Fat & Happy: My Reality

My grandma always used to say “Be fat and be happy!”

I don’t know if she truly believed that sentiment, but as a kid, I thought it was perfect.

However, things changed. I got older. I got different messages. I changed my outlook.

For a long time now, I’ve been trying to reconcile the ideas in my head and the feelings in my heart with the message I’ve received from the world for my entire life.

Head says, “You’re healthy. All your tests come out fine. No doctor has ever told you you’ll die if you don’t lose weight. So what does it matter? Also, have you looked at how expensive those diet programs are? Those peeps are bajillionaires so of course they’re going to tell you that your weight is a problem. Just go your own way, you’re totes fine.”

Heart says, “Yeah, what’s it to anybody else how you look? You’re beautiful, baby! Your curves are part of who you are! Why hate on yourself because you can’t maintain a supermodel body? Most of which are photoshopped anydangway? Have a donut, it’s okay.”

The world says, “Nope. Being fat is deadly, you are obese, you are lazy, you are incapable of restraining yourself from eating all kinds of foods that will obviously kill you. OH BUT here, buy some more of it because guess what it’s actually heart healthy, you know! Now hang on, don’t eat so much of that, here buy this book and this exercise program and this gym membership, that should help you, you ugly cow.”

Then my head starts saying, “Wait, what… I’m an ugly cow?? Oh my god, I’m an ugly cow, what is wrong with me, I’m the laziest and the fattest and no one will ever love me or find me attractive.”

Then the heart chimes in with, “OH GOD I FEEL BAD NOW WHERE ARE THOSE COOKIES.”

I used to care a lot about my weight because of that message from society, but lately, I’ve been really questioning it. I don’t feel unhealthy. I feel fine, physically.

 

A year ago, my doctor told me I had high cholesterol. My previous doctor had told me the same thing and she told me it was likely genetics that caused it. When my current doctor told me, my immediate response was, “Yeah, I know I need to lose weight.”

You know what she said?

She said, “Oh, it might not have anything to do with your weight.”

And guess what? It didn’t.

For the next year, I figured out what I needed to do to eat healthier. I stopped eating as much fast food. I started cooking a lot of something healthy on Sunday so I could freeze it for the whole next week or even two. My cholesterol? It went down by twenty points. (That’s a lot. My doc was impressed.) My weight? It stayed the same.

I did not lose a pound. And yet, my cholesterol (and other things that might’ve been creeping up) went down and I was healthier. So why does everybody say being fat is bad for you?

It’s either because that’s what they’ve been (falsely) taught or making other people believe being fat is bad for you is the source of their income.

Food companies? Full of shit. Don’t believe a thing those fools tell you. They pay butt loads of money to be able to say their product is “heart healthy” or whatever. They give out awards to themselves. (It’s like Kraft giving their cheese the “Healthiest Cheese” award. Kraft cheese: the Healthiest Cheese according to Kraft! I’m not making this shit up.)

SO.

Here’s the deal, my peeps. The reality is that being fat is not unhealthy. Need you more evidence? Are you wondering where I’m getting this info from? Aside from my own personal experience with cholesterol, that is?

Read this book. It has been blowing my mind. This lady is all about the science, guys. She’s done studies, she’s studied studies, and she’s got like ten Ph.D.s. My therapist recommended it to me and I’m freaking out about it.

So if being fat is not bad for you, the only reason you have left to try losing weight is that you’re concerned about how you look.

Let me lay it out for you like this (and I know I’ve written it this way somewhere before… my old blog, maybe? I don’t remember):

A supermodel chooses to be a supermodel, in most cases. It is their job. It is their livelihood. They spend their job maintaining their supermodel body. Those eight hours you’re hanging out in a cubicle? They’re doing whatever it is supermodels have to do to stay at their tiny size. And then probably the rest of the twenty-four hours on top of that.

You know who else does this kind of thing? Elton John. I mean, all musicians, but I’m just using him as an example. Now, I don’t know Elton, but my guess is that he spends quite a lot of time at the piano. He plays and he plays and he plays that’s what makes him so amazingly good at it. The time and work a supermodel puts into looking like a supermodel, Elton John puts into sounding like an amazing musician.

