Friday, August 19, 2011

Weight Loss

I have struggled with my weight all of my life and have worked really hard in the past year to drop it. I find it saddening how many people who lose weight joke that "I used to live to eat, now I eat to live." I find this holding true for myself as well, and it depresses me that something that once brought me pleasure does not anymore. I cannot eat anything or indulge in anything without thinking about the potential consequences and whether or not it will make me gain weight, which makes me not want to bother to eat at all as very few things seem worth it.

I started dieting because I grew weary of having to hear every doctor I ever went to tell me that I needed to lose weight, even when I wasn't clinically obese, and I was in a situation where I wound up seeing a lot of doctors in a short time in response to a medical diagnosis in the fall and so it kept coming up. My body was always happiest at 150 but that still is overweight as far as the medical community is concerned. The final push was twofold. First, I acquired a Wii Fit, which is programmed with a double standard by making you choose a response from a checklist in response to gaining more than a pound over a day's time when you're either trying to lose or maintain, whereas it doesn't do this the other way around when you lose an equivalent amount of weight, even if you're underweight and are trying to gain. (I know because I have now been on both sides of what it considers to be ideal.) But the daily check-in just made me really self-conscious about everything I ate and did and made me feel too accountable.

I will admit that I did need to lose some weight though - I'd drifted up over the course of time. I was feeling pretty good about myself after I had lost over 40 pounds and gotten to around 150. But then I went to a specialist about a recurring medical issue and, in response to telling her I was trying to lose weight, was told that losing weight is hard and that I should keep working at it because if I did so my symptoms would likely disappear on their own. Both things combined to further fuel a cycle of self-hatred and I am now at the lowest weight I have ever been since middle school. It depresses me that I can count every rib and every vertebrae in my spine and yet by weight and height alone am considered to be "healthy" according to the medical charts.

I know I shouldn't let others' opinions of me affect me so, but when I'm down I struggle with feeling as though I'm being judged and so it tends to feed into itself. I have a horrible self-image, especially regarding my body. I hated what I looked like when I was larger and I still hate what I look like now that I'm not. I feel like a deflated balloon and see only see my flaws. But the attitude shift regarding food deeply saddens me because I cannot indulge in one of the only things I found comfort in. It's not like food was a constant overindulgence, but now it seems more of an enemy than a friend and I really don't want to eat out or be in social situations at all. I guess I just need to keep reminding myself to try not to buy into all of the body image BS but I feel as though I'm bombarded with it constantly.

Why do we live in a culture that encourages overindulgence while embracing self-denial? I realize that unhappy people make better consumers because they are trying to fill a void. And while it's true that money doesn't buy happiness, a lot of people spend an awful lot of it trying. I know that those trying to sell me something don't care about my emotional well-being, they just want to make money off whatever it is that they're peddling, whether it be an idea like what is perceived of as attractive or a physical thing like a soda.

But I just don't have the energy left to fight it anymore, I'm too drained. I have always incorporated this in my art, which has been my primary means of coping with it, and now am doing a little better as I am working on more art again. But where does it end? I wish I didn't need art as a catharsis, that I didn't even need an outlet for my pent up frustrations because I could just ignore all of it. Or, better yet, that the double standards and mixed messages weren't there in the first place and we could all just be allowed to be at peace with ourselves rather than being constantly bombarded by someone trying to sell us something or chastise us for deviating from what is considered "normal".

No comments: