Tag Archives: fashion

The Very Bad Idea of Revenge Weight Loss

So it’s Hulu season. For those wondering what that means, it is the time of year when I dust off my Hulu Plus subscription and continue my love affair with prime time television on my terms (and portable devices). So while I waited for my season premieres to air this week, I snooped around on Hulu to see what, perhaps, I had been missing. I made a huge discovery!

So I am obsessed with weight loss reality TV. I suspect I am not alone in this. I find it inspirational, mostly. So I never miss an episode of The Biggest Loser, and though not my favorite, I do also watch Extreme Weight Loss (it’s the skin surgery as reward that sits uneasy with me. Maybe as I get closer to goal, I’ll re-evaluate my position, of course entirely dependent on how much sag I’m sportin’). So I see a show called My Big Fat Revenge, and I think “ok, I’m in.” After the first episode I was so put off I think smoke was coming from my ears. Here’s the premise, the overweight contestant (all female in the handful of episodes I watched (all recon for this post I’ll have you know (cause I owe you thorough research and first hand accounts))) goes away for three months to lose as much weight as they can in order to return and perform an act of revenge on someone who treated them poorly in the past because of their weight (most often an ex boyfriend). So the contestant loses the weight and the sets up this PUNK’D, Candid Camera-esque revenge scenario designed to give the loser in her life a taste of his (mostly, but some of her) own medicine. You know what happened 99% of the time? The callous asshole walks off camera. No apology. No “wow you look great.” Just more of the same douche-baggery as before. So does the contestant really see their nemesis get his comeuppance? Does she feel better? No. Instead she has linked her desired outcome, her hard work to become a healthier, perhaps slimmer, human being to the behavior of a person that she has NO control over. You know what happens when she doesn’t get that apology…the weight comes back on because, well, the thing she thought would win her approval didn’t.

OK, OK. Perhaps there is some awesome motivation to be found in silencing the nay-sayers, in psyching yourself up to feel like the one who got away, in proving that you are not all the negative things anyone ever tried to say you are. Great. Put your ex’s face on a punching bag and get that cardio in if it helps, but here is what I know about assholes, if they don’t love you fat they won’t love you skinny. If they we’re mean, abusive, threatening, manipulative and the like when you were heavy, you being not heavy will not change who they are. I think it a bad bad bad idea to link self-worth to the musings of an idiot. Losing weight to enact revenge has got to be the worst idea ever because you can not get answers or apologies from psychopaths or even mildly pathetic low self-esteem losers who needs to bully others to feel empowered.

Ok, here is another beef with this show and the damage it is doing. We see footage of the contestant at the gym, but we don’t meet or learn anything about their trainer or training methods, we don’t know anything about their diet and exercise routines. All we know is they go away for 90 days and come back having lost up to 25% of their body weight. People at home should know this kind of extreme weight loss, including very low-calorie diets and 6-8 hours of daily exercise, should be medically supervised.

You wanna lose weight? Great! But do it for yourself. To impress yourself, to improve your health, to love who you see in the mirror. Not to prove anything to anyone else. Not to make some foolish boy love you. Or to correct years of bad behavior from an abusive loved one. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m at my goal weight I hope every Negative Nancy and Doubting Thomas get the memo, but my results are not linked to them, because mostly likely they just won’t give an F. After all, the work is its own reward.

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French Fries are the Devil’s work

Ok. I know I’m behind on posting. My bad. So I am crawling toward a 40lb weight loss total. I want it so bad. Intellectually. There is some emotional barrier however that has me dancing w/ old habits. I’m a social eater. While everyone else is boozing it up, I’m ordering wings & things. Today it was French fries (which could have only been invented by a sadist). Last week FroYo and home baked cookies. But here’s the thing, for 3 months I did fine. I said no, or ordered water, or perhaps a salad. So the issue isn’t my will power or even determination. It’s fear.

I’m afraid to have the thing I want most. In large part it’s because I don’t believe I’ll ever be thin. I never have been. Don’t even know if its possible. What if I really am a rare breed – the last big boned girl around? So, if I stop in the middle of the road I don’t have to face the disappointment of getting to the other side and not liking what’s (who’s) there. I know how to be fat. I know how to dress fat, shop fat, eat fat, make jokes fat, be single fat, be career driven fat. I know who I am fat, how to behave in social settings, what others expect of me, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, I know that being fat renders me invisible in the most ironic of ways. And when invisible the stakes are low.

So the more people say to me “wow 40lbs,” the more I stand in the road. The more they see me, the more I am afraid. Afraid that once my amour (read fat) is gone, I still won’t be good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, or talented enough. I also won’t have my golden ticket (read excuse) to ride the this is why my life sucks bus. So I’ve been stalled in the middle of the road. The thing is, the road isn’t a safe place to hang out, and I don’t want to be on fat street anymore. So I’m crossing, but it’s some scary shit. I don’t know if I’ll find myself on skinny street or if I’ll barely get out of the medically morbidly obese woods, but I imagine it’d be a joy to sit in a chair with my legs crossed. I figure my friends will appreciate that we can just go to the bar not need to search for the last open kitchen on earth on one of our after hour adventures. And if the truth is that I’m not something or the other enough, then it’s time I got to work on that narrative.

