Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Starvation is not morally superior

Danbwr Photography
Between my bipolar and hypothyroidism my appetite has some pretty funky days. In the past week or so it's manifested as a lot of nausea when eating so I've eaten maybe half a meal a day or so. Yesterday, for instance, I ate half my dinner then pushed it away, unable to even look at it without feeling sick. Today I woke up late, had a therapy appointment, then came home around noon, dealt with some activism business, did some scrapbooking and around 3 or so started realizing that I was finally hungry in a non nauseous way. Yay for me! Right....?

The fact is that part of me didn't want to eat because I just knew if I could keep up this habit of not eating I'd.... I'd what? I've long past given up goals of weight loss. So what did I think not eating would accomplish? I'll tell you what- superiority. Not over anyone else per se, but over myself. My eating self. As sanctimonious as it is, I felt morally superior to the me who ate regular meals. I felt like I was accomplishing something.

Anyone with an eating disorder probably is shaking their head right about now. It's a pretty common feeling- that feeling of accomplishment when you don't eat or purge or exercise until you're ready to drop. But we all know this is complete bullshit right? Because, as much as society wants you to believe this, starvation doesn't make you morally superior to anyone. Not even yourself.

It's easy to feel this way when everyone is telling you that starving yourself is the right way to go. Men, the medical establishment, psudofeminists who preach against diets only if you're thin enough, the diet companies, your family, your friends, the plethora of diet books even on the shelves of whole foods as if they weren't already everywhere else on the fucking planet and.. *takes a deep breath*. Okay, you get the idea. It's a whole lot of ignorance and capitalism coming from a long line of hate. But you've gotta remember that that's what it is... first and foremost it's capitalism. It's about driving profits up up up and this year the diet industry is going to reach 66 billion dollars. That's right, I said BILLION. That's a whole friggin lot spent on trying to make ourselves perfect and presentable and yes, skinny.

We all remember when Kate Moss said, "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." Maybe I feel a bit of that when I haven't eaten for a few days. It starts out innocently enough with being too tired to eat or too sick to eat and then it spirals into disordered eating thoughts. Thoughts we've probably all experienced. Thing is that it's completely and utterly false. There are lots of skinny people who absolutely deplore their bodies and lots of fat people who are comfortable in the skin they're in. In other words, skinny doesn't necessarily feel any certain way, especially good, when you're surrounded by body hate and maybe especially if you got skinny through body hate.

Okay, I recognize that at this point I'm rambling but the point is that I ate a damned tomato sandwich and I enjoyed the hell out of it. And I'm far enough in my journey (I originally wrote that as fat enough in my journey.. lolz) that I don't let it bother me much.. even if I'm still struggling with the desire to eat nothing  (which I find feels a lot like other self harm thoughts. Hummm.). I know not everyone out there is as far along and that's fine.. we're all making our journeys one step at a time.

But, just to reiterate my original point (which I've meandered far from), starvation is not morally superior. It doesn't make anyone a better person. So to all the diet preachers and hateful bigots out there, you're not better than we are. Hell, if starvation did indeed make you morally superior then most fat people would be superior to most thin people anyway. have you seen how much we diet? But luckily for you and for us, eating is a positive activity in most cases. It keeps us alive and sustains us, gives us energy throughout the day and provides comfort and damn it tastes great and gives us so much pleasure. Our culture has created an atmosphere in which people are literally so afraid to eat they'd rather hide it or die. Can we please say no more?

So go on! Go have a fucking sandwich- it's delicious and it won't make you worth less.

10 comments:

  1. I have a similar problem with eating. It comes and goes. This month it was particularly awful: I'm so depressed and anxious that I don't want to eat; nothing sounds good. In fact, I even found myself feeling queezy at the mere thought of particular foods. I had to eat at restaurants every day so I could find something I could stomach.

