My sugar setback on the weekend really got me down but it also got me thinking. Thinking about why it affected me so much mentally and why I felt such shame. I am fairly talented at being really hard on myself and it’s not an easy habit to unlearn. I also know that sadly, some people around me would have been happy that I had experienced a setback. I guess some people don’t handle change well and when you’ve been someone’s chubby, sugar mad friend for a while, the changing of habits isn’t welcomed. Or maybe it’s just because I’ve not had a lot of success with getting healthy that people just expect me to fail?
Either way I felt a lot of shame after my sugar binge and coincidentally I turned on the TV that night and lo and behold The Biggest Loser was on. This was the first time I’d seen it this season. Normally I’m an avid viewer but something has changed and I don’t know whether it’s something in me or the show; or both but I cannot, any longer, watch people being put through what these contestants are, all in the name of entertainment . You see, there’s this whole, I don’t know if it’s the right word but movement of fat shaming. At a time when people are finally embracing themselves, (despite their appearance not being what society desires) we have many other people who are determined to bash and belittle anyone who is over a size 8. You’re not healthy they scream! Your size 14 bum is heart attack worthy! Shame, shame, shame on you. And the answer apparently, is to watch desperately unhappy people being forced to abstain from ‘bad’ food being wheeled out in front of them in Temptation Challenges or to watch them stand on a massive scale in their underwear crying because they didn’t lose 5kgs in a week. How do I know they’re unhappy? Because I am one of them. I know what they’re feeling, what they’re going through. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Society thinks you are worthless, unless you are thin. It is awfully sad, but awfully true.
Never mind what a wonderful person you are.
12 weeks is all it takes according to this show. 12 weeks to change a lifetime of habits, to address what’s going on inside. Just a little shame is all, nothing you can’t handle. Then you’ll be right as rain and thin for life!
I don’t think so.
One year I actually went to my GP and asked her why I wasn’t losing 5 or 6 kgs a week like they were. What was I doing wrong? Why could I only lose 1 or 2 at most? She looked at me, took my hand and said, “There’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing, your way is the right way.“
Feeling shameful is awful. Feeling ashamed of yourself is even worse. Having people who are supposed to love you, using shame to ‘motivate’ you is the worst. And it doesn’t work anyway. There is nothing motivating about having someone hold both your hands, look you in the eye and tell you, Merrill, you are a blimp. There is nothing motivating about that at all. Look I know that many people find this show motivating and that many of the contestants experience success which is wonderful. My experience of it however, is sitting on the couch watching them exercise whilst I eat chips. And as awful as this is, yes awful, I would sit there and think well, at least I’m not that big yet.
See, even my own faith in me is wavering.
Post pregnancy a lot has changed for me in regards to how I think about my weight. The truth is, I’m not focused on kilos or scales anymore. I like to write about weight and body image because I feel it’s been such a big issue for me and I find it cathartic to get it out but it’s not my number one focus anymore. I want to be healthy, to be able to run 5km again. Pregnancy made me appreciate my body; Addison made me focus on more important things. I’m quitting sugar to get well, not thin. I’m a curvy chick and I’m proud. I might have moments of doubt and shame, but a moment will not shape me or my journey.
And if quitting sugar means I can do the City to Surf with Smushy in the pram and Spouse by my side then I’m sticking with it.
Don’t let others fool you into thinking you should be ashamed of who you are, inside and out.
Kill each other with kindness, there is too much hate in this world.