A feast

I went to a party last night, the housewarming of a friend of my boyfriends. She’s apparently well known in their social circle as being a good cook, so everyone was looking forward to what was coming that night. The attitude of this group towards food was refreshing.

My family and friends always tend to casually saunter towards food without any rush. Without wanting to look like the person who had no self control, who couldn’t stave off their natural urge to just eat when they’re hungry or when they’re presented with food (because that’s the point of a dinner party, no?). Even at big events that are centered around food like Thanksgiving, it feels like no one wants to be first in line. I don’t know if this is based on politeness or not wanting to look like the pig who couldn’t show any restraint, but I know my own personal experience is that I didn’t want to look like the pig.

This was different though. This was amazing. As this girl brought out dish after delicious dish the crowd clamoured to the table. Every time it happened it came as a surprise to me. I had picked sub-optimal seating, on the floor near the table, not knowing what I was getting myself into. I knew that it would get crowded with people coming to get food, but I didn’t know that I would be risking getting trampled as people stampeded over to see what this new delight was.

I couldn’t stop my old habits, restraining myself and only trying just a bit so as not to look like the fat one in the room who couldn’t control herself. This was completely ridiculous considering the excitement that everyone else was showing over the simple event of food being placed on the table. I realized how silly this was even as I thought it, but I couldn’t bring myself to do something that felt so unnatural and go back for seconds. I sat there and thought about how fantastic it was that people could just eat, without judgement on themselves or others, they could eat as much or as little as they wanted and enjoy every single bite.

This is my new goal for when I go back home for Christmas. The majority of my family isn’t particularly religious, so the point of the holiday is about the family, the friends, and the food. So instead of holding back and hoping that someone gets in line first, I’m going to dive right in and start. And I’m going to take as much or as little of everything that I want, because this is a meal that only happens once a year, so why can’t we live it up and enjoy it a little?

The twisted weight of the world

A few years ago I went through a pretty rough breakup from a long-term relationship. The relationship was incredibly toxic so I should have been happy to be out of it, but at the time it was hard to see. The breakup brought with it a lot of stress and anxiety that I didn’t know how to cope with, and so my relationship with food turned…bad…to say the least. I lost 40lbs in a few months without putting much thought into it.

At that point in my life losing weight was unfortunately still one of my top priorities, so a friend and I were discussing it one night. I didn’t take too much glory in that weight loss because I knew it occurred only because of unfortunate circumstances, so when my friend asked how I did it my response was simply that it was a lack of appetite due to stress. This wasn’t a lie, that’s what the majority of it was, but what shocks me now was her response. She was jealous. I hold nothing against her for this response as she is someone who is overweight herself and struggles with it for what seems to be the majority of the time, I can see why she would see this as a benefit. It makes me sad now though.

I couldn’t eat because I was unable to. I had no appetite, and any amount of food felt like too much, so I mostly just didn’t eat. I won’t go too far into just how disordered my eating patterns were at this point, but suffice it to say that I was suffering through every second of this weight loss. Despite the fact that she knew that the weight loss was caused by something so emotional that I could no longer convince myself to eat, she was jealous.

It makes me sad to think that we live in a world that values weight loss above so many other things that people idealize the thought of being so depressed they can’t eat.

Another person I knew and was spending a lot of time with at that point had noticed my resistance to food. I don’t know if she had put two and two together, but she was very aware of the breakup and ensuing emotional wreck that I was. One day I was eating with her, and after a few bites I declared myself done. This was a frequent occurrence at this point, but what she said after on this particular occasion breaks my heart. The way I was eating made her feel bad about herself. She didn’t feel bad because she saw my lack of desire to eat as a sign of something wrong, but rather as a sign of true will power that she didn’t feel she had.

It makes me sad to think that we live in a world where not eating a normal sized meal wasn’t a a red flag of something to be concerned about, but rather a badge of superiority.

Over *what* weight?

I think it’s fitting that my first post would explain where exactly the title “Over *what* weight?” came from. Over the last year or so I’ve been trying to look at media and society’s standards with a critical eye. I’ve been doing as much research as I have time for between work, school, and a social life, and have discovered quite a few things where the truth is quite different from what society is seen spouting every day. The one that touched me the most is the idea that being overweight, or even obese, isn’t a death sentence.

BMI is an idea that was created by a mathematician who was just trying to get an idea of what the average man was. He had no concern for the health of human kind, and was in no way a medical doctor who could determine that certain BMI’s were a death sentence, he just had a need for a number and so BMI was born. Somehow along the way doctor’s started using BMI as a tool to determine if their patients were healthy, just by looking at a number that takes into account nothing but your height and your weight. It doesn’t take into account your activity levels, your cholesterol, your blood pressure, your levels of stress, or your eating habits. It takes nothing into account, but two other numbers that really say nothing about you or your health. And all too often doctors are taking this information and deeming a person to be unhealthy, just because of their BMI. Or taking a person’s health problems and blaming them on this number, even though these health problems can be seen in patients who are at what is considered a “normal” BMI. I’ve heard stories of people who were overall fairly healthy, but because their BMI was a certain number they were deemed unhealthy. This strikes me as incredibly unfair, and as a way for a doctor to simply cop out and decide a person is unhealthy without taking the time to dig a little deeper.

As to the specifics of this exact title “Over *what* weight?”, it comes from my own experience in life. According to a doctors chart, I am indeed overweight. And now because of this I feel as if I’m unfit for society, all thanks to this stupid number.

This number doesn’t say anything about me, except that my height is x and my weight is x. It doesn’t say whether I’m happy or healthy, it doesn’t say if this is a weight that I’ve gotten to by consuming mass quantities of junkfood, or if it’s just the weight where my body sits when I’m eating healthily and being somewhat active (the latter being the true statement, and my weight stays the same even when I’m being quite active). So while I am overweight according to a BMI chart, I can’t help but to question “Over what weight am I exactly?” Over the weight in which I can be a healthy, happy, productive member of society? I don’t think so. I’m over the weight of what a mathematician and an insurance company have deemed as acceptable (more on that later), and that’s it.

(Also, I played with the idea of simply using Over Weight, meaning that I am both overweight according to BMI and over the idea of weight and the implications it can have on a person. I don’t own a scale, and for the most part am happy with that because the number on a scale does not dictate whether I’m happy, healthy, or attractive. The idea seemed harder to convey though, without a long description below the title, and the blog url overweight.wordpress.com was already in use, so overwhatweight it is.)