Writing that out is really weird and honestly I think I have an easier time saying it than typing the words.
My BMI puts me firmly in the overweight category, though I don’t put much stock in the BMI. We can look around and see that these categories are very questionable and they really don’t say much, if anything, about a person’s actual health. I am actually leaning toward the obese category and while I will admit to some bad habits that have led to weight gain, I just don’t consider myself obese. I think.
Herein kind of lies the problem.
I was a ballet dancer and, not surprisingly, that really messed with how I ate, how I viewed myself, and how I viewed others. Much of my worth as a dancer (and, therefore, myself) was tied up in whether or not my instructors thought that I was thin enough.
Ultimately, I was fired from my first dancing job for being too fat. At the time, I believed them, but looking back at pictures of me from that time, and knowing that I was maybe 105 lbs. (I’m 5’4″) makes me realize that maybe they were a little…insane. What was especially upsetting about that firing was that they had told me at the beginning of my time there that I needed to lose a lot of weight. And I worked really really hard to get down to their standards. My body just couldn’t do it, though. I’m really just not cut out to be 95 lbs. (which is where I needed to be for them) and be able to, like, dance or sit upright or whatever.
But it wasn’t just that instance that gave me trouble. Because I started dancing when I was very young, I’ve been concerned about my weight and/or actively dieting since I was six or seven years old. Yes, I’m serious.
After I was fired from that dancing job, I decided that ballet wasn’t for me, after all. I wasn’t looking forward to having to move every year and always worrying about having a job. And I realized that my weight would always be an issue and, frankly, I was hungry. After I quit, I kind of just reveled in being able to eat whatever I wanted. I had many happy reunions with hot fudge sundaes that I hadn’t seen in years.
But that lifelong deferral to what someone else determines “thin enough” has stayed with me. I KNOW that it’s all about what you feel comfortable with and what is right for you, but for the most part, my brain believes that there is an objective standard. I’ve been working really hard to shake that belief off, but it’s really hard shutting up a voice that’s been in your brain since you were a kid.
I’ve gone back and forth between wanting desperately to meet this standard that I’m so sure exists and just doing whatever I want. Obviously, what I need to do is find some middle ground where I look out for my health but celebrate my body for what it is.
Lately, I’ve been doing whatever I want. Part of the reason for this is because I have too much going on in life and I know that I don’t have time or energy to obsess over my diet and weight the way that I know I will. As of two weeks ago, I was very, very close to my 9-months-pregnant weight. Granted, I had my son in my early 20s and I’m 30 now, so some extra pounds are to be expected. But I’ve been blatantly ignoring what I eat and how much simply because it is comforting to not think or worry about it.
The thing is, I’ve gone through this cycle many times before. Most recently, in late 2007. After I did Weight Watchers for a few months and lost about 15 pounds, other stuff got in the way and I abandoned the diet. I told myself that if I ever worked on losing the weight again, I wouldn’t publicly declare it because going back and reading several series of posts that go through that predictable process of, “I just started Weight Watchers (again) and I feel great! -> I’m still on WW and I’ve lost this much! I love being healthy! -> I know I haven’t mentioned it in awhile but I’m still kind of doing WW and it’s alright. -> What diet?” is kind of embarrassing.
But here it is: I started Weight Watchers again last week and I’ve lost a few pounds. Whoopee. I’m not setting any expectations for myself and I’m not going to beat myself up if, in the middle of the semester, I realize that I just can’t deal with this right now and I need a pie.
So why am I mentioning it? I don’t know. Because I guess I hope that someone understands.