Monday, July 31, 2023

Structured Compassion, Compassionate Criticism

The last six months, and the last 55 pounds have represented a real shift in outlook for me.  When I started out at 330+ pounds I thought that it was balanced to eat a desert a few nights a week.  Now I go out in public and watch people in similar bodies eating ice cream and think "how the heck can they think that is a good idea?"  

It wasn't so long ago that that was me, but now that feels like "other". It's really easy to be coarsely critical of people still carrying the 55 lbs that I lost, to use words like "fat f*ck*, or "fat a**" and the like.  Maybe it comes from an insecure part of myself, the part that knows you can always recede.  It feels more important to have some kind of compassion as a default mode, and apply it to everybody, not just people eating the right foods.

I write about how the concept of "not denying yourself" on a diet is less about permitting lapses, and more about learning that it is OK to indulge in the areas where it is safe to indulge.  I have written about how I believe "don't deny yourself" means eat luxurious foods like well-seasoned (often well-salted) steak, it means embracing spice, and umami, and letting go of sweetness.  Similarly though, having compassion doesn't mean being permissive about bad behaviors. It means reinforcing the things that work, being compassionately critical of the things that don't, sticking to your guns when it comes to what you think is good and right with respect to nutrition, but also not being a dick.

I also have a ways to go, at 280lbs I can't make any claim to inhabiting a healthy body.