Saturday, July 10, 2010

Another Loss (not the pound kind)

Several months after starting this blog, I did a post on "the benefits of being fat". I did that post in order to help mentally prepare myself for things I was bound to lose along the way. The loss of many of those benefits was relatively instant. In particular, the loss of unrestricted access to food pleasure. Later, I lost the "excuse" of not doing things I really didn't want to do because of mobility issues. I had to face up to refusing to do certain things because they weren't important enough for me, particularly in the face of my sensitive nature and tendency to feel overwhelmed more easily than many people.

I realized yesterday after my funk, which induced the "I wish..." post, that I was deep in the throes of another loss of a certain benefit of being fat. I realize that I am just now coming to the point where I was losing another benefit of being fat. This time, I was losing the ability to blame any sadness I felt in life on my weight or relationship with food. Sure, I'm still plenty fat (at about 255 lbs.), but it's reaching a stage where my sense of "mastery" over food makes it feel almost inevitable that I will be able to keep losing. It's much harder to hang my unhappiness coat on that "fat" hook than ever before.

Before, every time I felt down or depressed, I had my weight and disordered relationship with food to look to to blame. I'm sad because people treat me badly every day because of my weight. I'm unhappy because I'm in pain every day and can't even accomplish easy tasks like buying groceries without suffering. I'm depressed because I can't stop myself from eating even if I try.

Now, I have to face the fact that maybe I'm sad because I'm sad. Maybe there's no reason for it. It may be a fact of my nature emotionally or biologically to be sad at times. Since I live with a husband who is about as emotionally well-balanced in every way as a person can be (and is really the most wonderful person in the world - and I'm not exaggerating), I do not have recent experience with people who just get sad for no reason (or at least they don't tell me that happens to them), so I think there must be a root cause. My first response is to believe that it's a way of being broken that I have to "fix", but maybe that's not the way to handle every problem.

I think I have to just live with the negative feelings I'm having and stop trying to find concrete reasons or fixes. There's a hole in me that maybe cannot be filled intentionally, but that will find its own closure through time.


NewMe said...

Although I don't always respond to your posts, I find every one of them thoughtful and thought provoking.

Your post today, though, struck such a strong chord with me that I feel I MUST thank you.

Although keeping my weight at a manageable level has always been a concern of mine, I have never gotten to the point where my weight defined me or became the centre of my life.

On the other hand, I find more and more that arthritis has taken that role and though it is a terrible drag, you are helping me to see how I am letting it play a role in my life that it perhaps doesn't have to play quite so strongly.

Methinks a blog post is coming on...

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

It means so much to me to be able to give you something of value.

Your blog has given me so much! Hope. Wisdom. Commraderie. Insight. Encouragement. And pleasure.

I'm glad my comment was helpful.


-Maura said...

This weekend was emotionally draining for me - and I found myself eating inappropriately. And along came your post and I was reminded of my previous 'fat' response to emotion: EAT. This time though, I stopped eating (not before some damage was done) I still feel emotionally drained. But now at least, I'm not making worse by continued inappropriate eating.

screaming fatgirl said...

First, thank you very sincerely to everyone. I really do appreciate it. It may not ensure my blogging about my thoughts, but it does increase the frequency.

NewMe: I'm really glad that you are finding my thoughts interesting. Sometimes I think it's all a bit much, so what you have said is reassuring. I hadn't considered that other folks may be defining themselves in other ways which may not be helpful to them (such as you believe you are with arthritis), but it certainly is understandable. I look forward to your blog post!

Rebecca: All of your comments always give me something of value. :-) This one just really hit a chord that needed to be struck.

Maura: I'm very sorry to hear that you had a rough weekend, though I think it's a triumph for you to be able to put the brakes on what you were doing. The quantity of food really is less important than your display of mastery over it. The emotional growth you show by stopping is with you forever. The food effects can be gone in a day or so.

I think that how much you eat is less important than putting the "stop" sign up at some point along the way. For me, part of what made me feel more in control as much as anything else was to be able to stop before "the end". Even something like eating half a bag of pretzels was an emotional advance over eating all of it (which is what I might do before in an emotional state). I found that this increment was really a part of an overall pattern of recognition of emotional eating, and that recognition comes earlier and earlier with time and practice.

Thanks again to all of you.

RedPanda said...

This is an issue I've been mulling over since the post about filling the "void" with food.

I've come to the same realisation as Screaming Fat Girl. I think many of us - possibly most of us - sometimes feel empty or that something is missing. Maybe it's just part of life that we need to accept.

screaming fatgirl said...

Hi, Red Panda, and thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

I think it is natural for us to assume that the problem is just our relationship with food and weight since people focus on that like a laser. If you're constantly told this is this major thing that is wrong with you, you internalize that very deeply. In my case, it's a drumbeat that has been with since I was 11 years old. What was wrong with me? I was fat. What would fix me? Losing weight. Everyone told me this in covert and overt ways every day. How could I not think that being fat was what caused all of my suffering when everyone told me so all of the time?

Well, everyone is wrong. Life is still sad and hard and confusing whether you are fat or thin. However, it is natural to define your problems in the manner in which everyone has been defining them for a life-time. And now the culture in the U.S. has further upped the ante by making it seem as though the problem is not only "yours" but everyone's and they have not only a right, but a responsibility to "fix" your problems or to "help" you fix it by offering up shows like "The Biggest Loser" where you can be screamed at, shamed, and abused into losing weight. At the end, you will be all fixed and ready to join "normal" society. Yeah, not so much...

I never labored under the illusion that losing weight would "fix" all of my problems nor did I buy into the think girl fantasy that fat acceptance bloggers love to talk about. That being said, I didn't expect that I'd feel so profoundly empty or that I'd have free-floating sadness that I would feel compelled to find a cause or a solution for. It's all part of just how complicated weight loss is, and how it's so much more than the "eat less, exercise more" nonsense.

Thanks, again, Red Panda!

RedPanda said...

Screaming Fat Girl - I could have written everything in your last post!

So are you planning to write a book?