These trousers don’t fit

Since getting a bit of distance between myself and diet culture, I’ve realised how ridiculous, how damaging, and actually how downright horrifying it is.

If you want ridiculous – I remember what set me on the weight cycling track again a few years ago; my jeans were cutting into my waist, causing my stomach to hang over them and leaving a livid red line across my midriff every day. I couldn’t take it any more, so I decided to lose weight. The standard response in our society, yes?

But just for a second let’s put aside the years of indoctrination and look at the logic of this. A bit of fabric that would last a year at the most (but probably more like 4 or 5 months with me) didn’t fit my body, and instead of just buying a bigger bit of fabric that would fit me, I decided to drastically alter the one body I will ever have.

I embarked on years of effort and stress and hating the food I was eating but eating it anyway because it was ‘on plan’ and doing exercise that I hated, in an effort to make myself less. Forcing my body to eat itself smaller, further messing up my metabolism and mental health, to fit this bit of fabric.

 

Damaging – if I had a pound for every time I’ve thought “I’m too fat to…” I would be a multi-millionaire by now. Too fat to run, to wear this, that or the other, to speak up, to draw attention, to cosplay, to eat that, to eat there, to get that job, to be admired, to feel sexy, to shop there, to try that, to be seen, to be loved. I could go on. For days.

I was bullied all the way through high school, but nothing they ever did or said came close to the level of vitriol I directed at myself. Whatever they said, I had already said it ten different ways before I even got to school that day.  If anyone ever spoke to me now the way I used to speak to myself, I would knock them out.

But that’s what I was raised to do. Our entire society is trained to believe to the very core that if we’re not thin, we’re not worthy of basic human decency, even from ourselves.

 

And horrifying? People are literally getting pieces of themselves removed, shrinking their stomach and risking clinical malnutrition, rickets, even death, just to make their body smaller. I’ve shared before about a colleague being hospitalised, and others joking that at least she had lost weight so it was okay.

Ragen Chastain puts it best when she says diet culture wants us thin or dead, and it doesn’t much care which. If that’s not horrifying then I don’t know what is.

 

It was so difficult at the beginning to go against everything I had ‘always’ believed, and there are still days where I feel it would be so much easier to just give in to the pressure and try to lose weight again. But the longer I’m out of it, the easier it is to see how much I’m better off being outside of something so toxic, and I will never go back there again.

xXx

 

Advertisements

Please do not feed the diet monster

It’s only been two years since I started trying to break out of the whole mainstream fatphobic diet mentality thing, and I already have far, far more good days than bad. I learned to love my body and my self no matter what size or shape, I can recognise damaging talk when I hear it, I will never go on another diet as long as I live.

But earlier this week I made a mistake. I had a meeting after work, and traffic was bad so I only had a few minutes at home to change out of my work clothes. I threw on some jeans and a hoodie and ran out the door.

Fifteen minutes later, when I knew I would make the meeting on time and had calmed down enough to notice, I realised that my jeans didn’t fit. At all. What should have been boot cut was now super skinny, I couldn’t bend my knees fully, and even when I was standing the waistband dug into my stomach.

I was stuck in those jeans for 5 hours. Aside from the physical discomfort, I noticed some thoughts sneaking in as the night went on. Thoughts like

This is just because of the injury. Once I start exercising again I’ll get smaller.

If I use my kettlebells, that’ll have an effect faster.

These used to fit me, how did I let myself get so much bigger?

And hundreds of variations on that theme.

I had forgotten how ingrained fatphobia was. Here I was thinking I had beaten it, but less than an hour in some tight trousers was enough to push me a huge step backwards and get me planning and plotting to make myself smaller.

What’s even worse is that the effect didn’t go away when I took the jeans off. It’s days later now and I’ve got my first salsa class since before my injury; I know I’m bigger than last time most of the salsa scene saw me, and I’m afraid of what they will think of me. There’s a small part of me that is actually seriously considering not going.

All this because of ONE PAIR OF FREAKING JEANS!

Of course I’m going to salsa. That nasty voice in my head is still trying to stop me, but I’ve had two years practice at throwing my shoulders back, lifting my chin and doing it anyway. And then the second I have enough free time, I’m going through every item of clothing I own and getting rid of anything and everything that doesn’t fit me. If I then need to go and buy bigger clothes, so be it. Clothing sizes are just numbers and not one of them is better than another.

My body is perfectly fine exactly as it is. My body (and my mind) deserves clothes that fit well and that make me feel fabulous, not like a sausage about to burst its skin.