I haven’t posted on this blog in a long time. Basically, I got really sick of talking about the subjects of diet, dieting, not dieting, weight, weight loss, weight gain, food, exercise, body image, etc. So I quit doing it. That was a good move and I did a bunch of other things that I found much more interesting like reading books (31 so far this year!), drawing and painting and talking about feminism. One thing I really regret about the time I spent doing this blog and my Facebook page is that I avoided conflict to the point where I refused to mention certain words that seemed to cause a lot of argument. Vegetarian is one of them (even though I am vegetarian and have been for the most part of my life since I was 13.) Feminism is another. But I now feel that I was, in large point missing the point. Like, body image activism is wonderful. I am all for it. But I also know that the pressures women feel about our bodies do not come from within. If we really want to change things, we need to change society too, not just ourselves. Individualism keeps us from working together on social issues. Do you hate me yet? 🙂
A couple of times over the last year I’ve thought about reopening this blog and adding in the ingredients I had previously left out. The political ones. What stopped me was the desire not to have this take over my life. I have come to value my free time and I know that keeping up the Facebook page especially is a lot of work. And it is my pet project that I really can’t see being administrated by someone else. So, I have not come back in any form. Though I do think it might be sort of entertaining to see how quickly I could lose followers by talking about these things I avoided the whole time I was doing this blog.
I’m still on the fence about all of that. The real reason I am writing today is to give a little update on my life. You know, there are a zillion weight loss success story blogs and they all disappear when they gain the weight back, leaving us to think they went off into the sunset at the perfect weight and lived happily ever after. This is not what happened to me.
I do not want to dwell on this and I do not feel I owe anyone any excuses or explanations for the reality of my life and who I am, but I have gained almost all the weight I lost back. Again!
Now I know this is the point where I am supposed to flagellate myself and commit to Getting Back on the Wagon and Fighting the Good Fight, etc, but I’m not going to do that. All I can say is life is life, it doesn’t always go the way you think it will and some parts of our health are largely uncontrollable. Most people gain back the weight they lose. True fact. And it’s not the first time either, so it’s not like I’m totally shocked it happened to me. But I do feel a little bit like I should apologize for my arrogance in assuming I would be a weight loss unicorn. I’m not, I’m a human woman who first became bigger as a child and have been wildly swinging back and forth ever since, as most of us do. I could write a whole post telling you about moving, the death of one of my beloved cats, the grief I felt after losing him, the other elderly cat and my worry about his health and the constant care he needs, the unassailable fatigue I have experienced, the sorrows I drowned in ice cream, but I really don’t want you to think I’m making excuses or that I feel I owe the world an apology for my body or my life. I don’t. I am what I am and that’s more than enough. I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot going for me. The size of my pants does not erase that.
And you know what, all this body image stuff really did change the way I feel about myself. Being fat (which I am) isn’t a terrible thing. Honestly, of course I’d rather be smaller. It’s just socially easier, more comfortable in certain ways, easier to buy clothes, etc. But I don’t feel like I’m a failure or that I now need to get Back On Track or whatever. I have promised myself I will never go on a diet for the specific purpose of losing weight again.
That’s all well and good, but irony of ironies, I am about to go on a diet for the rest of my life. I have recently been diagnosed with Celiac, through blood tests and a biopsy of my small intestine. I cannot eat gluten anymore, even in tiny amounts. I cannot eat foods that touched gluten foods. I never would have expected this, as I have had none of the gastrointestinal symptoms people report, but there it is. I have Celiac and I will have to deal with it.
That’s fine. I’m an old hat at changing my diet, obviously. I’m used to reading labels and thinking about what’s in my food. And I live in the Bay Area where having food issues is practically expected. I’m not going to evangelize, but I do want to say that if this hadn’t been diagnosed, I never would have believed it. I’ve been on a gluten-free diet for one week and I already feel remarkably better. More alert, more energy, and the strangest thing, I can SEE better. Everything is crisp and clear. Maybe my period of fatigue is going to be over as I adhere to this diet.
I would also like to take back everything I ever said about gluten-free fad diets. According to my Gastroenterologist, practically everyone who goes gluten-free reports feeling better. So there you go. Gluten sensitivity IS a thing. People who disparage you for choosing to eliminate foods from your diet that make you feel better don’t know what they’re talking about. If I ever did that, I’m sorry. I have always maintained that we do not know everything there is to know about the human diet and body, so it should not surprise me to find out things that I myself did not know. I have Celiac disease and I have no choice about this. I can either go gluten-free forever or suffer a myriad of health problems in my future. The choice is obvious. If you feel better with a diet change, that’s cool. How awesome! Certainly I do think sometimes people take it too far, but on the other hand, some people are too skeptical. There is a middle ground.
Though I have not been flagellating myself about my weight gain, I have been upset that I have felt so tired and unable to exercise. Exercise is great and makes you feel better, if you feel good enough to do it. I have not felt good enough to do it. Going for walks is about all I have been able to do for the last year, with an occasional bout of going to the gym, only to become so fatigued I gave up. The fatigue is a big symptom of Celiac and I am hoping this is going to mean a big change in the way I feel from here on out, or at least that I will have a better explanation for why I have periods of energy and periods of tiredness. This is a cycle I have been experiencing my whole life. Celiac explains a lot of symptoms I have had throughout my life. I do feel kind of vindicated. These vague symptoms are hard to explain and have sometimes made me feel like I was imagining things or making things up. Having a diagnosis and a possible reason for the fatigue especially is exciting. Having a diagnosis that can potentially be alleviated with a diet change is even better. It could be a lot worse.
So, that’s what’s been happening here. I wanted to write this for two reasons primarily:
1. I don’t want to be another weight loss blogger who leaves everyone in the lurch and doesn’t finish the story. I don’t want to be misleading. If there’s a secret to healthy permanent weight loss, I do not have it. Sorry!
2. I wanted to let you know about the Celiac diagnosis as a sort of Public Service Announcement. I didn’t think I had it. In fact, I was sure I didn’t. And my skepticism of diet fads made me even more convinced that the people telling me I should try dropping gluten were just annoying fad followers. I loved gluten foods and never felt bad after eating them. If not for the tests, I wouldn’t have found out and that would be bad. The sooner caught, the sooner rectified. By changing my diet now, I am potentially saving myself from a lot of difficulty down the road. So I guess my advice would be that if you have a bunch of weird symptoms, or a family member with the disease, or a suspicion, get tested. You might be like me.
Hope everybody is doing well, and I may be back to update more soon. Or not. Either way, just know that I am still here. I am still me. I am not a weight loss unicorn. And nobody has all the answers, but we all just have to do the best we can with the bodies and lives we have. We don’t get another.