I woke up this week to a lot of change. Or rather, I realized I was ready to change a lot of things. This is going to be a weird lead-off, but stick with me.
I read this article by Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept last night. I'll warn you, it's graphic. It was an expose on factory farming, and also on how far a government agency (in this case, the FBI) will go to protect the status quo.
It got me thinking about the way I consume meat. I've always been an omnivore -- I had a brief flirtation with vegetarianism in college when I studied abroad, but it was never serious. I went back to my meat eating ways when I returned. But you know how you have a moment sometimes where you discover something and then you can't unknow it? Yeah. This article is doing that for me.
In general, the meat I buy comes from humane farms with sustainable practices. But I hadn't thought about it much when I traveled, or ate out. A lot of Bay Area restaurants do have grass-fed, sustainable, good meat, but I haven't been nearly as conscientious about asking as I now want to be.
Even if that's all true and the animal had a good life, I struggle with the idea that my needs would cause someone else pain. Even for a second. Even if they're unaware it's coming. It just bugs me. So that's a thing I'm contemplating.
Of course, when I started thinking I might become a vegetarian, a teeny voice piped up with, "But it might make you gain weight! You can't ever be Paleo again." That voice is real annoying.
Which made me realize, and not for the first time, if I wanted a smaller body I'd have to make that a major focal point of my life. Food prep and working out and everything else is time consuming. It also eats your mental and emotional bandwidth. It's hard to plan everything out and not eat what your partner is having and account for every food opportunity during your day. You're also battling (in my case) genetics and lifestyle factors and a bunch of other stuff.
What is so great about having a smaller body? I took some time to think it all the way through, and all I could come up with, in my case, is that it might silence the voices in my head that argue for a smaller body being better.
I am privileged in that my size, for the most part, doesn't cause any job discrimination, comfort issues, problems finding clothes or a partner, etc. I see and recognize that I have that privilege. I'm not judging anyone who wants a smaller body. I get it. Having a smaller body just plain makes life easier in our shitty society, and who doesn't want that? The world is fucking hard right now.
It's just that for me, the size of my body is not really negatively impacting my quality of life, but dieting would. When I'm dieting, I'm not super fun to be around because it really limits what social opportunities I have. I'm also not really there? Because I'm calculating what I can eat and when and fixating on it all. It's fucking boring.
I want those resources to do other stuff. All the time I've spent on being smaller (which admittedly, isn't a lot -- it probably consumed my life for about 2 years? Still. Still!) could have been utilized on writing, on activism, on art, on ... oh gosh, everything.
Everything! I can do so much more when I'm not absorbed with dieting. Or even not do more! Because doing more is also a function of capitalism and fuck capitalism and its myopic focus on productivity. But either way - I am a kinder, more present, and more interesting human when I'm not putting a ton of minute attention on my diet and workout plan.
Instead, I think it's all about being more intentional with all this stuff. Intention is different than focus. If I set positive intentions that feels better than the very specific right/wrong of diet culture. So here are my intentions: to nourish my body, to move it in a way that feels joyful, to be kinder to living beings, to rest as much as I need to, to stay grounded.
Not specific, and not a problem if I mess up. We're all learning. We need room to grow, to not punish ourselves as we learn.
Fuck diets forever, man. I'm out.