From the time I was about three years old, I’ve been chubby. That’s just how I’ve rolled (literally). I’ve never hated my body, but I’ll admit that I’ve never felt entirely comfortable, either (but who is, right?). Growing up, I learned to embrace it. Chubbiness was more than just an exterior attribute- it became a full blown identity. I imagine that initially, at least, it was an act of self-defense; a way to protect myself from the onslaught of self-hate that surrounds us as women every day. All the,
“OMG, I hate my thighs!” And, “Jesus, I was so BAD today, I ate a cupcake!” can be pretty oppressive after a while. But quickly my response to every comment or criticism became,
“Well, I’m chubby and I’ve never had a problem getting mine, if you know what I mean…” (AKA, I always found it easy to break off a piece of ass, or date, or both).
The reaction to the frankness (and comedy of it) was amazing. People immediately eased about ten notches in front of my eyes. Laughing (at/with me) lightened the issue for everyone. I could literally see women’s shoulders relax as they gave themselves a break for a minute. That was addictive. And it also shut them up (thank god).
Eventually, this self-defense mechanism became a part of everything I did. I was obsessed with the way that us white women (let’s be real) torture ourselves about being thin. Hearing my boss say once at work, “Oh my god, I’m 135 pounds. I have to go on a diet” threw me into a rage. I felt like it was my personal problem to take on, because if I didn’t, I’d go crazy.
As I’ve gotten a little older (oy), I’ve realized that not only is conquering this phenomenon woman by woman an impossible endeavor, but it leaves one very important person out of the equation… me. What do I want for myself, for my body? Do I need to be focusing on all of these other women just to avoid focusing on myself?
So, sitting in my doctor’s office a few months ago, I asked her if it’s true that women’s metabolisms change around thirty (people kept warning me- fucking assholes- and I was trying to get some evidence to disprove them). She lowered my medical chart and looked me dead in the eyes. “Ooooohhhhhhhh yeah.” She said. And she seemed kind of sad.
This got me thinking… is it time to deal with my body? To look into separating what I want for others (for them to shut the fuck up about how fat they are) and what I want for myself (to have the kind of life I want, to feel good about my body)? The whole thing made me feel old and boring, but I guess the answer was yes. It was time for that.
About a month and a half later I started the diet I’m on. For inquiring minds, it’s the Dr. Cohen diet. It’s based on personal blood analysis (not the blood type diet) and human growth hormone research (in conjunction with insulin and seratonin). It’s definitely restrictive, and you sign up in 12 week increments. Google it if you want more deets. So far I’ve lost more than 10% of my body weight.
I’m gonna’ go ahead and opt out of any (Feministing-esque) apology about being fat-positive AND on a diet, because A) I don’t give a fuck, and B) Who isn’t hypocritical?
But I do wonder… what will happen to that fat identity I’ve built up over all these years now that I’m doing something I used to hate? So far I don’t feel a war raging inside, but I’m not so sure about the back-lash from others yet…
While I believe that dieting and being fat-positive aren’t mutually exclusive, I know others will question me. I guess the good news is that nothing has really changed about the way I feel- I want women to feel good about their bodies without being mindlessly critical (of themselves or others).
But, change is hard, and nobody’s perfect (even this Jew, shockingly). When you’ve been one thing to people for such long a long time, it’s hard (for many) to shift and balance the change.
I guess I wish I could ask Michael Jackson. For some reason, I think he’d have some insight…
(originally posted on Shady Sadie).