Last week I started a detox-cleanse. It’s relatively straightforward; I drink this special tea every morning and afternoon that may or may not be made with methamphetamine and follow a rigid diet and exercise plan. To give you a bit of insight into the plan here is a list of delicious food groups I cannot consume: processed foods, refined sugars, dairy, and whole grains. Overall, I haven’t found it too difficult to stick to the cleanse even as a self-professed “dairy queen”. In fact, the hardest part of the cleanse is resisting the urge to talk about it 24/7 with people who really have no interest in whatever the fuck plan I am doing.
I am currently on day 11 out of 14 and I’ve lost roughly 7 pounds. Before my mom ordered the cleanse for me she asked what my intentions were with it. She wanted to make sure I wasn’t using the plan as some form of rapid weight loss and that my desire to get it was driven more by a want to clean my system than to modify my size. I made certain to reassure her and said that I wanted to do the cleanse to change my eating habits and prove to myself that I am capable of holding myself to a commitment.
But I have to be honest and say that I felt some power in such rapid weight loss. To an extent, it makes me feel like I finally have control over one aspect of my life and at an uglier level; it gives me an inflated sense of ego. It gives me the right to judge others who eat poorly and allows me to falsely label myself as a “health guy” who knows everything about nutrition.
I believe a lot of these feelings and behaviors stem from the fact that I used to be kind of fat.Growing up I had been the chubby one in my friend group. In fact, I looked like a legitimate meatball. Things weren’t all that easy for me. I was a fat theatre kid, which is a combination of things that makes you an easy target for bullies. Even my own mother, bless you Nance, would mock me for my weight by pointing out that she could see my belly button through my t-shirt. She even told me that I was the reason why we weren’t allowed to have ice cream in the house, that devil woman!
It was until the end of my junior year that I truly underwent puberty. Before then I was a 5 foot tall, 135 pound boy who could have easily played Rosie O’Donnell’s body double. After puberty, I was 5 foot seven and a half inches and a lot thinner than I had previously been. While my body development may have been seriously delayed, I was happy that I lost weigh without having to exercise or change my diet. It was almost as if I was an opportunity to start my life over as a thin person and I was determined to take advantage of that and make myself the healthiest I could be.
Before this detox I committed myself to living a healthier life. I responded to my growing anxiety and depression by revising my diet and exercising regularly, which have both done wonders for me. I have never felt as good as I currently do. But as any person who was formerly fat knows, there is an anxiety that follows weight loss, primarily the fear of reverting back to your old ways. Every day I look at my stomach in the mirror and wish it was flatter. I obsessively calorie count or even skip meals if I feel I don’t deserve them. When people tell me I’m stick thin, I believe that they’re lying, or attempting to spare my feelings. The saddest part is that I’m more obsessed with my weight now than I was when I was actually heavy!
I became thin before I could fully accept myself for being fat. The change was so rapid that I didn’t have the time to mentally adjust. And my body insecurities have evolved as a result. I often catch myself commenting on other people’s eating habits or talking longwindedly about exercise as if I’m a fucking Iron Man athlete. And I’ve realized it is because I’m still as insecure as I was before. Instead of sad eating and self-loathing, I’m actively being antagonistic, tearing others down to make myself better. I’m now an insecure bitch with an elitist complex and that’s no fun for anyone.
People shouldn’t be driven to act this way or feel this way about their weight. We need to be more accepting of the diversity of body types and more importantly, we need to shut the fuck up about how other people live their lives. I’m not automatically better than someone if I only eat salad and exercise excessively. Just because someone is fat doesn’t mean they are lazy, nor does being skinny equate with having an eating disorder. Sometimes the way we are shaped is based on genetics or health conditions-other times it’s a result of eating habits and exercise. Either way, it doesn’t really matter! If someone is happy with the way they look, we should celebrate that! If someone is struggling with weight or body image, we should provide support and reinforcement. Because at the end of the day, we all beat ourselves up enough anyway. Do we really need other people joining in?