Hello? Hello? Body? What you saying?
In which Ameya grapples with food, diets and understanding her body
I woke up this morning to notifications from Substack about some comments on our posts. The comments were horrible, from sad fatphobic people who were clearly so traumatised by our ability to be happy that they needed to vomit all over us. I wanted to reply, and then I wondered if I should delete them, because they could trigger other people. What do you think?
Onwards to the thing I wanted to talk about today.
Some of you know I’ve been struggling hard with bad knees for a while, and it’s only recently in Bangalore that I finally found treatment that seems to have helped. I’ve been rejoicing in my ability to do things for myself, and move around and even climb stairs when I have to. The new car has also helped, and perhaps might be pushing me to go out more?
One part of this process was sparked by the chiropractor telling me I should look at losing weight. I sat with the problem for a long time. Yes, fat phobia tells the medical community to blame everything on weight, but he didn’t tell me my knees were bad because of the weight. He just pointed out a law of physics, which is that the more weight you have over a certain area, the harder the pressure on that area. Nobody shamed me, or tried to force me to do anything I didn’t want to. I did see the nutritionist who was, like all nutritionists I have seen, pretty useless heh, and I even managed to stay within some defined parameters for a while.
What’s different this time though is that I don’t force myself to stay in the parameters, and I happily do what I feel like. I feel like Chinese food? Okay, order in! Even the things she says are to reduce inflammation, like no lactose, or make sleep better, like ashwagandha, I listen to my body and do what it asks.
Of course, I do wonder sometimes, what if my body is still confused? I have to admit that I seem to have made great progress with healing my relationship with food, since I felt no great desire for binges, and when I thought omg I want this thing that I haven’t wanted in forever, and I sat with it, it faded away as an echo of the panic diets used to cause in me. But, still. I’m trying to focus on my body, listen to what it has to say, and do what it asks of me.
This is why I was even willing to try to lose weight—because my body was so unhappy. I couldn’t do anything for myself, and I was constantly frustrated and in pain. I mean pain is a pretty great signal from your body! But. But. But. But. But.
Doesn’t losing weight mean you are rejecting your body? Would trying to change this body send the wrong message to the very same people I want to reach out and tell they are perfect just the way they are? After all, I do firmly believe diets are eating disorders, yes veganism too. Anything that makes you obsess about and fetishize food is an eating disorder. I saw the perfect quote for this in a Modern Love essay in the New York Times this week:
Eating disorders consume your entire life. I spent every waking moment thinking about food, body and exercise. When the voice of my anorexia quieted, I could think about whatever I wanted. I could fill all that empty space with dreams. The possibilities intoxicated me.
Dayum. Where is the lie? And of course the complicated mess of things to take and prepare that the nutritionist gave me drove me nuts in 12 hours. I asked myself what I was doing and why? All this work, over all this time, and to what end? To fall into the same trap again?
So I sat down and thought about what I really wanted. I thought about how I was eating those last few months in Delhi, about whether I felt nourished by the food I was putting into my body, whether I was eating because I wanted food or because I was, as Sofie Hagen puts it, using food to stop myself from feeling.
Any guesses? Heh.
Once I realised this, it became so much easier to not order in, to eat at home and in the patterns I had long established and am comfortable in. Suddenly, it was more about remembering this supplement and that, about soaking dried fruit and resisting the impulse to chug chai. Suddenly the impulse to chug chai disappeared. Apparently some of my eating and drinking habits are as conditioned as my fat phobia is!
I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about trying to stop eating things, but I also understand it’s important to be able to correctly interpret what my body is telling me, and all the work I am doing with fat liberation is to get me to a place where I can, right?
Anyway! I have droned on long enough! Time for some news:
Episode 3 is coming out in three days, and let me tell you it is a CRACKER! We have our only male guest, and he takes us both on a superb journey. Don’t forget to check your feed on Saturday evening! Meanwhile, this past week, Pallavi did some snake dancing, and I flaunted my flabby arms! Exciting times.
Until next time!
Ameya (& Pallavi)