Some of my friends have gotten more fitness conscious lately. This is a good thing, and good for their health, and I wish them all the success necessary for them to feel good about themselves.
But dieting and exercise are both very painful subjects for me. They bring up a welter of judgement and pain that have nothing to do with real time conversations or my friends, who are great people.
My mother was a diet freak.
She was on every diet known to Western civilization. And if she was on a diet, we were on a diet too. This encouraged me to binge eat when at my grandmother's, who, I sometimes think, didn't know the meaning of diet. She knew the meaning of exercise, exercise was work. She worked at physically demanding tasks that in all my years of cleaning houses I never matched.
When I turned 13, my mother put me on a starvation diet cause I was "too fat". From 13 to 17, I was eating crackers, grapefruit and carrots at home, and running 7-10 miles a day. I was in cross country,track, volleyball and basketball. With all of that, I still never got under 160 lbs. And by the standards of the day(before widespread use of the BMI) I was still overweight.
I looked like a skeleton. Because I'm big. 5'9" with 9" wrists. No matter how much I dieted or exercised, I wasn't going to look like Kate Moss. I wasn't going to look like a thin person. And the irony is, my mother, who shares my same size and build, was never going to look like one either.
My father came for Christmas the winter I was 17(my parents divorced when I was 9), and asked me WTH I thought I was trying to do to myself, and WTH my mother, who was supposed to be caring for me, didn't notice I looked like death on toast.(That's a story for another time).
My father put me in therapy. Then the day I turned 18, February 4th, 1985, I moved out of my mother's house.
In my process of getting healthy and comfortable in my own skin, I have tried every diet known to the Western world. I have been in weight loss studies, behavior modification studies, and eating disorder therapy.
Despite all of that, my weight hasn't changed that much. I weigh between 250 and 275. Which by modern standards is morbidly obese.
So I try to eat healthy without feeling deprived of the things I really enjoy. I do yoga every day and since I don't have a driver's license, walk at least a mile every day. I press on through the world like the wider culture's fixation on body image doesn't matter. I press on through the world like the assumption that if you don't look a certain way you must be lazy or stupid or uncaring, some stereotypical couch potato that eats bon-bons and watches soap operas, isn't me and doesn't affect me.
But sometimes that level of personal pain and societal scorn is hard for me to ignore.
So if I'm not as excited by your excitement about meeting your fitness goals, or I get really quiet during the conversation, it's not you. It's me. Once my reality check has finished processing, I will be excited for you.