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