by Rachel Crosby
Rachel is a writer and artist educator living in Toronto, ON. As a writer for theatre, her work has been performed across Canada. She lives quietly in a lovely home with her husband and many, many computers, cats and unfinished drafts. She stands proudly at four foot eleven.
Very, very quietly, my husband and I decided to get healthy. For a short time in our lives, we thought we’d play out what our healthiest selves might look like – before, you know, we pump out some babies and have other mouths to feed. So for three months, we ate really healthy and lost some pounds.
Diets were no new thing for me. As a woman who greets the world with some tits and ass, dieting was something I had learned about in grade seven and from that moment on, dieting and I began our dance. For my husband, this was new. As a man, he has always been taught that he could eat whatever he wants.
Side note: both men and women have been done a real disservice here. Men are never really taught about food, where as women have the opposite extreme where we learn to read nutritional information before Nancy Drew. Both are damaging lessons to learn.
I chose, very deliberately, to not discuss my ongoing three-way relationship between me, my scale and my refrigerator with outside parties. No Facebook status updates (“Yes! 5 lbs to goal weight!” or “Totally killed myself at the gym today – take that, thighs!”), no hardcore website tracking (with the weekly sometimes daily emails reminding me to record all the things I put in my mouth or stick directly to my ass).
My husband, is different. When he gets on to something new, he is on it like sour cream on a baked potato (which I haven’t had in months – can you bring one to me?). He was reading articles and sharing his findings with me. I mean, this whole diet thing was new to him – so many things to discover, facts to prove and mathematical food calculations to roll around in. In fact, when he shared his new food theories with other men, they gave him credit: “Holy shit, dude. You look ripped – what are you doing?” “I’m not eating the buns on my burgers, man. It’s easy.” Me, I was kind of over it. I figured I’d play this food game with him. That’s what love does.
And for the love of my body and my sanity, I didn’t want to talk about it at all. I was exhausted. I was tired of going to the office christmas party and being engaged in a conversation with a female colleague about my most recent cleanse while chowing down on garlic shrimp. I was bored knowing that as long as I could talk eloquently about zumba or yoga, no group of female strangers in a room were unreachable. I was sick of getting wine drunk and hate-reading on Facebook late into the night.
My worth is more than my weight.
But our bodies are fair game for anybody and everybody to comment on, poke at, compliment or backwards compliment at will and generally inquire about over tea (Nettle tea, good for digestion, mild laxative effect, etc., etc., etc..) And don’t even get me started on how that triples nine thousand percent when you are pregnant.
Our hush became a dull roar soon enough, on a family vacation where my husband’s family hadn’t seen us since our summer wedding. Suddenly, the two dress sizes I dropped was the topic of the day. All my female relatives came up to me and – before asking how my newly married life is – said, “You’ve lost weight!” Yes, I suppose I had. I suppose it meant that I had conquered my love/hate relationship with food. I was skinny and pretty and I deserved all the accolades for my hard work.
I wanted to scream: “Stop talking about it!”
It’s hard, isn’t it? I’m writing about it, aren’t I? Even as I type this, I could be a hypocrite. My hunch is that as you read this, you’re wondering in the back of your mind, how did I lose the weight and maybe you wish I told you exactly what I ate, and what I counted, and how I made myself accountable, and what weight was I before and what did I look like now, etc. But I don’t want to talk about it with you. What I do in the comfort of my own kitchen is private, isn’t it?
I believe it isn’t too late. We can slowly we turn our heads away from the mirror and towards something greater than ourselves. Cause I don’t want to bond with you over my caloric intake anymore.
(Picture by larskflem via Flickr)