Monday, March 18, 2013

Weighing The Issues 2: The Revenge Of The Resentful

WARNING: It's not a funny post - do not be taken in by the picture of the clown. As in the picture, it is a trap. This is a ranty lady post.
 I know, it's okay; I'll see you next week.

So, I've been trying to lose weight for a few years...I finally made it to target weight back in December of 2011. I know, breaking news right?

Anyhow, before that I had a bit to say about my goals, my lack of progress, and my methods...since then, I found an online calorie-keep-track-of-er (I don't like the term "calorie-counter", and I never look at the numbers anyhow; it has a colorful little bar that tells you whether you're in the red or not, but "calorie-color-er" is a prohibitively confusing term) called LoseIt, and I charged through the rest of my weight loss like a herd of...well, not turtles perhaps, but not racehorses either. Like a herd of conservatively-paced pack animals, let's say. Maybe Shetland ponies.

I reached my goals, eventually -- surpassed them even, and I was soooo happy.  My friends congratulated me, complimented me. Clothes looked nicer on, I wanted to wear less and bare more as per my Hawaiian social mores, the self-esteem was being fed and the face was too, although to a lesser extent -- the roses, they were a-coming up. American Dream style.

Then, as someone other than me might've expected, Phase 2 of having lost weight happened -- and the compliments and congratulations stopped. What more is there to say, seemed to be the sentiment -- you're thin now, you don't need encouragement like the rest of us. Just be happy, you made it.

It felt strange -- to be given so much love and support while failing, and then dismissed once there was success. I told myself I couldn't expect an eternal yay-me parade, and tried to let it go. 

Can't last forever

But maintaining weight is a struggle, too -- not as huge of a struggle, of course -- but a non-stop, for-the-rest-of-your-days long-haul slogfest that people really do NOT support.

Because now you're lumped in with skinny people, most of whom are -- aarrgh -- naturally skinny. They don't worry about what they eat because it's never been an issue, and they'll treat you like you have an eating disorder if you decline food or talk about calories. And your heavy buds don't want to hear you complain, either -- Oh, cry me a river, Miss Size Four. Striking the balance between foods that won't make you feel like you're on a diet for all eternity and stuff that won't make you backslide is a guessing game now played in the solitude of your own head, without being able to chat about strategies or good-calorie-value "finds" with others -- neither camp wanna hear it. I find that I keep myself a few pounds under target weight just so I can be spontaneously taken out to eat -- nobody, regardless of weight or health habits, wants to hear "No, thank you anyway - I can't afford it calorically." It's a guaranteed rage-and-resentment-fest every time, so I just try to stay under that line in my head/on the scale so I'm not seen as "being difficult". Yeah, I'm such an asshole for making a goal, doing what it takes to accomplish that goal and sticking with it. Forget eternal yay-parade, could I get an "It's okay, I understand" up in here?

There's a place in all weight loss plans that's like "The Wall" long-distance runners talk about -- where you feel like you've slammed to a halt, and can't go on any longer. When you start to get really close to the weight you ought to be, your body clings to every pound because it's convinced you're on the road to starvation and self-destruction. Every quarter-pound must be squeezed mercilessly out of the week, and you feel like you've lost all momentum, are failing right before the finish line, etc. It's a tough hurdle, especially that last pound, but you do get there. But that incredible toughness, where it takes ages to make downward progress? I live there now. Every time I go up, I have to take the tough line for two weeks to see my way home. It makes me seem obstinate, and unreasonably harsh to today's low-effort humans -- but it's important to me, and I tried so hard to get where I am that no, I don't feel like compromising. Coz that's how you backslide -- especially if you like carbs and dairy as much as I do! It's even harder to lose weight when you are too childish to eat your veggies.

My inner child is very opinionated

So when Phase 3 kicked, I wasn't ready. I thought the other shoe had already dropped on me -- no more talking turkey, I now keep up the balancing act alone. There's gotta be some cloud in all the silver lining, and the realist in me had accepted that. But a year had passed, and I started meeting people who'd never known me when I was heavy. The one's who'd say, "Oh, well, it's easy for you," or "You don't know what it's like" when weight management comes up.

I work in an office environment, next to the administrative staff. All ladies. It comes up a lot.

And Phase 3 has gotten a little dark -- in offering words of support or giving input, such a familiar activity from back in the pre-LoseIt days, I now get active rejection. Sometimes even anger. Assuming I was never "that heavy," (We aren't competing, are we?? I thought we were collaborating) or that it must have been somehow been easier for my bodytype or what have you, undermines the shit out of the girl who marched at the head of an imaginary parade a year and a half ago. I've lost some sort of connection or cred to that whole heavy-girl identity, and am now resented for trying to impinge upon that group. Hey, anyone who knows about the Venn Thigh-agram should have lifetime, if honorary, membership.

My inner chunky chick is also pretty sassy

So I guess target weight ≠ dharma moksha. Weight issues still exist even from the other side of the looking-glass, and create class-like boundaries that confuse and isolate women even as we reinforce them. But although this was a real good-old-fashioned rant, full of opinions and no real funnies, I'm puttin' it up here for the sake of acknowledging both the struggle and the accomplishment, and most of all the boundary that marks the two. Hopefully if we see it's really there, we can build a bridge over it and not let it keep us isolated or unhappy in our separate bodies -- regardless of that body's weight.


  1. A first-world issue -- which does not diminish it. When we have so much food available to us -- around every corner, especially in offices full of women -- it's so hard to say "no, thanks"; and when we do, we are somehow seen differently. I've been accused of thinking I'm "better" than others because I turn down a chunk of brownie. But, see, I'm short! I have heavy legs, if I eat that, I have to go a size up in no time at all.

    Willpower is harder than giving in to every treat that comes along. I, for one, am proud of you!!


  2. Congratulations! --signed: Evil.

    1. Good to know I've got Might on my side. :)

  3. Great post, Kana. You're very insightful about your weightloss and I applaud your continued effort, even when you're being too childish to eat your veggies ;) xo

  4. You go, girl! I was at a rock concert last night, marveling at the great hoards of fat people. This is not to judge them, as I weigh the most I ever have, and that's with a decent diet, 5 days of cardio and 3-4 sessions of resistance each week.
    I did download your "lose it" app. So thanks for that!

    1. No problem, lady - would love to be your LoseIt friend, if you'd like - everyone deserves a cheerleader to root for them!

  5. People who are "naturally thin" don't have a different metabolism - if calorie consumption exceeds energy usage, weight gain is unavoidable. Their secret is being restless and fidgeting around a lot rather than sitting in the same place. Just make a habit of never sitting in the same place for more than 20 minutes without going for a little wander to powder your nose or whatever. You won't need to worry so much about how much you eat if you do that.

  6. I love your illustrations! And your continued determination. That's all.