About 4 years ago, through a series of thoughts I can no longer really remember (back off, I was drunk!), I decided that I was going to try not eating meat. For the most part that is what I’ve done. Let me explain “for the most part.” My mother can be a little quirky about some things, and she doesn’t believe in vegetarians. I mean it, doesn’t believe in them. After a few stressful holiday visits arguing about it, I decided that it was best for my peace of mind and family unity to just eat meat in Portland. I got no end of amusement over being a carnevor in Portland and a vegetarian in DC. Struck me as funny.
Alas, no more.
(Well, no, the juxtaposition of location and food preference would still be funny.) I gave up giving up meat. For good.
On Saturday a friend I met through work and I joined Weight Watchers. I had previously been a WW member and it had worked really well for me. I gave it up just before I stopped drinking. I kept meaning to go back, but apparently I only had room in my life for one meeting-based organization. Which is really unfortunate because when I stopped drinking I started eating, and I mean EATING. For the first month or so of sobriety all I could do was eat, cry and sleep. (Like a baby, only not in a diaper.) After years of what amounted to serious malnutrition, it seemed that my body was going to get as much as it could just in case the whole sober thing didn’t pan out and my system once again became flooded in booze. I ate everything I could find, all the time. When I wasn’t eating I was crying or talking or both. And then I slept. Inevitable weight gain wasn’t really on my list of priorities. And the more time when on, the less and less motivation I had to do anything about the increasing snugness of my pants. Oh sure, I go through moments where I’d go to the gym twice in one week, but that was followed by having ice-cream every night for two weeks. I kept saying to myself “next time, I won’t do this.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Well, when Olivia and Emma Lewis passed away I needed clothes for the wake and funeral. Nothing I owned fit me, and Sean and Becca asked us to wear color to the funeral, a request I was more than willing to fulfill. Off I trotted to the mall, only to find that I could not fit into a single dress in a single store. I’m not exaggerating. I tried to try on dresses in multiple stores and couldn’t zip up a one of them. Finally, after hours I found a black dress for the wake and a blue dress for the funeral in Old Navy. The catch: the blue dress was from the maternity section. Now, this is a pretty common self-deprecating-fat-girl-joke: “haha, maybe I’ll just start shopping in the maternity section!” It’s not funny when you have no choice but to pray that no actual pregnant woman will be wearing the same dress to the Catholic funeral you’re attending. (In Catholicism, you always know someone who’s pregnant.) On the bus home, my purchases sitting next to me like a cheep fabric indictment, I had an online meltdown with Alissa, acknowledging that my problem was nothing in the context of Sean and Becca’s loss, but still, I was humiliated.
A couple weeks later Alissa and I were hanging out, talking about life, and she suggested I be more active in working towards what I want in life. It wasn’t a criticism at all, just a suggestion. It made me think; what do I want in life? I know that big things, sort of, I think. But I’ve been wary the last couple years of making too many plans, or getting too attached to a design for my life. Plans tend to end badly for me. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought about those dresses. I realized what I don’t want. I don’t want to ever be in that position again. The only time I want to buy a maternity dress in the future is when I am actually having a baby. I don’t want to be losing my shit over something stupid when something serious is happening.
I don’t want to be managing my life around my fat.
So when my friend asked me if I would go to WW with her, I knew what was the right call. But, you ask, what does this have to do with vegetarianism? Are there no vegetarians in WW? Silly, of course there are! It’s totally possible to be a vegetarian WWer. But, in that case, a staple part of your diet is meatless patties of the Boca or Morningstar variety, and while those are delicious, they are also made with wheat and corn, neither of which make my digestive tract happy. I evaluated my options, and sadly, the difficulty of doing WW without eating meat or veggie patties was more than it was worth to me in light of what I am trying to accomplish. My martyr complex makes it difficult sometimes for me to prioritize my choices. I often want to make things as difficult as possible on myself because I don’t want to think of myself as someone who says “you know what, that right there is just not fucking worth it.”
But I can change. I can eat chicken, just because it is easier.
(2 Years, 7 Months, and 10 Days Sober)