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I should probably explain that I am seriously conflicted about the alternating feelings I have between wanting to scream to the world “OMG, I LOST 10 LBS!” (hey, see what I did there?) and understanding that the urge to do that is mired in patriarchal and fat shaming baggage.

I think I need to go back and read this essay without my snark-goggles.

I suppose the fact that I haven’t been writing over here is a good sign, in that I’m feeling less conflicted about food and my body and my ability to build a healthy lifestyle that is not obsessed with absolutely under no circumstances baking a cake if I really really want cake. (I really wanted cake Monday. So I baked one. It’s yummy and almost half of it is still in the pan on the kitchen counter. But I digress.)

I am trying to develop a love affair with exercise – as I’ve mentioned before, I do feel so much better and more relaxed and I’m sure I am more pleasant to be around when I get up in the morning and even spend 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer. The catch is getting my ass out of be early enough to make it happen.

So, I’ve started making my default for my alarm 5:30 instead of 6:30. Not getting up to exercise is now the conscious exception, rather than affirmatively setting the alarm back an hour. Getting up with time to do this for myself is my new rule. It’s not perfect. The other night when I got caught up in a book and read until after midnight finishing it (Heir to Sevenwaters, I love Juliet Marrillier), I figured I needed at least a little more than 5 hours of sleep.

For the most part it works. And I feel better, and my clothes fit better, and I feel more toned and stronger. I am a nicer person. Really. Seriously. Why don’t you believe me? I am completely serious though – even though I’m operating on less sleep, I am less snappy and more able to just roll with things, just ask my kid. And I’m trying not to let the fact that I’ve also lost some “extra” lbs be too much of an incentive, but it does get me down below a particular psychological barrier as well.

And therein lies some conflict, because philosophically, I still find myself watching the scale and still looking at clothes in my closet and thinking if I could just lose 2515 lbs, I could maybe fit into these things again. And then I think, you know, if just upping a couple of days of exercise is enough to take off some of this weight and stored fat, then maybe there’s a different point besides just size acceptance here – I’m not dieting. I’m barely trying to eat healthier – although I have been eating a lot more organic and less processed food, including more fruits and veggies.

So maybe it all makes a difference together and maybe the only thing that is really important is that I am happy. To the extent that I feel better, it is not because I suddenly discovered that I’d “lost weight”- I felt better before that because I was taking better care of myself. And I like myself. I liked myself three weeks ago and I like myself now and I will like myself whether I keep exercising or not.

The scale does not define me, but neither does avoiding it. I have to find my own way.

Or rather, I do. You may know the one I mean – the look from someone who disapproves of the act of eating while female.

In this case, I was walking back to my office with a plate from the staff cafeteria. On it was a sandwich I made from the sandwich bar – chicken salad with nuts and cherries, tomato, whole grain bread. Well, it would have been all whole grain dark wheat bread, but there was only one piece left, so I topped it with a slice of the “whole grain white”, however that works. Plus a small helping of potato salad (I’m a sucker for the potato salad) and some tabbouleh.

A full plate? Yes. I’m hungry and I have a migraine and I feel like I’m gonna pass out over here. I need food and I need starch and protein and I need options. And, you know, I’m fisking hungry. Not that any of this is any of her business. And it really shouldn’t matter if my plate is full of lettuce or chocolate, let alone a relatively balanced lunch full of foods I enjoy eating. And it really doesn’t matter that a few years ago the person shooting this look weighed a lot more and lost the weight and is keeping it off with a strict diet and daily exercise. More power to her and I hope it makes her happy.

None of that gives her the right to look me up and down, between my full plate and my inbetweenie ass, and to give me a look of utter disgust.

Another way to “lose weight” without having to diet or exercise. All you have to do is to spend a few hours in the cold, right? Well, maybe. The study is only in men, and the effects are not lasting, but you can lose 10 lbs a year by sitting around chilly.

The first thing I thought when I heard about this was “gee, I wonder how long until some brilliant snake oil salesperson starts charging people $500 an hour to sit in their skivvies in a 50 degree room?” Or “weight loss weekends” at fancy spas with long sits in the cold, a colonic and a juice cleanse?

Honestly, the only thing that really surprises me is that a quick google doesn’t show this cropping up yet.

Now, obviously (I hope), if this news can honestly help people, then great. But frankly, it sounds like one more way to guilt allegedly obese people into “bettering themselves” by doing everything possibly available to lose any weight they can at what will likely be considerable expense. Because thin = health. Except that it doesn’t. Eating nutritious food and moving your body is how you get healthy. Not by wearing pants in single digit sizes (hell, if that were enough, we could all just shop at Chicos and be done with it). Oh, yeah, there’s that expense again.

Also, I find it extremely interesting that this was the article linked on the front page of WaPo as “related” to the brown fat article. Hm. Exercise? What an idea.  Can I get mine with a healthy dose of body acceptance, please?