    I got my meds changed and this has gone by the wayside. But during that time I really expected to feel that moral thing you're talking about. For sure I'd felt it on numerous occasions when food didn't sound appetizing. But for the last year, I've read so much and been so well convinced that dieting (and getting thinner) will only make me fatter in the long run, that I found myself forcing myself to eat at least once a day no matter what. My automatic thoughts went to reality instead of scewed dieter's thinking!!!!

    I hope you find yourself in a similar mindset next time you have trouble eating.

    *hugs*

    Melody

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    1. thanks so much Melody. Even though I've been a fat acceptance activist for 3 years now, it seems that decade of eating disorder behavior isn't yet quite ready to go away. A lot of people struggle their whole lives (though i ALWAYS recommend fat and body acceptance to people with disordered eating habits because, like you pointed out.. it really does help so much once you know the facts).

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  2. A friend of mine who recently suffered a sudden bereavement mentioned going on a fast. I posted, "Well, if that is what you want, but watch out for hypoglycaemia". And almost ended up in a flame war with a friend of hers who fasts a lot and who insisted that there was no such thing as hypoglycaemia, it must be a made-up condition invented by the medical profession or the drug companies.

    (Yeah, because something so transitory that it can be completely reversed with a sugary drink or sugary snack would be of such use to the pharmaceutical industry!)

    Sometimes, I get anxious and don't want to eat, either. Then I get slightly hypoglycaemic and start feeling mildly nauseous and don't want to eat. I find fruit and nut snack bars are quite useful for this, but the most helpful thing has been becoming aware of what is going on in my body.

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    1. so sorry for your hypoglycemia- you're right.. there are things to watch out for on a fast. it's not some super healthy thing.. it's doing the opposite of what your body's designed to do (get, use and store energy) and it can be dangerous for some people. this is why it's so important to listen to your body (as youo bviously do- kudos!)

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  3. Your phrase "feeling morally superior to myself" really resonated with me, as I am gradually de-coupling my daily activities and attitudes from the pursuit of weight loss.

    Thank you.

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    1. thanks so much.. i'm glad something hit a nerve for you and seriously good luck on distancing those daily activities/attitudes from the whole weight loss thing. it's difficult, but body acceptance is a journey for all of us and I believe you can make it

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  4. Oh yes... I think we've all been there. When you're too sick to eat, your appetite shrinks, and if it lasts long enough, so does your waistline... and well-meaning people who know nothing about you start to compliment you on 'looking good'. No, I'm not 'looking good' I can't look at food without wanting to puke. But if it goes on more than a few days, then my appetite's completely shot and you have to make me start eating again to break the cycle. Thank goodness my DH loves me enough to tell me to eat!

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    1. haha yes, totally. except I never manage to lose weight no matter how long I go without eating (it's that hypothyroidism thing). but I know tons of people who have lost weight through illness- my aunt for example got down to a size 12 by undergoing chemo for her RA and even I congratulated her for looking good (this was back before I was into body/fat acceptance and I didn't know better- but shouldn't we know better? we shouldn't live in a culture that allows that kind of ignorance!) anyway, so glad that your DH gets you eating again! :)

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  5. I wish I could have a fucking sandwich. I had to spend most of my paycheck taking my cat to the vet so he could have all his teeth pulled. He has an autoimmune disorder where the plaque attacks the tooth structure, and most of his teeth were rotten. So I won't be eating much during the next two weeks.
    I have bipolar type II and hypothyroidism. I'm also bulimic. I relate to being a fat person with an eating disorder, but the only eating disorder the medical establishment thinks we can have is binge eating disorder. I used to binge eat a lot more than I do now, but I'm primarily bulimic. I also have some periods of anorexic behavior.

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    1. Wowy, another bipolar person with an ED and thyroid disease? It's so awesome to meet you! (not so awesome that we're both stuck with these awful illnesses). sounds like a lot of ramen and hot dogs, huh? I've been there, done that. It sucks hugely but you'll get through it. kudos for taking care of your poor sick kitty. so many people just ignore the problem, abandon or kill their pets when medical problems arise.

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