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Living Loz
Things in the life of Loz... 
12th-Apr-2014 12:12 am
Loz Cola
1. I have started my new T-shirt collection. It is aces. And 17 t-shirts strong already. I'm very proud of myself. I actually rebought three of the tees I had before, because I love them so much.

2. I've been expanding my musical repertoire, thanks in part to walking and needing to have a wider array of things to listen to. I'm really in love with Stromae, Mø, Sivu, Autoheart, and a near-monthly compilation of indie rock songs that frequently delivers tracks that are awesome to walk and drive to. But I'll always come back to this song. (This version is possibly my most favourite. Yeah. I mean, I miss Steven's voice in it, because his is one of my favourite ever voices, but the simplicity and yet beauty of this gets me. Plus, it's Bruce. Bruce is the best.)

3. I am on Easter holidays for two weeks. I really enjoy my new class most of the time and I don't have major behaviour issues with them at all, but boy did we all need this break.

4. I bought myself a slow cooker and it is wonderful. The smell of a delicious dinner awaiting me when I get home from work is joy making. I've still been making different cakes/sweet things each month. This month was jam doughnuts. The first go was an unmitigated disaster, but I wasn't going to let myself be defeated, so I went for another recipe, and gosh, the next batch turned out perfectly.

5. Under the cut you'll find discussion of weight loss, body image issues, me rolling my eyes about fatphobia, and some reflection.
The reason for my new t-shirt collection is that I well and truly had to stop wearing my other tees when two fellow staff members basically told me to. I was going to try and wear them until the end of time, regardless of the fact they now all look rather tent-like on me. The thing is, they were all XXL, because that used to be comfortable. And now I fit into a medium. Um. \o/?

Once again, importantly, I sang and danced 4 songs with my students today and only got a little breathless. I was dancing and doing very uncoordinated aerobics in my bedroom earlier and I was not only enjoying it, but I lasted 35 minutes. This time last year I probably would have done 10 minutes worth and then felt crappy. The human body is an amazing machine, sometimes. With a little bit of training it can change quite a bit. Which brings me to:

It manages to continue to astound me how frequently and verbosely others feel the need to comment on my body. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, and part of me is of course, but I was particularly taken aback by a lady I've literally never spoken to before, and whose name I don't know, talking with my current student teacher about my weight loss yesterday. First, she asked me how much weight I'd lost. (I lied and said 30 kg [66 pounds] when the truth is 40 kg [which apparently is 88 pounds, huh.] I still don't know why I did that.) When my student teacher said I didn't look like I'd lost a lot of weight because I have quite a thin face (???), this other lady said, "she was big". Yup, with emphasis. What the fuck? Like, I get it, I was bigger before, but saying that is the opposite of tactful isn't it? I was sitting there, staring. My other favourite exchange was when a parent of a student I don't teach/have never taught came up to me and said, "you look different, have you lost a tonne of weight by any chance?" Um, no. I just changed my aspect ratio.

I know I have to shut the hell up about this, (I wrote about it a month ago on my tumblr too), because I am such a cracked record, but it's annoying and displays a pervasive and frankly worryingly virulent fatphobia amongst my work colleagues/others that I honestly hadn't realized existed. I knew that a metric fucktonne of people buy into anti-fat propaganda, but I hadn't truly figured that this then meant they were so judgemental of others. I tend not to be. I was joyfully ignorant in how all of these people must have been viewing me for my first year of teaching at the school. Like, yeah, I'm probably being a huge hypocrite, as I am deliberately attempting to lose weight, but seriously, being fat, having fat, is not so fucking terrible. And I fail to see how it's relevant to anyone other than the person whose body happens to be or have fat, y'know?

On the whole I am only slightly happier now than I was before and any more happiness I derive generally is because of tricking my body into releasing certain hormones. I also sometimes have to pull myself back from slipping into some really unhealthy thought processes --- partly inspired by the relentless fucking comments. I haven't gone a week at work without someone saying something since January. This is not hyperbole. (Lovely M still hasn't said anything and I am still in love with him. Not just because of this, though. It is also still a hopeless love. Ha. Hahahaha.)

I guess my point here is that I was brilliant before, I continue to be brilliant. It's really sad to me that people are only recognizing my brilliance now. Perhaps I project more confidence, but way more people start talking to me now than ever did before. I --- rationally I know I should block it all out, or take these things as compliments, but I am not always a rational person.

Urgh, other people.

11th-Apr-2014 03:52 pm (UTC)
Man, I wish we got two weeks of Easter holidays! That's awesome. I could use it after this never-ending winter.

That is so frustrating that people are still commenting on your weight. Why does it have to be so important?