Thanks for reading

A primaveral blog post

The most unexpected thing happened…

After two weeks of unimpressive numbers, PMS, then the MS itself. I just sorta woke up and the funk was gone. Not only was the funk gone, but when I looked in the mirror I was in love with the person looking back at me. I was impressed by her tenacity. I thought her eyebrows had a nice arch. I found her giving and forgiving. I thought damn she has great hair and remarkably clear skin. I didn’t think she was flawless or perfect, but I knew her to be witty and passionate and with a capacity for love that even she underestimates.

It just happened that I woke up and had forgiven myself for the bad choices of yesterday. I wore a skirt without leggings or spanx for the first time in at least 5 years. I tried nobly to flirt with a boy or two. I ordered a malibu & pineapple juice at the bar and calmly tracked the points.

I just woke up and didn’t know how I got from where I was yesterday to this new place, but I’m not gonna ask to many questions. And maybe this euphoria is fleeting, but I haven’t felt this good about myself quite possibly ever, but certainly not as an adult.

I also have written 3 new pieces (I’m a poet/storyteller remember), and shared an older piece with people I barely know.

I’m the vortex.

And as we all know, “after winter must come spring”

Moment of truth

Ok right to the point. While with my ex, I developed some pretty bad habits. The obvious, I packed on the pounds. This happens in a lot of relationships. But for me it wasn’t about “we’re comfortable” or “I eat to keep up with him.” Nope. Not at all. I ate & ate & ate to make myself unattractive to him & anyone else that might’ve been lookin’. Why? you ask. Well because I didn’t want him to touch me. I subconsciously yet intentionally (can you even do that?) wanted to be unattractive to keep him away. But guess what, he didn’t care about the weight.

I stopped focusing on my appearance at all. Proclaimed “I’m low maintenance.” But anyone who knows me knows I’m pretty uptight about a fair number of things. I’m the only person on earth who thinks I’m low maintenance. So no makeup, no nice clothes, I stopped wearing skirts and dresses altogether. I became a jeans and t-shirt gal, wearing pajama bottoms like it was my job, and became queen of all things elastic waistband. I tried to render myself as undesirable as possible.

The end result.

I convinced MYSELF of all those lies. Now I’m stuck trying to undue all the damage I did to my own self esteem. It’s almost humiliating except for it is kinda karmically perfect. I made myself unpretty and then believed it. So here’s hoping that it works in reverse. That I can let down the walls and not hide behind fat. I might even buy a dress & put on some lipstick & mascara.

Woah…did I say lipstick…that has been a long time.

Here’s to bringing sexy back.

Thanks for reading.

No, I’m not Tongan, I’m just fat

So as I disclosed in my previous post, I watch a lot of NBC’s The Biggest Loser. I recently finished season 7 again and am now on season 9 again (I watched season 8 last week – my daughter and I re-watch seasons based on the contestants we like/don’t like, so we don’t watch in order). If you’ll recall, season 7 is when we were introduced to the contestants Felipe and Sione. These guys are Tongan cousins and were so concerned about the trend/tradition of obesity in their culture. In season 9 of TBL another set of Tongan cousins, Koli and Sam, shared these same concerns.

 

Ok OMLD, your point? Well here’s the thing, since I was an adolescent, I have been asked if I was Tongan or Samoan. I am *sure that part of the reason for the question has to do with my skin tone or hair or some ethnic marker. I think more than anything though, I was asked because I’m fat. I am not Tongan or Samoan, I’m just fat. I have wondered though, what it would be like to grow up in a household, or community, or even culture where I wasn’t ostracized for my size. Where I look like the women in my family. Where I am not the fat sibling. Where my plate at family functions is not policed. Of course, I know, “the grass is always greener.” I don’t presume that people in cultures where largeness is accepted have it easy, clearly Felipe, Sione, Sam, and Koli wouldn’t have appeared on TBL, but here’s the thing (and in telling you the thing, I will reveal certain identifying markers – “O brave new world…”), it sucks being different from your family. It sucks feeling like an alien in a place that you call home, where love and acceptance should abound.

 

Now to be clear, my mother (she is my natural mother) and I are the same nationality, American; we share some ethnic heritage, English, Irish, Scottish; but we are not the same race, she is white, I am black. The standard of beauty for her race is in many many ways not the standard of beauty for mine. Not to generalize, or over simplify, but certain physical attributes are more accepted in the black community. My mother didn’t grow up in the black community. She grew up with icons like Twiggy.

 

Growing up with a petite, super skinny mom was hard af (as the kids would tweet). I wanted to be like her, but by 12 was taller and much larger than she. She didn’t know how to have a fat daughter. So we fought. I want baggy clothes to hide my fat, she wanted me in the smallest size I could squeeze into (this has not changed). We fought about food, I had to carry the OG slim fast in a thermos to school, and at 14 she put my on Jenny Craig. We fought for control. Of my body. Including piercings and haircuts. Eventually I won. My prize was getting fatter.

 

Now as a *responsible adult I am actively trying to understand my triggers. My mom is el numero uno. I’m trying to understand why when my mom asks me “can you have X on your diet,” I want to eat cookie dough because I can *have whatever the hell I want. Or why when she wants to go to the gym together, do I talk my way out of it, and find myself napping half the day. I don’t have all these answers yet, but I now recognize these triggers and redirect my responses so that I am making positive choices instead of negative ones. AND of course I can’t trade my family in for a community of fat people, where I feel a sense of belonging. BUT I can create that community for myself with people who are not necessarily fat, but whose respect and acceptance create a safe space for me to be fat today and work toward being less fat tomorrow.

 

I had to say it out loud (type? it out loud?)

 

Thanks for reading.