Tuesday, March 06, 2007

My Friend Thinks He's Fat: Memories of Dieting HELL!

Never give advice on something as touchy as dieting without asking permission. I asked and my friend said: "no". Unlike my sicker, more co-dependent self, I dropped the subject, but my friend's post made me sad. I think loathing dieting and chasing after "beauty" are second only to my hatred of child abuse. I'm not worried about my friend. He knows who he is, where he wants to go and how to get there. But his post reminded me of some issues that pain me deeply.

My friend is all freaked out because he's porked up by 30 pounds. Hell, my MD would have a religious experience if I only had to lose 30 pounds! I come in at the "grossly obese" 80 pounds over where I should be. But unlike my friend, I don't see this as a huge problem, as there are mitigating circumstances. Psych meds ALL make you gain weight and HOLD onto it as though your body is in starvation mode. When you can't lose weight on Atkins - I didn't cheat either, you got something pretty powerful keeping that fat in place!

My friend mentioned that he is happy, in another post. He didn't start to gain weight until his self-satisfaction and life happiness went up. But, he also doesn't have the free time to exercise, he once had. He is also getting older. Yeah, as you get further away from twenty, it is harder to shed those pounds. So, I wish him well. Thank God he isn't going to go crazy-crash-diet diet pill crazy!

When I hear someone lament being overweight I want to sob. The child abuse refugees I've seen who get trapped into this cycle do things to themselves worthy of a long stint in a psychiatric hospital - but our culture calls starvation-thin beauty.

Here's the deal. Just like having heaps of money will not automatically make you happy, having the perfectly fit / healthy body BY ITSELF won't do it either. I was a mentally ill, socially maladjusted dweeb with no friends, who was 20 pounds overweight as a pre-teen and teen. Due to my cousin's theory that all I needed to do to get popular was to get thin and look right, I dieted until I was passing out in gym, with teachers sneaking me food on the sly! What did I learn?

I went from a "fat" mentally ill, socially maladjusted dweeb to a thin, mentally ill, socially maladjusted dweeb and NOTHING in my social life changed. Although passing out in gym did generate "stranger" concern. Until I got the professional help and medication I needed to truly have some hope of acting "normal", even at a size 8 (5'4" 100 pounds), nothing changed.

I achieved the above morbidly thin physique while living with the man who battered me for two years. He liked his gals THIN. So, he regulated my food intake. (Yeah, I SURE know how to pick 'em!) As soon as I got to eat real food again I drifted back up to where I am now, about 80 pounds over my desired weight of 120 pounds.

While I will fight tooth and claw to protect my mental health, I just can't get that upset about the physical side of things. I do try not to seek out diabetes, or having a stroke, but with the addition of huge quantities of brown rice - which I truly love, all my numbers are well within normal range! Yeah, my Dr. couldn't believe it either, but my numbers say I'm physically healthy, as I am. 'Cause I'd have to be facing death or hell to seriously revisit the world of dieting.

I think of a dear friend up north. She had a childhood that made my story look like a cake walk. Man, did she get emotionally mangled! Last year, before we'd re-established contact, she was over 500 pounds and DYING of her addiction to food. Its just like being an alcoholic, but your drug of choice is food. Its really hard to treat, as abstinence, is not an option. That's called anorexia something else this poor woman has been through. She got so messed up, that she's been written up in medical journals because nobody could believe body chemistry could be that 'off" with the patient still alive! I LOATHE child abuse.

This gal is a really cool person. Full of spunk and vinegar. She's a cool mother, a fun friend and a loving wife. But every so often that child abuse stuff sends her off into another cycle of bulimia, trying to eat herself to death. But, she has gotten it together with God and a church community and things are looking much better these days. She eats to kill her pain of just plain hating everything about herself. Yes, she's in therapy (still), yes, she's been to all the recovery groups, done all the diets, plans and even a few become successful in 20 minutes programs. Now, after over 40 years of struggle, she is beginning to see that she wants to live and can actually accept being loved by God and other people. She is even toying with at least liking herself.

When we resumed contact I was so saddened and angered about her almost dying last year. She has no clue about how cool she is. It just made me heart sick. But prayer keeps my own anxiety at bay, as well as giving her the strength she needs to continue to heal.

So, I say to anyone who is contemplating the liquid protein, diet pill, you can take this and lose weight while you sleep routine. STOP: its a sham. A bit of protein, carbs, veges and dairy each day is a place to start. Something simple. Don't try to live on Twinkies, smoke to reduce, or coffee alone. Here's a concept: be nice to yourself! Would you ever try and make a friend diet the way you are willing to make yourself do it! I bet not!

1 comment:

MacPhilly said...

As the male friend that's put on the extra 30 lbs, I can tell you that everything you're saying about loosing weight for the wrong reasons is correct. And what you've said about the fact that you can be overweight but still have a good diet and have all your vital stats come in healthy is also true.

I'm choosing to loose weight because the fact is that when I'm carrying 30 lbs around my middle it makes it tough to bend over and pick up my baby. I'm loosing weight because all my clothes are meant for me to be at *LEAST* 15-20lbs lighter - and I've spent too much damn money just to throw them all away and buy a new fat wardrobe because I've been so undisciplined. The reality here is I don't need to carry the extra poundage. It's not good to carry and it's because I didn't take care of myself. So, I'm going to take care of myself, be in great shape and be here a long time - just so I can make my grand kids as happy as my kids!! Except of course I'll be able to tell my kids to take the little brats home after a couple of hours instead of just sending them to bed! :-p