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This is a HAES Relapse

March 21, 2013

Trigger warning: Discussion of feeling the urge to diet and other disordered eating behaviors.

As some of you might know, Spring Break just ended. As a college student taking care of my little brother, we went to spend time in Arizona with our family. Oh, we all had such a blast! However, I had a relapse almost immediately arriving.

See, we went to Prescott Valley, a town that is 4,317 ft above where I currently live. I had trouble breathing from the altitude and couldn’t do the things I usually could at home. I freaked; I posted to my Facebook “Being in Prescott Valley makes me feel like a super unfit person [though I wanted to say super unfit fat a$$]. Simple things like walking and climbing stairs gets me huffing and puffing.” This kind of flavored my whole experience. My mother, brother, and I went walking through downtown and I could barely keep up. Later, when I wanted to exercise, it was nixed because I wasn’t acclimated and would get sick. It was incredibly frustrating, and I took it out on myself. I started thinking about how I could get my childhood diagnosis for ADD and have Vyvanse prescribed because my brother has them and lost quite a bit of weight on them and that I could buy some diet pills in the meantime and really push hard and fast at the gym and maybe eat a little less and and and…

Luckily, I noticed what was happening (and so did my mother, who is also kinda Health at Every Size®) and forced myself from slipping far into my disordered eating issues, which was/is my go-to method to make myself feel better. The real kick in the teeth was a two-fer later that week: my family went to the Grand Canyon and I noticed that I stuck out like a red barn in a green pasture. I was dismayed that I was the biggest person in the group by a lot.

Arizona Trip 188.3

Lol just kidding. I didn’t fall here, it was elsewhere in the Canyon.

The next day, while we were staying at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, I took my brother to the mini-amusement park at the top of the hotel (we had a coupon!) and when I attempted to get on any of the rides, I wouldn’t fit. Crushed, I half-heartedly told myself it wasn’t me, it was the rides that weren’t made for people like me, but I stood over the rails of the tower very depressed. Then the ride manager came by and refunded my money.

So I sit here today and I tell myself that it isn’t me, that I don’t need to lose weight, that I am perfectly okay and the doctor’s charts back that up. I tell myself that I managed to walk a fair distance around the lake up there a mile high and climb a very steep embankment. I tell myself that it is a great accomplishment to have climbed bare-handed in the Grand Canyon and survived a short fall down. I tell myself that I couldn’t breathe because of the lack of oxygen that far up in the mountains, not because of my weight or fitness level. I tell myself it isn’t really my body’s fault that it has to adjust; that I can’t expect it to be in top shape in a place I have never been before; that I should love my body for not shutting down completely; and that it fixed itself fairly quickly and it deserves respect for that. I sit here and relax and tell myself it really is okay, that I really am fine, that I can calm down. It really is okay, I promise myself — truly, honestly. It’s alright, I am fine. Just breathe, just breathe, juuust breeeathe…

29 Comments leave one →
  1. highfatcontent permalink
    March 21, 2013 10:19 am

    Kitsune, I have had similar experiences and appreciate you sharing your story. One would need to be superhuman to not sometimes internalize the frustration of accommodation. I am nearly always the biggest person in any outdoor venture. I’ll remember your story with a knowing smile, the next time I stand out like a “red barn.” Happy trails, my friend.

  2. Lauren C. permalink
    March 21, 2013 10:45 am

    Thank you for reminding me to live HASE! I get around family & sooo relapse. Again, thank you.

  3. The Real Cie permalink
    March 21, 2013 12:07 pm

    In a society that hates larger people, it can be so hard.
    I have asthma, fortunately a comparatively mild case, but asthma nonetheless. Even though I live in Colorado and am used to the high altitude, when I go to a towns at higher elevations than the Denver-Boulder area, I sometimes wheeze and have to pace myself. I used to blame this on being “soooo fat.” But at this point my cardiovascular system is actually in better shape than it was when I was younger (I no longer smoke and I exercise.) So I know it’s not that, but I can’t help but think that everyone’s looking at me and thinking it IS that.
    I also wheeze whenever I go up more than one flight of stairs. But I did that when I was much younger and thinner than I am now, too.
    Stupid society that feels the need to have a scapegoat.

  4. Bronwen permalink
    March 21, 2013 12:51 pm

    Like The Real Cie, I also live in Colorado (in the Springs), and still have issues with the altitude. Even without any other illness, even when I was doing karate for 5 hours a week, I still got out of breath easily. And going farther up the mountain still kicks my butt.

    I know it’s hard to see other people — even old people (one day I should tell you about when I went to 10,000 altitude and the “fun” I had) — walking faster than you and not appearing to have any issues, but it really is the altitude. I’ve seen normal sized people have oxygen issues up here, and have had other people who are long term settlers (over 5 years) still complain about lack of ability to process what oxygen is up here.

