TW: this post will contain discussion of a specific and extreme diet
I had a professor a few semesters ago who would constantly say “confession is good for the soul” before he said anything personal. I’m going to borrow that for a moment and confess something.
Six or so years ago, I was briefly an ex-fatty. Technically I was still fat, but I was starved down to in-betweenie sizes. And I was terrible.
I’m sure I was an absolute chore to be around. My favorite topic of conversation was my diet, and I’d police what others ate freely and uninvited.
What did I do to get this way? A “doctor” was selling a liquid diet from his office, and I fell for it. So I consumed minute quantities of powdered milkshakes and soups peppered with the occasional granola bar type thing (solids!). When I complained that I was too hungry to function, this “doctor” prescribed me Phentermine. If you aren’t familiar, it’s half of Fen-Phen — remember that stuff that had to be pulled because it killed people? Yeah, I took one of its components.
It “worked” I guess. I lost something like 70 pounds, getting down to a size 16 from a 22/24. And guess what? That wasn’t good enough for me. I still hated myself. And it made me The Worst.
See, when you do something like that, it’s all-consuming. You are literally starving yourself. It becomes all you can think about. Did I eat too much? Not eat enough? Should I drink extra water so I pee a lot before my next weigh-in? So it’s the only thing you can talk about.
And now that I’m on the other side, I recognize how incredibly boring that must have been for everyone around me.
When an ex-fatty is horrible toward fat people, that’s got to be a part of it. Also, you feel slighted — I did all this awful stuff to become smaller and I still hate myself, why does his fat chick get to love herself without the pain? It’s a prime example of Jes Baker’s idea of body currency, which you should read about if you haven’t.
I’m not making excuses, because there are none. No one should be a douche about your body. Ever. I feel terrible that I was ever like that, and I now dedicate myself to never acting that way again.
When you’re an ex-fatty you think you have an answer, that you’ve solved fatness. Of course, you don’t. There is no solution (not that there needs to be). Weight loss is temporary. But when you’re in the process, it’s like you’ve found a new religion or something — you have to proselytize.
So how can we, current fatties, shut up ex-fatties? It’s difficult to say. If you remind people that weight loss is temporary you will probably be treated like you’re mean and stupid, which is not fun. I tend to stick with something aong the lines of, “if you feel good then I’m happy for you but that is not how I wish to live my life so please don’t bring it up around me.” You have to set boundaries and follow through. If they persist, leave the conversation (if possible). In the future if it comes up, leave again. If you can’t leave, redirect. Every time they bring up their starvation, talk about the weather or the Yankees or the new crochet technique you learned.
Just because I understand their mentality doesn’t make it ok. No one gets to make you feel lousy in your own skin.