Friday, September 23, 2005

My arse is not public property

If there's one downside to this whole process, it's having my life and eating habits pored over by everyone I know and having everyone talking about me constantly.

At first it was a nice confidence boost when people told me I looked like I'd lost weight, I loved it and it put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. It still does give me a bit of a boost, but more often than not it just winds me up. "I was talking to Kirsty about you and we can't believe how well you've done". Forgive me for being a bit touchy, but I don't like the thought that you and Kirsty are gossiping about me. I'm not into that sort of stuff on the gossip spreading side, and I don't like being the subject of it either. Particularly when I don't know what they're saying. If they're just complimenting me then fine, but I know how bitchy some people can be and it wouldn't surprise me if there aren't all sorts of dubious theories circulating about what I'm doing to lose weight so fast. Healthy food and exercise, folks, simple as that. I can't explain it in any more detail than that, I don't have any complicated plan or drugs to share with you, it's just that by a process of trial, error and sheer good luck I've hit on something that works for me, even if I don't quite know why. I'm losing far faster than I expected, but at 2lb per week on average it's not dangerously fast, so I'm happy that I'm not causing any more problems by it.

It's getting to the stage where it's starting to annoy me that I can barely put a piece of fruit near my mouth without being asked to impart my wisdom or be told how well I'm doing and that whoever it is this time couldn't imagine eating fruit for so long. I am eating other stuff too, guys. Chocolate, for example. And anyway, my raspberries and yoghurt afternoon snack is the highlight of my day - it's so much tastier than processed rubbish anyway so don't try to tell me it's a hardship to eat it, it's not. It's more expensive than a bar of chocolate, but just so much tastier. Honestly.

Although the reaction I get when I eat fruit is nothing compared to the looks I get when I eat chocolate. It's as though other people feel like I'm letting them down when I treat myself from time to time. I feel like beating them round the head and reminding them that a single bar of chocolate in itself isn't going to make me put back on all the weight I've lost. Half the time it isn't even going to slow me down that much. 200 calories? Not a problem. If I need a treat once in a while I'll have a treat, what I won't do is eat two 200g slabs of Dairy Milk at about 1000 calories each every weekend just because they're on special offer if you buy two instead of one. Don't look at me like a bite of chocolate is a betrayal of dieters everywhere, I'm not other people, I'm me. If I decide I can have it, I can have it.

I don't like going into the kitchen to wash my raspberries to find the mad Scottish woman who works here (I've been here 4 years and I've not quite worked out what she does…) discussing the reduction in the size of my arse with one of the male partners (a partner who clearly isn't actually that interested, and which leads to some uncomfortable shuffling on both my part and his). She's obsessed with her weight. She doesn't need to lose anything really, but has been trying to lose half a stone for at least the past four years. So I'm acting as a kind of weight loss proxy for her, she gets far too interested in what I've lost as she hasn't lost anything. "You're doing so well, I can't lose half a stone and look at you, you've lost 5" (incidentally, I didn't tell her it was 5, so I'm trying to work out how that particular bit of information made it back to her, a couple of potential routes spring to mind).

I don't like the mad Scottish woman talking in a loud voice on the other side of the office to random people about my weight loss so that I and half of Leeds can hear it, when I'm trying to concentrate on some drafting. No matter how complimentary she is, I'm not public property.

It seems like something so visible as weight loss makes your eating habits public property to be discussed and pored over at will. I know I talk a lot about it on here, but that's different. I'm in control of what I type, and people I know in real life (other than people I've met through the whole weight loss thing) by and large don't get to see this. But with the people I work with, what business is it of theirs really? Of course I'm immensely proud of what I've done, and I wouldn't swop being gossip free for being the weight I was, but to be honest, I'm sick of them talking about it.

There are lots of different sides to me. On here, I talk about my weight loss. I hide behind a cloak of semi-anonymity to do it (you can find my real name as well as my photos on here if you look hard enough, but I don't advertise it). This is my weight loss space, and I'm fine with that. I have an online persona that puts things out there that my real life persona would never discuss. But on other websites where I post stuff my weight loss just isn't an issue and other sides of me come out, depending on what I'm talking about and who I'm talking about it too.

In real life, I do the same thing to some extent. There are some things about me that even fairly close friends and family don't know, but that I've confided to strangers on the internet. There are things about me that everyone who knows me in real life know, but I never discuss online. And in work, the most important thing is that I want to be seen as a competent, capable lawyer. I don't want to be objectified for my appearance or seen solely as the person who lost tons of weight. The problem is that weight loss isn't something that you can hide and only reveal when you want to. And it occupies such a central part in so many womens minds that it just seems to tempt people to talk about it.

Maybe it's a bit hypocritical of me. There are some days when I postitively crave for somone to notice or to say something, and then other days like today when it just starts winding me up, but the balance is shifting now. It's old news, and I want to move on and get my life back. When people see the whole of me, I want them to see more than just the pounds of fat that aren't there any more.


Blogger Jude said...

I promise to never pore over your arse. I really shouldn't comment after wine.

12:38 AM  
Blogger B said...

Wow, that sounds so much like me! Sometimes I crave the attention, and others I cringe at the thought of one more person commenting or asking questions. I do not have all the answers! I just know what worked for me. And when they find out it was just good old diet and exercise, they tend to completely blow me off. What, did you think I had the magic bullet all along and was just hiding it from the world?! It does seem like we're likend to animals in the zoo, on display for the public to stare and point at, and gossip about. It sucks, I know, but unfortunately it's something we're gonna have to learn to live with. Unless, of course, you want to go around giving everyone who shows an undue interest in your arse a piece of your mind!


1:35 PM  

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