I hate my body right now. This is not unusual for me as I’ve hated it for most of my life. I was a chubby kid starting when I was seven for many reasons, and my mother put me on my first diet. One of the things I remember her saying from that time was, “You have such a beautiful face if only you weren’t so chubby.” She was a big believer in vegetables and fruits, and she didn’t allow much junk in the house. All of this started me down the road of body shame to the point of body dysmorphia, It also gave me a food hoarder mentality, and I still don’t like to share my food.
Side Note: My mother has had body issues my whole life as well (yes, my life. I don’t know about life before me, obviously, but I suspect it was there from the start). She’s tiny–roughly 5’3″ and petite. She’s been heavier in the past, and she’s always obsessed with losing five pounds. It doesn’t help that she comes from a culture that is even more oppressive about women being fat (Taiwan) than America’s, so it’s something she unthinkingly handed down to me.
It shows up in small ways as well as big ones. Such as her talking about her diet whenever she was on one (which was basically thirty years). It was her policing my food to the point that I didn’t eat fruits and/or vegetables for years in my thirties because I was so pissed off about it. It was tricksy as her adopting the tone of ‘I’m only concerned about your health’ when I confronted her about it. Fortunately, I knew that was bullshit because she never said a word when I was anorexic/bulimic other than to comment jealously how my waist was smaller than hers.
It got so bad, I had to explicitly tell her that she couldn’t talk about my weight (this was when I was at my heaviest). Predictably, that’s when she wanted to make it about my health. Hell, she probably even believed it, but as I noted, she never had a problem with me being dangerously skinny other than to envy me, so it’s never been about my health. It’s been about how she hates having a big fat galoot of a woman for a daughter–except, she can’t handle having a too-small woman as her daughter, either. I don’t know what ‘just right’ would have been, but I suspect she didn’t know, either. It wasn’t about me, you see–it was about her.
I give all this as a way to explain how I come about my body issues honestly. Put on my first diet when I was seven, teased mercilessly about my weight throughout school (along with my ethnicity and being smart), fully mired in an eating disorder by the time I went to college. I’m not going to go into the details because I’ve written about it endlessly, but suffice to say that the next ten years were me going in and out of anorexia/bulimia.
It culminated in me fainting in a club at the end of my second bout. I was eating 1,200 calories a day and exercising up to three hours a day. I only ate around 700 calories before going to the club for the concert (which was an offshoot of Los Lobos) because I knew I was going to have a drink or two and didn’t want to go over my calories. I gulped down my first drink within minutes of arriving because there were people we (my bestie and I) were going to meet that I didn’t know well, which exacerbated my anxiety. The place was boiling hot because of all the people and next thing I knew, I was on the floor and had no idea how I got there. There were people staring at me, and the bouncer had to carry me over to the door to get some fresh air. They asked my bestie if I’d done any drugs, and one of the other woman in the group (a mom) had a candy bar which she held out to me.
I was so deep in my denial, I refused it because I didn’t want to eat the calories. She insisted, and I finally gave in. That’s when I realized how fucked up I was, and I quit dieting that day.
Happy ending, right? Nope. I swung the other way and stopped doing any exercise and ate like shit. This is my personality, sadly. When I do something, I go all in–good or bad. So, since I wasn’t going to diet, I went full-tilt to the other end of the spectrum, and while it’s better than being anorexic/bulimic, it’s not great, either.
Here’s the thing. I’m made somewhat my peace with my body by ignoring it as much as possible. I don’t look at at on a daily basis, and I’m very good at not looking in a mirror. We’ve had an unspoken agreement that I won’t harm it as long as it stays out of my way. And, honestly, taiji has helped me get better at inhibiting my body. I used to view myself as a brain that had to unfortunately be encased in a slab of meat called my body. Taiji has helped me integrate the two to the point where I can accept that my body is a part of me and that it’s not just some grotesque vehicle for my brain.
Side Note II: One of the reasons I like sex so much is that it’s the one time I can actually feel positive about my body. I love sex. A lot. The end.
Back to the unspoken agreement. No, it’s not the best relationship to have with my body, but it’s by far from the worst. It had worked well enough for five or so years, but now, we’re having an issue. A big one. My body is breaking down in ways that I don’t understand. For the sake of this post, I’m going to focus on my stomach. I gave up dairy and gluten almost two years ago, and I thought it would solve all my digestive issues. It did get rid of a lot of them, but in the past few months, other issues have shown up.
The problem is, I’m not sure what is causing it. First it was peanut butter then cashew butter that caused my ass to explode. No, I don’t know for sure, but that’s my best guess. I had another incident a few days ago after eating something that shouldn’t have had any of the things I’m avoiding in it, but I stupidly hadn’t read the fine print in which it said that the facility also processed gluten, dairy, and tree nuts. Yeah, no. I immediately threw the bag into the garbage and spent the next half hour on the toilet.
It’s really frustrating to have WARNING TMI a leaky anus on the regular. UNWARNING END OF TMI It makes me not want to do anything, which, admittedly, is my inertia state as well. I am dealing with it as best I can, but the constant fear of ass explosion in public makes me really not want to eat while I’m out. That’s mostly easy to do, but sometimes, there are times when I need to eat in public, and, yeah, that’s not a good feeling.
I’ve cut out the tree nuts and peanuts as my next step to finding out what else is upsetting my stomach. So far, it seems to have stopped the more severe explosions, but it’s also making me bitter. “Yes, let’s see how much blander we can make my food experience. Wahoo.” I love food, and I miss the hell out of dumplings. I really want dumplings. Which means I probably have to learn how to make gf/df dumplings.
Anyway, I know that I have to do what I can so that my stomach doesn’t explode on me any longer. I know that I have to be an adult about it, but it fucking sucks, man. I love food a lot. Cutting out dairy and gluten has been not that bad as there are a lot of good substitutes that didn’t exist twenty years ago. I will say that I do have times when I miss one kind of food intensely (such as pizza or as I said earlier, right now, it’s dumplings. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching several Strictly Dumpling videos, but oh my god I want dumplings!), but in general, I’ve dealt with it more or less with equanimity.
For whatever reason, the fact that it seems as if tree nuts are, indeed, something I need to avoid, it’s pushing me over the edge. I don’t know why as I don’t eat nuts in general, but I think it’s because nuts are used as a substitute for many dairy/gluten-based food/drinks. For example, milk. My favorite substitute is cashew milk. One popular substitute for flour is almond flour. When I eat yogurt, I eat almond milk or cashew milk yogurt. You see where I’m going with this. Oh, in addition, many of the foods I *can* eat are made with tree nuts or at least traces of. It’s surprising how many gf/df foods have tree nuts in them, and so my circle of tasty goodness is ever-shrinking.
I’m eating a bunch of olives as I write this post (large, black, and pitted), and I’m anxious to see how they settle. If something is going to hit me hard, it’s going to hit me fast. If it stays in my stomach for more than ten minutes, then it should be fine. Should being the operative word.
I’ve known for some time that I have to pay more attention to what I eat. Now, I have no choice. I know the answer is for me to cook–the question is getting me to the point of actually doing it.