When Being a Vegetarian is Just a Cover-up For Bulimia

zara's picture

In 4 more days a whole lot of people are going to be deciding what it is that they want to do differently in the new year. Making resolutions about things that they think will make them a better person.

The most popular one that will be made is to lose weight.

We are a nation obsessed with weight loss. We're obsessed with diets, with working out, with surgery and with shows where the contestants get upset when they only lose 6 pounds in one week. (They needed to lose 10, dammit!) We focus so much on the act that we lose track of what is supposed to be most important: the person.

My sister and I were fans of the show The Biggest Loser. While I have my criticisms of the show, the part that I felt was most important was they they focused a great deal on the person. They showed that not all fat people are happy and jolly (although some are) and not all fat people are lazy and unmotivated (although some are). It's a good question as to whether or not those involved are being exploited, made to go crazy over losing the maximum amount of weight possible. The nice part is that at least there are some fat faces on television for once and they're not solely the butt of a fucking joke.

Recently I began posting pictures of me when I was a teenager. There aren't many that exist during that time frame in comparison with the number of pictures most teens end up in, especially now with the invention of digital cameras, camera phones and Myspazz. Amusing that back in the day people couldn't be bothered to come up with the money to buy a $30 camera, $4 film and $6 processing fee and yet they're dropping $100+ on the digital stuff. Anyhow... I was really good at coordinating it so that I was behind the camera and not in front of it.

There is one photo in my picture index of me in my black sequined prom dress. Most people have left comments as to how pretty I was. Some made mention that I wasn't the ugly duckling that I've claimed to be in previous posts. That picture, within days of being posted, ended up with more comments on it than any of the other ones I have posted of myself. It feels funny, knowing what I know about the history of that picture.

Here's a different angle:

That's the thinnest that I ever was in high school. Hell, that's the thinnest that I've ever been, period.

That's also the time that I was throwing up several times a day.

Looking at that picture I think two things; The first is a strange feeling of nostalgia, comforting myself internally with thoughts of "You really weren't as fat as you thought you were, Zara." The second thought is more sinister. "And yet you weren't really skinny."

I hated myself back then. To some degree I hate myself now. There is a part inside of me that doesn't believe I am meant to be loved unless I look good enough. Yet I never allow myself to feel as if I look good enough. I never celebrate my accomplishments if I start eating better or regularly exercise. I am like those contestants when they step on the scale and are unhappy with those 6 pounds.

It never feels good enough. Ever.

When I was younger, I was never what could classically be defined as fat. I was thick, I was juicy, I was pudgy, but I was never obese. But there were times that I wish I had been. The fat kids got left alone. Or the teasing seemed less offensive. I was that girl who would have been prettier if only she tried a little harder. Just eat a little less. Just walk a little more. No major changes.

Just the little ones that eat away at you from the inside.

I covered it up by being funny. I was a smartass, sarcastic and obnoxious, trying to get people to focus on my personality and not my body. If anyone tried to pin anything deep on me, I'd self-sabotage. I chased away boyfriends, cursed at teachers just as I was starting to do well in the class. I did what I could to remain on the fringe but not in the spotlight. So that I wasn't ignored but that I wasn't the center of attention.

I had that freedom, though. Because I wasn't really fat. I was never at that point where people would try and stop me, try to tell me that I couldn't do things because of the way that I looked. I was so incredibly self-centered that I missed those people who really were being told that they couldn't do certain things because of their weight. Perhaps the upside to me being so self -absorbed was that I never excluded anyone from my group of friends based on their appearance. I was so convinced that I was fat and ugly that I never noticed if anyone else around me was fat or ugly.

Where should our focus be? I take a great deal of flak for being self-absorbed. (Perhaps because I admit to it.) But if we were more self-absorbed and less concerned with pleasing the other people around us, wouldn't that make us look better? We want people to not point and laugh, we want people to think we're beautiful and worthy of love. We want acceptance.

So we go on diets to look better for other people. We wear uncomfortable shoes, tight clothing, excessive make-up so that we can be shining and glowing and pretty smelling for the world around us.

But if we were more self-absorbed, putting our own needs and wants in the forefront, wouldn't we be happier? Wouldn't we be healthier? Wouldn't we be more worth knowing?

Perhaps that's the key in solving the "epidemic" of obesity. Focusing more on ourselves so that we don't notice that skinny girl in the mall. Putting our energy into what we want personally instead of trying to provide happiness for everyone other than ourselves.

I'm still working on that myself. If anyone else gets it figured out, let me know.

I asked a few of my female readers to write their perspectives about what it's like to be fat, including the treatment that they received and the things that they felt. A couple are women who have had weight loss surgery and know both sides of the coin. I hope that you'll take a moment and read their entries as well.

"Damn Girl You are PHAT!" by Misty

"No, I do NOT want a Diet Coke, damn it!" by Caroline

"Fat is not contagious" by Alana

"Fat and Happy (Part Two)" by Sole

Discussion of the Day:

In society today, which do you think is considered to be worse: being poor or being fat?


the in-between

I don't deny that it would be awful to be fat. I'm sure that it would...I'm sure there are all kinds of things heavier people have to deal with that I've never considered. But this has never been my problem.

My problem has always been being the in-between. The big-boned girl. I'm pretty tall for a girl and I always thought if I could just be a little thinner people would look and think...wow...that girl's an athelete...must be a volleyball player.

Those thoughts began when I'd get off a plane to visit my dad for the summer and the first words out of his mouth would either be, "wow, you look like you've lost weight," or "gosh kase, your face is looking a little round!"

WHAT??? Who says that?? Who says that to a barely teenage girl? And while I understand now that my dad didn't know what he was doing, it did damage all the same. It gave me an eating disorder which eventually led to a heart murmer. And while I eventually got over the eating disorder...the heart murmer is still with me...along with the obsessive tendency to weigh myself at least 10 times a day. I'm sure that will never change. It's just how I am.

I am still not thin. I run almost every day in the hope to lose those extra ten pounds by the end of the month, but as far as I run that weight still sticks to me. Maybe it's a little punishment for being so wrapped up in the physical. I don't know.

I've come to a little bit of peace now I guess. Sure, it would be nice to lose that weight but my head knows it's more important for me to be healthy...which I am right now. But even as that thought enters my mind, there is another part of me that knows there is no peace there at all.

Maybe that's just how it is.

zara's picture

Man, that's rough. I'm built

Man, that's rough. I'm built thick and short to boot, so even when I was thin I was never as "small" as the other girls my same weight and height.

The thing that strikes me the most is that the bigger you get, the easier people should be able to see you. Unfortunately it just makes it easier for them to pretend that you don't exist.

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