I would argue that 8/10 of my bad days are as a result of me starting the day feeling like an ogre-whale.
There is something about losing 12lbs, seeing a decent change in your face and body, and yet, still feeling like a complete fat ass. You see, if ever you’ve struggled with eating issues or body image stuff, you can almost always assume it’ll come back to revisit you at some point(s) in your life.
For me, the latest point occurred this month. There aren’t a lot of large people in China, and not just regarding height. I see very few “heavy-set” individuals, and I would argue, barely any who I would label as, “obese,” or anything near it. My body image stuff should be no surprise to those who are close to me, and to all those who read my blog, I have previously posted about my struggles as an ongoing life-barrier.
“Dudes deal too.”
This is something I have to repeat to myself quite frequently.
Dudes deal too.
Though, my issues with the scale, obsession with numbers, and my extreme relationship with food and working out are not the sole ways in which dudes deal. In fact, I have guy friends from many pockets of my life who deal in different ways (CrossFit addicts, extreme man-scaping, and manic tanning, to name a few). These are more socially acceptable, though, and these friends would assert that these things will still not ultimately cure them of their own struggles.
And I have benefited from this realization as well, all while intimately discovering that moving to China would not cure my obsession to be on a scale. Now, this was never an intended learning outcome for me, however the life goal has always existed deep within my being. To be honest, much of my self-conscious relapse has occurred via the scale I currently have in my room. Long ago I determined the scale to be pure evil, and that as long as one existed in my possession, I would curse it’s very existence.
But this hasn’t always been the case. I was a skinny kid. Lanky and skinny. I remember one time at my grandparents house, I stood on their scale and pushed up on the towel rack as hard as I could to see how high I could make the number. Seconds into my experiment, I let out one last large pump, only to push the rod right off the wall. My parents were embarrassed and I lied and said, “It just came right off the wall when I reached for the towel to dry my hands.” I was fooling no one.
Now days, I would give anything for that number to go down. And it has. I’m down around 12lbs over the last month and a half, and feeling better about myself than I typically did in the States. I get a lot of questions about the food here (which may mostly be because I’m still new to Instagram and like posting photos of my meals), and I’m certainly eating my fair share of culinary wins. I’m eating a ton. And the food quality seems to be much greater than anything I ever ate consistently in the States.
That is, except for the donuts. If you learn anything about me from this entire blog, you must first know that donuts are the way into my heart. I love donuts. So, it should be no surprise that when the local bakery I frequent had donuts in their case, I let out a cry of glee. I was pumped, and ordered one of each of the two kinds (I had to be modest, and also not reveal that I could have eaten a dozen right there on the spot).
Donut 1 had a mystery glaze on it, but also a few cranberry-like moments. It was glorious, and I would later go back inside and buy two more. But this follow-up purchase would occur after Donut 2.
Donut 2 on the other hand was a bit misleading. Aside from a Butterfinger-looking flake on top, it had a very neutral smell. I smell everything before I eat it, and a Butterfinger donut would have been a life-changing endeavor for me. Just as the first bite started to hit my tastebuds, I realized Donut 2 didn’t have Butterfinger flakes on top. Donut 2 was covered in a dried-up fish seasoning. I all but threw up and spit the hopeful bite back into the bag. This was a low moment for me, one which would ultimately lead me back inside for two additional purchases of Donut 1.
And three donuts later, I would walk away from the bakery in a pretty good place. You see, in China, I rarely have the obese-sigh moments I use to have after a one-night stand with Chipotle. Things are so fresh here, and incredibly satisfying. And even when I do feel full, I still feel pretty good. And although I started this post feeling like a -12lb whale, I would assert much of that to just be my self-conscious.
I am feeling good, and feeling fit. And more than both of these things, I’m feeling quite apologetic for the constant shame I put myself through regarding my weight. “Be shirtless,” was a mantra and a goal this year, and my friend Kay will often remind me of this desire. Needless to say, I’m working on building this confidence back up. It is a work in progress. I am a work in progress. But, aren’t we all?
It’s Fat Talk Free® Week back in the States, and this means an attempt to inspire change in the way we think and feel about our bodies (remember, body image and weight stuff affects us all in some way). Additionally, it’s about promoting a healthy lifestyle and balanced life in mind, body, and spirit. I’m down.
So, what does this mean? No more using, “ogre,” and, “fat ass,” to describe myself. I’m committing to doing better. Additionally, I’m going to work to support and embrace my friends of all shapes and sizes, and celebrate them with love and confidence. We are all on a journey, and no one should feel marginalized because of the way they feel or perceive themselves on any given day. Let us love, and show love by not using words to dig at our self our others.
Sleeveless, for now,
PS – The minute I come back to the States, I expect whichever special friend who picks me up to be standing at the gate, accompanied by a giant box full of donuts. I will eat one donut, and then give the biggest hug known to man! …then, of course, we will both take off our shirts in pride, and eat the rest of the box together.