people want to drink or smoke with me. If you wish, if it helps, take out the word fat and replace it with your favourite insecurity.

So here’s the sequence:
1) Stop doing all the things that you think make you interesting. Or your life interesting. Whatever. The things that simultaneously maintain your current weight.
2) Feel boring.
3) Lose weight.
4) Feel less pressure to be interesting.
5) Profit???

(There’s possibly a step before step 1 where I stop being so fucking bitter and accept that I just need to choose which of these things is most important).

Fat is assigned meaning socially. It says something about you to people before you even speak – you eat too much, you don’t exercise enough.

Maybe you come to accept over time that if you are not at the weight you feel you should be, that the reason is that you have failed to maintain a reasonable and healthy lifestyle.

Well fuck it, I did the exercise they told me to do and I abstained from the drinks they asked me to abstain from and they certainly expected that I would lose weight as a result. They seemed surprised that I didn't. So on a level that is comforting. What I’m drawing from this whole turn of events is that weight is hard for me to lose. It wasn’t that I was just eating shit, or being slovenly or that I lacked commitment. It might just be my body. It might just be how my body is.

Maybe that’s just how my body is because I’ve dieted myself into a corner. Or maybe it was always going to be that way.

Christmas with my family was lovely. Lots of women with bodies that I could see my own reflected in. The loveliness of how much you make sense to yourself when you realise there are people who are just like you in so many ways.

I’ve been feeling uncharacteristically negative. So I’m going and seeing someone on Tuesday. I feel commitment requires faith. Faith requires positivity. So hopefully this person can help me to get that positivity back.

I need to work on making this work, I am told. Because after this there are no other options. I call bullshit. What about bypass? What about just being fat and happy? I feel resentful when I sometimes perceive that I’m being made to flog a dead horse just to improve someone else’s stats.

I can flog a dead horse. Hell, I could have flogged that horse from day 1 but they were telling me to take it slow. Be easy on myself. Because this time is different. Because this time is forever.

All Or Nothing.

You can ask me anything.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Days 165 - 184

In an sms from my Dad today he mentioned that he was proud I have maintained a regular exercise regime.

There are times in both the recent and distant past where people around me have lost weight. There is, on occasion, talk of pride. Someone is proud of you that you lost weight.

I want you to know that there are so many other things about you that make you wonderful.

You don't need to lose weight for me to be proud of you.

I wish no one would notice if I lost weight or not.

I don't want to talk about how angry I have felt that things are different when I'm thin again. I'm weary today. Don't worry, it's just hangover blues.

You know what’s really terrible? When you don’t lose weight and then someone asks you if you have. What do you say? Do you ruin the illusion by telling them the truth? I find myself saying ‘I hope so’. How disgustingly glib. It’s like I can accept your compliment and reveal a small, delicious portion of my neurosis to you all in one go. Then I’m trying to figure out what the fuck it is that I’ve managed to do on that particular day to create the illusion that I’m thinner than before.

I hate this idea that people around me would be proud or not proud of the outcome of my relationship with my body.

Isn’t that the whole point of losing weight where there is weight to be lost? So that your body can (in theory) become invisible to the judgment of others.

Swapping food for privilege.

Happy New Year.

You can ask me anything.