Shrill, noom

March 23, 2019 at 10:20 pm
filed under TV, weight loss

I’ve had an interesting (for me) last couple of days, at work and at home. Drake’s been super sick, so he hasn’t had the strength to put up a fight when I put something weird on TV. We watched a lot of TV since getting home from our cruise – I caught up on four hours of Survivor, a bunch of The Voice, and some American Idol for God knows what reason. We watched Pan’s Labyrinth last night because I couldn’t remember what that movie’s fuss was about. It ended up being so much darker than I remember, I just stood up and walked out of the living room and straight to bed in the middle of it. Probably the weirdest and most unfortunate thing that I watched, though, was the first half of an episode of My 600 Pound Life. Drake had previously forbidden me from watching that show, because I have a hunch it disturbs him like Intervention and Hoarders disturbs me. Absolutely CANNOT watch those. But this episode, about a lady named Jeanne who is 39, living in Texas with her mom and dad, gave me pause. On one hand, she had a very sad and difficult childhood, abused by multiple adults in her life. On the other hand, she seems to take no accountability for her behavior and in some ways denies the truth of what got her to her state. She hates her life, she never leaves her house and movement causes her pain. But she also eats a pile of garbage food every day, in honestly staggering quantity, of stuff you know is terrible because it’s sausage links, it’s cheap pizza, it’s Big Gulps, it’s storebought cupcakes, and everyone knows it’s terrible. She says she can’t stop eating because she doesn’t know how. She says the only thing that makes her happy is food. I saw her vent about her hatred of people and express her paranoia about everyone everywhere staring and talking about her. She lied to her doctor, though it might have been part honest delusion, about what she ate. It didn’t seem hopeful. I turned it off partway through, because the Hulu Live interface is crappy and something broke during a 700 second commercial break (and we pay for “ad free,” ha). So in my curiosity, and I do this a lot, I googled the plot of the show I didn’t complete, and I learned that she never gets the surgery and never gets relief or happy momentum or anything good. Other bad things happen in the episode that I’m sincerely glad I didn’t stick around to watch. Drake was right in his recommendation never to watch that show. He’s usually right.

I struggled for a while then wondering what’s the point of shows like My 600 Pound Life. It’s certainly not to help the individuals the episodes are centered on. It’s a lot more of a freak show, like most other TLC programming, with lots of gratuitous shots of their spherical human bodies and shoving food in their mouths. Is it to make me feel better for not being 600 pounds? Is it to make me scared straight, so I don’t some day become 600 pounds?

Once when I was 23 I sent in an audition tape for a reality show. I knew it was weight loss based, but that’s all I knew. I ended up getting a call that they were going to fly me to Los Angeles for the casting process. I was very very excited. Shortly after that call, though, they called me again and said never mind, they were moving in another direction. I don’t think I cried, but my heart was broken because my hopes and my free LA trip got dashed.

Afterward I learned that the show was called Fat March, an incredibly poorly conceived ABC response to Biggest Loser, and the idea was for these fat people to walk across the country or something. It was total exploitation, zero compassion, all pain, no positivity. There is no way in hell. So I dodged a bullet, completely, and thank you universe. The show was canceled before the first season was even done.

So this morning I woke up and turned on my trusty TV. Twitter helped me decide that I want to watch the Michael Jackson documentary (WTF Barbra Streisand?), but I don’t have HBO right now. So I ended up settling for Aidy Bryant’s new show, Shrill. OK, I watched this whole damn thing in one sitting. It was amazing. I’ll not review it completely, but it was very touching to be represented in such a very honest way. I have dated my share of Ryans, and I hope they know who they are. My worst offender also had his share of Annies, I know. That guy’s ever so common behavior was probably the most painful bit.

There was a part in the show where Annie attends a Fat Babe Pool Party. The entire sequence made me think of my circle of friends who subscribed to the plus size clothing rental site Gwynnie Bee in the mid 2010s. That site helped me discover a much more sincere and accepting body positive community than I ever knew. It was a large and genuinely supportive group of fat babes from everywhere. They loved me and I loved them. Still do.

