“But Don’t You Want to be Thin?”

I’m actually pretty happy about how I look. Photo by Denali Winter

I’ve had this psychiatrist for a few months now. Long enough to figure I could at least mostly trust her, though not long enough to feel comfortable being entirely honest about what recreational drugs I take. She seemed sensible, compassionate, also fat, listened well.

Until today.

Today I was just getting a quick check in about whether my meds were working, if I needed to up the dose or if they were ok where they were. I figured easy in, easy out. Til she asked me if I was having any trouble, and I casually mentioned I had an issue with not eating, but that I was working on it. That it wasn’t impacted by the adderall, because I didn’t take it til I had eaten, but sometimes I would just fully miss a meal.

That’s when she started pushing this diet on me.

The “bright line” diet, which is basically a step program for people who feel they’re overeating. The idea is that you set these “bright lines” which are hard and fast rules you never break.

5 BRIGHT LINE RULES FOR LOSING WEIGHT

  1. No Sugar
  2. No Flour
  3. Eat Only 3 Meals A Day
  4. Measure & Weigh All Food
  5. Plan Meals in Advance

Like, ok, whatever, right? I’m not interested in losing weight, the 3 meals a day thing quickly turned into 2 and me not eating enough to go through my day without napping, and the last time I weighed food I fell deep into a pretty bad anorexia hole. But sure, I could explore cutting down on flour and sugar. But why, exactly?

She kept saying “neuroscience says pulverized food is bad” but I haven’t come across a single study that supports this idea. It doesn’t make any sense. Why is flour and sugar bad, then, but spices are fine? They’re often ground up as well.

It’s worth noting that while the woman who came up with this diet talks about science, there are no links to any scientific reports, or even articles that cover such reports. As I questioned her on the validity of this diet, and additionally, the sense in recommending such a controlling diet style to someone who has repeatedly told you they have anorexia, she got more and more defensive. “I’m an expert! I have eons of experience!” she protested. And then, accusingly, “don’t you WANT to be thin?”

I get it. She’s also plus sized, so she’s probably used to being around other people who also pursue that carrot of thinness and therefore validity and desirability. I have pretty much given up that carrot, though. So I just sat back in my chair, looked at her quizzically, and said “no, that’s not my goal at all.

I want to be healthy, and I am.

I’d try adjusting my food if it helped with my digestion issues, but I’m not doing it to lose weight.”

First, she reminded me that I had told her after my breakup and being fired I spent a day in bed eating ice cream and watching Project Runway. “Looking to food for comfort is not healthy,” she scolded me. I pointed out that doing this once after an emotionally intense experience did not a “food addiction” make, and it was pretty problematic to project that anxiety on me when I was already struggling to eat more than one meal a day.

Then she backtracked a lot, saying she wasn’t trying to tell me I had to do this diet, just that I seemed like the kind of person who cared a lot about my body and mind and would want to do every little thing to improve myself. I said mildly that being thin would not be, in my eyes, an improvement, just a change of state. But honestly, I was getting really angry. My GP is a health at every size person and I didn’t see why I needed to put up with body shaming from someone whose job was to take care of my brain. “You can fire me if you don’t like what I’m saying,” she said, almost huffily. “But you can’t put a wedge between your GP and I. We’re just looking at you as a holistic being.”

I said no a lot of times during that meeting. I had to be pretty firm about it. I know myself very well, and controlling my food intake has never been an issue. Not eating enough has always been the problem. Yes, I’m fat even though I undereat calories most days and am reasonably active. My family has several fat women. It’s not really terribly surprising I would be fat too.

The thing is, I have pretty much always said that I love my fat body, it just seems to be an issue for the rest of the world. And I never came up against that so strikingly as I did today. My psychiatrist said they wouldn’t take away my access to my meds if I didn’t do their diet, and I was shocked. Like, yeah, I certainly hope you wouldn’t attempt to manipulate me into your fat hatred by taking away meds that keep me sane. Do you want a fucking cookie for that?

Oh, no, probably not, that has sugar and flour in it.

Just… if you’re in the health field? Don’t fucking do this. And especially don’t do this after they’ve clearly said “no, that would not be safe for me”. It makes it look like you have an agenda, and your agenda is not part of my self care.