Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why I don't want to lose weight

I was bit with a nasty bug this week, and I missed SIA. I also haven't been able to do outfit posts, so in lieu, here's a post that I've been building the balls to post for a while. I'd love to hear your thoughts, but please be civil. It has taken a lot for me to post this.

There are a few reasons for this post, but at the heart of them all is the fact that I am very slowly and increasingly becoming happy with my body. Don't rob me of that, you skinny sons of bitches who think that all fat people are asking for a heart attack and deserve to die because they're overweight and a suck on the health care system. Here are the five reasons why I don't want to lose weight.

Reason 1. I like my closet.

I really, really do. I've been the same size my entire adult life. Lucky number 18. (OH MY GOD, SHE SAID IT.) I have a bit of wiggle room--sometimes I have to go up to a 20 or down to a 16--but for the most part, 18 is where I've stayed. And that's nice, and that's predictable, and I don't have to worry too much about fluctuation when I go shopping. My problem areas (arms, stomach, hips) have always been the same, while my assets (ass, waist, calves) have similarly remained. When I started working at my job four (!) years ago, I was allowed to wear jeans and t-shirts. Which was good, because that was all I owned. When I was promoted to a position that involved significant interaction with the public (mostly from the waist up, from behind a desk), my wardrobe needed an upgrade, and fast. So I began buying nice tops to go with the trousers I already owned. And when I was promoted to another position that involved significant interaction with the public from both behind and away from a desk, I realised I had to work on a full wardrobe.

So over the last three years, I have diligently cultivated a beautiful wardrobe filled with items for all the parts of my body that both cover me and look good on me. I take my clothing seriously, because I know that I have one shot to make a first impression on every patron I see. I may dress weirdly to some people (mostly older patrons and the ultraconservative), but at work I have achieved a little mini-following of patrons (mostly women, but a few men too) who love to see what I wear. And because of that, I've been able to build a trust with them that some other employees haven't been able to do.

I've thought about making the effort to lose a sizable amount of weight before, but as selfish and materialistic as it sounds, I don't want to have to say goodbye to my entire wardrobe and start from scratch. I also don't have the money for that. I also don't have the money to tailor all the clothing I would want to keep.

Reason 2. I don't want to become obsessed with weight.

I have some friends who have lost large amounts of weight, and I laud them for that. It's fantastic. But often, those friends have become obsessed with calorie counting or fitness class hoarding, and eventually, they become their weight loss. I can't stand that. You are far more than your weight. Haven't you read a book lately? What's happening at work? How are your parents? You can't tell me that the only thing you have to talk about is your weight loss. And I worry that I wouldn't have the resolve to not be overly obsessed and eat, sleep and breathe weight loss.

When people come up to me and say "oh, you've lost weight!" or "have you lost weight? you look good!", I know it's meant as a compliment, but a little bit of me takes joy from not taking the bait and falling into a weight loss obsession/discussion. Since I don't weigh myself, I can't say for certain if I'm gaining or losing weight. It's stayed relatively stagnant since college, though, and not enough to drop or gain a size. I can't stand the obsession our society has with weight and scrutiny based on sizes both large and small. Talking about weight makes me extremely wary--writing this post has required pushing aside a significant amount of discomfort--and I don't want to have to deal with it any more than I already do, which I definitely would if I lost weight.

Reason 3. I want to be strong, not skinny.

It's one thing to be thin, but it's another to be strong. I'm clearly not small and never will be, but I also am not currently very strong. Two flights of stairs makes me tired. I used to have rock solid calves in college from riding 5-6 days a week, but they're pretty soft now. I like the feeling of strength, of being able to lift this, push that. I want my body to be more capable of doing things, but I don't necessarily care if that means I'll weigh 120 or 220. I don't really care about getting to a goal weight, but I do want parts of my body to not be lumps of fat. I recently joined a gym. It isn't open yet, but T. and I are actually a bit excited about going. The most important thing to me was that there was weight lifting equipment, and there will be a lot of it! I hate treadmills, but I really miss having strength. Strength is a beautiful thing.

Reason 4. I kind of like my shape.

I'm not totally sure what I am. I've never labeled this blog as anything aside from a personal style blog, but I seem to have found both plus size and straight size followers. And I'm happy with that. I have no idea what other people think when they look at my body--am I a "bbw", or plus size, or an Amazon, or Rubenesque, or what? I'm not a big fan of labels, but when it comes to my body, there doesn't seem to be one that works, and I kind of hate that. It feels a lot like Max's dilemma a recent episode of Happy Endings--the one time you want a label and a group to belong to, there is none.

But regardless of what I may be, at least labelwise, I know one thing: I am curvy as fuck. You've seen my silhouette, right? The circumference of my waist is a full foot smaller than that of my hips, and if that isn't curvy, I don't know what is. I don't know, though, if I would maintain that shape if I lost weight. It's taken me a really, really long time to not hate my body, and now that I've finally gotten used to it, I don't want to say farewell. It's kind of like having a really ugly mole, and you hate it, but it's part of you, and then your doctor's like oh no, we have to remove it, and then you get rid of it, and then you miss it. You know?

Reason 5. Fuck the haters.

Some people would probably read this post and think "she's just making excuses not to lose weight and feel better about being soooo fat". And sure, you could look at it that way. But you know what? I don't really give a shit what those people think. Similar to many other social issues--marriage, childrearing, abortion & "personhood"--my body is my business. Don't judge others lest ye be judged, or something like that. I don't think anyone, aside from a doctor, is in a position of deciding whether someone is healthy or not based on the actual shape and size of one's body. The vast majority of linebackers in the NFL, for example, are considered obese according to the body mass index, but they are physically fit. On the other end of the spectrum, some people can be exceptionally thin and healthy too. There's no perfect system for any of this, which is why I don't give a shit if you think I'm fat. And honestly, if you're reading this blog, you probably feel the same way.

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