Welcome Back, Bitchez!

Hello, bitchez.  Have you missed me?  I have missed you–and blogging.   I kind of took blogging for granted before I embarked on my third NaNoWriMo, and I didn’t realize how much I got out of it.  So I am back with a vengeance, though I cannot say better than ever.

First, housecleaning details:  200,220 words for NaNoWriMo!  I had to revise my original goal due to brutal sickness, and I was unhappy about it for a bit.  Then, yesterday, as I was struggling to bang out the final 2,000 words, I realized that 200,000 words was pretty damn good for a month’s worth.   I gotta tell you, those last 2,000  nearly killed me.  I kept checking my count, and it would only be up a hundred or two hundred words.  I was averaging 2,500 words per hour for most of the month.  The last two thousand took me three hours to write.

Then, I went to verify my word count, and I couldn’t get my whole manuscript through.  WTF?  I tried half the manuscript and that went through.  Three-fourths of the manuscript went through as well, but nothing more.  I freaked out because I had put so much goddamn work into it, and I wanted every word counted.  I emailed NaNoWriMo asking what the hell should I do?  I finally checked the forums and discovered that their verifier was only programmed to handle 50,000 words.  Now, I didn’t have a problem verifying in the past two years, but I didn’t go over 150,000 either year.

So, once I was verified, I had to manually change my word count.  I can’t tell you how good it felt to see 200,220 in my word count.   It felt so good, I didn’t even care (much) that I hadn’t met my original goal.  I gave myself a well-deserved pat on the back for a job well done.  Now, I just have to make sure I don’t do what I’ve done the past two years–lose all interest in my NaNoWriMo writing. *

This year, I finished one long-ass murder mystery that is filled with trauma, drama, sex, lust, intrigue, and lots more.  I need to cut a good portion of it, but I am pretty pleased at how it turned out.  For the second novel, I took one of the characters from the first novel (but not the protagonist) and made her the main character.  I have about a third of it done, and I pretty much know where I’m going with it.  The third novel is a little strange in that it’s a blend of fiction/nonfiction.  I just started on that one, but I’m liking the energy in the early goings.

So, NaNoWriMo ’09 is in the books, and it was a smashing success.  Yay, me!

Next up, my health.  Went to the doctor, and she said it was viral.  She told me to give it a couple more days and see how I felt.  I felt a bit better yesterday, and now I am worse again.  However, that was not the biggest thing to happen at the doc’s appt.

First, I have to say that I really like my doctor.  She takes time to talk to me and assess where I am in all aspects of my life.  She is a believer in alternative medicine, acupuncture, meditation, and as little medication as possible.  She is a vegetarian who is very much into organic foods.

That said, there was an issue this time that bothered me.  It seems the insurance companies are really pushing the BMI chart as the be-all, end-all of health.  My doctor doesn’t believe in the BMI because it was formed as a research tool and not a way to gauge individual health, but she has to push it because that’s what gets her clinic better ratings by the insurance companies.  Now, here is where it gets all jumbled, so bear with me.  In brief, the BMI is a formula based on your height and your weight.  It comes out with a number, and that number tells you if you’re underweight, in a healthy range, overweight, obese, or morbidly obese.   What the BMI does not take into account is muscle-mass, frame of the person, and the fact that every individual is different.  It’s a blunt instrument, and it’s pretty much useless except as a very broad general guideline.

Now, I’m not going to get into the argument about whether or not fat is a major problem or not.  You can go to the Shapely Prose website if you want a radically different view on fat and the dangers of it (or the lack thereof).   I fall somewhere in between that being fat in and of itself is the be-all, end-all, and that it has no effect on our health at all.

Here’s the thing.  My doctor spent a good portion of our appointment talking to me about the dangers of being obese.  She believes it’s a huge problem in this country.  That’s fine, and I know it’s her job, but then she pulled out the BMI chart and showed me how very very very very fat I was, even though she didn’t believe in the chart.  I did not appreciate that part at all.