Sometimes I think most people are just fucking idiots though, and don't understand the concept of boundaries. I remember my cousin saying when she was pregnant with her son, strangers used to come up to her and touch her belly or give her parenting advice. She'd be like, get the fuck away from me, I don't know you! Probably the same kind of assholes who don't even know you but feel the need to comment on your body.

They must just have really sad lives that they don't have anything better to do…
11th-Apr-2014 08:51 pm (UTC)
Our system works in that we have 4 terms, the first 11 weeks, the next three 10 weeks long. We get 2 week breaks in between each term and 5 weeks off for summer vacation.

Thanks for getting one of the reasons this annoys me :D A friend of mine is pregnant and will soon have to contend with non-consensual belly-touching.
11th-Apr-2014 07:53 pm (UTC)
Matt's sister-in-law has lost nearly 8 stone in the last few years and it's impossible not to comment on it. To not mention her changed appearance would feel like I was saying I hadn't noticed it, which I think would be a bit rude given how much effort she's put into her weight loss. But my saying "wow, well done you for losing so much weight!" is not a veiled criticism of her previous fatness but a genuine expression of admiration for her achievement. It takes so much self-discipline to change the self, in any way, and I am in awe of anyone who manages it.

I totally wouldn't be surprised if you were projecting more confidence and thus drawing more people towards you, you know.

Anyway, at the risk of pissing you off, well done on losing 88 pounds! That's phenomenal! I can't think of anything I've done in my life that would equal that for sheer determination and sticking-at-it-ness.

And hurray for new t-shirts!
11th-Apr-2014 08:43 pm (UTC)
So now I ask you some questions - has Matt's sister in law started conversations about trying to lose weight? What's your quota for mentioning it, do you think? If someone mentions it before you, do you then feel the need to chime in with your two cents about how suddenly fantastic she's looking? (This one I can sort of understand as then feeling rude at not wanting to act like you didn't notice it, btw.) Does she seem genuinely happy when you express your admiration, or do her eyes slide to the side, does her face become peaky, and does she suddenly up and leave/change the subject?

I ask these things because some people are open with what they term their 'weight loss struggle' and will, obviously, actually want praise for all the effort they've put in. I've never opened up a dialogue about losing weight at school. Not once. I've not rambled on about my 'struggle', because, uh, it hasn't been one so much. Should I feel bad that this hasn't been a struggle for me beyond all the comments fucking with my head, Madeline? Because I feel like maybe I should be. There have been moments I've genuinely wondered if maybe I also concurrently have a tapeworm or something because my body hasn't had trouble losing weight. Now, sure, the rate of weight loss has slowed down, but the initial thing wasn't difficult and the discipline was so far as 'I won't eat that cake today, but by fuck I'll eat it at some point'/'I won't skip eating until dinner and then eat 8 slices of toast with jam, instead I will have a balanced day with more vegetables'. And I am lucky, that has actually never been hard for me. I am aware that this is luck, by the way, that the story is different for others. That is my point, here.

I think it's about reading people and not making sweeping generalized assumptions. I've had lots of people ask me if I'm doing this naturally or have gone on pills/had lap-band surgery. (Can of worms, obvs.) I've had lots of people ignore the fact that I have clearly tried to shut down the conversation. And on occasion I have become downright cold at someone 'congratulating' me again. I put emphasis on again, because, admittedly, several of these comments are from new people, but there is a group of others who have said something every month or so. People run across courtyards to tell me how fabulous I am, holy fuck.

You may not mean it as a veiled criticism, but you have to know, depending on the person you're talking to, it may come across as one.
11th-Apr-2014 08:38 pm (UTC)
I understand having mixed feelings about this, and yet... It is a huge physical, visible change, when a person loses a lot of weight. We (humans) are really good at noticing change. And no doubt everyone thinks they're giving you kudos for having the motivation to stick with a program.

Also, there is a gigantic fat phobia in, well, most of the world. One has only to look at any advertisement for clothes or food or cars or whatever. It's not pretty--and speaking of that word, I'd like to see a far more generous definition of "pretty" in use. Stick thin models with layers of makeup? No thanks.</p>

But anyway. Thinner is healthier, for the most part--kudos for finding happiness in food and walking and new t-shirts!

11th-Apr-2014 08:48 pm (UTC)
I've been doing it slowly and I am sick of the kudos, tbqh. Praise me for something else already. I have hundreds of other awesome traits. (ETA: this is not directed at you, BG, you know I <3 you.)

The fat-phobia of the world is utterly disgusting and is bringing me down, I am not going to lie.

Edited at 2014-04-11 08:49 pm (UTC)
11th-Apr-2014 11:34 pm (UTC)

I have posted about this before

I have people I work with that go out of their way to tell everyone that they're on a diet and it's obvious that they want feedback, see it as reinforcement, like their own version of joining Weight Watchers. For those people I'll be sure to say something if I notice a change. BUT they are setting the parameters.

