judgement and pacemakers: checking myself

Hello from Florida! A few days ago I was flying down the side of a mountain in Vermont (I successfully learned how to have fun skiing in Vermont) and today I was biking in shorts and a short-sleeve jersey. I am pretty glad to be a grad student right now.


My bike, in pieces.

My bike, in pieces.

For the record, my bike was sitting still. But 95km in January is pretty cool...

For the record, my bike was sitting still. But 95km in January is pretty cool…

On the news a few days ago, there was a little piece about a “pacemaker for the stomach.” You can read about it here on the Wall Street Journal’s website, but to my understanding it’s basically a device that goes into the abdomen and affects the nerve signals that are responsible for feelings of hunger and fullness. The details are not what’s important, but my reaction to it, which was initially to think that I would rather people “actually” lose the weight themselves instead of using what I sort of think is a band-aid.

But I’m not so sure.

As we were driving home from Vermont and my boyfriend mowed down on what he called a “freedom donut” (because everything in Amurrica = freedom ________), I realized that I haven’t eaten a donut in a really long time. Or French fries. Or pizza. And yeah, I don’t eat perfectly—I love me some chocolate. But I definitely pay attention to what I eat and exercise on a regular basis and still have weight on my mind—and on my thighs.

So maybe part of my resistance to weight loss surgeries or pills or quick fixes or whatever is that it frustrates me, since I am trying to “earn” my own. Of course, there’s the fears I have about compromising health and focusing on numbers at all costs, but I think it’s mostly my ideas about our bodies and “earning” them, working hard enough at it, trying…

Some women I know struggle to keep weight on. I know that some people “have it easier” when it comes to maintaining a thinner body. There are friends of mine who can eat froyo all the livelong day and who never exercise but who seem to look like they spend plenty of time at the gym. Those people don’t “earn” their bodies, either.

I think we want to believe that we absolutely earn our bodies—that we get what we put in and people get what they deserve when it comes to this stuff and to most things in our lives. And while I believe that we have a whole heck of a lot of power over our own lives, I’m not naïve enough to believe that I merit everything I have or am. I was born into a certain life and a certain body and a certain family and city and life and as much as I think I work hard, I know that there are people who started from a deficit compared to me and have had to work harder just to get even to where I am. This applies to our bodies too.

Just like there are people who are predisposed to have an easier time getting lean or getting into shape, there are people who are predisposed to have a tougher time. It’s up to each one of us to decide what we do with the bodies we are given them. I know that I want to take the best care I can of mine and I have to set the boundaries for myself and define what makes me “healthy” versus what might border on focusing too much on how I look (at the expense of health). So knowing that, I’m going to let a bit of the judgment go–anything I’m feeling towards those “cheaters” or the ones taking the “easy” route is really about myself. The more I can appreciate the body I do have and even appreciate that my “struggles” with weight have taught me so much about myself and about health, the easier that will be!

What do you think about “shortcuts?” 



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