This is my sixth week on Weight Watchers. I decided to do something drastic (by which I mean do anything at all to loose weight, other than talk about it) after going to the doctor for that skin thing and found out I weighed alot more than I thought, at least according to the wonderfully callibrated doctor's office scale. In addition to just being horrified at my real weight, I have to deal with feeling uncomfortable in my skin, asthma, acid reflux, and a complete lack of self-confidence, especially when it comes to flirting and dating. And I'm happy I started this. I have learned a good deal more about portion size and tracking what I eat. It has gotten me more motivated, so that I will continue on with this. While I haven't lost much weight, definately not as much as my mom, but I have lost 5.5 pounds, as of the week before last, and a couple pairs of pants that were very VERY tight before I started this are now very comfortable. This encourages me to continue with this and to ramp it up by exercising.
But as I have been paying more attention to what I eat, I have also been thinking about food, dieting, etc, and how those things effect my life and society.
My mother and I don't always go to the same meeting. A few weeks ago at her meeting, the meeting leader stressed how important it was for everyone to realize how little room they would have in their daily diet for extras once they got down to the weight they should be and that it would not leave them room for much, if any junk food. I think this was to stress that one needs to change what and how they eat for the rest of their lives, not just while they are IN Weight Watchers and coming to meets and still have weight to loose. I had realized this in the first week or so of being on Weight Watchers. They have a points system (the point value of each food is based on dietary fiber, calories and fat) for you to evaluate what you eat. As you loose weight, the points you are allowed per day goes down. In my first week, as I was struggling against constant hunger and craving sugar and grease, I realized that, if I wanted to keep my weight down once I lost the weight, I would have to keep my food intake about the same, monitoring myself occasionally to make sure I was still sticking to it daily as much as I thought I was. I couldn't just loose the weight and then live however I wanted to, eating whatever I wanted to after this period of deprivation. What I was then thinking of as deprivation would have to be my way of life, forever, if I wanted to keep my weight down.
Thursday I went shopping for some new bras (since the first place I lost weight was my chest) and workout gear that I hadn't stolen from (now ex) boyfriends. Once again, as I had a hard time finding clothing in my current size, I was reminded of even more reasons why I should be loosing this weight and keeping it off. Then, this weekend, my mother went shopping at several department stores at our local mall. One department store only carried casual knit separates in plus sizes, nothing appropriate for business attire, and another didn't even have plus size clothing!!! Recent studies have shown just how much of our population is overweight. It is not as if there are not overweight women who need plus size clothing. So why are plus sizes increasingly relagated to botiques or crappy selections? I'm not saying it is a conspiracy but more a matter of our culture. With each decade, it seems our ideas of beauty become narrower and further from what most people actually look like. But since that is what we are told we are supposed to look like, we'll struggle to become that, so that we can fit into the clothes we are told we are supposed to wear. If our bodies will never naturally and healthily (?) conform to that narrow definition of beauty, we feel like failures and use unhealthy behavior as a substitute for our lack of self-esteem, including over-eating and/or unhealthy eating, which takes us even further from that ideal. Shopping, buying, consuming, is about attaining more and more of what is culturally desirable. Being overweight is not culturally desirable, so buying comfortable, appropriate, flattering clothing designed especially for overweight people doesn't fit well into that mold. Also, ill-fitting, inappropriate, unflattering clothes then only solidify overweight people's idea that they are unattractive and will always be unattractive as long as they stay overweight. So then they spend money on the diet industry, which is just that, an industry. An industry that wouldn't exist without fat people wanting to loose weight and willing to try anything to do it. But DIETS don't work. As soon as you go off them, you will regain the weight. And them some. There are few profitable American industries or even companies that are based on giving people only what they need to live a continously healthy life. The most profitable American industries are those that help us life unhealthy lives or provide quick fixes to our unhealthy lives. The whole thing is depressing. I also have to remember that, even when I was a healthy weight, "regular" size clothing was often ill-fitting, uncomfortable, and unflattering for my body. This wasn't because of my weight, though I thought so at the time. I now think it has a lot more to do once again with those narrow definitions of beauty and how fashion is designed for that. In Spain, they (whoever THEY are) are not allowing models with an unhealthily low BMI to walk the runways during their fashion week. Many designers cried foul, saying that their clothing is designed to look best on those thin "gazelle-like" figures. So, if the top designers in the world are designing their clothes (which will be copied by designers lower on the rung), who is designing clothes for real people, even people who are just average?
So, what am I getting at??? Well... it is all fucked up. Everything is fucked up. I guess I feel it is better to think about these things, even as I'm feeding the beast. Also, maybe I can work to fight this in my children, if I have them or adopt or foster them. Maybe I can use this to influence people that cross my path. Maybe I can use this to be less hard on myself for my "shortcomings" and focus more on truly healthy living, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But no matter what, at least I'm having thoughts. That's something.