Weight. A weighted term, I might say. (Shit, I just made that joke; someone punch me, and also don’t tell my roomie, because I punch her for puns daily.)
I want to write about my weight — but it isn’t my weight that bothers me, it’s my fatness: another loaded term. All of these things have connotations and baggage that makes all of this difficult to talk about: as a lady, as a feminist, as someone very accepting of other people’s choices and body types yet irrevocably hard on her own. As an engineer, as a researcher who reads scientific studies on health and fitness and diet, as a self-educated self-interested experienced lady fairly versed in the language of working out and building muscle and losing fat and eating protein; as someone straddling the line between disabled and able-bodied. As a writer, and a reader, and an editor; as someone aware of the power of language, as someone careful about the words she chooses to post here.
Here are the facts, then. Since the injury in my neck/back/shoulders became this prevalent, since I stopped being able to work out regularly, since I stopped working out regularly – however we want to word it – here are the facts:
I am (at least) ten pounds heavier*.
My belly is noticeably fatter; some of my pants are tight.
My body has far less muscle tone.
*seeing as I don’t regularly weigh myself, it’s hard to say where I started.
And I want to talk about it. But I don’t; it’s problematic (what if someone reads it and thinks I’m passing moral judgment on fat people?); it’s complicated (what if someone reads it and thinks that I think fat = weight, and skinny = fit, both of which aren’t truly correct?); it’s embarrassing (I’m sure my friends have all noticed I’m fatter but I sure don’t want to point it out to them even more); it’s depressing (I hate that I haven’t been working out, that I’ve been eating trash, that I’ve been in too much pain to fix either, and I don’t want it pointed out to me any more than my bulging tummy already does).
And even writing this I’m thinking about all of the stigmas I’m myself trying to point out here, simultaneously confirming and denying them in one fell swoop – no, no, of course I’m not just your typical thirtysomething lady who wants to lose ten pounds: I’ve done my research, I know about weightlifting and interval training and protein shakes, I know how I’m supposed to do it, I just haven’t gotten started; I’m not lazy, I’m injured; I’m smart and I’ve educated myself and I know how to cook and I know how to use real dumbbells and if I were really all that, wouldn’t I be working towards it, wouldn’t I be doing something about it rather than staring at this blog entry wondering what’s the best way I can say, I feel fat to express what I’m really feeling without causing a rip in feminist-HAES-health awareness-fat acceptance-self-esteem time and space?
The truth is – here are some facts: I do want to lose this ten pounds of fat, I’d like to gain some pounds of muscle, I need to go on some caloric awareness program diet type thing to do this, and I would like to get back to a workout program to help me do so.
Here are some facts: I’m not happy with my body on lots of levels. And while a lot of those are these deep-seated issues with my injuries, my disabilities, my chronic ailments, and the way my body doesn’t work “right”, some of it is also the fact that I’d like to be a lot less flabby. It isn’t fat in terms of size or in terms of pounds, it’s fat in terms of this double handful of chub turning me into a pear-shaped blob, fat as in the opposite of lean. It is a composition measure, not a size judgment. And it isn’t because my boyfriend or my girlfriend or even society thinks that I am not the right shape: it is because I used to be shaped better, because I know I can be shaped better; because I would like to be shaped better, and know how to get there, and would very much like to do so:
because it will make me happier to be shaped like a person with muscles and the ability to run 13.1 miles (again) than it does right now to be shaped like a pear who can barely jog 2.
And look, how the fuck complicated is this? How many words have I spent so far (WordPress tells me, 775) trying to say gee, I would like to both look fitter and be healthier, because it’s such a loaded area? No wonder I have issues here; the entire realm is a dripping clusterfuck of misguided information, poorly communicated advice, vicious circles.
Here are some facts:
I’m not happy looking like this.
I’m not happy that I’m concerned about how I look.
I’m not happy with the term “fat” for myself.
I’m not happy with this whole damn conversation.
I’m unfit. And I look it. And I hate it.
And it just adds another layer of misery to all of this: to my injury, because constant chronic pain isn’t bad enough; to my mood, because anxiety and depression (some caused by the constant pain) isn’t bad enough; to my energy levels, because 11-hour days and buying a house and all the other things I’m thinking about aren’t bad enough. Because this shit isn’t hard enough yet? Sure, let’s set up another obstacle. Sounds good.
Here’s a fact:
I need to think less, and do more.