Thursday, September 05, 2002

What I say when they ask:

Oh, I don't know, maybe....I hadn't really noticed...Well, maybe...A few pounds...I don't know, I don't pay much attention...Yeah, a few pounds, I gave up Coke....well, you know, hockey...Yeah, I gave up Coke...and I started running a little more often....nah, I don't think so, not in the last couple months...nah, it's leveled off...well, maybe a few pounds...yeah, you know, all that Coke....I don't know....Really....yeah, maybe a few pounds.

I refuse to buy into America's fat phobia. I refuse to support the diet industry in any way. I refuse to judge people on the way they look, the way they eat, the way they move. And it kills me to have to admit I've lost weight because frankly I want to be an example of a feminist who is not ashamed to look like a real human being. And my weight loss is really and truly not about appearance. Hell, I usually don't even remember to look in a mirror before leaving the house in the morning. What do I care what my waist looks like?

My doctor didn't care one way or another about my weight. Bloodwork? Solid. Pulse/heart rate? Just fine. Level of exercise? Way more than your average American. Diet? Eating as responsibly as I could manage. Extra weight? Yeah, just like every other woman in my family. The doctor shrugs, I shrug.

Still. Even though I was in "good enough" shape, I wasn't fit enough to really call myself an athlete. I could get along fine on the ice, but I thought I could be better. I could be stronger and faster, and I could be tougher. And maybe it would help if I was leaner, if I converted some extra fat into muscle. How to do that? Do I want to do that? Do I want to sell out, become thinner? Even if I know my goal is to be an impact player on my team, will anyone else know that, or will they think I'm just pursuing some ideal body in an effort to look more attractive to...whom? Men? I don't want to be one more woman trying to force my body into a smaller package, erase myself, make sure I don't take up too much space.

I hate losing weight and by doing so, tacitly encouraging other women to do it. I hate being a weight-loss example. When another woman comments on my weight loss, and asks how I did it, I have a choice between flippancy and honesty. The flip answer: Yeah, it's amazing what happens when you give up the Coke habit, man! The honest answer: losing weight, getting fit, it's a 24-hour-a-day job. You must dedicate your life to eating like an athlete, training like an athlete, thinking like an athlete. No deviation from the plan, you must become obsessed.

I want to be flip, I usually am, but if I don't tell the truth, I'm afraid I'm just leading one more woman down the path of bitter disappointment. If I make a joke and make it look easy, and then they can't do it easily, didn't I just set them up for a fall? Maybe it would be better to be honest.

The truth: it's fucking hard, especially in our world of french fries, vending machines and mechanized transport. It's about planning every day around your meals. It's about getting up early so you can make a lunch that fits in your caloric plan for the day. It's about leaving your wallet at home so you won't be tempted to make a late afternoon run to Taco Bell. It's about changing jobs so you have a work day structured enough to support your eating regimen. It's about having a partner who loves you enough to support your moratorium on eating at Italian restaurants. It's about putting off your favorite new hobby in favor of running for the calorie burning. It's about forcing yourself to eat a tomato and zucchini even though you think they're disgusting. It's about thinking seven days ahead in your food consumption so can make sure you have enough protein. It's about calling your wife at 2 p.m. and demanding she tell you what's for dinner because half way through the afternoon, you suddenly panic and wonder if you've eaten too much already and would you be able to eat dinner?

It's freaking hard. There's a reason Americans are overweight--they're not idiots. I don't know about the kids of our nation, but let me tell you, no smart adult will ever work this hard for something so stupid. I work harder than the hunters and gatherers had to work, I swear. I study every label, I contemplate every mouthful. I run seven days a week, I lift weights, and I stickhandle. I sweat through so many t-shirts we have to keep the washing machine going constantly every evening. What reasonable adult has the time or inclination to do this? It's a stupid way to spend one's life, really, really stupid. And if I didn't see that changing my body was helping my game, there's no way on earth I would be doing it. 'Cause I ain't stupid (poison ivy evidence aside).

All of this is just a very long-winded way to get myself to admit out loud that I'm ashamed of losing weight. I feel like I'm selling out and betraying the women of the world. I'm ashamed my former co-workers felt inspired by my weight loss and started thinking about their own ideal weight goals. I feel ashamed everytime someone asks me how much I've lost (I lie, and say I don't know), and I feel ashamed everytime someone asks how much more I want to lose (I tell the truth and say I don't know. I'll feel it when I get there, when I can bench press my own weight, when my mile pace is under ten minutes, when I can skate waves and not puke). I'm more ashamed of myself now when I weigh less than I was when I weighed a lot.

Damned if you, damned if you don't.
9:52 PM

Damn, Susan. Don't forget to call Beth.


9:04 PM

Sometimes running can really work to empty my brain; unfortunately, today was not one of those days. It was just fifty-one minutes of unpleasantness.
8:59 PM

I'm covered from top to bottom with liquid benadryl. Damn annoying, particularly the bits between my fingers and on my face. My right eye has a welt under it, it looks like someone popped me one (that's what I get for mouthing off!). Good thing I already own a lot of ice packs.
8:47 Pm

Punk Kittens.

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