Balance: The New Challenge

Things are going to get a little bit heavy today. Part of my writing is me ranting at me, making sure that I know what’s going on; the other part of my writing is to provoke—thought, ire, laughter, whatever. Today’s occasion is a bit of both of these.

Note: 100 Things will return tomorrow. Today it’s time for heavy #%$.

I mentioned yesterday that there is a bit of a disconnect between people and their bodies, where weight is concerned. People are obsessing over their weight more than they ever have before, and that is leading to a new rise in eating disorders—especially in men, a population that didn’t normally get considered a candidate for this sort of issue until quite recently.

The phenomenon of “thinspriation,” and its partner the “pro-ana” movement, glamorizes the skeletal form of the too-thin. It is considered a matter of pride to live for an entire day on four calories, and a badge of honor the more ribs you have visible. It’s not a matter of “thin is beauty.” This goes a lot farther than that. In this case, they see beauty as outright emaciation.

It’s a side of the coin that I’m trying to stay on this side of. Frankly, landing back over on the other side of things isn’t in my life plan.

Yes, I said back over on that side, as in I’ve been there before.

While my weight never dropped into the “let’s get this girl some help” zone, if I had $5 for every time that my doctor gave me the advice to “eat a cheeseburger” and “maybe put a little weight on for your own sake,” let’s just say that I’d never be broke. Frankly, though, I was glad for the verdict: this gave me valid permission to eat more food! More things that I liked, too—like meat!

I got home the day that verdict came in and found out some interesting news from my grandmother—I was fat and was going on a diet ASAP.

As a matter of perspective, I was 110 lbs at the time. But the insidious nature of this bit of mindscrew—my meals carefully rationed and then the fact that she’d guard the kitchen after everyone was served, deciding who gets the seconds and who didn’t (read: me), cracks made about the way my clothes fit, my ‘mannish’ manner of movement and shape—had me convinced I was twice that.

Though I eventually got out of that particular situation, the mindset stayed. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was still convinced I was bigger than I actually was. It got to the point where I had full-length mirrors removed, because when I looked into them, I saw someone about twice as wide as I am—I still have this problem, in fact. It means that the recommendation to cut down on cholesterol is something that I’ll have to keep an eye on.

I’ve lost ten pounds since that recommendation. My cholesterol has dropped a bit as well, and my hypoglycemia’s under control since altering my diet. I’m enjoying my clothes fitting better than they were before—it felt good to not have to wrestle into my scrubs for work.

But if I see a mirror…it hits all over again. I see the mirror and I think, “Ew. Gross. Look how wide you are. You don’t eat tonight. What would Bigmama think if she saw you? Gross.” Then I check the calories from that day and discover I haven’t even come close to the BMR minimum and consider it for a second. “Well, I suppose I’ll eat A LITTLE.”

It’s very hard to get out of that mindset. It’s been ingrained for ten years, and when I think I have it beat, it creeps up on me. It’s been especially sneaky lately, now that I’ve actually got to work on my numbers. Even when I’m not in the least considering my weight or calories, it’s somewhere in the back of my mind. I have to remember to eat ENOUGH—and not to do the whole “Oh, I didn’t do nearly as much today as I did yesterday I have to eat less today therefore.” It’s working out, but I need to be very careful.

…that said, if you EVER hear me use the words “thinspiration” or its derivatives, grab a forklift and dump me in a vat of ghee, would you? I’ll definitely need to be knocked back into my senses.

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