Do you expect yourself to be able to play the piano like Elton John while still maintaining a full-time job and living your normal day to day life? Of course not. If you could do that, you’d be some kind of super genius or something.

So why in the world would you expect yourself to have a supermodel body (or anything even close to it) under the same circumstances?

IT MAKES NO DANG SENSE.

And seriously, all those people who are like, oh man I only date supermodels because I’m clearly super gorgeous myself la la la YEAH WHATEVER FOOL.

That person is in dreamland. NOBODY IS PERFECT. WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT. WE ARE ALL DIVERSE. AND WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING TO BRING INTO AND ADD TO THIS WORLD, NO MATTER WHAT WE LOOK LIKE, WHERE WE CAME FROM, OR WHAT HORRIBLE THINGS HAVE HAPPENED IN OUR PAST.

Why do you want to contribute to the fat shaming of our society by forcing yourself to conform to it? By trying to be thin when you’re just not built to be thin? By doing diets that are more harmful and actually cause you to gain more weight in the long run? By doing exercise you hate even though there is no scientific evidence that it promotes weight loss?

I’m not subscribing to that guilt trip anymore. According to our health industry (which is bought out by the big corporations, by the way, and unfortunately can’t be trusted most of the time), I’m considered obese. Fuck that.

You wanna know what I think? I think I’m beautiful. I think I’ve got a round belly and soft thighs and man I am like a freakin’ pillow. Cuddling with me is like cuddling with a cloud ’cause I’m just that soft and squishy. I’m also a creative, loving person who will giggle with anybody about unicorns and enjoy every ounce of coffee, chocolate, and french fries I consume. I don’t hate people who have issues with their body. I want to embrace them. I want to tell them that it’s okay. I want to tell them that they are wonderful just as they are. That they are not unhealthy and there is proof of that. That they are more likely to die in a car accident than by being “overweight”. And this includes everybody. I love all of you, each and every one. Whether you’re fat or skinny or somewhere in between. Whether you hate yourself or love yourself. You deserve happiness. Don’t let the lies convince you that you aren’t good enough.  You are. You’re good enough for me, at the very least. And if you look at those who love you, you’ll find they think you’re more than good enough for them. Love each other, yes? Love each other, love yourself.

Be fat and be happy.

[[DISCLAIMER: Once again, most of my info comes from the book Health At Every Size, as linked above. The author goes into A LOT of science and more detail. She discusses the role of money in the food industry, government health regulations, and the agricultural industry (which gave us the food pyramid). She also goes into the impact of weight on actual health, including various diseases normally attributed to weight gain. If anything I said above piques your interest (even if it’s that you disagree), I highly recommend checking out the book. You can also ask me and I will happily quote the book at you all day. I claim none of this info as my own except for my experience with cholesterol, the things my own doctors have said, and all that stuff which is obviously my opinion and anger at the entire situation.]]

 

Crazy Town Update

I would like to start by saying thank you to everyone who commented on my last post, both here and on Facebook, giving me encouragement and letting me know that I’m not alone. It means so much to me and I love you all for being so supportive.

Now, you may recall from my previous post that getting off of this medication caused me to experience something called “head zaps”, which while annoying, weren’t painful. That was the case for the first few days of the week. Thursday, not so good. Friday, getting worse. Saturday, unbearable. Not only did they become far more frequent and intense, but they were getting painful, too.

Saturday night, I’m desperate for relief, but I’m SO DETERMINED not to take the pills again. So, as I always do in times of crisis, I turned to Google.

I was looking for advice on how to reduce the effects – anything I could do or other things I could take that might make the head zaps less horrible. I think my Adderall really does make a difference, which is why I was able to function at work at all this week. The problem is that I can’t take Adderall at night if I want to sleep. Plus it’s not like I use it to treat head zaps and I still need it for it’s actual purpose, so it isn’t really a good solution.

