The weight complex

(It’s a 2-for-1 bonus day! That’s what happens when I get backed up with blogging.)

I often wonder how people would describe my physique – full-figured? chubby? overweight? fat? I don’t really have any very good sense of how I look compared to other people around me or how I look in other people’s eyes. When I check myself out in the mirror, I see some lumpy pockets that I’d like to be rid of, and I wish for the re-emergence of my collarbone; but I also pretty frequently look at myself clothed and naked and think, “That’s pretty darn hot” or, “I look so cute today!” Bumps and lumps gained over the years notwithstanding, I still find myself very attractive.

But I do often think about losing some weight. To get to wear all the clothes I want to wear right now would be about 30 pounds; to get to my ultimate fighting weight for my age and body type would be about twice that. Those numbers usually sound daunting enough to me, given what I expect would be my difficulty in maintaining the lifestyle regimen required to achieve them; but on top of all that, I think I’d have an even bigger difficulty with what would happen should I ever achieve them. What’s the net result if you drop the weight but gain a giant chip on your shoulder?

Because I assure you, I’d have one. The first time someone said to me after I lost the weight, “Oh, you look so great!” the response in my head (and maybe aloud) would be, “Oh, did I look so awful before?” And the first time I got asked out by a guy who had known me all along but never said anything to me until I dropped a few dress sizes, I’d be thinking, “Oh, I see – now I’m worth your time and energy.” It would be mostly insecure, rude and ridiculous – but not entirely. I can’t guarantee that once I get svelte I’ll always stay that way, and if people’s interest in me as a likable, lovable person is in any significant part dependent on my measurements, I do have quite an issue with that. I get really frustrated with thinking that I have to be just so – physically, emotionally – in order to be socially acceptable.

Anyway, all this is to say that I have developed an extreme resistance to losing weight, as a kind of “screw you” to social expectations. It’s not especially productive for me, however – I have my own health and aesthetic reasons for wanting to be more trim, and I’ve been letting all that social pressure still run my life, even if it runs it in the other direction from what is typical. I am also inherently lazy, and I don’t like do any exercise that requires too much out-of-the way effort or isn’t fun for me. So I was inspired by a friend to try a new way of exercising: walking for transportation.

I was on this kick for a little while a couple years ago, and I’m coming back to try it again. The great thing about walking for transportation is that I can take the focus off of my weight complex and put it on the necessity of getting from A to B. This is where living off of the train line has its advantages: since it usually takes me 45-60 minutes to get to and from work anyway, an hour-long walk doesn’t seem like such a big difference in efficiency, and then I get a health benefit as a bonus. I’m not walking to work, because that leaves me stinky without adequate washing facilities at my office; but on the way home, who cares if I’m stinky except me? I started on Wednesday, and so far, so good … the walk home is about 2.5-3 miles, which is an impressive daily walk for me, anyway. And on the weekends, I’m trying to make sure that I walk to and/or from the subway station when I’m going out and about, which gets me just under 1.5 miles each way.

I’m primarily hoping for (or only trying to think about) the health-related results: stress reduction, better sleep, improved cardiovascular fitness, a little muscle conditioning. I’m trying not to set any weight-loss expectations; if something happens, I get to be pleasantly surprised, but if nothing happens, I’m trying to avoid being disappointed and to focus on the positives that are coming out of it. I don’t know if all these Jedi mind-tricks will work, but we’ll see how I feel in a month or so (i.e., as we approach the end of Project Reunion).

So now, I’m off to wash and walk down to the subway with a big bag of disposable electronics. A happy Saturday to all!

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2 thoughts on “The weight complex”

  1. Jedi mind tricks or no Jedi mind tricks, walking is great. It’s a nice alternative to being frustrated and annoyed with increasing blood pressure when the bus doesn’t show up on time (which is how I used to feel about buses with all too much frequency). Plus, you get to be outside and notice things like flowers, trees, kittycats, etc.

  2. Very true! It’s been a good past few days, and I find that even on the nights (like tonight) when I’m a little tired and cold and don’t entirely feel like walking, it’s not so hard to convince myself to do it anyway. I usually enjoy the walk, especially if I rotate my routes every couple of days. And on a cooler night, it keeps me much warmer than waiting for a bus in the wind.

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