I'm the sort of person who'll compliment someone on a lovely flattering dress or a new hair-do but I would *never* comment directly on their physical person except for the above.

As I said in my post, my weight varies some and I will sometimes get (unsolicited) remarks from other women about it. I usually shut them right down, "yeah I have -- *insert new subject here*) The more I do it the less often it happens. I think it's because most of them do *mean* well and are just unaware of the messages they've absorbed. If I show no sign of finding the topic interesting they tend to move right on.

12th-Apr-2014 09:12 am (UTC)
We are so alike in so many key ways, Drayce. I think I've come to the conclusion that it is precisely because I've never really hated my body that these comments give me the epic shits. I don't see the point in hating a vessel that never did anything but do its best. And at the end of the day, I am more than my physical attributes.

(Oh God, the constant 'you're so good' comments. My standard lunch is 95 g tuna in springwater, an apple & a small salad -- because it is convenient, because I enjoy it, and because it's relatively nutritious. The number of times people have called me good for it are ridiculous. And people NEVER appreciate it when I say I'm planning on having pizza for dinner.)

I think maybe I am too polite because some people never seem to pick up on the fact I don't want to talk about it.
12th-Apr-2014 03:26 am (UTC)
Insert here my broken record comment agreeing that people need to shut up about other people's bodies and particularly weight loss. My experience is that they eventually do shut up, mostly. Not that people wised up and changed their ways, but since I have maintained my weight for a couple of years and kind of stabilized and stopped changing size and shape, they stopped being startled into blurting unsolicited remarks.

I have an altered perspective on fat phobia, though. I keep uncomfortably recognizing it in myself, usually in moments when I feel the influence of other people's choices and actions on my mind.
12th-Apr-2014 09:05 am (UTC)
<333 I love you, Su.

... is it really going to take a couple of years? I may murder someone before that time arrives.

I have not yet slipped into a fatphobic mindset, although I was trying to get my mum to make her eating habits healthier, as she was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure. It didn't work, so I've given up forcing the issue.
12th-Apr-2014 05:24 am (UTC)
I'm glad you posted; I was only thinking about you the other day and wondering how you were getting on. I've been a bit luckier in some respects, there's nobody much to make a comment about my progress and even my BH knows better than to mention it. For the record, though, I'm still losing weight ... no idea how much, but I've hit my target of being a size 16 by Easter (from roughly a 26/28 this time last year) and I'm back wearing a couple of much-loved teeshirts from the mid-1990s. Also, after a long break for winter, we've started our walking routine again - tried to go in January but were rained off half-way round, and had to miss February and March completely for other reasons. We did seven miles on Wednesday though, and are planning to do the same distance again next month, and maybe increase to twice a month or more after we move house. (Now that BH has retired and money is a bit more plentiful we both went out and bought new walking boots, and the difference that's made is unbelievable!) I reckon I could probably do nine or ten miles in a day now, and really the only thing bothering me at the moment is how to tighten up all the saggy muscles!!! Anyway, what matters most is that you and I both feel good about ourselves and happy with what we're achieving - so go us; personally I think we're both brilliant!
12th-Apr-2014 09:03 am (UTC)

I'm a size 16 now too, although I was a size 22 before, so clearly you've lost more than me. 10 miles is so long! But yes, I think you could easily manage it. Most days lately (when I haven't had parent teacher interviews), I've been doing about 3 miles, but there was a long stretch of time when I was doing 7.5 mile walks on weekends. I also use my resistance band exercises, and as mentioned in this post, dance like a fruit loop around my room. I do wish I'd realised I actually like exercising 10 years ago.

I agree that you're utterly brilliant.
12th-Apr-2014 06:18 am (UTC)
I have to say, I really appreciate how much you focus on fitness and physical activity in your posts. I'm fat myself, and my past attempts to lose weight have been...unsuccessful to say the least. But exercise is something where I know I can achieve noticeable results (I just spent the last week scuba diving, and 3-4 dives a day plus a bit of extra trekking and snorkeling didn't wear me out), and it's nice to see someone who, after going on a diet, still doesn't treat weight loss like the most important thing.

I hope people get used to your new size and stop making it such a huge thing.
12th-Apr-2014 08:58 am (UTC)
It's all about physical fitness, for me. The main reason I was overweight wasn't really unhealthy eating, it was how sedentary I was outside of school - both as a student and a teacher - so getting up, moving and dedicating time almost every day to some form of concentrated exercise has been the key to me feeling better. Is it because you haven't found an exercise that suits you/because of physical or time limitations that you haven't been able to lose weight the way you've wanted to?

