This year has had some serious bumps. It has also been amazing in a ton of ways for myself and for my family, but it has been really emotionally challenging for me. I have been really afraid for people, probably more that I have ever been in my life before. All of that is due to what is going on in our country and with our government, and it is like a damn dark cloud that follows me around no matter where I go.
I am not saying that it isn’t serving a purpose. I need the frigging cloud with me as a reminder not to stop fighting to make things better, but it has been really challenging having it around all of the time. The cloud was reinforced by a lot of loss at the beginning of the year, including that of our family’s dog. It sucked.
I have also had to distance myself from a lot of people who were constantly making me sad because all that I could see when I looked at their smiling faces was the privilege they were wallowing in while refusing to even acknowledge it. I was feeling so resentful towards them that it was causing me immense guilt and I finally had to let them go.
I have also had some very close friends who suffered a few different tragic losses and I was finding myself really wrapped up in my concern for them - it was leaving me feeling very helpless too - which can often happen while you have to stand by and watch as those that you love suffer. I am blinking back the tears right now. All of that has been really hard.
And then there is my constant and incessant bane. Food. My love - my life - my greatest challenge - my number one enemy - my favorite thing on earth. The war between us never seems to end.
If you have read my stuff before you may know part of this - in brief - I lived with very high-functioning anorexia for roughly six years of my life in my thirties. I would prefer to be a vegetarian for ethical reasons, but every time that I go off of a regular diet of very small quantities of mostly meat proteins and some veg. I gain weight, and I hate it.
I have read and read about people overcoming their own battles with what they want their bodies to be versus what sort of genetics they were born with. I have worked so hard at gaining more acceptance for the fact that my body can be perfectly healthy and carry extra weight - but I just can’t get there.
Every time that I try - ever so slowly but surely, when my body starts putting on those pounds to get it back to the state where it seems to want to be if I allow it to have carbohydrates - I start getting more and more disgusted with it.
I love my body so much when it is lean. I love the feel of it. I can’t stand when I feel the weight in my torso, which is the place where I always put it on. I know that society has conditioned me to feel this way ever since I was a chubby little girl, which sparks my angry defiance, but it doesn’t change the way that I feel about my body. I am unhappy when I am not thin.
My husband and I were in a rough place earlier this year because he has this epic sex drive, and I had been putting on weight by just trying to eat what the rest of the family does, and the thought of sex absolutely disgusted me because all I could think about was how gross my naked body looked shaking around. It literally turns my stomach. So no sexy feelings there.
At the end of the day - I am back to bacon - and the weight that I put on through the beginning of the year is melting off again pretty damn rapidly. I feel better. I am happier. To be fair, I am taking a couple of happy-helping supplement as well - but I believe that the majority of the turn around has come directly from the weight loss. My healthy sex life has been incrementally returning as the fat melts off. No surprise there.
I actually work with a few different vegans who I respect a hell of a lot - but to a point. There are a lot of realities about the vegan diet which even certain experts in the community are completely unwilling to recognize - one of those being that everyone is really damn different. We all have different body types, and it never fucking fails to baffle my mind how many doctors, and scientists, and dietitians refuse to acknowledge that simple fact.
Vegans often complain about how mocked they are by mainstream meat eaters, but I think that what they are failing to see is that a lot of us out there are a bit resentful because they are living a lifestyle which many of us have attempted, but failed at because - quite frankly - our bodies don’t survive well on that diet. I have read literal lists of medical complications that people have suffered - through lab tests run by their doctors - because they were feeling really badly on their vegan diets. The vegan diet simply does not fit all shapes and sizes.
I carry a lot of guilt because I am well educated about the horrible realities of the meat industry. Both the cruelties involved in the large scale farming of meat and the ecological impact are serious concerns of mine, but there are just too many carbohydrates in plant proteins for me to survive on while maintaining the body that makes me happy - so as conscientiously as possible - I am eating meat, and I am pretty sure that at this point - I will be for the rest of my life.
My body LOVES meat. I am allergic to so many foods. Gluten and most processed crap - I work hard to avoid any packaged food with more than five ingredients. Because of cross-pollination I am allergic to avocados and a whole list of other fruits depending on the season. I have to avoid anything with a lot of acid. I tried a kombucha once - one sip - and I thought that I was going to throw up fire. When stuff like that happens sometimes the pain doesn’t go away for a day or two. If I accidentally eat gluten, I end up burping on the bathroom floor continuously for two hours or more. Meat though - leaves my body absolutely - perfectly - pain free.
I shop carefully. I try hard to find good affordable sources of high quality meats that I feel have the lowest likelihood of being involved in incidents of cruelty. I have little ethical problem with the idea of a happy life and a quick end when it comes to animals that we eat. On the conservation end of things, I actually consume very small amounts of foods when I eat. A meal for me can be a couple of strips of bacon and a few pieces of broccoli, so I don’t really think that I am tipping any scales with my meat consumption.
I also still encourage my family to eat meat free meals relatively often - because they can digest them right on through, whereas my body holds onto every single molecule of a meal to pack it on as if I won’t be eating a crumb for the next six months. I joke about being German - I joke about the fact that I can gain weight by merely looking at a carbohydrate, but seriously - my body lives in a constant state of storage. It barely even matters if I exercise or not, I just can’t put carbohydrates in my body. (The exercise matters for other reasons, of course. I do it. It just doesn’t affect my weight gain or loss much at all.)
I am at a place right now where I am just really focusing in on how my body responds to the things that I put into it and what it is craving. At present - that thing seems to be mostly bacon. I can fast pretty easily for fifteen to twenty hours. So then, on a clean system, I eat what I know will be well received…then I try a bite of something else, and I know immediately if it is a “nope” because I feel uncomfortable right away. This week carrots aren’t making the list. Bacon remains consistent, however.
I am eating though. This is something that is really important to me. I do not consider all of this as a tragedy. It would be far more tragic if I had simply stopped eating enough food again. If I wasn’t eating enough to get down healthy vitamins and supplements. If my hair was falling out again. Considering the rough start to 2017, I am really proud that I did not end up back in that place again.
I have faith too, that all of this experience will better educate me to help other people one of these days. If I have learned anything through this long course of ins and outs and ups and downs - it is that each and every human is so uniquely different. Our bodies all have such different systems and responses to different stimuli. We are all so much more strongly affected physically by our mental states than we realize. There is no one solution to help make all people more healthy, or happy, or functional.
We can all keep searching for the solutions that work, and keep being as supportive as possible when other people share the solutions that work for them with us. We all have solutions out there somewhere, and sometimes, they are even solutions as seemingly ridiculous as bacon.