Monday, November 26, 2012

The Cost of Weight Loss

Recently I had a bit of a mental crisis.  The crisis stemmed from the realization that my thighs are falling and also what I lovingly refer to as my "lower hemisphere".  They are falling because I am slowly toning up (teaching 2-4 yoga classes a week can do that to a person).  Gravity and I aren't friends on a regular basis but this new development.....grrr.  Its making me a bit self-conscious. And for those that know me well...that is very VERY hard thing to do. isn't fitting me right and underwear falls down way more than I would like to admit.

Here's the thing- if you listen to the psycho-babble/multi-billion-dollar-a-year-diet-industry losing weight makes your life better.  You will instantly become loveable, men/women/whatever-you-are-in-to will start falling at your feet, you'll have more money, you'll live happily every after, etc, etc, etc.  This frankly is bullshit.


The diet industry has a 95% failure rate.  If all of those silly diets worked, they wouldn't make any money anymore.  So they sell you a dream.  A dream that once you achieve that strange ideal of beauty that your life will really start.

Again- bullshit.

First of all...that "sameness" ideal of beauty is damned boring.  Everybody looks the same and have the exact same neuroses.  My ideal of beauty is something that changes, that looks different everyday.  My ideal of beauty is about the personality, intelligence, and outright silliness that a person is willing to exhibit.  My ideal of beauty is much more real and dynamic than anything that is being shown in a fashion magazine.  Of course, my ideal is not what everyone else is looking for.  Dating has never been the easiest thing for me and I've come across more than one person in my life who assumes that since I'm big that I have no self esteem and they could take advantage of me.  Shame on them.  But I have NEVER felt like I have had no life, or that it is on hold because of my weight.  For those that think I should feel this way....I would like to invite you to one of my yoga classes and just see how much this 300 pound yoga instructor can make you sweat.

Weight is one of those issues that everyone feels like they can talk to you about.  Concern about "your health" is just another way of people saying "you being fat reminds me that I could be fat and that scares me".  I've had doctors- who I wasn't even seeing- see me in the halls on the way to an exam room and tell me that I would be a good candidate for lap-band surgery.  Whoa! Hold on, I'm only here for my annual exam buddy!  Of course, since everyone is apparently deathly afraid of being fat, the extreme weight loss shows are very popular.  You get to fat-shame people and then see them become something that is much less scary to you.  You see them get yelled at while they are working out, being told they are worthless.  You get to see they cry over failure because they had a cookie.  You get to watch people bully others, tear them down mentally and emotionally, all because you are worried about "their health".  What you don't see on these weight loss shows are the hidden costs of this body transformation.

I hate to tell you this folks, but skin just doesn't bounce back if you are heavy and have been so for a long period of time.  What gravity.  Everything falls, deflates, and you are left with disgusting amounts of skins that just hangs there reminding you...that you are still fat and ugly.   The only way to get rid of this is surgery, and lots of it....which is more than likely not covered by insurance.

I have always been comfortable with my fat.  I have never really had a knowledge of myself or my body as being thin.  And frankly, being thin scares the shit out of me.  Being fat means that I can be myself, rejoice in my squishy-ness in the right places; being fat means that people know me for all that I am, not as some sexual object.  In many ways, fat is my hijab.  I have never really sought out to lose weight because I know that there are some hidden costs that I don't want to have to deal with.  Realizing that I was having some "gravity" issues made that all come the forefront and has resulted in a couple panic attacks.  Being thinner means that I would end up being part of a culture that prizes that beauty esthetic...there is a strange girly competition there that I have luckily never had to be a part of, and I really don't want to have to deal with that now or ever.  Being thinner means that I might have to deal with people finding me attractive that wouldn't have looked at me before when I was bigger.  That is only going to make me more mistrustful and bitter.  I want people to love me for me, not just on my appearance.  And monetarily....being thinner also means spending money on clothes

So what is the cost of losing weight?  I can tell you actually because I had a consultation with a surgeon today.  The cost is $11,104, not including time off from work, complications from surgery (months of drains were mentions and some horrible thing where you end up risking getting a wound that never heals).  That is also $11,104 that needs to be paid in full before the surgery.  That's a car.  That's a year's worth of day care.  That is a whole shitload of money.  And it is also something that I am not going to be doing right now.  I will reevaluate in 6 months.  I will plan to set aside the money so that in a year or two or three that I might have this done.  Or not.

I will also go back to actively loving my falling thighs.  I will continue to rock my yoga-ness.  I will continue to be my fabulous, silly, intelligent self.  And I will continue to be outraged everytime I see someone telling me that I should lose weight for "my health".  Sure, I'll do that....if they pay for the surgery.  Until then....those people can just kiss the little baby butt that my upper thighs resemble at the moment.