I sincerely hope your last thing too, but I have a horrible feeling they won't, considering they still haven't. It's been a year since I got more active and switched to a higher protein & lower carb diet. It'll be at least another year I think until I am at a fitness level that is sustainable and more toned.
14th-Apr-2014 07:44 am (UTC)
I spent a good chunk of my teen years as a short, curvy-but-slim girl in XL Ts (the XXXL ones came down to my knees and swamped me with fabric. Great nighties...). In my case part of it was coz it was a lot less weird chatting to guys who came up to me because my Tshirt was cool than guys who came up to me because I was a girl. With boobies and everything. Baggy Ts are comfy, and it's convenient if a differently shaped/sized friend gets caught in the rain and lending them something dry makes sense. But it's not a particularly flattering, feminine, or professional look.

In some ways as well, if they're really loose on you now when they used to be your size, they might also emphasise and draw attention to the weight loss? Maybe people will stop commenting on it so much now you're building up a collection of Medium Ts?

It's great that you've always felt reasonably friendly towards the cells known collectively as your body. It's brilliant that you have more energy, more stamina, etc. It must also be pretty nifty to have a wider selection of clothes to try on when shopping. It's fantastic that you recognise that, while your eating habits and exercise patterns have changed a bit, you are still the same (insightful, thoughtful, wonderful) person you always were.

I'm socially awkward enough to notice people have had hair cuts, SAY 'You've had your hair cut!' Consider that they probably are aware of this, and add 'It really suits you'. It really is a case of my brain getting stuck on there being something different, identifying it, and my mouth stepping in.

I've lost a stone due to morning sickness over the last 2 months. One of my friends who I told pretty early on and I were talking and she said it is noticeable and yet another reason why pregnancy is a bit terrifying and not something she (as somebody who is physically tiny, with very little body fat, a really high metabolism, healthy diet, fondness for cake moderated by the knowledge that diabetes and heart issues run on both sides of her family, and people commenting that she needs feeding up not infrequently) would like to subject her body to.

Possibly because it's been accompanied by my boobs growing at least half a cupsize, and my stomach growing and rounding a bit (it looks really obviously different to me, but that's coz I know I don't typically carry weight on my stomach like this) I think the end result is that most people wouldn't notice a difference, so not many people have commented on it. My typical response so far has been along the lines of 'woohoo, involuntary bullimia! Yay for looking healthier as a result!' (I have had variants of this conversation with my mum and sister.) But then, I am a sarcastic cow a lot of the time.

My best friend touched my belly the other day. I thought she was mucking around, since we'd just been joking that some people might have thought we were a couple. She was puzzled by this because it was a 'there's a baby in there! *touch touch*' response. I told her flat out the incorrect attribution I assigned to her action made a lot more sense, and her actual motivation was weird. (When you've been friends for almost 19 years, it's a reasonably safe bet you can tell people this and - even if they disagree - it will not affect the friendship.)

I've just about hit the stage where sometimes, if I'm lying or sitting still with no distractions, I feel a light flutter which I can't readily assign to my own body. I'm not sure if I've started to feel the more enthusiastic somersaults or if I just don't typically pay that much attention to my digestive system. It's very early to feel a first pregnancy, but I've occupied this body long enough to be reasonably well-acquainted with its typical functioning, so I'm honestly not sure which it is. Other than 'my flesh' there definitely isn't anything for other people to feel yet...

If strangers start trying to touch me without asking once there's no mistaking the baby bump, I'm not ruling out biting as a response. Personal space matters to me; pregnant people have carte blanche to act insane; people have to learn to respect these things somehow.
16th-Apr-2014 10:34 pm (UTC)
A few people at church touched my bump without asking. I made a point of obviously drawing my coat/cardi closer together as I passed them next time I saw them. They asked to see/touch it after that. I refused. They stopped asking.

It's bizarre how some people view a pregnant woman's body as public property.

"flutters" sounds about right for feeling those first movements, by the way. :)
14th-Apr-2014 08:05 pm (UTC)
Um, no. I just changed my aspect ratio.

I know this is a serious topic but this really cracked me up, thanks for that. Good T-Shirt slogan, too. ;)

People are tactless shits and I am sorry that you have to suffer through these comments on a regular basis. However, maybe some of them keep doing it because they mean to be encouraging and supportive, they're just unable to understand how this might sound to you.
14th-Apr-2014 09:09 pm (UTC)
You don't have to shut up about anything! Fatphobia is a thing, it will continue to be a thing and as long as people are going to think they have any right to read your beads about, you have every right to vent in whatever forums you deem appropriate.

I'm still fighting my own internalized fat-phobia, as well as the comments from my Mint bodies, which are extremely contradictory in nature, ranging from "Keep up the good work" to "Don't lose any more weight."
16th-Apr-2014 01:37 pm (UTC)
People need to get their nose out of other peoples business. And if they xant think of something nice say nothing...
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