The only thing I could find was people recommending fish oil supplements. Although I don’t understand how that works, I didn’t give a shit and was willing to try any damn thing. If they had said to smear peanut butter all over my body, I would have done it.

So I slowly make my way to Smith’s which is open 24 hours and super close to my house – I don’t think I would have made it too far – and buy me some fish oil. That mess is expensive! What am I paying $25 for? Some guy scraping oil off of fish? I’m sure that’s not how it works, but fish oil just doesn’t seem like something that should cost so much.

Anyway, fish oil prices aside, I went home and took some. No change, but I’m not sure how long it takes to make a difference, so I go back to my Google search to see if there’s anything else I may have missed.

And then I find a tapering schedule recommended by a doctor specifically for Celexa (I take the generic citalopram, but it’s the same thing).

This schedule? EIGHT WEEKS. 

The one I did? Three.

Now, I made up my own schedule, so perhaps that was part of the issue. It’s not that I’m not seeing someone for these meds – I am, but our focus was on the Adderall, not the citalopram. She recommended I try to stop taking it, that some people experience head zaps, but she didn’t say much about it beyond that. 

The thing is, I’ve been taking this medication for years, so of course I’m more likely to have severe side effects when trying to stop taking it. I thought I was helping that with my three week tapering schedule, but it turns out you need to give each dose reduction a LOT more time so your body can adjust. 

At this point, I realized it would make a lot more sense for me to start taking the pill again and try this longer tapering schedule. I would rather do that with the chance that I can successfully get off the pill with minimal withdrawal symptoms than try to suffer my way through the horribly intense ones I was having. 

Stage one is taking my regular dose for a week, letting myself get used to that again, then alternating days with the lower dose for a couple weeks. Then you just kind of do that while reducing each dose until you get to the end. If I follow the schedule I’ve got set up now, I won’t be fully off the drug until mid October. Which is perfectly fine with me because I woke up head zap free and I haven’t had one all day. 

I took the Knight Bus out of Crazy Town, but only for a week’s vacay. I’ll be stuck behind the world’s slowest sloth on my way back in, though, so it should take me seven weeks to get back to where I was. It’s cool, speeding in on a moped was clearly not the way to go. I’m more than happy to try again.

Welcome To Crazy Town

I have a thing I do that I’m sure I picked up from somewhere else that involves calling everything Something Town. I don’t remember where this comes from, but I do it a lot. 

This post is actually about why I’m living in Crazy Town, not how often I say Something Town. 

You see, about six years ago, I started taking a medication. It was supposed to help with feelings of anxiety. It did its job, I got better, end of story. Except that it wasn’t the end. 

After I got better, I continued to take the medication. For six years, as mentioned previously. I did this because I was terrified of returning to the place I was in pre-medication, so I figured it was safer to just continue taking it. What harm was there, right?

There wasn’t any, not really, until recently. And it wasn’t so much that the medication was causing problems as I just found out I had other problems that needed different meds so I might as well get off this other one that I don’t really need anymore.

Okay, no problem, I thought. I’ve been stable for six years! Nothing can possibly go wrong! In fact, I might even feel better!

The hilarious nonsense we tell ourselves, right?

As it turns out, it probably will be better for me in the long run to get off this particular medication. In the short term, though, I am FREAKING OUT.

For the last four weeks or so, I’ve been steadily decreasing my dose in an attempt to reduce the physical side effects that I know come with not taking this drug.

I knew about them because I would occasionally forget to take my daily dose and I would be sad about it later.

I couldn’t even begin to describe what this weirdness feels like. They call it “head zaps” and the best way I’ve seen it described is that it feels like you’re getting little electric shocks that start in your brain and shoot down your body. It’s bizarre. Pair that with dizziness, headaches, and a bit of nausea and you can see why I was doing what I could to keep these to a minimum. 

This past Sunday, I took my last dose. I am on day three of no dosage. I get zapped pretty regularly throughout the day, with really intense zapping, dizziness, and headaches in the morning. The random zapping isn’t so bad. It feels weird as hell, but aside from when I first wake up in the morning, it doesn’t really hurt.