First of all, I know I’m fat.  Very fat.  I am at my heaviest, and I am not happy about it.  I also know what I *should* do in order to reduce my weight (eat less crap and more healthy food, and exercise) because I am the queen of dieting.  The problem I have with the BMI, however, and all the mindless pushing of it is that even when I was at my skinniest (I had a 24″ waist) and fainting from lack of nutrients, my weight put me on the upper side of healthy on the BMI chart.  138 lbs (by the doctor’s scale) at 5’5″ (not 5’6″ as I have thought my whole life) gives me a BMI of 23.  Anything from 18.5 to 25 is healthy.   So, at 5’5″, I can go down to 114 pounds and be considered ‘healthy’.   Granted, the lower numbers are supposedly for people with smaller frames, but the numbers are the same for women and men, so supposedly, women would be on the lower side.

Let me reiterate that.  When I weighted 138 pounds and had a 24″ waist and exercising two-and-a-half hours a day and eating 1,200 – 1,500 calories a day, I was considered, by the fucking BMI, to be healthy.   This is the epitome of anorectic thinking, my friends, and I should know.  I have been anorexic and bulimic throughout my life, and it always amazes me how many of the so-called sensible dieting tips veer into ED (Eating Disorder) thinking.

So, I left the office feeling fat, grumpy, and disgusted–with myself.  One of the problems with weight in this country is that we have equated being fat with being morally bad.  Someone who is fat is lazy, a glutton, weak, etc.  I have dealt with this from two cultures because it’s even worse in the Asian culture.  Just last week, my mom, a highly-intelligent woman, told me about a Taiwanese Star Search contestant who talked about changing her life–by stretching her whole body every morning.  She lost twenty pounds doing it, and my mom said I should try it once I get over being sick.

In other words, “Minna, you’re fucking fat.  Do something about it.”

I’m going to Taiwan at the end of the month, and one of the things I am not looking forward to (besides, well, most of the trip) is the fact that in Taiwanese culture (at least 16 years ago), it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “You’re fat.”   In fact, it was the first thing a cousin said to me when we first met (when I was nine).

In fact, the whole time my doctor was talking to me about weight, all I could think about was, “I’m fat I’m fat I’m fat.”  Not only that, I was thinking, “I’m disgusting and gross and, oh, yeah, I’m fat.”

So.  Kel and I are going to be weightloss twins.  We are going to do it in a healthy, sensible way.   She will not tolerate my bullshit.  I am telling as many people about it as possible because I know that it’s easiest for me to slip into ED thinking when I isolate myself.   I am going to lose weight slowly and sensibly, and I am going to do it for my health.   I know my friends will not support me in my delusions (which I usually appreciate).  This is all good, right?

Not exactly.  I so want to do it my way.  I want to severely restrict my calories and exercise hours every day.  I want to push, push, push until I can’t push any longer.  I’ll tell you a secret:  I want to be skinny.  There.  I said it.  I want to look like this, even though I prefer women who look like this.   I want to feel my bones jutting out from my skin.  I feel purer when I am thin.  I feel less weighted down.  I feel, less connected.  On the other hand, I feel more sensual, sexual, and real when I am heavier.

Here’s the thing.  I made the decision to lose weight, and I immediately threw out the chips I had.  That’s fine.  However, I started thinking about everything that went in my mouth, and not in a good way.  I used to count calories, so I have a calorie index in my head.  It’s not a good thing because I get caught up in it.  I start resenting any food that I put into my body because that means added calories.

I have two donuts left (well, had) that I bought on one of my Cub runs.  I decided I would eat one today and eat one tomorrow and then not buy any more.  Sensible, right?  Well, until I ate the donut and immediately had the urge to throw it up.  I had to talk myself out of shoving three fingers down my throat (because I have no gag reflex as a normal rule), and it was touch and go there for a minute.  I did not throw up, but I was so tempted to do so.  And, this is just the beginning of my quest to be thin healthy.

