I wouldn’t normally put audio up of posts that aren’t porny ones – I tend to only record audio porn when the blog is sexy. But I read this post to Patreons last week and a couple of them mentioned I should post the audio too, so click here to listen to ‘Why yes I have lost weight’ aloud if you’d prefer.
Oh wow, you’ve lost SO MUCH weight!
Haha yeah stress does that to me.
But really you’re so SKINNY these days.
I’d hope I’m more muscular than skinny, but yeah I definitely do take up less space than I used to.
You look amazing!
Cheers. I’ve been working on the arse especially.
How did you DO it?
You want to know? You really want to know?
Well firstly I held someone’s hand while they went through something so traumatic I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, and that put me off my eat-drink-fuck game for a while.
Then I broke up with the love of my life and everything was thrown into frightening turmoil, so I wasn’t in the mood for snacks. And much of that turmoil was financial, so I couldn’t afford to buy any nice snacks anyway.
Then – oh yeah! – I sunk into a fairly hefty depressive period during which I couldn’t sleep without pills or cook anything decent. My ex was no longer around to fill the house with Haribo or order Deliveroo so I mostly ate toast and a super-cheap (but HIGHLY delicious) batch-cookable meal that I call ‘orange‘.
Oh! And I started fucking a lovely guy who lived a handy exercise-length bike ride away.
That sounds like a lot. And you’re so THIN now. Well done!
I didn’t do it to make my body smaller, that’s just a side-effect. Where there was purpose, it was all about my mind. For the last nine months there’s been a note on my whiteboard which reminds me to ‘prime from the physical’. It’s a simple bit of advice taken from a CGP Grey video about dealing with lockdown – in order to stay well, your physical and mental health both need to be in decent shape. If things start slipping, it’s usually easier to move your body a bit more than it is to ‘think’ your mental health better. When my mental health is bad, annoying though this is, the best thing for me is to get the fuck outside and do some exercise. I ride my bike with the grim determination of someone who needs that sweet sweet oxytocin to power her through the next day.
If it’s wet or windy or I’ve got a puncture, I walk instead – pounding pavements to try and kickstart my brain into not being sad any more. It works, mostly. For me at any rate. As with all these things, your mileage may vary.
So ‘prime from the physical’ has been my mantra this year. When I’m feeling stressed and miserable, it’s far easier to go for a walk or a bike ride than to simply think myself happy.
And so yeah. I know. I have lost weight.
The moral ‘weight’ of weight loss
I saw family this weekend, and got a fair few of these comments. I don’t blame people for making them, because we live in a society which places a heavy moral weight on your physical mass, so many of these people will assume weight loss is the product of dedicated, focused work. I’ve grown up in a world where people offer ‘you’ve lost weight’ as a compliment, so when they say it I know they’re trying to be nice.
And because I grew up in this world too, it’s difficult to hold back my kneejerk response: ‘thanks.’ But I try. Because in order to change the world I grew up in, and the toxic way we’re encouraged to view our bodies, it’s important to hold that truly important line:
There is no moral weight – no ethically ‘good’ or ‘bad’ body shape – to which we should all aspire. There are only people, existing in their bodies, with complex relationships to (and feelings about) those bodies – relationships and feelings which are none of my fucking business.
My body and the women inside it
I like my body these days, and that’s fun for me. As someone who’s hated it for so many years, it’s really cool to look in the mirror and be genuinely delighted by the shape I see reflected. I’m not going to pretend I don’t like it, because fuck it – joy can be fleeting and we have to embrace it when it appears. So I hula-hoop in front of a mirror in my bra and pants, and delight in the ripple of my thigh muscles and the just-enough wobble/squish of my tummy and the way my armpit hair highlights the strength I’ve built up in my shoulders. I love my body, and I hope I’ll continue to love it as it continues to change – growing, shrinking, morphing, fading, blossoming – over the many decades I’ve got left to live in it.
