My whole life, I have struggled with my weight. Basically, I just got heavier and heavier until 2006. A bit over 330lb at the max. Then, the yo-yo began.
Last September, I was at the lowest weight I’ve been at in my adult life, 169lb. I’m currently around 245lb. + 76 pounds in seven months, give or take.
People gave me a whole lot of shit about my weight loss. Telling me I was too skinny. That I was going to disappear. That I looked anorexic. It was really, really annoying.
People don’t say squat to me when I am overweight. Nobody expresses concern for my well being at 250lb. Right now I run out of breath going up the stairs, and strain my body doing simple yoga (which is embarrassing, because I teach it). I am often depressed and unbalanced. But everybody is more or less cool with it. No comments from the peanut gallery.
But at a body mass where I actually felt comfortable in my skin, had awesome amounts of energy, and an overall incredible sense of well being in my life, I had a whole lot of critics. Mostly well intentioned, but highly annoying.
This whole thing is enough of a challenge, just inside of my own head. What do you think happens in the mind of a man who gains 76 pounds in seven months? How do you think it feels to be morbidly obese for years (size 48 waist at my largest), and then find yourself in a size 32 waist? Do you think that’s an easy journey?
And do you think that your comments are helpful?
We live in a society way overly concerned with body image. Effing duh. It’s hammered into us like nobody’s business. We’re obsessed.
And we’re also fat. Our most successful restaurants are peddling toxic waste in quantities so large you practically dislocate your jaw to take a bite. And it’s okay. It’s socially acceptable.
Now, I’m left with the mess of getting back into shape. It’s going to happen. I am going to feel comfortable in my skin again. And I’ll do my best to stay that way, to mold my lifestyle into a force of fortified momentum. People are going to tell me, “You’re too skinny.” They are going to say that I look sick, even dying (*facepalm*). And I am going to do my best not to let that get me down, to let that discourage me.
I know from a lot of people, little is meant by it, and that I take it out of proportion with the intention. This goes back to the psychological journey aspect. I have enough noise in my head as I go through this process. Enough confusion, enough adjustment. Dealing with subduing a lifetime of issues with food and body image.
And I think I just figured out what really grates on me about it, though: when I have lost weight, it’s because I have worked hard. Painstakingly mastered self-discipline enough to eat in moderation and exercise on a regular basis, for prolonged periods of time. Then, people (with varying degrees of seriousness) undermine those efforts with snark and misguided concern. That, by itself, is mildly annoying. What pushes it over the edge is when they are the same people who put little to no care into their own health. Being told “I’m doing it wrong” by people who don’t even try to do it right was a challenge I just wasn’t up to last time around the yo-yo.
I’m going to do better, this time. I’ll do my best, anyway. I’ll try to be more patient with people’s comments.
But you can meet me in the middle, if you don’t mind. You can be sensitive to this process I am going through. You gotta realize, in the end, your perception of my body doesn’t matter. What matters is that I feel alive. Last year, I did. Right now, I feel dead as hell. You want me to feel alive, right? Then, try being happy for me when I do!
I am making some radical changes in my lifestyle. Going back to where I was, when I felt alive.
Which basically means, back to my vegan lifestyle (if it had a face or is the product of something that had a face, I don’t eat it).
Which, naturally, brings about a whole other set of peanut gallery comments.
What this comes down to is, respect and support. If you respect my choices, it supports me in making the changes my body is begging me to make. A lot of people are really awesome and supportive and I don’t mean to generalize. This is just me, setting my intention publicly and asking for support from those who can spare it.
I’m done with this yo-yo crap.
And I am going to get as far away from the soapbox as possible. These are my choices. For me. Do what you will.
Also published on Medium.