The chicken or the asshole

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[Image: A background of hay. A yellow chick stands beside an egg.]

What came first? The chicken or the asshole?

It really surprised me how hostile some people were when I told them that I became a vegetarian. Sometimes making that statement was enough for someone to launch into a diatribe where they told me what I thought and felt about omnivores and just how wrong I was to think it. Sometimes there was eye rolling. Sometimes there were stories about other people they knew who were vegetarian who were just so difficult that it was impossible to put up with their food demands. Other times there was the age-old question, “How are you going to get your protein?” or questions about my health which aren’t any of their business.

I started thinking, why is my statement of vegetarianism so offensive to some people? Why are people so annoyed or angry when I merely state what I eat? And why would anyone care what I put in my mouth?

Being on both sides of this issue, first an avowed meat eater, and now a vegetarian, I think I understand why everyone on both sides of the spectrum are so annoyed with each other. Kind of. Personally, I’ve mellowed in my old age and I really don’t have enough fucks to give over shit like this.

Omnivore side: Some animal rights groups and activists use shame, guilt, and scare tactics to try to convince others to be more like them. One way to get someone to stop listening to you when you’re trying to make a point is to be insulting and rude. Even if these groups are making good points about how animals are treated in factory farming, human health and wellness, or whatnot, most people are major fans of tone policing and won’t listen if the delivery is angry or accusatory.

Vegetarian side: Meat eaters hear that you’re a vegetarian and immediately leap to the conclusion that you’re one of THOSE vegetarians that thinks they’re lesser human beings and lacking in intelligence solely based on their diet. So they go on the offensive immediately. Meanwhile, a person that doesn’t want to eat meat is confronted with an angry person who is defending themselves against something they were never accused of.

 

So what can we do? First off, everyone needs to relax.

Non-meat eaters, quitting, shaming, insulting, and berating people who don’t eat what you do does not work. So stop doing it to omnivores. If you need proof that this doesn’t work, just look at how angry and defensive some people get as soon as you mention vegetarianism.

Meat eaters, don’t assume that everyone who doesn’t eat meat is attacking you for doing it when all they’re actually doing is stating their diet. There’s no need to defend yourself from a vegetarian who uttered the phrase, “I’m a vegetarian.” There are extremists in every group in history. There’s no need to treat everyone in a group like they are the most dedicated extremist there ever was.

When it really comes down to it, what you eat is a personal choice and everyone should be free to make that choice for themselves. Whatever it is.

3 Years Post-Gastric Sleeve Weight Loss Surgery!

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[Image: A selfie I took in my room. I’m smiling and holding up three fingers.]

I’ve been having a really good body month so far. August 4th was Boob Day and I got my long-awaited breast reduction. Today, August 13th, is my 3 year anniversary of my gastric sleeve weight loss procedure. Needless to say, both procedures have changed my life for the better. I’m so happy with how both have turned out so far.

Since August 13, 2012 I have lost over 100 lbs. I’ve gained a lot of body confidence. Not from being thinner, but from accepting my body for what it is and what it looks like, regardless of what society thinks. I feel comfortable in my own skin, for the first time in my life. My body is not the same as it was before my binge eating disorder caused me to gain all of the weight, but my acceptance of it is unconditional.

I was looking at a picture taken last December when I first went into Dr. Lopes office for the breast reduction consultation. My body is covered in stretchmarks from my 90+ lb weight gain in just over a year in 2010-2011. I have them everywhere now and when I saw an image of them, completely unfiltered or edited, I just mentally shrugged. I’m a tiger. I’ve earned some stripes. My body is an amazing thing that carries physical reminders of where it’s been.

No matter how I’ve harmed it in the past, with my eating disorder, with self-harm stemming from my bipolar disorder, with unhealthy habits and practices, it’s still strong as ever. I finally understand that my body is not my enemy, it’s my most faithful friend. I need to take care of it instead of hating it. And I will.

So if you need a reason to raise a glass tonight, raise one to making peace with your body. It’s not an easy thing to do. But it’s just one part of a journey to self-acceptance and being at okay with every part of you.

STRSIASC: Spinach and crab dip

11072343_10100866549505294_97116181_nThis week, on Star Throws Random Shit Into A Slow Cooker, I made something. And it was amazing. And easy too. I love slow cookers. Here is my recipe. Enjoy!

Shit to throw in:

1 lb of mozzarella cheese
1 wheel of bleu brie
Handful of chopped spinach
1/4 stick butter
1/4 cup milk
16 oz of cream cheese
5 cloves of garlic (pressed)

Shit for later:

10 oz of white crab meat.

Directions:

Add all “Shit to throw in” items and put the slow cooker on high. Stir occasionally. It will take about 3 hours to completely melt on high or about 6 on low. When completely melted, turn slow cooker to keep warm, and add the crab. Stir until it’s been mixed in.

Serve with veggies or chips for dipping. Get creative! I used raw asparagus for this dip and it was amazing. I’ve also used white Doritos chips and pita chips for this dip alone. Go crazy with it!

Me, in my underwear, at 315 lbs

I recently received a message from someone intending to intimidate and body shame me. They noted that they had photos of me when I was 300 lbs, in my underwear, and eating. They remarked that, out of the goodness of their hearts, they had not released these photos on the internet. Insinuating that I would be embarrassed by these photos and also that they believed they had blackmail material handy if they ever needed it.

