I’ve been working out hard and watching my diet for several months now, and I am doing well. I enjoy exercise and it’s one of the few moments that I get to have to myself during a busy day. It’s not really so much about changing the way that I look as opposed to changing the way that I feel. My back pain has become more manageable and my moods have become stabilized. I sleep better at night and also can shift between time zones more easily. There’s a spring in my step and I feel younger overall.
Of course I love food and I cheat on my ‘diet’ every day, and when I say ‘diet’ I mean eating pretty much gluten-free/grain-free/sugar-free foods but of course there’s always cookies and shit in there. It’s all about being consistent and doing something for myself physically every day.
I work with different trainers and they’ve helped a lot – but what they cannot prepare you for is when your body does change. How do you deal with being physically different? For me this manifests itself in a lot more attention from others. This is not always positive. In fact it can be quite disturbing. Being thinner, I have noticed people approaching me – mostly men, and it can be very strange. I don’t know what this is about. When you adhere more to a socially ‘acceptable’ body, there’s something that attracts others more to you. Last week on the Atlanta airport tram, an angry man sat down next to me and demanded to know why I was had so many tattoos because it was obvious I was old and really only young people should have them. He was very aggressive and I think was trying to hit on me, but really could only come at me in this very insulting way. I didn’t say anything – as I was actually truly terrified. He kept saying I was too old to have that many tattoos and kept looking at my body and my face trying to find some explanation. I wanted to run away but I was trapped on the tram and couldn’t find an escape. I remained silent, which triggered him further and made him come closer to me. Fortunately the tram stopped and I was able to run away from him. The male attention I have received since losing weight has been both aggressive and hostile like this and more tame, yet still boundary violating like some dude grabbing my waist and rib cage on the street, catcalls, etc. I am not sure what to attribute this to other than my changed appearance.
I also have been receiving more positive attention – and that’s a bit of a problem too. I think that trainers need to educate their clients on what to do with the amount of attention we receive in our new bodies. I think that for me, being thinner always meant being more sexual, and this is not necessarily appropriate for me. In the past, whenever I got thinner, I wanted to show my body to as many people as I could because I was convinced I wouldn’t have it for long, and so I wanted proof that it existed in the approving glances of others. I am old enough (not too old for tattoos) and mature enough now to know not to go crazy like this anymore. I want to keep my body healthy and enjoy being fit, and not feel that I have to be thin in order to be valued. I am valued at any size.
The other thing that trainers don’t really warn you about is shopping. It is such a rush to go to a store and be able to buy clothing! Before, when I shopped with my beautiful, thin actress friends, I would never be able to buy anything but housewares! They’d be trying on the cutest outfits and I was limited to mugs and bead curtains. Now I can wear different kinds of things and it’s so exciting that I want to shop all the time! It’s absolutely insane! To look at clothing tags that say ‘m’ and ‘s’ and even ‘xs’ sometimes is a total rush for me. It’s an expensive high though, and it’s not the right thing to do. It’s wonderful to be able to treat yourself to beautiful things, especially if you’ve been working hard toward a goal, but for me it’s a dangerous preoccupation!
Trainers have helped me so much in finding a good balance with eating and exercise, but the social behaviors are something that I need help with too!