Is there anything that bursts a foodie’s bubble quicker than mentions of the scale? After sifting through hours of food porn and cake recipes, it brings us back down to earth so fast that we see stars. While browsing Pinterest and dessert blogs, I can create a world for myself where no food is off limits for daydreaming. In that world, no amount of sugar or calories or carbs is going to make a difference to the circumference of my waist.
That world, unfortunately, is not reality.
Before we jump into this discussion, let’s address the plus-sized elephant in the room: Does the number on the scale matter? I wish I had an answer for this, but I don’t. I have read the studies. I have listened to the Ted Talks. I have heard the anecdotal evidence. And all of this has led me to the overwhelming conclusion that people are really bad at figuring out what makes our bodies tick.
Everything conflicts. One study says being in an overweight BMI category actually makes you healthier and live longer. Another study says that being anywhere near obese is going to sentence you to certain death. Another study says that it’s only belly fat that matters, because that is the fat that is linked to heart disease and diabetes.
We live in a world where there is a study to prove anyone’s point, but nothing matches up and nothing makes sense. I can’t tell you if losing weight will actually improve your health. I’m a good feminist who understands that I don’t owe it to anyone to be thin or attractive. And yet, when I turn on the TV and see an actress in a flowy tank top and short shorts, parading around without any noticeable insecurities, I feel an urge to be her.
I don’t judge other girls and women for their weight, and usually I can look in the mirror and find plenty of things to like about myself. But sometimes, after too many episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians or too many cookies, I look in the mirror and I suddenly become my worst bully. Why don’t I have a thigh gap? Why do my arms perpetually carry flab on them? Why do I crave brownies instead of kale juice?
My history with weight is long and complicated, and I will certainly write about it in detail on here over time. For now, though, let’s just say that I was twelve years old when I weighed in at 235 pounds. I was a kid from the trailer park, whose parents had both been raised in poverty and had no idea how to feed themselves or us in spite of their best intentions. It wasn’t until I was fourteen that I decided to make that number disappear.
I was home schooled at the time, so I started using my free time to my advantage. I would plow through my schoolwork in about an hour and a half, then have the rest of the day to watch conspiracy theory food documentaries and do push-ups. I converted my family, and soon our shelves became stocked with fruits, veggies, and organic almond butter. After reading Skinny Bitch, I became convinced that dairy was the source of all evils and cut it out completely. I began walking to my job instead of taking the bus.
By the time I turned fifteen, I weighed in at 160 pounds. I felt like I was on top of the world. Although I would go on to yo-yo up and down by about twenty pounds for the next few years, I never did come close to seeing 235 again even after I started eating dairy, and that felt good. I am, after all, a woman living in America. In spite of all my diet deprogramming and newfound feminist lens, I still wanted to be the thinnest, prettiest version of myself.
Which brings me to today. I currently weigh in at 153 pounds, the smallest I’ve been since I was about ten years old. Not many people can say that. My doctors have stopped telling me that I need to lose weight. I can now shop in the Juniors section comfortably, and the employes at American Eagle no longer give me dirty looks when I try to find clothes (can’t a bitch just buy a damn camisole without the judgment?) I have gone from eating out five or six times a week to eating out about twice a month.
So what does this mean for my blog? Do I focus only on the low-calorie, veggie-packed foods that I eat throughout the day? What are the ethics of me posting a cake recipe? I would hate to lead anyone to think that I eat that every day, because I don’t. But I also don’t want to lead anyone to think that they have to eat salads all day every day in order to maintain a healthy weight. There is a thing called balance, and I hope every day that my blog reflects some of that.
However, I have also read enough food blogs to know that this topic is not touched on enough. Too often, websites are categorized either as health and fitness or as food-related, and the two don’t seem to intersect as often as I would like. It creates a polarizing dichotomy that doesn’t actually exist. It’s not an all-or-nothing situation in the real world, so why do we so often see that when we jump online?
I don’t want my blog to be solely about weight loss, because in the end I love food more than I love seeing the scale go down. But that doesn’t mean the subject should be off-limits, because it has always been an enormous part of my life. It’s a topic that I have never tackled on here before, but it’s an on-going conversation that needs to be had.
Food and weight and self-image go so closely hand-in-hand that I think it would be irresponsible to ignore where I’ve come from. I’ve gone from eating everything, to eating almost nothing, to eating somewhere in between.
How do you feel about the way some food bloggers handle the topic of weight? I like the way that Andie Mitchell of Will You Stay For Dinner? does it, as she is also someone who has lost a lot of weight and kept it off. She writes about nutritional information for all of her recipes, which is awesome for those of us who care about that kind of thing. She also writes candidly about her journey to where she is now. I hope to do something similar.
If you have a blog promoting self-love and/or fitness, feel free to leave a link to it in the comments section below.
Until next stay, stay happy and healthy.