A home improvement project

Cw: tons of body image stuff, weight loss

From being unable to see that my own fly was down (because there’s a gut in the way) to feeling insecure in my relationship even though there is literally no reason to be, I’ve felt pretty bad about myself in the last year. I think weight loss resolutions are a little bit cliché but I must do something.

I strongly believe that weight loss is also an industry, but as I’ve said before, just because I think that doesn’t mean I can outsmart it or somehow live above it when that’s how our society operates: under the assumption that fat = unhealthy and fat = unattractive. I believe this is fucked up and downright incorrect. I feel most “overweight” people are cute, beautiful, handsome, you name it. (And also, attractiveness is enormously overrated in and of itself). And just because I’m considered obese or something, it doesn’t mean I’m unhealthy (from a physical standpoint). I have terrific blood pressure and I am not at risk for diabetes or anything. Mentally of course I’m unwell, but being overweight is only tangentially related. So the health thing is bunk and the unattractive thing is bunk.

But I must recognize that for whatever reason, being overweight is not helping me, and if I can be less overweight, I think a lot of things will improve as a result. For one, I’ll be more active, which helps a whole bunch of things; for another, I’ll be eating a little better/less, which will help me feel a  bit healthier (for example, when you eat greasy fast food for a week or lighter meals for a week, you can feel the difference).

I cannot say enough that I do not judge anyone who considers themselves fat. I think fatphobia is real and I’m a victim of it, both from others and myself. It’s fucked up that we are all under this spell that skinny is the only way to be. Jfc.

All that said, I’ve finally come up with a way to get this project going.

And it’s just that—a project. I think people usually use words like “journey” and I think that’s a valid metaphor, but for me I kind of see it as a project. A home (human vessel) improvement project. What I HAVE been doing is nothing. Nothing is not working. So I’m going to try to do SOMETHING and see if that works.

The goal is to use some knowledge from past experiences with trying to ~be healthier~ but mostly toss everything out. Every single time I’ve tried to be healthier I’ve stopped for some reason, usually after a pretty short time. My hope is to correct that, make this sustainable.

For that reason, I’ve set a tangible goal of being 180 pounds.

A few notes on this: according to my height and gender, I’m supposed to be no more than 165. I think that’s bullshit. If I’m muscly and 180 I’m pumped about that. I don’t need to be SKINNY. I’m okay being a “big guy” if that’s what being 180 means.

I’m not going to share my original weight. If you pay extremely close attention to how much I lose per week when I do share that information, you could probably make an educated guess. But I never ever want to share my weight and make people think that anyone who’s that weight or more is somehow less-than. I do not think that and I do not want to come across that way. I weigh the most I ever have, and I feel bad about myself even though I shouldn’t. That’s all you need to know.

I hope to make this project to becoming 180 pounds as positive as possible. I want to be real with you if I have difficulty, but I also want it to be like “hey this is home improvement” and not “hey I deserve to suffer.” I want to make this about trying a new, good thing for myself. And with a tangible goal, I think that’s possible.

I’ve even come up with a hashtag. So, 180 is a popular number (more than 179, for example), because it’s a common amount of DEGREES. So like, turning 180 degrees is turning around. I want to turn my life around. It’s so obvious. My project is called #180to180. Fuckin’ shit up.

(I’m also going to use the ever-neglected hashtags I created in another life: #BuildingADreamBoat and #BuffAndBeardy)

In the past, I’ve been really excited about the tracking process, where I’ve focused hard on counting calories and recording all my cardio down to the minute. But then I either get distracted by tracking and lose sight of the actual objective, OR I get bored of it and then get bored of exercising as a result.

I think I can do a little tracking but I no longer want that to be a motivator. I want to work out more and go for walks more and open more pickle jars and be more conscious about my eating and see where it takes me. It’s an overall, all-the-time mission that drives this project. I got a number in mind. Let’s do this or w/e.

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Understanding weight loss as a capitalistic industry but also feeling bad about yourself, a love story

cw: body image feels

One of the things that I keep thinking about after my disaster of a consultation besides “will I ever even get top surgery?” is “Maybe she’s right about me being fat.”

I’m telling you this probably because I’m a little too open. But I feel like if it’s in my self-identified ~vocation~ to document and share about my ~trans experience~ I should probably tell you stuff even if it’s hard. Well, it’s not really obligatory but it feels like my instinct.

Having someone touch your unwanted chest and squeeze and poke your fat rolls for several very long minutes is a little more than eye-opening. It’s something that makes me wonder if my girlfriend, the only one who sees me without a shirt or binder, is merely tolerating me. How can I be attractive? I am not.

Note: As I’ve stated before, I do not think fat = unattractive when it comes to people other than myself.

Another Note: My girlfriend has not given me any reason to think she doesn’t think I’m attractive, and this is purely led by internalized bullshit. (I also realize that attractiveness itself is subjective and even if I wasn’t “attractive” I still have value.

It’s something that makes me wonder if I’ll just keep getting bigger my whole life. I haven’t stopped gaining weight for like two years. Every couple weeks is another pound. My torso is marked by having a chest I don’t want, but now it’s also marked by having a torso I don’t want.

This surgeon spent like 40 minutes with me and it has me questioning my life choices. But then I question my questioning, because I know that weight loss is an INDUSTRY that relies on people feeling poorly about themselves in some way. Sure, being overweight might lead to health issues but that’s drastically overstated, and it’s not like you can’t be skinny and unhealthy. There are many, many factors at play.

I haven’t been exercising because I don’t want to wear a binder to the gym. I went about a dozen times late this summer, wearing a sports bra and baggy shirts, but I got obvious looks in the locker room. I was trying to be discreet but it didn’t work. It feels like I can’t go back to the gym until I get top surgery. It feels impossible.

(Nobody approached me or gave me anything but confused/annoyed looks, but it still feels devastating and like something I cannot resolve).

But like, going to the gym is not just beneficial for weight loss. It’s also for feeling better mentally. It’s about getting minerals to pass through the blood-brain barrier. Those are good things. I always feel stronger when I work out even just once. I love myself more when I exercise. And it’s not like the pounds fly off or anything, I just feel more in tune with my body. Right now I just use my body to drive to work or drive to get food. I never use it and LIVE in it.

But like, I know in my heart of hearts that I will be going to the gym driven by the desire to be different. I want to look different than I do. I want people to tell me I look really good, like they did after I had pneumonia and lost 10 pounds because I couldn’t eat. This is undeniable. I both understand this issue intellectually and also feel it because I’ve been raised with this system. I wish the “intellectual” side of it were more powerful in actually affecting how I feel.

So I’m divided. Part of me is super motivated now to start paying attention to my diet and exercise. I would throw on an older binder so it wouldn’t be as tight (they stretch out over time) and just wash it constantly so it didn’t smell like cardio. I’m motivated to pull out my “Lose It!” app and start recording again. Reset my goals.

I’m also of the mind that I’d be a stereotype. Everyone wants to lose weight in January. I’m also of the mind that if I’m driven by the hope I won’t be “fat” anymore, this motivation will lose its power eventually and as I’ve always done, I will fall off the discipline wagon.

I don’t really know what to do. But hating myself and continuing the same behavior isn’t working. It seems like a crapshoot. I can’t really see my eating patterns changing much. I like food. Eating butter is a pastime. (That was a joke but also not).

I’ll keep you posted.

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