Right, so, I was hanging out with a dear friend at her place last night. We’d had a raincheck for awhile — we’d made a promise that we wouldn’t watch the new version of It without the other. Someway, somehow, we managed to keep that date, despite the 1,001 responsibilities we have right now (and, yeah, it was pretty solid horror fare despite the plotholes and questionable character choices). Anyway, as it is with almost every female friend I have, she and I always, at some point, wind up talking about diets and weight loss. She does somewhat of a South Beach thing, carb-counting, and I do Weight Watchers. During the regular chaos of a term though, we tend to backslide and then lament that a bit before we start the process over again.
I’m not stupid when it comes the matter at hand. I am perfectly aware that to enact such a change, it has to become a “lifestyle.” In other words, “dieting” inevitably has to become a life-long routine where the food variety isn’t all that interesting or satisfying in the slightest.
(You disagree? I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. You’re so wrong that you’re blinded by your wrong. I don’t care how many ways you think you can make kale interesting, how many ways you think you can make kale dance and sing and do some improv on a Saturday night. It’s boring, and all I want after I eat it is a vat of Ghiradelli fudge sauce with a side tub of rocky road ice cream to get that boring taste of boringness out of my mouth)
Diets mean restriction, and one doesn’t have to have a degree in psychology to know that when we restrict things from our lives (and from the lives of others, too), we CRAVE those things intensely. Now Weight Watchers claims that it doesn’t restrict anyone from eating the foods she or he loves, but that is somewhat misleading. For instance, let’s say you want a burger, but the burger YOU love is a cheeseburger on a buttery brioche bun…with smokehouse, thick-cut bacon…and jalapenos (I know they’re really not a part of the calorie count, but I am the hypothetical “you” here for now). You can’t really have that while on WW unless you’re a diet cheater like me. The burger that WW wants you to enjoy without worrying about blowing your diet altogether has a thin slab of broiled, greyish meat-substance topped with mustard, ketchup (sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, btw), a slice of soggy tomato, a piece of wilted lettuce, and maybe a teeny smattering of minced onions, topped off with a couple of sad pickle slices all in-between a smooshed sesame seed “bun.”
So, yeah, no matter what WW indicates, you can’t always have what you’re seriously craving.
Anyway, whenever our conversations go in the diet direction, I suddenly feel…defeated and deflated. For me, it’s the depression, that cycle of it that I often find myself trapped in, unable to stop the wheel, especially during a busy term. It’s all about self-motivation, and I don’t feel it much right now. Give it a month or so. I may snap out of it once the term is over. Then again, it could be my very own midlife crisis, one that has me in a bubble of absolute apathy. I mean, there are times when I just don’t care about much anymore. In the end, what does any of it matter?
Another problem I have with dieting is that I feel like I need to do it for the right reasons rather than the wrong ones. Right now, I have to get in the mindset that it isn’t about beauty; it’s about health. I don’t think I want to lose a lot of weight as much as I want to get back in shape and not feel tired all the time (working out will be the primary solution, I realize). But getting in that frame of mind alone is damned hard now that I’m back out there in Attractionville where it’s always…ALWAYS…about beauty, and body “type” comes first. No matter how we try to portray it otherwise, it’s not how it really is, and I find that more than a little discomforting. Almost every profile I’ve combed through on those dating sites has no “curvy” or “a few extra pounds” indicated on (his) list of body type preferences. It’s always “slender” and “athletic.” (And don’t get me started on the utter hypocrisy with many of those profiles, too.)
I’ve never been a slender woman. I’ve weighed less than I do now, sure, but I’ve never been svelte. I’ve always had a broad back; wide, sloping shoulders, and virtually no hips (I look like a short, stubby square with tits, arms, and legs), all of which have kept me firmly in the awkward in-between sizes. I can’t wear women’s sizes because they’re too big and shapeless, but I am barely able to get into misses’ sizes because I don’t have the right form. I can’t do Lane Bryant because their clothing is for Amazons, and I’m 5’3. I can’t do Ann Taylor or Banana Republic because their clothing is for the Stepford-slim chic. I’m not quite in that weird middle terrain that the majority of women in the U.S. fall under, but I’m close enough. And the ageist marketing is awful, too. It’s changing though, thanks to online retail. I’ve all of my workwear from Eshakti because they’ve good sales; they cater to women my age who aren’t all that keen on Coldwater Creek and Chico’s; and they can tailor the size just for your measurements. When I dress down, which is often when I’m at home and just bumming around the area, badass tees and jeans (or shorts, if I must) are my go-to’s.
I digress, really.
It just hit hard when I got home from my friend’s house. Something…SOMETHING about beauty standards, body size, weight, dieting, self-consciousness whathaveyou just always comes up in conversation. Not so coincidentally, when I checked my FB feed this morning, I found it filled with ads for companies that specialized in “plus-size” swimwear (sites that I’d visited off and on because…sales!), followed by the inevitable body-shaming asshats rudely commenting on the models’ bodies (and I’d go so far to add that the models were all of standard sizes, according to the current average).
Little wonder many of us women who’ve lost sight of ourselves in the mix can’t stop talking about what doesn’t make us interesting in the slightest.