Welp, I thought, that was interesting. When it comes down to it, the last thing I would ever do would be to try to deny who I was at any point in my life. I’m not embarrassed that I once weighed over 300 lbs. I’m  not ashamed that I got weight loss surgery. I’m not humiliated that I have binge eating disorder and I gained weight because I was sick and out of control. The very fact that I was supposed to be scared of these photos and of this person releasing them is just ridiculous.

Not to mention; I have a fucking eating disorder. Making comments like that about anyone’s weight is unacceptable, but to do it to someone who has a mental illness specifically regarding food and their body is nothing short of vapid and cruel. Right now, however, I am in a really good place. A really good one. And I’m not ashamed of who I was or what I looked like.

So here are photos of me at 315 lbs, in my underwear, hours before I went into surgery. For the life of me, I can’t find the photos that they were referring to, even though I went through all of my old pictures on my external hard drive. So this will have to do. This is what my body looked like when I was obese. This is who I was for several years when I couldn’t keep a handle on my eating disorder.

It doesn’t matter what form my body takes; I am a human being and I will not allow anyone to take away my dignity.

[Images: A series of three photos of me, in my underwear. Front view, side view, and back view.]

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Losing my identity

newpicOn August 13, 2012 I had gastric sleeve weight loss surgery. I had been overweight for years and when I went in, I weighed around 315 lbs and was a size 24. Even though I wasn’t that much overweight for my entire life, the time that I was overweight had a huge impact on me. I started to think that this is how it’s always going to be. This was it for the rest of my life. I had never managed to lose weight and keep it off in the past, so I firmly believed that I was stuck here.

But then I started to lose weight and things started to slowly change. Now, I’ve lost over 100 lbs and I find myself back where I started from, size wise, but resenting it. I’ve been shopping at plus size stores for a while now, even though I could have shopped at regular stores. I find myself thinking, these people wanted me when I was fat. Straight-sized stores didn’t give a shit about me. Why should I go back to them when they only care now that I’m thinner?

The fact of the matter is that I went to shopping at plus size stores out of necessity and now I’m back shopping at regular stores out of necessity as well. I recently went to Torrid, my favorite plus size store, to find a new dress. I wanted something cute and red, as I recently found out that that’s a good color on me. I looked and looked and looked and found that the 16s were too big and that’s the smallest size I could find, even though Torrid is supposed to stock down to a size 12.

I went to Lane Bryant and ran into the exact same problem. I ended up buying a black dress that was a 14/16 and entirely too big because I had to have something to wear out on my date (it was also 50% off and I can’t turn down a bargain). I refused to even look at the other clothing stores that were in the mall because it had become so deeply ingrained in my mind that they would have nothing that would fit me at all and the last thing that I wanted to do was try on clothes only to discover that I was woefully too large.

But my sticking point was panties. I usually buy Lane Bryant panties as those fit me well and usually come in cute designs. I got some new hipsters in a size 18/20, when I was about a size 16. I figured that I’m larger on the bottom than I am on the top anyway, and I didn’t want to wear panties that were too small. But then I lost even more weight and I was suddenly wearing underwear two sizes too large. I couldn’t take my jeans off without my panties coming along with them. I was in bed with a man and he fit his large hand comfortably down my panties and through the leg hole, with me in them, with room to spare. Clearly, I needed smaller underwear.

We went to Vanity Fair the day before Thanksgiving to shop. Their plus size section started at a 16W and the smallest size they had in stock was an 18W. Defeated, I went to the regular-sized section and started looking. I used to work at Maidenform and was familiar with their products and sizes. I found some tangas and hipsters in an XL and went to the fitting room to try on a pair over my Lane Bryant panties, as a 6 hour drive is entirely too far to return underwear.

The red tanga fit and was about half the size of what I was currently wearing. I looked down at myself and thought, “where’s the rest of the material?!” The panties just seemed entirely too small. I’ve been well aware that clothing manufacturers and pop culture in general believe that fat bodies need to be covered up, at all costs. It’s common for skinny girls to have a strapless, daring bridesmaid’s dress, then the chubby friend to be wearing the same thing with sleeves and a higher neckline. Just look at the film Bridesmaids and see how Megan McCarthy is dressed if you need further proof.

But now I was in a different box. I wasn’t a size 2, but I was a lot more acceptable as a size 14. I was allowed back into the club. Clothing manufacturers wanted me to wear their jeans, underwear companies wanted me to have cute panties. And this annoys me. I am not a better or more worthy person because I physically take up less space. I don’t deserve a reward for becoming more socially acceptable. But fuck me, everyone else sure as hell thinks that I do.

All of this time, I’ve built up an identity as a fat girl. I still call myself one, because, in someone’s eyes, I will always be fat, no matter what weight I am. But really, it was part defense mechanism. If I said that I was fat first, no one needed to remind me of it. If I knew my place, no one would put me in it. But also, it was part of a big fuck you to society. I called myself fat, something no woman is supposed to want to be called, with no shame. I was fat and I didn’t care what anyone had to say about it.

But now, I’m not really a fat girl anymore. I’m not sure what I am. Last statistic I heard was that a size 14 was average. So I’m average now? I’m not sure. And at this rate, will I keep losing weight? Is this where my weight loss will end? I have no idea. All I know is that I need a chance to adjust my thinking about how I view myself. Because what I currently think is no longer congruent to reality.