    I’m glad you had somebody who was willing to help talk you down, and it’s amazing what you *were* able to do with altitude sickness kicking in.

    Cie has the right of it: Stupid society that feels the need to have a scapegoat.

    • The Real Cie permalink
      March 23, 2013 12:48 am

      I know that feeling with the old folks. I was hiking up a trail one day, me and my hiking poles, and this old woman breezed on by me, not even breathing heavily, giving me a cheery “good morning!” as she passed. It was…humbling.

  5. Eric permalink
    March 21, 2013 1:33 pm

    Keep thinking it over, Kitsune.

    At one time I weighed a little over 275 lbs. and experienced everything you did. My knees hurt and I’d have occasional chest pains. I got worried. That was about six years ago. Today, I’m around 140 lbs. and feel terrific. I live in Arizona and have been all around Prescott and Jerome.

    I spent a lot of time wondering why I had to eat so much. Why was I spending so much money on food? How much do I really need? Could I come to prefer water to soda?

    Today, my food bills are about 25% of what they used to be. That played a big part in becoming semi-retired. I save a lot of time buying or preparing food. Turns out I like water as much as soda and I’ll just guzzle it whenever I want. I started to crave vegetables over hamburgers and pizza. That didn’t happen overnight. It took about 3-4 months. Then I started to crave my new diet.

    At 40, I feel better than I did at 18. I have more free time, I spend less, I go wherever I want, and I’m happier. I feel free. Maybe you could feel free, too. How much food do you really need? How much are you spending on it? How much of your life are you giving up for it? Keep thinking it over. I hope you experience what I did. All the best-

    • Elizabeth permalink
      March 21, 2013 2:18 pm

      Who are you, and what are you doing here? I’m happy for you in your newfound wonderfulness, but what the fuck does that have to do with Kitsune vacationing at altitude?

      • James permalink
        March 21, 2013 2:44 pm

        Maybe she would have a better time if she did what Eric did.

        • March 21, 2013 2:58 pm

          Fuck you and the self-righteous horse you rode in on.


          • The Real Cie permalink
            March 23, 2013 12:51 am

            I would have a better time if I learned that James’ horse bucked him off a cliff.

    • March 21, 2013 3:00 pm

      Don’t patronize our bloggers. You have no idea what Kitsune’s lifestyle is like, so get off your soapbox. I love how people like you share information about losing weight like we’ve never heard it before. derrrrrrrr… drink water instead of soda? But how will I stay hydrated?

      Congratulations on keeping the weight off, but you’re an outlier regarding long-term success. And the idea that if we all just ate less we could become semi-retired like you? That’s just idiotic.


      • Tnegilletni permalink
        April 3, 2013 7:47 am

        You do realize that Water HYDRATES YOU?! That without Water, Soda doesn’t exist. I mean seriously you have to be trolling because that is Elementary school knowledge.

        • April 3, 2013 8:39 am

          You see that derrr? That’s meant to make the sarcasm easier to notice. Do I really have to use the sarcasm alarm every time I mock concern trolls?


    • highfatcontent permalink
      March 21, 2013 3:20 pm

      Hello Eric,

      I kept waiting for the punch line.

      I do a lot of size diversity work in England.

      You sound like the people who call, text and email the station whenever I explain, for the 1,000th time this year, that people are larger than you might think we should be for all sorts of complicated and uncomplicated reasons.

      Assumptions are always dangerous and usually wrong.

      Please do not assume your weight is my weight.

      Thank You.

      Marsha Coupé

    • Mulberry permalink
      March 21, 2013 3:47 pm

      Assuming your natural weight is 140, Eric, why would you be stupid enough to force it up to 275 in the first place? And since bodies tend to be somewhat resistant to great gains and losses, it must have taken quite a lot of effort to do so.
      My own weight is quite out of my control and I believe that’s a good thing, since if it does move greatly in one direction, it makes it easier to tell if something medical has gone awry.

      • Tnegilletni permalink
        April 3, 2013 7:50 am

        How can you live when you say that the most basic and simplest of things is beyond your control?

    • March 22, 2013 9:03 am

      Eric is on a temporary rush. He misrepresents himself as well. The human organism does not function as he depicts. He is on a grandiose fantasy. I have met others like him, it is not so uncommon. He overstates his weight loss. I wonder if he will have the courage to write about himself when his weight is regained? Sooner or later.

    • The Real Cie permalink
      March 23, 2013 12:49 am

      Which diet company are you shilling for?

