So, remember when I was going to work with fat acceptance and see where it took me? Still there, still working on it, and still have a long way to go. In certain ways, I find it just as stressful as the weight loss thing. I find that I have a lot of thoughts about being fat, some complete crap (everything would be so much easier if I could just lose 50 lbs) and some with a whole lot of truth (when I was thinner and in better shape, kayaking was a lot easier). In the purely physical realm, there are certain things my body does better when I’m in shape, and yes, when I’m thinner. I just can’t reject that truth.

But here’s the thing, I have a small and easily influenced brain and when I read all the fabulous and insightful writing over at The Rotund, Shapely Prose and other Fatosphere blogs, I begin to beat myself up for thinking like that. I begin to think that I should be able to say that it doesn’t matter that I’m fat and not want to be thinner for any reason. Intuitive eating has been challenging as well. If I eat something I’m constantly trying to determine if I really want to eat it or if I am just eating it because I think it’s healthy. In short, I’ve found my fat acceptance/intuitive eating process just as much of mind fuck as I have found my weight loss efforts.

The other day I was reminded about this article I read a long time ago – I wish I knew where and when. I think it was rooted in Buddhist psychology and main point was that a lot of anxiety comes from us forcing ourselves to see situations in black or white, and then choose between these situations. Sometimes situations aren’t as black and white as they seem and reminding ourselves of that loosens the anxiety. For example, I remember when I was working on writing research papers, an activity I loathed, I would try and motivate myself by the idea of tenure. I would tell myself ‘Well, you can go out to the movies’ OR ‘you can get tenure’. Yeah. That was an awesome strategy, which lead straight to a total tightening of my gut because you see I just really wanted to go see a movie but I couldn’t now could I? Not if I had framed it such that going to the movies meant not getting tenure. I wouldn’t go to the movies, but I didn’t work on my paper either – I just went straight to the fridge to get a pint of ice cream and watched TV. See the crazy?

The article suggested replacing the word ‘or’ with the word ‘and’ examining if some of the tension releases. I’ve been practicing it in other parts of my life and find that it does help you see a situation in clearer light – ‘i can go to the movies and I can get tenure’ is definitely a truer statement and reduces anxiety immensely. Going to the movies today does not in any way preclude my getting tenure. Sitting on my ass everyday and doing no writing could, but relaxing for one evening has no effect with tenure. Of course, this only works to reduce tension if the statement feels true to you. For instance, ‘I can do no work and still get tenure’ is completely false and is never going to make me feel better.

Same thing with fat acceptance or weight loss. Honestly, this shit has been stressing me out. Saying to myself, ‘you can either accept yourself as you are or you can lose weight’ has just been killing me. As someone who has only just decided to get off the diet craziness, but still has some real feelings about how being bigger feels – feelings that I have to honor and work through, doesn’t matter if they are a product of societal conditioning, media, whatever. Telling myself that I can never allow myself to think about losing weight is a fucking scary thing and sometimes downright impossible for me.

So, now I am trying to use the word ‘and’ with fat acceptance and weight loss. As in, I accept myself exactly as I am and I am working towards losing weight. I believe that no one should be told what size they should be, or be discriminated against based on their size, I believe that food should be treated as something that nourishes us emotionally, physically and mentally and that there is no reason to deprive myself of food. I do not believe that there are any ‘bad’ foods (well, maybe High Fructose Corn Syrup), I believe in exercising to feel better, to stretch my body, to move, to feel better. I am not waiting for some magical day when I am going to be skinny and everything else will fall into place, I believe I have a right to pursue my dreams and my wants regardless of what size I am. BUT, I also acknowledge that for now I believe that if I lost weight, there would be some things that might change. I might find it easier to go hiking or kayaking, and I might find it easier to find clothes, and I will be able to walk longer without getting winded. I believe that I would like to be stronger. And to me that means having more muscle in my body, but it also means having less fat.

Luckily I have no readers because this sounds a little crazy and conflicted. But strangely it makes my life a lot easier, and I see no conflict with acknowledging both processes at once. And honestly given where I am right now is probably the most truthful statement I can make about my body.