HOWEVER.

My emotions are a train wreck. As if getting zapped wasn’t bad enough, I’m experiencing the entire spectrum of human emotion within a twenty minute time period.

Most of the time, I’m irritable and pissed off, which is not my regular mode of operation. I’m generally a cheerful lil person who enjoys things like rainbows and chocolate sprinkles. I’m human, though, so of course I get cranky sometimes. This is more like every little thing just grates on my nerves. “Augh, the sky is blue and I’m just so irritated about it!”

The reality is that the irritation is caused by nothing, so my mind tries to ascribe it to something so it will make sense. At first, it was just every dang thing. But then I realized that this was probably a medication withdrawal side effect. Now I can feel irritated about nothing without freaking myself out because I know where it’s coming from.

There are two other such emotions that seem to come out of nowhere. One is anxiety, which makes sense since that’s the thing this medication is supposed to help with. But suddenly I’m anxious about… well, nothing.

I’ll be sitting there, freaking out in my own head, about nothing. I can’t explain it any better than that. 

The other one is random crying. This isn’t an emotion so much as a weird physical reaction to any emotion, no matter what it is. As you probably know by now, I’m a cryer anyway, so at first I figured this was just more of that. But I think it’s actually increased because it’s my way of dealing with emotions that come from nowhere.

Though I did have a couple hours of random happiness in there, too. I’m not sure if that was just me being me or not, though. Mostly, I’m just in a state of perpetual peeviness.

The good news is that these symptoms will eventually go away. In the meantime, I’m renting a condo in Crazy Town where I probably work as a grouchy barista, drawing frowning skulls on people’s lattes and crying any time a Bob Marley song gets played on the coffee shop radio.

Weekly Observations: A List

1. Cutting a pineapple feels more like making a sacrifice to some unholy entity (e.g. Satan). It pours its life liquid all over everything while you cut it into little pieces. And then your counter is sticky for a while.

2. I have learned that there are actually people in the world today who believe the Earth is flat. Even though science proves that it isn’t. Apparently, all science is invalid because there are no set rules and the facts can change. Instead of understanding that this is due to scientists continually learning new information and updating what they know accordingly, these people have chosen the route of idiocy by deciding this makes all science null and void.

3. Sometimes expressions that I used to use and then forgot about come back with a vengeance. This time it’s a word I used to use in place of swearing – Bach. I’ve been saying it under my breath at work a lot this week. Yes, I’m taking a composer’s name in vain. How could I be so blasphemous? I dunno, I like to think that Bach would find it humorous, so somehow that makes it okay. After all, this is the guy who said, “If I decide to be an idiot, then I’ll be an idiot on my own accord.”

4. Whenever something happens on Game of Thrones, every other Facebook post has something to say about it. I end up feeling like I’m missing some important historical event because I don’t watch the show. (Note: I know it’s a good show and I do intend to watch it one day. However, I want to read the books that are out first. I keep putting it off because they are ENORMOUS.)

5. Last night, my cat threw up her barely digested dinner all over the couch. I found myself torn between concern for her well-being and a sense of irritated despair at the thought of trying to clean the vomit off the fabric couch.

6. I signed in to Evernote for the first time in at least two years. I found a note from September 2014 that said only, “Do you think my consumption of vegetation is so horribly lacking that a single baby carrot can make my intestinal tract start broiling in a storm of digestive discomfort?” I have no memory of this, so I’m not sure if I was talking to myself or not.

7. It seems I’m only capable of keeping one room in my house clean at a time. At the moment, it’s the kitchen. Dishes? Done. Counters? Clean. Floors? Mopped. My bedroom, though? Laundry piles everywhere. Bathroom? Counter covered in various hair accessories. Living room? Empty Amazon boxes strewn about the floors which haven’t been swept in who knows how long. But, damn it, my kitchen’s clean!

8. I refuse to say that this list format of weekly observations is going to be a regular thing because whenever I do that, it never happens again. So don’t hold your breath.