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Here’s a little story.

I (at 4'11) was always a chubby kid, but when I hit 18, my weight had gone up so much I was close to getting folds on my back. I remember clearly that this was the entire reason I decided to drop weight—it seemed like I’d crossed a line and this needed to be rectified, plus I’ve always been grossed out by folds of skin (I don’t know why).

So I lost it, and kept it off for a few years. (Lowest weight: 108 lbs, maintained around 115-120 lbs)It was great. Mostly, I just tried not to eat sweets, since this was my weak spot. When I’d been heavier, I would make a lot of desserts and sweets for me and my family … except for one reason or another, I’d be the one eating most of it.

Anyway. I maintained a fairly low weight for about three years. I was trying (and doing a poor job of doing properly) to follow a low-carb diet, but was having some problems or other and feeling stressed about it.

I decided I had a bad relationship with food—eating disorder bad. Somehow, I found the fat acceptance and body positivity movement here, and that fear solidified into real conviction. Why was I always denying myself the food I needed? Intuitive eating sounded so logical at the time. Why shouldn’t my body know what it needed? Doctors didn’t. Nutritionists didn’t. These folks were onto something. Why did society have to be like this, etc.

Then began the spiral back into obesity. (Top weight: 156 lbs.)

I started binging on candy a lot. I craved it, and so my body needed it, right? Needed it so much I put all that weight back on in a few short months. I avoided scales and found them “triggering.” I started looking down on people who kept in good shape and watched what they ate; why couldn’t they just accept their bodies for what they were? Why did they have such a toxic relationship with food and need to control it? I couldn’t even listen to people talk about diets or how many calories were in something. It was “triggering.”

My vehemence faded after a while, and I didn’t hold it so against people for doing their own thing. I also started viewing most things differently, too, so body-wise things were bound to change. I really tried to love it, but I think I always hated it deep down. It was harder to dress, and though I didn’t think I did it at the time, I did do a lot to minimize my weight. I honestly kind of looked pregnant because of how fat settles on my stomach.

Then we get to this year.

I’ve been having problems with heartburn. Every night I get it. So I did things like cutting out sweets, which was also for my irritability issues (which turned out to be from working with negative people, not diet-related). I also tried and failed at low carb again. I went through bouts of loss of appetite, and a stint of eating only locally with reduced dairy/meat, which was a hungry time.

Through it all, I lost 40 lbs. I felt ashamed about losing weight, and the reemergence of bones. I felt guilty about the clothes I could no longer wear. I felt the regaining was inevitable, and feared that more than anything, then felt guilty about that, too.

Most of all, I felt ashamed of being happy. I really loved being smaller. I loved how much better I looked, how much easier it was to dress, and honestly … how much more likely it ever would be that I’d get dates, because I know I’m not conventionally the most attractive, but being obese didn’t do that any favours.

After these bouts of clearly not getting enough food, I’d had it. I didn’t care if I gained all the weight back, I was fucking hungry (which was true—I was undereating to the point of sickness while leading a very active lifestyle) and it was easier being fat anyway. I could eat whatever I wanted and not worry about gaining weight, because I was already fat.

But I decided I’d had enough of that, too. See, I’d always steered clear of really tracking anything I ate, being convinced that was disorderly behaviour. But I looked at it, and either way, I couldn’t afford to eat with as little control and accountability as I did when I was overeating or undereating. I had to start tracking, to ensure I ate enough but not too much. No need to get fat again, no need to feel undernourished due to poor planning.

Somewhere between those two weeks and now, I realized what a problem the fat acceptance movement, what initially caused me to gain for the second time, was. That really, it’s empowering to keep your body in shape. It feels great when you have collarbones and your stomach doesn’t jiggle and make you look preggo. That, being a frugal person, I’d never thought of food in the same way: indulging all the time gets boring, but saving up and indulging now and again makes it much more pleasurable. That eating in excess is kind of bogus for the planet, and all the people out there who don’t eat enough.

I’ve also been learning that appearance is important. This fall I dated someone I wasn’t attracted to, and learned the hard way that, yes, all that stuff is really important. And as much as we want appearances not to matter, how you look can and does say a lot about you. I started presenting myself with a bit more care, and it was a huge confidence boost. Now I realize weight is the same. Eating healthy and consciously shows you care about your health and your body. Working out shows you’re determined, motivated, and like to see what your body is capable of.

So I’ve decided to lose a little more weight, and it’s going well. I bought a food scale (the most “triggering” of things) and I’m getting a pedometer/fitness tracker to see what my caloric needs are more accurately. I’m down to around 113/115 lbs right now, so I’ve still got enough body fat that my belly is still jiggly. But I feel so good about myself and the choices I’m making, and I’ve been appreciating my body more, too. Like those wicked toned arms I now have, lol.

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