This is my dilemma.  Because of my obsessive nature, I swing to the extremes.  Either I rigidly control everything and become eating disordered, or I control nothing and become a glutton.   And, the problem is that it’s so easy for me to slip into the former without realizing it (because disordered eating/dieting is supported in our society for the most part).

I know my thinking is wrong.  I know that my thinking is messed up and disordered.  I know that my body is not meant to be skinny.  Even when I lose weight, I still have the boobs.  And yet, I find myself falling.  I feel like food is the enemy, and I don’t know how to not go there.  Hell, go there?  I fucking live there.   I don’t want to view food as the enemy, damn it, because I love it so!

I need to lose weight and be healthier.   I am just not sure I can do it in a sane way.

P.S.  I will be bringing this up with my therapist tomorrow.  Just FYI.

*I am posting Vienna Teng’s My Medea again because it really fits as my theme song, and because I like supporting a Taiwanese American sistah.

7 Responses to Welcome Back, Bitchez!

  1. So your doctor is pressured by the insurance companies. And that does suck for her. But does she know about your eating disorder? Even if she does, it does sound like she doesn’t really have the verbal skills to talk to someone with an eating disorder about weight. What do you know about her personally? She could have body issues herself, and may be projecting them on to you. It’s hard to know. Just remember that she may be an expert on some things, but she’s also just a human being.

    As I said to you elsewhere, my muscly husband with 2% body fat is OBESE according to the fucked-up BMI. I know his doctor would tell the insurance companies to SUCK IT, and I wish your doctor would as well.

    You deserve to be healthy. And healthy is NOT thin, especially not the kind of thin you fantasize about in your moments of ED weakness. I hope your therapist can help you find a way to a healthy relationship with your body.

    I honestly think there is nothing wrong with you as you are right now. I know people who are overweight in an unhealthy way, and we could fit TWO of you in one of them. This makes me kind of mad at your doctor, for at least passing on her stress about the insurance company’s directive to you. Their rules are NOT your problem. And you need food to live, you need calories to keep moving, you need some fat so you can keep using that awesome brain of yours.

    Margaret Cho is beautiful in that picture. She is NOT fat, by sane people’s standards, in that picture. This makes my fucking blood boil.

  2. Alex, sheesh! I just finished the first novel. Give me time to savor.

    Choolie, yes, she knows. We’ve talked about my eating disorders before. I have no idea about her own weight issues, but yeah, I could see that. She was so adamant about obesity–but more so about enjoying food and savoring it and the mass marketing that pushes unhealthy food. I get all that. I agree with her on it.

    What’s strange is that we have talked about a variety of issues with great ease and fluency. This came out of the blue. And, let’s face it, it’s my weak point. I also mentioned that when I exercised more and more, I got sick. She didn’t believe it was because of the exercise, even though I tried to explain that it was similar to the anorexia. She said that more people got sick due to lack of exercise (true). I said I had tried the 10,000 steps a day thing, but I stopped when I got sick after pushing it. I didn’t specify that pushing it meant 20,000 steps a day, and one day, 30,000.

    I do know I need to be fitter. I have gotten way too slack in my habits, and I am displeased with myself. I also know that to go back to ED thinking is almost certain death. That’s why it’s hard for me to admit that I’m entertaining ED thinking at all.

    Thanks for your constant support, Choolie. It means a great deal to me.

  3. You bet I will support you!

    Over-exercising is a recognized form of body-dysmorphism, as much as anorexia. Even though she knows about this, her message was harsh and insensitive to you. Period. Sure, complete inactivity is unhealthy. But you’re NOT completely inactive.

    If you’re going to do this, you cannot rely on her as your go-to person for your healthy lifestyle changes. You need someone with a deep understanding of body image disorders who can walk you to a better path to health that avoids all the extremes you mention.

  4. Damn straight, I will not feed into the ED crap. Nope. ‘You’re better than that, and what’s more, you’re heathier than that. This is why we’re doing this together.

