THE SKINNY LITTLE BITCH PROJECT: In Which I Start To Lose Weight
Disclaimer: This series is not meant to glamorize weight loss – that job’s already been done. This is an experiment, and is not meant to be tried at home. This post may be triggering to ED or body issue readers and should be read with caution.
The decision was made – I would be reverse Morgan Spurlock-ing myself in order come to loggerheads with society’s conceptions about beauty, weight, and worth. I felt nervous and cagey and as such distracted myself with a To-Do list. If I was doing this, I was going to go all in.
CUE JOURNALISM AND GROCERY STORE THEMED SHOPPING MONTAGE!
My first stop was a tricky one. I knew in order to accurately track my weight loss and share those facts with you, I’d have to uh, weigh myself. Since my relationship with scales is notoriously Addict-Level-Bad I was seriously on the fence. After all, couldn’t I just plunk my naked butt on the scale at the YMCA once a week and work from there? The problems with that plan cropped up and filled me with a vague type of anxiety I like to call Middle School Gym Class With Shorts While You’re On The Rag.
Firstly, as much as I dig being the naked lady in the locker room (and I do, ask me about the time I hit a kid in the face with my left boob!) I don’t think I have quite the bravura necessary to be the naked lady who also proudly weighs herself in front of all and sundry. I mean yes, my hard won sense of self-worth exists but it is not a Titan, and the prospect of stepping on a scale in front of people (who granted, could give exactly minus two fucks what I’m doing) makes it cower and possibly lick its own genitals. Secondly, I don’t go to the gym at the same time – or even on the same days. In order for me to stay what I like to call “Not-Crazy” a regulated day and time for weigh-ins is the best healthiest options. Thirdly, the scale at the YMCA is one that you’d find in a doctor’s office, the kind that also measures height. The amount of negative associations I have with this object are unfathomable. I have to pass it at the Y in order to use the bathrooms, and I can’t think of a time I didn’t go out of my way not to look at it, not to worry if I should use it, flashing back instantly to every physical I’ve had over the years, every single weigh in. Minus the time my mom took me to a nutritionist and they made me step on one of those scales for the handicapped with rails on the side and I had a near nervous breakdown. But I mean – it’s not like I see those every time I try to shake my booty to Wu Tang while trotting away on the StairMaster.
In the end I bought a scale, the cheapest but best reviewed scale, and placed it under my bed where it would be accessible only with the use of exertion and a broom, two of my least favorite things. It was a primitive stab at warding myself off negative behaviors and as of today, it’s still working. since I began this portion of the experiment on July 15th, I have weighed myself three times. Once to get a starting weight, and then two subsequent times, every Monday morning. I can’t lie about it – this portion of what I’m doing has made me feel oddly guilty. There’s a large part of me going “You’ve worked really hard to not be the person always weighing herself!”
I’m also having guilt about how I relate to my nears and dears. After a year (two really) or promoting body acceptance, it seems counter intuitive to now be the friend on a diet, the one quietly demurring in the face of cake. My personality is a large one, my zest for life embodied in my passion for the taste of sweets and sours – I think to a large degree I perceive the world through how it tastes; I savor, I relish. (That was almost a food pun and for that I am almost sorry but not entirely.) To do something like abstain from bread is absolute anathema to who I am as a person. But, I’ve chosen to do the New Atkins in my effort to hit the medically mandated number for my height, and while the diet is no longer the “OMG ALL THE BACONS” of my teenage years, (it’s lean proteins and vegetables during the initial induction phase) I’m still living a mostly-carb free life and it’s…embarrassing. My best friend and I were hanging out as we are wont to do and she was enthused about a tweak to one of her many delicious cookies recipes. “Here! Try!” I said no, and it felt terrible – not to be denying myself something I knew would bring me pleasure (after all, as a woman this is expected behavior, right?) but to be tamping down something fundamental about myself in an effort to reach this strange, foreign concept of who physically I am ‘supposed’ to be. With the diet I’m doing, once you’ve met your ‘weight loss goal’, you can transition carbs back into your diet. When I’m done with this project, that’s what I plan on doing. This isn’t going to be a change in how I eat forever, I remind myself at another night out with friends sharing beer that I shake my head at, this is how i eat for now. That said, when I’m done, I want to transition back into the way I eat naturally in a healthy way, dig?
