When I was at the BlogHer convention this year one of the first stabs people made at small talk was to ask, “What do you blog about?” The first time I was asked this I replied without hesitation, “I’m a weight-loss blogger,” but immediately realized that coming from a mouth attached to a body wearing a size small t-shirt this sounded KRAZEE. Quickly I threw in, “I’ve lost 200 pounds!” in a desperate attempt to justify my blog’s purpose, as if I was screaming, “See! I had a legitimate medical reason to lose weight! I’m not some kooky thin girl that hates her body and thinks she needs to lose 50 pounds to become the emaciated cover girl for Anorexia Annual. Okay? Me not crazy! I’ll stop yelling at you now!”
However, sticking in that rider at the end wasn’t that much better because people kind of freak out when they learn how much weight I’ve lost. After I told one girl, her eyes popped out of her head and we had to crawl around on the carpet to fetch them from under the couch. Then we had to wash them off because they were covered in cat hair and carpet lint and some weird gunk that I don’t even want to think about. It’s rather odd telling people I’ve done this unusual thing and then getting all this praise for it, especially since I don’t like to brag or boast. I’d rather not mention it unless directly asked. I also wonder, “Well, what if I hadn’t lost the weight? What would you be saying to me then?” By that point in the conversation I felt so odd having all this focus and praise centered on me that I didn’t even want to mention that I’m writing a book too because then I’d have to change my name to Braggy McBoasts-a-Lot.
After a couple of these conversations I started contemplating introducing myself as a “health and fitness” blogger since then I wouldn’t have to explain the weight loss. However, I decided ultimately that would be deceptive because the driving force behind this blog has always been weight loss. Even though I write about food and fitness, it’s ultimately about being fat and about getting not-fat. So, I stuck with the “weight-loss blogger” line, even though I felt vain and self-centered every time I mentioned it.
However, two weekends ago during my brother’s wedding and all the brunches and dinners that accompanied it, I felt a bit differently. All of my brother’s and sister-in-law’s friends are smart accomplished people. So many of them are getting PhD’s that I think there’s going to be a consonant shortage. Some of them are already doctors who poke around in people’s brains or call security to hold down the crazy mental patients. Some of them can talk about image modalities and appear as though they actually know what they are talking about. And I think one of them is even in a band. They are all very cool, interesting people, but as I was sitting at the rehearsal dinner I couldn’t help thinking, “Thank God I lost 200 pounds and got a book deal or else I’d be feeling rather inferior right now with my Bachelor’s degree from a little-known college with an odd name.” In fact, I felt really secure about myself. I didn’t have to worry about fitting in the folding chairs and I didn’t have to worry about justifying my existence or proving that I was doing something worthwhile with my life. It was really nice. I was able to just enjoy the weekend without having to constantly reevaluate the validity of my life. If this event had taken place three years ago I don’t know if I would have survived without hiding in the bathroom for periods of time long enough to bring into question the caterer’s health standards.
It made me think, maybe weight-loss is not entirely vain and self-centered after all. It’s not all about having a cute butt, though I fully support everyone’s right to a cute butt. Losing weight is a really hard thing to do and there is a great sense of accomplishment that comes from ditching the extra pounds and keeping them off. I might have shrunk, but I’ve grown as a person. I sometimes think people get too excited over what I’ve done, but it’s understandable why they do. And even though I’ve come so far, there’s still a lot of room to grow. A lot of the wedding guests are happily married or own houses, neither of which seem to be in my near future, but they might be someday. It was cool to see all the different things people were doing with their lives. There really are so many things you can be. After conquering the weight, I feel like I could conquer anything at all if I really put my mind to it. That’s the best thing about weight loss, more than the size 12 jeans or the guy at the library who called me a “pretty lass.”
So yes, I am a weight loss blogger. And I’m damn proud of it. (But I’ll try not to brag.)