It got me to thinking and reading more about the body positive movement as a whole. Fat positive. I love and accept other people’s bodies. Why don’t I love and accept my own?

I (OK, almost) love my body at a size 16. Why don’t I love and accept it at a size 24? I think maybe part of it is that I’m in pain at this size. I’m old and my knees hurt and my feet hurt and my circulation in my legs isn’t good. Sometimes my belly sticks out farther than my boobs. Sometimes I can’t get the airplane seatbelt to buckle. Sometimes my ankles swell. I also feel out of control.

I just watched the audition video for that show that I made when I was 23. I was cute. I was 30 pounds less then than I am now. Did a nice job with that video, with the resources I had at the time. My film student boyfriend at the time’s help didn’t hurt either, but I like to think my creative direction was the largest factor. I make videos like that all the time at work these days. Who’d have thought. OK, maybe not quite like that, but not too far off.

I also just flipped through all my profile photos on Facebook, to turn off the public privacy setting. I noticed in a photo from ten years ago, I was also a size 24. I’ve gained and lost countless pounds since then. 600 pounds. Seriously, probably hundreds. It’s unsettling but that’s my life. The other day I cried to my obgyn that I can’t lose weight, I feel shame because of it, and I’ve tried everything. She said a bunch of stuff that demonstrated that she herself can’t relate to these feelings, including, more or less, why don’t you try Weight Watchers. I didn’t say, because I’ve tried it ten times, I just nodded silently. The truth is, I HAVE been considering giving WW another try. But my last couple experiences with it were so bad, I don’t think it’s the right thing for me right now. I just cannot bear to listen to the other old ladies in that meeting room, or the old ladies who weigh you every week, or the old ladies who lead the meetings, saying the same thing over and over. For a lot of reasons, I would prefer not to.

One thing I have not tried, though, is the app / program called noom. One friend tried it for a while and liked it well enough, but I’ve read a bunch of articles and reviews on it and it seems like a slightly different approach from all the rest. I do know that tracking food works, and I have succeeded with MyFitnessPal many times, but I have always lost focus. This one looks like it takes psychology much more into account than the rest, and they try to help you figure out why you do what you do and how to change your perspective so you naturally want to make better choices. Anyway, day zero is today. Pro tip, if you go all the way through the signup process but then close out of it once you get to the paywall, they’ll send you emails with coupon codes. Don’t join unless they give you 80% off. Their pricing structure is horrible, though, and no matter what, it feels like I’m getting scammed. That’s my only complaint so far. The copywriters they’ve hired are really good, and I have enjoyed reading the articles they send me on day zero. Good writing goes a long way.

Anyway, all this to say, I’m going to try again. I would like to live correctly so that I feel comfortable in my human body. I would like to travel the world without constant pain. There’s a huge world full of amazing, inspiring adventures to enjoy and pretty awesome people to meet. I would like to experience life with a positive point of view. Maybe I will even type up some more stream of consciousness posts as I go. Overall, I believe I am capable of doing this. I am going to try to drop my habitual, reflexive, negative self talk as much as I can.

I found a torn out chunk of notebook the other day that I’d written on (this happens all the time – I start writing and stop, tear the paper out, and leave it somewhere), and instead of random drivel that I normally spew, it was a list – and it was days and days of only positive occurrences in my life. It was maybe the greatest thing I ever created. Everyday minutiae, but all of it wonderful, and even more wonderful as a collection. My mental health ebbs and flows like anyone’s, but this was clearly an exercise, maybe therapy homework, I can’t remember, and I was in a very good place. Or maybe this exercise put me in a good place. But the more you do something, the easier doing it gets. Genius. So I am going to give this thing a try – positive self talk, body positivity, and making good choices. Again, immediately scared to even say it because I’m scared I’ll fail immediately. But no. I can do all this! I have before.

I have all the resources I need within me. I am competent and capable. Time to get busy living! 🙂

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