there is no elegance in weight loss

This post is a response to The Daily Post’s One-Word Prompt for September 8, 2016.

Let me preface this by saying that writing a blog post on weight loss is the last thing I want to be doing. Quite frankly, the topic depresses me, I don’t have any valuable advice to give, and I think we (as humans) talk about it too much. But as you get to know me, it is worth mentioning that losing weight has been an inextricable obsession of mine since I was ten.

Right now, I am at the heaviest I have ever been at 162 lbs. The summer before, I was at the lightest I’ve been for a while at around 145 lbs. Needless to say, when I ripped two holes in the inner thighs of my favorite jeans, I knew my battle that I had been trying so hard to ignore was starting again.

On December 24, 2007, I wrote the following diary entry:

Tomorrow is Christmas!

Diet Plans:

  • Breakfast: Waffles
    • Only eat ONE waffle
    • Only put syrup in three holes
  • Lunch
    • Rice: Only eat 1/2
    • OR: Eat no lunch. Only tangerines.
  • Dinner
    • Rice: Only eat 1/3
    • Other solids: Only eat 5 of each.

It seems that the only thing my ten year old self actually did according to my rigorous diet plan was putting syrup in three holes of my waffles. I seriously doubt I did this because I don’t think I spared my diary from lies.

On January 3, 2008, I wrote:

Happy New Year! So much for dieting! I didn’t eat dinner for two days in a row!

Reading back on these now, I can’t help but wonder what made my ten year old self feel bad enough to worry about losing weight. My other diary entries are riddled with my couplets about Christmas and complaining about my Tae Kwon Do classes, but some are almost exclusively about me feeling bad about my body.

Take this one, from February 24, 2009. I was eleven.

AAA+H = spoiled rotten.

It’s an equation. As are Abercrombie, Aeropostale, and American Eagle. H stands for Hollister. I mean, EVERYONE has at least ONE of the AAA+H! I do. 2 Hollisters. Mostly ASIAN kids are spoiled because their parents buy them the AAAH clothes. Those clothes are for freaking STICKS! I can’t fit into ANYTHING because I am so FAT. And 120 lb. At Korean school, everyone was talking about weight…except me. I weigh more than (Josh)! He is 115. AGH.

(Andrea): 60 lb. (WTF?!)

(Sophia): 70 lb. (WTF?!)

(Justin): 70-80lb. (WTF?!)

(Josh): 115 lb. (WTF?! He claims it’s his “bones” and “muscle.”) 

And they all wear the AAAHs. STICKS! I WEIGH AND LOOK FATTER THAN EVERYBODY. But what can I do? I try, but no success. LIFE CAN BE SO BULL – S!

From this point on, I start talking about my weight more often. I maintain a weird displaced anger against skinnier people up until about high school, which is when my diary entries get a lot more self-detrimental. My neat lists documenting everyone else’s weights turn into haphazard columns of things I hate about myself. Some entries are more motivational as I make goals and tips for weight loss but they are separated by long periods of time, peppered with more self-hatred-laden entries, in which I have gained more weight that I needed to lose.

The summer before my first year of college, I lost almost ten pounds, which is the most successful dieting run I’ve ever had. I ate well and went to the gym every morning. I dropped a pants size or two. I lost even more weight during college because I wasn’t eating regularly, which involved a stint in the clinic when I passed out in the shower. After beginning to actually eat three meals a day, I obviously gained weight, I lost time and motivation to exercise, and that brings us to present-day heavy me. Unsurprisingly, I’m dieting right now. My doctor told me that my BMI classifies me as “overweight.” So now I usually only eat fruits for breakfast and I avoid all carbs. I exercise for an hour in the mornings. I would prefer not to do these things, but it’s going okay. I’m used to it.

Still, I am constantly stunned by how emotionally draining dieting is. The process of losing weight, unsurprisingly, focuses on the physical side of it. Exercising, working hard, sweating, eating green shit. And then at the end you feel fucking fantastic. But I’m always stuck at the part where you feel like shit. I’m not the type of person who says “fuck it!” and beams with confidence. I don’t feel great about myself. Not that I ever have, and not even when I was at 145, but now I am thinking about my weight all the fucking time and it makes me feel worse than when I was just ignoring it. I think about how my favorite jeans won’t fit and how my thighs brush against each other when I walk. I think about how I can never not be diligent about what I eat in fear that I’ll set myself back. I think about what it would be like if I was born with a faster metabolism, if my body wasn’t awkward, if I could wear clothes that wouldn’t have to hide me. And it’s tiring. I feel gross. Losing weight has never been a redemptive, nourishing, reincarnating, Eat Pray Love process for me. I can’t document it on Instagram for the world to see. Losing weight isn’t cute açaí bowls, green smoothies, and pilates workouts during the sunrise. It’s messy, awkward, alienating, and I cry a lot. I feel like vomiting and punching things until my knuckles bleed and running until my lungs burn and my legs give out. And these feelings made me realize that maybe the problem isn’t my weight. It’s the thing that has been festering inside my mind, and inside my diary entries, since I was ten.

So I spend a lot of time staring at myself in the mirror. I turn this way and that, just observing what my body looks like at that moment. I usually move around the fat in my thighs, pushing it behind me to see what it would look like if they didn’t touch. I don’t really understand what I see when I do, though. It just doesn’t make sense when my thighs aren’t overlapping. And it’s scary because I don’t know who I will be if or when I lose enough weight to be happy. And I’m scared that I don’t know if I will love her.




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