Friday, 16 September 2011

Things best left unsaid?

I found a blog last night through the randomness of the interweb and I just keep thinking about it. It's like if the me of 5-15 years ago was writing now and it has made me very sad and unsure of what the right thing is to do.

My experience at that time is so similar to what this woman is going through right now that I want to give her some advice, but I don't think she is going to want to hear it. I probably wouldn't have at that time but seeing someone put themselves through such pain (both physical and emotional) is difficult and I suppose most people would have a natural response of trying to help if they think they could...

In this blog someone is dieting. And has been dieting and blogging for almost five years. As with dieting, the weight went down, then up, and then down, and the up... the familar scenerio. There's the weighing and the calories eaten and the calories burnt. The diets tried. Oh, some many tried.

What I get from reading this is that the person is a chronic dieter, and has dieted themselves fat. They are either dieting or bingeing until they go back on another diet. Wow, that resonates with me. I feel like saying stop. I know you have lost almost 100 pounds this time and that's great, but your body is in pain and you need to just stop for a bit and work at being that new weight for a while. But that's the scary thing isn't it? One of my biggest fears used to be that I COULD'NT stop gaining weight unless I actively dieted. Afterall if I wasn't dieting surely I would eat everything in sight? My weight would just go up and up until I was one of those people who had to get the doorways removed to get out of the house on a trolley.

But it didn't happen like that. My weight has been stable for the last 4 years, even through a pregnancy, and even though I'm fat being able to say that even now makes me cry. My body is stable, it's fat yes, but it's healthy. Nothing hurts (unlike when I pushed myself at the gym 6 days a week just to burn enough calories). I don't see myself as something to fix but to nourish. It's taking time but I'm trying to eat what I REALLY want not what I think I should shovel in until the next dieting phase. And they are two very different things.

The sad thing is I can see where this story ends - the way it ends for 95% of diets. The weight comes back. Even those diets that do work long term only lead to a weight loss of around 10% of your body mass, so if you are fat then the likelihood is you will be still fat. If someone had looked into a crystal ball 10 years ago and said I predict you being fat, but happy, loved and loving what would I have done? Fought on in a battle I knew I couldn't win or worked on what I ended up doing in the end - finding a different, better way for me to live?

But can you say these things to someone else? Can you say stop dieting, just try being in your new thinner body and give it a break and yourself a break for a while. Don't see yourself as a failure until/unless you get to weight X, but love and nuture and trust your body NOW.

Can I say this? Afterall my experience of being fat, like my experience of being female, is not necessarily anyone elses. Me being 330 lbs doesn't entitle me to declaring myself an expert of being 220 lbs, or 400 lbs or even 330 lbs ;)

So I don't know. If anyone else has any advice, I for one would like to hear it.


  1. I think its all down to the individual. For some people, they lose loads of weight via a diet, it stays off and they live happily ever after. For others they do years of yo-yo dieting and actually end up fatter, and hating the body they are in.

    I've an example actually, of where I actually said 'to me, learning to love what body I've got now because it might be the one I'm stuck with' to a friend. I'm aware that whilst I'd like to be the bottom end of plus size simply because of health, and because I think that for me that would give me the overall wellbeing I'm after, the reality is right now I'm not and I might never be. I used to always not wear things I'd love to, saying 'I'll wear them when I'm thin' Well, that was ten years ago, I'm still not thinner, and I might never be and life's too sodding short for me to waste time not wearing what I want.

    However my friend very much believes that being thinner will make her happier. And she's doing the healthy eating/exercise thing and its making her happy. I was quite vocal when she was umming and ahhing about wanting to lose weight, mainly because the toss up was between losing weight and learning to love herself as she is now, because my weight has stayed the same since I gave up dieting persay, and I've not binged bar the odd slip when I've been particularly down.

    Morale of the tale is though, that she ws doing what was right for her. I was trying to impress my view of weight and dieting upon her, and it wasnt really the right thing....yes, she might come to the same conclusion as me further down the road, and if you were to give advice, this person might too, but would you have listened when you were dieting? I certainly wouldnt because my whole world revolved around food and my quest to make myself loveable by being thin. Thats just me though, and maybe the bigger question is Does this person have an emotional connection to food, or is it simply a case of outside events causing the person to put on weight? I think if its the former, then sorting out your emotions about food, how it affects you and how to break that cycle is much more important, but if its just a case that you like cake too much, then I'd actually say stick to the diet, but do it properly with everything in moderation.

    My sister doesnt really have an emotional connection to food, at least not more than the average woman, but is fond of cakes and suchlike, and has had three children, so for her, doing everything in moderation, getting more exercise will work because there's no emotional pull back in. For me however, its very much so wrapped up in emotions, so I try to maintain an ambivalant attitude to food, to my body, and to try and work on making my life how I'd like it to be.

    I guess I'm very long windedly saying different strokes for different folks! ;p

  2. I am so sorry, I am just catching up with blog reading now... I'm so far behind!

    The thing I remember is, no matter how many times people tried to reach out to me when I was in diet-land, all I ever heard was "You're fat and disgusting, you have to stop being fat and disgusting." Everything was translated to that in my head.

    It wasn't until I actually saw somebody being fat and awesome that I even entertained the thought that there could be an alternative. And then it took seeing several people being fat and awesome before I could even aspire to being fat and awesome myself. I had to kind of immerse myself in the world of fab fatties before I could be bold enough to try on a pair of fab fatty pants myself.

    The best way to influence people is to be the change you want to see. When people see us doing and being things they never entertained the thought of being or doing themselves as a fat person, then it makes them think, shifts their universe a bit. And they start taking baby steps themselves.

    I hope this helps!