My last entry spoke on the idea that we are what we eat… in that what we consume directly effects our health, our mental stability, and our place in the world. I recently embarked on the Auto-Immune-Protocol diet (hereby known as AIP) in a last ditch attempt to get my gut issues under control. The gluten-free diet did little to alter the path – although I did feel better – and I was determined to figure out what is causing me so much discomfort and suffering.
The truth is a little harder to digest than gluten for me, in that stress is as much a contributor as gluten and other reactive aspects. However, my overall issues aside, in truth what is happening to me is happening to millions of Americans every day.
We are dying from processed foods, lack of nutritive daily intake, and stress, not to mention lack of sleep, dehydration, and substance abuses.
Fixing this issue is the real challenge, but before we delve into that maze, let’s take a quick look at the body positive movement.
On its face, it’s a good thing. Love who you are and the body you have. Through acceptance, you are then able to address the issues better as to why you are overweight, or sad, or angry, or depressed… or in some cases – all four. However, that is not what I am seeing from the body positive moment. Rather than being indicative of seeking answers and change for the better, it embraces the ideal of doing nothing other than loving yourself and while not poison, it certainly can lead down some very dark and self-destructive roads.
I will be the first to admit that I do not love myself in all my fat glory. However, I do not hate myself anymore either. I accept that a great deal of my overweight-ness and this fat on my body comes from a great deal of areas beyond my control. I have been eating for comfort, and eating to self-medicate, and eating because I was just so damn hungry for all the wrong things, that I ended up over 100 pounds overweight. ALL of those issues are within my control to affect a change, should I be driven to do so but, and this is the important factor, I really was not motivated to seek out those things simply based on the reality that I did not relish nor seek out the discomfort that would come from changing my life the way it needed to change.
That was a mouthful, wasn’t it? But it is nonetheless truth. And I’m not alone in wanting to avoid that truth. MOST people who are sick and suffering due to diet and genetics are in the exact.same.boat. as I am. Change is scary.
Loving myself and my fat self as I am is not easy, but neither is accepting that my poor choices and poor habits got me here and the only way to stop is to stop doing it. I’m a big fan of reality and truth. Neither, in this situation, is pretty but still necessary to gaze at with annoyance that it was right in front of me and I just didn’t want to see it.
Do I think that anyone has a right to downgrade me as a human being because I’m fat? Nope. And if you try, you’ll find the sharp edge of my tongue and temper. How someone looks, what color they are, what religion they are (or aren’t), what their opinions are, should never come before the fact we are all human and all of us have equal rights under the law. Only we don’t, which is where this influx of “body positive” has come from. We aren’t equal. I am less likely to get a job simply because I am female. I am less likely to get a job simply because I am fat. Race, creed, color, religion, sexual identity, and body appearance are still used as a judgment ratio when being considered from jobs to how you are treated as a customer. It sucks. It’s not right. But that’s how it is.
Changing this is hard and we were making progress until last year. Those advances have not only been stymied, they have taking steps backward and we only have ourselves to blame. We are more likely to listen to a sound bite or someone’s opinion instead of actual truth and science. We, as a culture, as a country, are slipping backward to the 1950’s and I’m not sure there’s anything to stop us. We are going to have to fight all these battles again.
The good news is, that the second time should technically be easier, as there are more people on our side this time than last time and the people without a voice are less timid and less likely to continue to be silent.
The bad news is, the bad people control the media and the politics, and until that changes, it’s going to be a long, nasty, even bloody battle to the top.
Now, this meandering from the point has a purpose, I promise.
In reality, we are all who we are. Body fat, bad habits, bad manners and all. Loving yourself is fine, as long as you can be honest where you fail, and seek to be the most healthy you can. You can be overweight (by medical standards) and be healthy. You can be thin, jog, and look fantastic and drop dead at 30. A great deal of what we attribute to “healthy” is arbitrary because health isn’t about anything other than the machine we call our body, and the efficiency by which it runs.
According to my doctor, other than my Celiac’s and my weight, I’m healthy. I have low (very low, but we’ll not quibble on that right now) blood pressure, my blood sugar stays in acceptable ranges as long as I eat responsibly, my cholesterol is healthy and balanced with the good and bad types, my heart is strong and other than a bit of a mis-beat now and then, is perfectly healthy. My hair and scalp is healthy. My feet have some edema but they always have. I have one nasty toe that never seems to get better but nothing all that abnormal over all. I am a healthy fat person.
But I’m not.
I’m sick and tired and cranky from pain most of the time. I ache all over and if not for powdered aspirin (BC Powders) I would likely rip the head off of every one around me daily. I am exhausted from the constant pain in my body, my joints, my head (headaches that never go away and I’ve had since 1990 non-stop, 24/7, 365 days a year) hurts all the time, and I have chronic insomnia. I can never seem to drink enough water, and I’ve lost interest in sex, in my hobbies other than writing, and I fight of chronic depression on a daily basis.
Some of the above is due to my Celiac’s, in that I don’t digest things I need and my body craves things I don’t because it’s confused. There’s the psyche aspect, but I do have a therapist when the mumble becomes a roar. I accept that I likely -am- depressed in a deep and chronic level but I’ve never been one to wallow and I’ll be damned if this ache in my heart ever controls me, any more than the overall body aches and head aches have controlled me so far. I’m stubborn like that.
I am taking long strides towards solving my chronic depression and my body aches and pains, as I believe they are related to what I eat and how my body processes that that which I eat. I have stopped chasing poisonous people and I have learned to enjoy my own company. I have begun to study food like I have studied anything else – with great thought and careful experimentation to see what works. I am like that too.
So, in the the vein of this post’s topic, I will say – I do not love myself but I do accept myself and I don’t hate myself, which are huge strides in the right direction for once. I have drastically changed my diet and have found that, shock and surprise, I was right about the depression and anxiety being partially about what I was eating (and not eating, which is possibly more important here). I want to look in the mirror and not be disgusted with myself. I want to like what I see and while I do not hate myself, I do see the correlation between accepting who you are and striving to make your life better, and the overall love of self that comes from these steps.