"You're so thin."

I hear that, or Beloved's quips on me being a tiny wee thing, frequently. Pointing out the enormous bags of fat that depend on my chest (G cup in British sizing), or the fact I'm about as tall as an average man my age, doesn't deflect from the fact that I am shorter and considerably thinner than most of the people I spend time with, thinner than woman-bodied people of my age as well.

Doctors have commented favourably on me having a fairly low body weight and decent overall fitness level. I don't get told to lose weight when I have a completely unrelated condition. Some overweight people are not so fortunate, even if when weight on a chart is not correlated to poor overall health.

I don't work at being thin. I don't try to starve myself and my exercise routine is specifically designed for strength and endurance, adding bulk in the form of muscle. I hear that I'm lucky, or that I won some kind of genetic lottery.

I don't try to starve myself, but sometimes my biochemistry and past patterns do. When I'm depressed (clinical, not having a sad time so much as a flat affect, anhedonia and impaired executive function), I forget to eat until I figure out the grey-out from low blood sugar and the severe pain in my gut are signs my body needs fuel. I've been discouraged from being seen and heard, and what better way than programming myself to insubstantiality?

I eat what tastes like food, which is mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meats. Sweet and higher-fat foods I will sometimes nearly inhale when I've been exercising intensely, but I don't reach for them. I don't like the way my body feels when I eat starches, so I eat little in the way of breads, cakes, cookies, potatoes, and the like. When I drink juice, it's diluted usually at least 3:1 with water because it's cloyingly sweet.

I've been through financially difficult times. My response to not having much money for food is typically to not eat at all or ro eat less, not to reach for filling (usually starchy) foods. I haven't built up a layer of fat, except in the chesticles when hormones had their way with my body.

I don't drink alcohol. I used to. I don't like the sensations and altered consciousness that intoxicants induce. I tried edibles once in the past year and they're not for me either. Booze has a lot of calories.

One of the ways I calm my mind is being physical. Walking, working out, to a lesser extent singing. It's a rare week that sees me average fewer than 10,000 steps a day in addition to daily stairs (9th floor) and exercise (4-6 times a week). The activity burns fuel and raises my base metabolism so I need more fuel to maintain function.

I don't manage my pain well. I'm working on improving here, but even as I type this I have two hips that are searing their ache into my awareness. When I'm in pain, what appetite I do have is greatly diminished.

The size I am is a part of me that I don't put any effort into. It simply is, like the colour of my eyes. Yes, they're really brown. I'm not virtuous because I'm kind of skinny.

People who are fat to any degree are not lazy or bad. I find my programming telling me they are sometimes, which is its own kind of disturbing. If you notice me acting, speaking, or writing in a way that implies fat people are inferior, please thwack a portion of sense into me by whatever means you prefer. Preferably consensual.

Here endeth the sermon.

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11/14 '19 2 Comments
There's no easy way to put this sermon into conversation, though, is there? When my dad gets complimented for fitting into his Army uniform from over 50 years ago, what can one say?
Brian Rapp 11/15 '19
If I were in high spirits, I might respond along the lines of "I'm a bigger man than I was fifty years ago, but the fit of my clothes doesn't show it." Or hauntingly, "I wish I could forget what I went through when I wore this uniform daily."

I think it's harder for a man and an elder to turn a well-meant compliment on being fit and thin into the start of a conversation on weight and health.
Dawn Keenan 11/15 '19