I currently weigh 245 pounds. I tell strangers on YouTube my weight every week, so it seems like no big deal to say so here. People are notoriously squirrelly about their body weight, something that is part and parcel of the body-negative world we live in. Weight is a dirty secret, something you don’t share with anyone. For some, the only people who ever know their weight is their medical doctor and presumably, the people who work at the morgue upon their death*.
245 for me is small. People who’ve known me for years are like, “hey good job” or whatever. I’ve been larger than I am currently for my entire adult life – between high school (when I topped out around 265) to college and beyond (I was consistently 275-285 for that decade). The one exception is when I was smaller than this for part of 2009/2010. I dropped 70ish pounds, which I managed to gain back in no time at all, and then some. This year, since my pre-op diet in mid-April, I’ve lost 77 pounds, with more to go. I don’t know how much more will go. I am not sure where my brain or body will draw the line. I’m not particularly invested in the outcome, which baffles people, but there it is.
To be 245 as a woman is still a hideous crime you inflict upon the fat-phobes all around you. I mean, don’t get me wrong, people are already far nicer to me than they were at my high weight (322), but only just. There’s a line you cross where you go from HORRIBLE to STILL GROSS BUT NOT AS BAD and down to BARELY ACCEPTABLE, and these correlate perfectly with the BMI categories of “Super Morbidly Obese”, “Morbidly Obese” and plain old “Obese”**.
I didn’t have weight loss surgery to gain the world’s agreed-upon but unspoken privileges of thinness, but I am still benefiting from them. I don’t want to call anyone out, but it has been pointed out to me that my weight loss timeline works well with my soon-to-be-wrapped up job contract. The subtext being that I want to be at my thinnest when I am out job hunting. The person who said this isn’t being cruel, more simply pragmatic. I want to disagree but I can’t, not really. I’ve had job recruiters seek me out for higher level roles but when I come in for the meeting they are suddenly back to talking about pink-collar admin work, along the lines of what I’ve already been doing for the past 10 years. Being Super Morbidly Obese for sure played into that. The most vehement arguments would come from thin white women who have high-paying careers, of course. Women of color, disabled women, older women would all likely nod quietly, not bothering to point out that I’m young, able bodied, and white, and that I can slow my roll on this one.
I weigh in on YouTube and get a lot of positive feedback and advice from people who have had the surgery, but as I anticipated in the outset, a lot of the language and ideas they express on their own channels/blogs is more than problematic. It’s straight-up triggering. While I never expected the surgery to cure my own eating disorder(s), I also never anticipated participating in a community that holds on proudly to some pretty dark, disordered habits and notions of value with regards to weight. But also? Of course they do; how can you NOT internalize the shit the world tells us about our value as fat beings, which is exactly nothing.
It’s difficult to dodge the dangerous magical thinking that tells us as fat people, everything will be ok once your body conforms nicely to what other people find aesthetically pleasant. I never imagined it would be a rose garden to be someone who wanted at the same time to have weight loss surgery and to also still hold on to my fat-positivity.
I have decided to stop weighing in weekly on YouTube, if only for my own sense of self-worth. I want to be a person who wakes up in the morning without first turning my attention to nakedly worship at the dieter’s altar – the scale. I want to keep track on my vital nutrients and vitamins, and quietly retire clothing sizes as they go without obsessing whether or not my weight loss is fast enough. Weighing in weekly doesn’t give me that kind of mind-space. I plan to continue checking in on a regular basis (likely monthly) to keep myself accountable without losing my fucking nugget completely.
I’ll continue to lose, and people will continue to comment on it, and the world will consider me more valuable, and these are all things that are beyond my control, and hopefully will be beyond my irritation threshold. I am myself, and I am smaller. That’s it.
*Do they weigh bodies? I mean, it’s a nice bookend to like, being weighed at birth, but I can’t fathom why they would need that information, unless it’s part of the death certificate form?
**Regular Obese looks like what “overweight” does in most people’s mind. They changed the BMI categories a while ago and now what you most likely think of as “normal” is what the BMI calls “overweight” and what you think of as “kind of chubby” is what they call “obese”. Go ahead and Google it.