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Taking a Spill



[This post was written several days ago. There's an update at the end. I'm still posting it as-is because I want to save the thinking-through.]


My life is really busy right now and that has stalled my weight loss. It's not "a stall." It's me prioritizing other things and not leaving enough room in my day or my brain to plan and take care of eating, water, logging, counting, etc. 

I know that this happens to a lot of people after WLS, and now I know that it is happening, has happened, will happen to me. I have this intense rush of social energy, a desire for input, experience, I'm rushing around, overstressed, overworked, overeverything. It hasn't left a lot of room for planning, weighing and measuring, logging. There was also my dad's birthday, Easter, Passover, just a little constellation of things that threw me. 

And also I think in some way this is a very comfortable place for me, this size right here. I'm a solid size 16. I don't yet feel sure that a straight-size store would clothe me. I do, however, feel like I've hit the point at which I'm no longer on the heavily stigmatized side of the kid of invisibilizing, dehumanizing fat stigma that I and many other fat people have experienced. I can take up space in a room now. I notice myself wanting, rather than shying away from, the conversational spotlight. This week I ran around like a crazy person, hopping from space to space to space, all the spaces my patchwork life spans. I don't feel out of place in my classroom and I don't feel out of place strolling through Park Slope with my friend and her little boy and I don't feel out of place taking two client meetings in a row on the Upper East Side and I don't feel out of place in a room full of avant-garde artists and I don't feel out of place in a room full of establishment artists and I don't feel out of place in a room full of digital media types. I can be in those places and feel like I get to be in them, enjoy being in them. I am really enjoying that. But I think I know that the attention would get more intense if I got a chunk smaller. Even a pretty little chunk. I think I know that I am hovering on the edge of something, some boundary. I think that scares me, that I am protecting myself from it. I seem, at the moment, to be clinging to my otherness in some capacity, like if I don't, they will consume me, assimilate me, leave me nothing of myself for my own. I am a person who worries about demands other people make because I worry about my ability to say no to them, and I worry about my own discomfort getting a lot of attention. I am a person who worries about the obliteration of interpellation. 

It's funny, because when I was first talking through WLS with my therapist, this is where I said I wanted to end up. I said something along the lines of "If I could pick a place to end up, and that place could be a nice solid 14/16, I would do it." I wanted to be assured that I could still be fat(ish) if I wanted to be, and I think I felt afraid of really truly giving up fatness as an identity position and as an aesthetic and political element. I've done so much thinking and working around it. And honestly, it makes me feel great to be fat and to still be comfortable in all these spaces. It reminds me of all the things that I can do that other people can't—it makes me feel a little superhuman. It makes me feel strange, and strong, and individual, and gifted, and dangerous, and glamorous, and very much myself. It makes me feel like I am inventing something, a new way of being. I like that feeling. So I do think I owe it to myself to take my potential discomfort being smaller seriously, and to affirm for myself that I don't have to be if I don't want to be. I don't have to be any smaller than this. I could be this size my entire life, and I could make of it a thing of great beauty and joy, a thing of newness and possibility and invention.

THAT SAID. There has been eating this past couple of weeks that makes me very uncomfortable, from an ED perspective. There has been a sense of disorder, of chaos, of being out of control. I have felt like I have not been able to set intentions or make dependable choices. And that, friends, is a situation that cannot stand. 

I am righting the ship. Not that the ship capsized—it's just some turbulence. I am seeing new lows on the scale as of today, even though I am pretty sure that I'm still holding water from being carbed up. (Side note: do people know about this? I only learned this in powerlifting—but carbohydrates refill your glycogen stores, which means your body holds water to render all that glycogen ready to use. When you're eating low-carb, your glycogen stores are low to empty, which means the second you refill them, back all that water will come too—so the weight you "gain" if you regularly eat very low-carb and you, say, eat a couple slices of pizza at a bar while knocking back whiskeys on the rocks NOT THAT I DID THAT oh wait yes I did includes that adjustment to water balance. This event frequently convinces people who regularly eat very low-carb diets, including keto, that carbs are the devil, which is not the case in my not-so-humble opinion.)

So I'm feeling grateful for my surgically-installed tool even as I know I need to devote some thought to the way it's interacting with my disordered reactions AND to pulling myself back towards a baseline that works for me. This might be the time to see that beloved ED nutritionist who does bariatrics too, now I come to think of it.


[Update: then I left this open for three days, during which time I did my end-of-month weigh-in, found myself less than two pounds above my goal for the month, and then today saw a weight below it. Gonna write about this too, but I didn't want to lose this bit of thinking, so I'm slapping it up even if belatedly.]

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Glad to see you back after your busy time. It sounds like your WLS pathway is taking you toward some uncomfortable identity territory. I hope you find a way to work through the thinking process you're facing in crossing this comfortable threshold you're at. 

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