But the person inside that body still carries traces of the fourteen-year-old girl who got teased for being fat. And the twenty-year-old who fielded comments that I could do to lose a few pounds. The woman who cried on a nudist beach because she was ashamed of how she looked. Who was told by a boyfriend that ‘we’ could do with losing weight. And oh so so much fucking more.
When I was bigger, people commented on my body. When I got smaller, they still did. Wherever you go and whatever you do, there’ll be someone trying to reinforce the lie that the way you look is somehow a moral question. And one which is apparently their business. It is not.
Your relationship with your own body will be a deeply personal one: your attitude towards it will have been shaped by comments and questions over the years, by good days and bad days and photos and memories and clothes and lovers and all your experiences. There is no ‘perfect’ body shape, just a shape that works for you – hopefully many shapes – in which you can live happily and embrace whatever joy life may throw at you.
This sounds like such a fucking cliché – like the kind of thing I’m saying to make people who hate their bodies feel better – but I genuinely believe it with my whole heart: you aren’t ‘sexier’ if you’re smaller or more toned or closer to what society’s decided is the ‘ideal’ way to look. You’re sexier if the body you’re in works for the person inside it. If you are in a body which allows you to experience joy. And although I still carry a huge amount of societal baggage about my own body, I will do everything in my power to try and avoid handing that baggage on to others. Moreover, when it comes to people I fancy, I could not give two shits what their body actually looks like: the question is, does it serve them? And are they willing to use that body to fuck me like I’m in trouble?
My 14 stone body works for me
A few months ago I posted a picture of my arse on Twitter. I was pretty proud of the picture (it’s here – I don’t want to link to the tweet and you’ll see why), because I’m usually shit at taking photos and because, yeah, my arse looked fucking brilliant. It’s the arse of a woman who has cycled all over London, priming from the physical to power her way through a really traumatic year. I’m proud of it. However when I posted that picture, alongside all the lovely comments someone said this:
“That’s you!? You’re so sexy! I always pictured you at about 14 stone. So glad to be wrong!”
To which I didn’t reply, because what do you say to that?
I could point out to this person that in fact I do weigh about 14 stone – I’m a broad, tall woman, and right now I’m built of muscle. I don’t have scales to hand but I have never in my adult life tipped any scales at anything under 90 kilos (i.e. about 14 stone). I haven’t weighed less than 14 stone since I was literally a child. Telling women that there is an ideal weight for them means feeding into the idea that in order to be fuckable we must be small. Petite. Vulnerable. Childlike. And for that you can kiss my rock-solid 14-stone arse.
Secondly – the bit I know you were expecting me to get to – telling me you’re glad I’m not fat is not a compliment. It is a gross, cruel, ignorant insult. You’re insulting the person I have been for much of my life – the one I know I’ll be again. You’re taking the insecurity that’s plagued me for over thirty years – the fear I thought I had finally started to quench – and fanning the flames of it so it can continue to burn and burn. Not just for me but for everyone else who sees that tweet. For every kid who’s been called ‘fat’ at school, and everyone who’s been told that ‘we’ need to lose a bit of weight. For every hot fat person getting ready for a night out unsure if they’re going to turn heads. For every person who was on the cusp of experiencing joy in their body, who’s now been knocked back to worry and pain.
There is no moral weight to someone’s physical mass. And the relationship people have with the way their bodies look will always be complex and personal. I’m happy with how my body looks right now, but I have an uneasy relationship with that happiness because I know it needs grounding in something more sustainable than ‘a year’s worth of trauma and cycling’. As I know the sun will rise tomorrow, I know one day I’ll be fat again – when I’m settled and calm and rich enough to afford my own Haribo. When I’m happy and no longer need to spend each day ‘priming from the physical’.
There are two things I can do with my new body right now: I can use it to shit on the person I used to be – the one I know I’ll be again – or I can use it to try and challenge the idea that ‘weight’ has a moral value.