Monday, 6 June 2016

On Addiction

I thought about the bag of newly-bought bagels in the freezer. And then I thought that I could keep making excuses forever. So I wrote a note on the communal whiteboard in the hall: I let my roommates know that they were welcome to finish off that bag of bagels. 
That was 2 weeks ago and I haven't had a piece of bread, a muffin, a dessert, or pasta since. 

Two years ago I wrote a post on my other blog, but I never published it. It was called "Loss". Here are some of the things I wrote:

I had an email from my employer, asking me to lose weight (I was a performer) ... I am angry that they took it upon themselves to ask me to lose weight even as I admit that it spurred me on to do it... I am proud of the self-control that took me to this point (I lost over 20 pounds), even as I am angry at a culture that judges women for being overweight... I wanted people to hire me, to like me, to DATE me. Did I want to stack the odds against me even more by being fat as well as old?

It's 2 years later. I don't work for that company anymore. A guy fell in love with me in spite of my age and my curves; a guy who treats me every day as if I'm the sexiest girl in the world. I have worked several times for a burlesque company that celebrates ALL types of performers: from drag queens to big curvalicious women to little skinny guys and everything in between. 

 I spent a lot of last year feeling kind of sick. Despite a lot of visits to the doctor I never found out why, but the fatigue, the sore throat, the faint-but-always-there headaches, the low-grade nausea? They weren't exactly conducive to working out. They were extremely conducive to comfort eating and laying around, it turns out.  So I gained weight. And yeah, I gained back all 20 of those pounds, because I was not feeling my best, and mainly because I stopped being careful about what I ate.

I'm in okay shape. I walk to work. I bike to lots of places. I did a 20km hike last Saturday. I run (sporadically). But I like food, and I love sugar, and it makes me put on weight. 

I am addicted to sugar, in a lock-up-your-jellybeans kind of way. I have indulged in some addict-like behaviours: 
I can't ignore sweet stuff if it's in the house. 
I have bought large amounts of sugary stuff and eaten way too much and then put the rest of it way down deep in the garbage or run water over it so I won't be tempted to have any more. 
I have felt ashamed about how much of something I've eaten. 
I don't feel in control of it. 
I resolve to do better and then I fuck up. Again. And again. And again.

Here are some things about being a sugar addict:
  • It's not like I weigh 300 pounds or anything. I have 20-30 pounds I'd like to lose. That's all. That's like, 3 cats. Or an accordion. Or a toddler. So to call myself an addict feels kind of over-the-top in a woo-woo, self-help, jargonistic kind of way. I'm not totally comfortable with it. But then, I'm not totally comfortable with my behaviour around certain types of food, either. So. 
  • You can't quit eating food (duh), so you need to be careful every day about what KIND of food you're putting in your body. 
  • If you're like me, the hard part isn't the first few weeks, when you're all fired up with righteous zeal, and it's not the next few months, when the weight is dropping off and people are showering you with compliments. It's when you get really comfortable in your new, slimmer body and you think I'll just eat this cookie. And this piece of cake. And this bag of jellybeans. And it begins, all over again. 
Some random thoughts about weight:

It's a thorny issue, because I FULLY SUPPORT ANYONE'S RIGHT TO BE BIG. OR CURVY. OR DOWNRIGHT GODDAMN FAT. Including my right. I will not starve myself, or go on fad diets, or learn to hate myself when I'm heavier. I know that many body types were not made to be thin. I could starve myself forever and I'd still be prone to big boobs and wide hips. And thank god. And so says my boyfriend. 

But I have stopped eating things made with flour again. Also desserts. Because every time I do that I lose weight. So yeah, I care. I want to weigh less and I want to be healthier and I so want to not be controlled by my sugar addiction . 

I saw a girl I'd done a show with a few years ago and she is way thinner now and also radiantly happy, but I didn't want to say "you look great!" to her because the truth is, she always looked great. She is a beautiful person, inside and out. Whatever she weighs. 

But at the same time, I love it when I've lost some weight and people notice. I would love to look as thin
     as good 
as I did 2 years ago, the next time I go up north, so that they don't think Oh, she's really let herself go since she was up here last. 

Last December, I saw a friend of mine, someone I used to see on the regular, someone whose healthy lifestyle has been a great inspiration to me over the last few years. She cheered me on and helped me out when I was losing weight, exclaimed with joy when I came back from my summer job tanned and lean and strong. This winter she didn't comment directly on my weight gain. She didn't have to. She was clearly disappointed and she hasn't been in touch since. I hope that it's just that she's been super-busy. I really hope so. I would hate to think that someone would give up on me. Would find me less appealing to be around because I'd gained weight. 

You know what's boring? Obsessing about weight. Don't eat that piece of cake and then cluck about how "naughty" you were. Be silent and strong and fierce, whether you're working to lose pounds or revelling in all your sexy curves. Or ask for help if you need it. Support your friend, whatever you think about her lifestyle choices. Make changes, try them out, and if you fail, try again. Do it for yourself, and for no one else. 

I remember now, why I didn't publish that other blog post 2 years ago. It was angry and proud and confused, which is all the things I still feel today about weight loss and body positivity and self esteem. There are no easy answers that I can find. And so I put this out there in hope of... what? I honestly don't want you to tell me that I look beautiful at any size. I don't want validation. But I'd love to know your thoughts. 


  1. I like the idea of measuring weight loss in cats. "I lost four cats in the fall. I put on a few kittens over the holidays."

  2. One thing that has always inspired me about you is that you are not thin but are more fit then most skinny people. I was motivated by you and humbled that you could out run me. And boy did that push me to want to be better.