I’ve been as open as I can with the people who matter about this experiment. My roommate, family, my best friends, and my editor are the only people I interact with frequently who know exactly what I’m up to. To everyone else, I’ve played mum, only admitting that I am “dieting for work” if circumstances or cupcakes dictate that an explanation must be given. Over the past two weeks, the responses I’ve gotten from peers have been mainly about me openly dieting. “I think it’s great you’re doing it now, you know?” said one well meaning colleague. Two women on my team invited me to get ice cream with them and when I turned them down citing the diet, they expressed their approval and then subsequently berated themselves for being bad. They then asked the details of the diet plan I’ve chosen which I’ve shared. Nobody asked me why I wanted to start, nobody asked me what my goals are – the idea that a woman regardless of her size and shape would want to lose weight was simply taken as an admirable given. I tend to be a lone wolf at my office, so when my floor manager and another employee stopped me last week, I just assumed it would be to let me know some piece of news. Instead, my floor manager reached out and patted my left front hip. “You’re losing weight…” she said with a sneaky grin, like she’d caught me trying to sneak a boy under my desk for a quick afternoon cunnilingus sesh. I told her I was trying to lose weight and her mouth got sad, “I did that last year but then I got sloppy,” she sighed, “you keep losing, we’re rooting for you!” I wanted to tell her that she hadn’t gotten sloppy, she’d been living her life, and that she is really beautiful, but I feel like that would’ve gotten weird. Instead I chirped “Thanks” and tooted over to my desk to find she’d emailed me some of her diet tips and invited me to go to lunch with her. My day job is not a place where I have commraderie, but by publicly asserting that I felt like I wasn’t good enough and needed to change – I had gained egress into a sense of community. It was a little depressing.
Two other observations – men are already paying me more attention. I don’t think this has anything to do with the nominal weight loss, but more to do with how I’m dressing and doing my hair and my face. With my totally “done” young corporate look and a smile for every occasion, I’ve been allowed to take someone’s cab and had virtually every door held open for me. Too bad glasses, a bun, and a cardigan don’t illicit the same response. Tragic, really. Secondly, I had one bad night on the diet. I am a creature of habit and much more likely to eat at a proscribed time or to handle a proscribed emotion (working on that one). To that end, I can very often go long periods without eating and not bat an eye. With Atkins, while I might not always be hungry at the appointed hour, all the books say you’ve got to feed yourself. On the night in question, I’d had a long work day followed by a long rehearsal followed by a long production meeting. The train wasn’t running and my head spinning I jumped in cab. I’d planned on eating late that night, not thinking anything of it. I was cold and sweaty and felt like I was going to throw up all the way home. I walked into my living room and my roommate immediately plied me with water and cheese. As tears streamed down my face, I realized that the new rules of my carb free blood sugar dictated that I eat regularly, despite what my stomach might be telling me. It was seriously gnarly. It also called further bullshit on all those “I forgot eat” types I know. If you are eating a restricted diet, you have to eat – or you will pass out.
Finally, at the end of the first two weeks, I want to mention the other measures I’ve taken to become conventionally attractive outside of the weight element. Heels, y’all. Living my life in my heels. I’ve been wearing heels every day as a transitional costume – if I’m going to be stereotypically good looking, then they are necessary. I wanted to make shoes part of the routine as quickly as possible because I hate wearing anything other than flats. My feet bleed, swell, and get rubbed raw. While I had no issue adhering to the rules of New Atkins, the shoe rule was almost my undoing. I gazed down at my stinky toes on night and wavered, “I just can’t okay?” But then I did. Because I am better than some measly scraps of leather.
Tune in later this week for our celebrity portion of The Skinny Bitch Project – and for those of you playing at home, here are the stats at the end of week two:
STARTING WEIGHT: 205 LBS
GOAL WEIGHT: 130 LBS
AMOUNT TO LOSE: 75 LBS
AMOUNT TO LOSE: 68.6
AMOUNT TO LOSE: 66.6 (THE DEVIL’S WEIGHT)
TOTAL WEIGHT LOST TO DATE: 8.4 POUNDS.
As always, don’t, don’t, don’t, do as I do. Learn from what I do. Eat what you crave, do as you like, know that you are lovely and sacred and such a gift and that those who cannot do the same are not those meant to ever have the gift of understanding you. Smooches.