    • April 1, 2013 11:57 pm

      First, my eating habits are finally normal after years of disordered thinking and eating. I eat 5-6 small, nutritionally dense meals a day, am a pollotarian (basically a vegetarian who also eats just poultry), and haven’t had soda in years. My food bill is high but only because I shop organic for two people, and everyone knows how expensive organic foods are: about $75 a week. Without special circumstances that allow that kind of spending (like giving up all privacy and a place that is mine), it would never happen.

      Second, I am free. I am free in mind, body, and spirit. I am free from the crippling depression that plagued me almost to the point of no return. I am free from disease and free in movement. I am free in a salvation all my own, with a personal bond with the Divine. I am free from bigotry towards others, free from lies and betrayal, and from the blindness of my own privileges. Can you say the same?

      • Elizabeth permalink
        April 2, 2013 12:55 pm

        Kitsune, what an excellent and kind reply. I, too, wondered about the low food bills; we spend quite a bit on food because we buy very high-quality, local when possible, organic when possible, food, and it ain’t cheap. I am so glad that you have found freedom and normality; keep up the good posts.

  6. JennyRose permalink
    March 21, 2013 2:17 pm

    I can also add that reaction to altitude is not weight based. My family considered a trip to Peru but decided against it. There is no accurate way to predict who will have altitude problems. We chose another place because the risk wasn’t worth it. BTW – each person was certain that they would be the one to have problems with the altitude.

    @Eric the OP is free as far as I know and has no outstanding arrest warrants. I don’t think they let people blog from prison either so there is not need to worry. I would like to experience retiring at 40. I would think that has more to do with your success at work than your weight loss.

    I have spent much of my life wondering why I eat so much and agonzing over my weight. It is the behavior of someone with an eating disorder behavior. Not thinking about food or being overly concerned with the size of my waist will feel freeing to me. I am not there but I am working on it. That is part of my ED recovery.

  7. violetyoshi permalink
    March 21, 2013 5:04 pm

    Seems with Eric we have someone who saw an FA blog, and couldn’t resist coming in going, “Look at me! Look at me! I lost weight and you can too!”

    Eric your success does not impress us. With all the different diet forums you could go to satiate your need for attention, and getting pats for being such a good boy, why come here? Did you think everyone would be wowed by your charity in giving your time to help those poor fat people to lose weight like you?

    I cannot begin to express how utterly immature your behavior has been. I guess you must be desperate for attention, or compliments.

  8. LittleBigGirl permalink
    March 22, 2013 12:48 am

    Ever since I got my gallbladder removed at the first of this year, I haven’t been able to breath in as deeply and instead pull my inhale up shorter than before. This bothers me and I’m not sure what to do about it it. I *know* my being short of breath is about my born-preemie-dictated lung capacity + lower stamina from post-surgery convalescence + tight fascia around my abdomen restricting my diaphragm = a fat girl breathing hard after sudden exertion. It actually reminds me of a wheezy asthma attack (which I don’t have). But I also know if someone sees me red faced and breathing hard they assume I’m out of shape because I spend my time eating bons bons and watching t.v.

    Additionally, I saw myself on video today and it was hard – I can’t afford the 10 lbs the camera supposedly adds. I’m not used to seeing myself as others see me…in my head I am smaller than I appear. Since I don’t see other people my size on a regular basis, I feel unrealistic and freakish. I’m not as comfortable with myself as I thought I was, or want to be. Now I am motivated – not to lose weight but to work to get my stamina back to what it was and to work on my self acceptance.

  9. just wondering permalink
    April 1, 2013 3:16 pm

    “My mother, brother, and I went walking through downtown and I could barely keep up.”

    Do you think that they are healthier than you are, or that you’re just as healthy?

    • April 1, 2013 6:21 pm

      What the fuck business is it of yours?

    • April 1, 2013 11:37 pm

      I’m curious whether you read the beginning of that paragraph, the part where I was thousands of feet above my normal living altitude. The difference causes my lungs and heart to work harder than they normally would, and fatigue is a sign of lack of oxygen in the muscles.

      By the way, I’m the second fittest person in my family, with my brother a close third and my mother being the solid forth. I lag behind my military step dad.

      • Tnegilletni permalink
        April 3, 2013 7:52 am

        Exercising regularly helps the flow of oxygen to the muscles. It helps regulate it. Thus if you had exercised more frequently, you would’d adapted more easily to the climate change.

        • April 3, 2013 8:43 am

          Do us a favor and take your assumptions elsewhere. Kitsune does work out, for your information. She even mentions it in this post, as well as her latest. It’s clueless concern trolling like this that brings out the derrrr in me.


        • Elizabeth permalink
          April 3, 2013 1:51 pm

          If you’re exercising regularly and staying HYDRATED, you would know there is no such word as would’d.

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