Why I Am An Unapologetically Fat Traveller
I’m fat. Also, I travel. I cannot share my experience with one without the other.
I wasn’t always fat, but in the past two to three years I’ve gained weight. Probably a lot of weight. I don’t know how much, though, because at the end of 2014 I had to give my nutritionist my scale. And I do mean “had to.” It was an absolute necessity, and it was absolutely terrifying. I still miss it sometimes, although I’m finding I miss it less and less these days.
Some history, as we get to know each other. At some point between my junior and senior year of college I started making myself vomit after eating. A few years later it had gotten so bad I couldn’t make it through a full work day without sneaking off into the restroom to purge. I reached a point where the physical and emotional effects couldn’t be ignored, so I found a perfectly nice therapist and started visiting her bi-weekly. I quit my stressful job, lost my insurance, and stopped seeing the therapist. Even so I got better, and eventually got to the point where I was only really throwing up once a week, maybe once every other week. Sometimes only once a month. I figured I had it all under control.
But here’s the crazy thing. At some point I realized I had been doing this to myself for SEVEN years. Seven years I had been forcing myself to vomit, even when it was just once in awhile. I’d like to say there was an “aha” moment that tipped the scale in favor of recovery, but there wasn’t. Here’s what it took, in a quick nutshell since I’m sure there will be much more in future posts: my brother died, suddenly and unexpectedly. I churned through a handful of EAP counsellors to help me cope with the grief, only one of whom asked enough questions to glimpse the shape of my shameful body of self-harm. She connected me with a psychiatric nurse practitioner, who did was she could to help me cope with some comorbid mental health disorders. A little ways down the line, she gently but firmly suggested I needed to speak with someone who specialized in treating eating disorders. At this point, I was still pretty sure I didn’t have that kind of a problem (ha!). I started seeing a wonderful therapist, and the dietitian who worked with her practice.
That was three years or so ago. I haven’t thrown up since January 2015, which feels pretty damn good. Only last year did I begin telling friends and family about my experiences with bulimia.
Ok, but what does that have to do with travel? Like I said, I’m fat. Also, I travel. I cannot share my experience with one without the other. In practical terms, my weight impacts the clothing and other travel choices I make. Beyond that, though, my recovery lends a different tempo to my planning and travelling than before. I follow a meal plan to help me regulate my mood, so I have to plan for snacks. I still fight anxious and destructive thoughts sometimes, so I have to build in extra internal scripts to ramp up to my more ambitious endeavors. There’s tons more, of course, but that’s what this blog is all about! So yes, I’m a fat traveller. More to the point, though, these are my experiences. I hope you find something of value in what I share. // 7×35