    Perhaps the biggest thing is, “no numbers.” I don’t give a rat’s ass about BMI or what the scale says, and we are not calculating calories, either. Doesn’t mean squat. Start with a pair of jeans, or a cute shirt you like, but that for right now, you either can’t wear, or aren’t comfortable wearing. (And NO, smart-ass, I am NOT talking about some teenager’s size 2 tank top from Hollister, so don’t even.) That article of clothing is both your goal and your gauge. You try it on once (that’s ONE time, my CDO twin, ONE) every week, in the morning. As it starts to feel better on your body, it becomes the measuring tool. If you notice it feels a bit tighter one week, and you aren’t PMSing, maybe you need to throw a few extra fruits and veggies in, jack up the protein, dial back the sugar.

    If those jeans get too loose, or whatever then you move on to something different until you hit the goal (And let’s reiterate that the goal is *NOT* to look like an anorexic twelve year old!) that you want to maintain.

    Injuries just create setbacks; they’re a pointless waste of time. So “pushing” doesn’t get you where you want to be; quite the opposite, really. I’ll quit picking on you for this one and give you an example using myself. If I push too far on my workouts, my body’s response is pretty simple. It says, “No.” I do not walk for a few days. I’m on crutches, or worse, the wheelchair. Now I’m losing valuable workout time, and also being more sedentary than I would’ve on a regular day as well. And the “push” I laid down on my body does not make up for that. It’s kinda like if you don’t eat much one day, you can’t eat double the aclories to “make up for it” and expect that to work. Simple math doesn’t apply here. So instead, I try to do what I can, but remember my limitations.

    Stretching -does- have benefits, yes. And it’s an important part of any workout program. But being the sole way to lose 20lb? Uh, no. But mixing it with some cardio and strength make it really effective in toning. There is really no need, no point, no benefit to “pushing” it, or going flipped-out restrictive on calories and such. Mixing your movements and working different muscle groups in tandem works better.

    As for enjoying food? Hell yes. You and I both said it flat out — the chocolate will be pried out of our cold, dead hands. As it should be. But you can live without the chips, so you did. You’re not buying more donuts, because you can do without them. But that doesn’t mean giving up the enjoyment. The crisp snap of a tart apple slice with a smear of creamy peanut butter on it? Hmm. ‘Scuse me while I wipe up the drool. Doesn’t work well on the keyboard, don’t’cha know. And spices? Same goes. Eat Thai, Indian, other spicy stuff. Pack in the flavor, you don’t miss some of the fat/salt/sugar of the more unhealthy options.

    Life, in all its forms, is meant to be savored. This includes food, and it includes exercise. Don’t eat celery and water, which may be low cal, but holds no nutrients, and triggers negative brain reactions, when you can eat a juicy peach, plump berries, or that crisp apple. Don’t pound the shit out of your knees running 3 miles when a brisk walk, where you also use your other senses to smell the winter air, hear kids playing, see the snow fall. How much more healthy the walk would be, for all of you. Health is holistis. It’s about the whole body and the whole mind, not just some number on a chart.

    So you and me, my twin, will walk this path together like we walk so many others. And we’ll pass each other the Reese Peanut Butter Cups along the way.

  5. Choolie, you’re right. My therapist suggested an ED group, and as long as it’s a constructive one and not a destructive one (competitive), I think it might be helpful. I’m not a group person, but at this point, I’m willing to research it. My therapist gave me a couple suggestions.

    whabs, fanks! I’m damn proud of myself.

    Kel, you’ve said a mouthful, my friend. The battle is to not let the voices overtake what I know is the better path to take. Everything you say is sensible and reasonable and true. I have told myself similar things in the past. The problem is that when the voices get too loud, I ignore the common sense wisdom and head straight into hell.

    My hope is that by having you as a buddy and blogging about it and telling all my local friends, I will be able to have enough people saying, “Uh, Minna? You’re going off the rails.” Because, it’s so very easy for me to rationalize my way down the ED path.