Monday, February 16, 2015

Forgetting Who We Were

Back in the day, some family members (A) stopped smoking but other family members (B) did not.  Very quickly after the A's found success, they started to chastise the B's for continuing the habit.  Pestering.  Shaming.  As if all it took was to simply put down the pack of smokes and quit.

I'm glad it was easy for the A's.  But shame on them for expecting everyone else's journey to be exactly the same: Easy.

I'm finding this a lot on the pages and blogs that I follow regarding weight loss.  All these wonderful women who have accomplished my ultimate health goal: lose a tremendous amount of weight and keep it off.  Some of these women have lost over 100 pounds and look and feel fantastic and constantly post about how wonderful they feel and come on, America!  Let's do it!

It always starts out like that and I'm lured in.

Then, many of those women start to dole out the tough love posts, the "get off your ass and move, and stop stuffing your face" posts.  The posts that say that that is all you need to do.  Just do it.  Stop complaining.  Get up and run 5 miles, I do it, so why can't you?

And that's when I delete them from my favorites or stop following them on Facebook.  Why?  Because it is clear to me that they've forgotten what it's like to be fat.  They only show how much they can lift right now and how many miles they put in per day and show me selfies of their now taut tummies and how they get up at 4:30 a.m. to drink raw egg smoothies and have so much energy!  and then turn around and flaunt on how easy it is.  Or how hard it is, but because they want it, they can do it, and if you can't find it in yourself, you deserve to look the way you do.

Some of that is great.  I'm glad people have found whatever it is to keep themselves on track and to truly embrace a new lifestyle.  But I have no room in me for stories like that.  I don't want to hear stories from people who never learned to love themselves as a fat person.  Sometimes the love comes after you get skinny, and you can look back on your fat self and say to yourself, "You know what?  I was a great person.  She was awesome, and I'm awesome now.  I just had to work through some stuff."  Sometimes, like me who is still quite tubby, you learn to love yourself as a fat person.  That what you look like on the outside cannot snuff the glow that comes from within when you do love yourself.  I'm pretty awesome.  Being fat does not erase that fact.  But for some of these women?  It's like dealing with downtrodden, hopeless fat people is a curse, that if they would only want it like they did, they'd have success.  It's like they are talking to their former, fat, lazy, awful selves.

Being fat like me is not just a simple case of being lazy.  It's just not.  I wrote a few days ago that I believe that being morbidly obese is a mental disease that wreaks destruction on the body.  To be clear, it IS my fault, ALL my fault that I'm this fat.  No one gives me ice cream by the gallon, no one buys me McDonald's by the dozen, no one chains me to my chair so that I can't get in exercise.  Like an alcoholic or a drug user, my binging is a symptom of a greater problem within my mind.  People who use things to cope with life/pain, it's true that they do choose to use to numb, but the problem is up here, in the head.  I'll never be truly healthy if I don't approach this thing holistically.  So telling me to put down the damn sandwich doesn't help at all if I don't understand why I'm picking it up in the first place.

You don't say to someone who is depressed to just lighten up.  You don't say to an alcoholic or a drug user to just stop.  You don't say to an anorexic to just eat a sandwich.  These conditions are recognized as something more than a physical addiction to shake.  Remission/cures do not simply happen by just stopping what you are doing.  The mental addiction is the true war to be won.

And the people who used to be morbidly obese who either miraculously didn't have to deal with  the mental aspect or conveniently forgot about all that other work?  I don't have time for you.  

I know it is hard work.  I've been trying for 20 years: if it were easy, I would have been skinny 19 years ago.  Don't tell me about the obvious parts of weight loss: eat less, move more.  Got that.  Read that, old fucking news.

Tell me about that one night three months in that you sat alone in your apartment and ate a half gallon of ice cream and what helped you brush yourself off the next day to keep on trucking.  Tell me about the vacation you went on and you ate all the things and came back and discovered you gained 10 pounds and how you found the courage to not give up.  Tell me about the time you didn't want to go for that walk at 300 pounds but you did anyway and it was only to the end of your street.  Then tell me about how at 250 you found yourself walking a mile at a time and it took you 8 months to get that far.  Share with me your pain and how you got through it.  

Truth is, I don't want to know anything more about losing body weight.  I genuinely know all about it.  We all do.  What I want to learn is how you shed your soul baggage to make everything in your life possible.  Provide empathy.  Give me the reality of your journey.  Tell me that it's possible.  Tell me that you were able to embrace a new lifestyle.  Tell me you understand where I am and how hard it must look like from where I stand.  But that I'll find my way someday.  That we all have it within us to find that spark to achieve what seems not achievable.  

In short: be a real, compassionate human being.  And for those bloggers and weight loss Facebookers who have shared their story and have found a fan in me: thank you.  Thank you so much for your inspiration, your compassion, and your honesty about your life.  

You haven't forgotten who you were.