Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jealousy and Exasperation: A Love Letter to Anonymous

I wonder whether all bloggers eagerly await/fear the arrival of their first troll: the one who says nasty things and signs "Anonymous".

Well, I finally got that response. And here's my answer.

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for your comment! Although you don't understand a thing of what I said, thank you for encouraging me to clarify my thoughts.

You think I'm jealous (that's the word you use) of those who have lost weight and worse yet, I'm inconsistent (that's my word) in that I congratulate the outliers and then call them "gonzo starvers". My sincere apologies for not making my thoughts clearer.

I've been travelling through the weight-loss and fat acceptance blogospheres for over two years now. I've read the blogs of a few individuals who have succeeded in losing weight. A very small number of these same individuals has succeeded in keeping the weight off for several years. One thing these people all seem to have in common is that they are not "starvers". Most count calories, a few are low-carbers. They all seem to put a lot of emphasis on exercise, in addition to strictly monitoring everything they eat, but "starvation" does not seem to be the centrepiece of their approach.

On the other hand, I have also recently come across a sub-group of dieters that I call "gonzo starvers". These are the ones who exasperate me. They are the ones who remind themselves and their readers of how virtuous the hunger pangs are, how they will overcome hunger to reach the holy grail of weight loss. They are the ones who are heading for the ton of bricks psychological pain that rapid weight regain will bring with it (not to mention the additional pounds that "come along for the ride", as one blogger I read likes to describe the upward trend of yo-yo dieting). These are the people who are caught up in their starvation fairy tale world. I find them totally exasperating.

So no, Anonymous, I am not inconsistent. Not all dieters are gonzo starvers, thank goodness. While 95% of dieters will fail either in the short or the long run, there are outliers and if they succeed, so much the better.

Now, let's go on to jealousy. Yes, I am jealous, or perhaps a better word is "envious"--but I am neither jealous nor envious of the successful "outlier" dieters. Nor am I jealous or envious of the "starvers". They just make me want to bang my head against the wall.

However, I am jealous of most people: you know, people like you who get up in the morning without having to wonder if today's the day they're going to rupture another disc in their back. Or if their knee is not going to deteriorate to to the point where even walking is longer an option.

I come by my back and knee problems honestly. I was born with a defect in my back, making it much more prone to herniated discs. I also have a severely misaligned knee. Again, that's how I was born (apparently my knee problem is often found among ballerinas--a group not known for its issues with excess weight). And arthritis runs (great joke) in my family. I was diagnosed with arthritis when my weight was well within a reasonable range (and under the circumstances, it's still not too bad today).

So you better believe I'm jealous--of anyone who can hop on their exercise bike or their elliptical trainer without making their state of health even worse. I'm jealous of the people who don't have to watch how many steps they take in a day for fear of the dreaded back pain. I'm jealous of people who don't live in pain or in fear of pain.

I hope you ate healthy foods in reasonable portions today and that you engaged in physical activity that you enjoyed; and I sincerely hope you don't go to bed hungry tonight. It's not a way to live.

Your friend,



  1. I'm not much for wasting energy on anonymous haters, I have to give you props. That is one awesome letter!

  2. Not all anonymous posters are idiots. Sorry you caught a nasty one. The captcha reads anonsub...


  3. Actually Barb, people like you are NOT anonymous. You signed your name. This anonymous "friend" did not.

    It's understandable that someone would want to hide behind the veil of anonymity to express barbed, nasty comments.

    Personally, if I find the blogger totally uncouth and (in my opinion) a stupid fool, I usually refrain from commenting on his or her blog. I also usually don't comment on blogs where I feel the writer is rushing to jump, lemming-like, off a cliff. My "words of wisdom" (again, my opinion and obviously one not shared by everyone) would probably make no difference to their decision.

  4. I too feel bad for the starvers. I used to be one when I had binge eating (disordered). The bingeing was compensation for the starving, and it took most of 10 years to recover fully. In that time I gained a lot of weight, but not from bingeing.

    I had to learn to feed and nurture my spirit (self). The recovery process required help from a team of supportive people, whom I was fortunate to have at the time, including physical therapists who helped me live with chronic pain. In this culture, few people have access to that high quality of support.

    Perhaps Anonymous was having a bad day, or week, or life, and he/she felt defensive--and wanted to sound clever. There's hope for Anonymous. People DO grow and change.

    A rabbi in "Leaves of Grass" (character in pop movie, not the W. Whitman poem collection) says(paraphrasing):

    "...we're animals...[our] brains convince us otherwise...we break the world, all of us...[and] we need to repair it..."

    I like that.

    Someday Anonymous may become one of the repairers. I have hope for him/her.

    Best wishes as always to you NewMe: I like your clarification to Anon. I wish you wellness and peace. Remember there are many repairers in the world...often not easy to detect, like elves and faeries. But unlike trolls. :)

  5. Hopeful,

    What a wonderful response. I'm particularly impressed with your compassion for Anonymous. Thank you, thank you!

    And happiness and healing to all!

  6. I come to your blog via Hopeful....

    Sorry about your knee. I get it.

    imho - the number is less than 95%. I'm thinking a lot of us who get this far just get busy living our lives...