It’s been 3 months now since I was diagnosed with Diabetes.  My kid tells me it takes 30 days to form a new habit.  Some other article says anywhere from 2 to 8 months.  So here I am somewhere in the middle.  I hope it’s safe to think of some of the elements of my new life as habitual, on their way to becoming ingrained.

I hardly ever forget to take my pills with breakfast and dinner.  My daily walk has become routine (and grown from 2k last summer, to 3k over the winter, to 5k on a good day and 3-4k on a day when I “don’t really bother”).  We’ve changed our shopping habits so it is easy to include whole grains, and leafy greens.  I’m getting pretty reliable at preparing a pot of leftovers so that making good choices is easy when I’m home.  I’m figuring out what my better options are for eating away.  I’m happy to have these choices becoming habitual.  And I feel good, most of the time.  I worry a little bit that I will forget what it felt like to feel bad, most of the time.  I don’t quite trust that habit will be enough to keep me making better choices, if I forget the negative stimulus that prompted me to finally accept reality and go get the diagnosis.

One side effect of changing how I eat, and how I move, and also TAKING THE DRUGS is that I’m losing weight.  Enough so that other people notice.  Enough so that I can’t wear any of my pants without a belt.  The last clothing items I’ve purchased have been from straight-size stores (or straight-size sections).  After spending my entire adult life as a plus-sized woman I’m having a bit of an identity crisis.

I worked hard to get to where I could claim something that resembled “body positivity”, to reject diet culture, and to enjoy my fat body as the means by which I am able to perceive and participate in the world around me.    I decided a long time ago that I was never going to diet-for-weight loss again.  And now I am getting a lot of external feedback (ooh, how I love extrinsic rewards!) about weight loss.  “Congratulations, you’re doing great!” which is, I know, supposed to be complimentary and motivating.  But I’m getting all this positive feedback for winning at a game that I do not want to play.   But it is SO MUCH harder in a diet-culture world for anyone to say “Hey, look at you eating the thing that is going to feel good later, like a star!  Way to walk away from your desk and feed yourself at noon!”  Turning the weight loss into a victory and celebrating that is just what we’re taught.  THAT is one helluva ingrained habit.  I can’t really justify my frustration with the people who do it.  They are trying to be kind.

Part of me is delighted.  I now have a body that is perceived by almost everyone around me as less of a failure.  But I feel like enjoying that is a repudiation of those claims I was making about body positivity.  It feels like enjoying the ability to shop in more than 2 stores is a betrayal- buying in to the idea that this new form of me is just as much inherently better as diet culture promised it would be.  This part is hard.

What if I actually enjoy winning at the game I only said I didn’t want to play, but really do?


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