Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Monday, 24 April 2017

Fat Days for Boys

My last two short-term sources of relative sexual gratification expressed a surprising amount of angst and insecurity over the ostensible body fat they perceived around their bellies. It turns out that this is a pretty excellent way to land yourself onto my no-go list, as is saying I kiss like an iguana, and as are baboon jokes.

The way I see it, I am the only one who gets to have body angst in a relationship. I win the Fat Day Monopoly.

You may have heard that on October 29, 2015, I turned 30 years old and cancelled all Fat Days from that day forward.

This was a nice thought.
In fact, I really try to keep my fat days to myself.  Because even on the days when I fail to get myself into the tiny Asian-sized tie-dye pants, the notion that I am at all overweight, is both ridiculous, and obnoxious and just shut up.

I only caused one hole
in these tie-dyed pants
and it's not
in the crotch.
Just shut up is what I feel inclined to say to my dude friends when they exhibit low-grade symptoms of Manorexia.
But just as my angst, self-loathing and food belly feel totally real, I’m sure theirs do too.
What the fuck should we do about fat days?
Last February I showed up in Mysore, India, ready to eat grilled cheese sandwiches. Triggered by a thali in Varanasi (the holy city of auspicious funeral pyres), 1.5 months of persistent liquid shits and an ensuing eating head trip had made a big chunk of me disappear. And there I was, Erica’s version of Emaciated for the 273rd time in my life. 

Here I am in Kerala
looking half dead
on a motorcycle.

“Achieving” my champion adolescent weight always comes with a bag of conflicting and tumultuous feelings.

Shame is there: Oh here we are again, 22 years since the first time I tried to burn calories by eating a single boiled egg for breakfast and counting six thousand and one steps as I walked the dog. 31 years old. Not menstruating, and an emotional fuck-job.

Overcome by backpacks
radiating diarrhea.
Photo by the Stunning and Exceptional Photographer, Maansi Jain

And then the quiet and embarrassing pride: Can you see me? I’m so thin. I both crave and abhor the attention I get at my thinnest: “Oh wow! You’re so skinny. What happened?” This one from a former yoga teacher: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this thin. This must really be your thinnest. Oh, but you look good!” How helpful, and thank you! Though I had kind of been hoping to evoke a cross between a Holocaust victim and cancer patient. Maybe throw in some AIDS. Damn these biceps, this baby face. Even sinewy and gaunt, they can’t pull off Concentration Camp.

In our culture, weight loss is so coveted that sometimes it feels as though nothing could be more riveting than the conversation about how someone got skinnier.


“She looks like she’s starving.
Our world often associates being an emaciated bone rack with glamour and sexy. I can only speak for myself, but countless unplanned studies have shown that for Erica J. Schmidt, dropping more than six or seven pounds under a certain comfortable window totally fucks up my already fragile set of precarious coping skills. And this is why I am somewhat of a strong advocate against anorexia or manorexia or any version of fucking up your eating. I can empathize with your manorexic belly angst, but let me tell you, it really gets in the way of the thorough and life-changing fuck we all need.
Leg humping with
a side of squishy belly
some of my favourite.
Mysore is an interesting choice of refuge for getting your eating back on track. In 2014, I spent three months in this birthplace and mecca of Ashtanga Yoga. For over seven years, I had devoted the mornings of my life to this highly structured, sweaty, dynamic and time-consuming practice. Ashtanga Yoga brought me deep joy, some serenity, a sense of accomplishment, community and belonging, and eventually some rather persistent and hideous sensations and noises in several of my joints. While my three months practicing with the Guru’s grandson, were beautiful and delightful, not long after the end of my trip, I felt compelled to quit just about every stable facet of my life:
The Boatman, my favourite ex-boyfriend,
and the former leading man of this blog,
(Who by the way does not have manorexia);
Halifax; and,
Ashtanga Yoga.
I was such a junkie,
This was really quite surprising,
But I honestly
don’t miss it
all that much.   
I am happy with the varied, flexible and creative movement practice and meditation I have been able to come up with; my spine feels almost wonderful, almost all the time; I enjoy more reasonable amount of sleep; and I now feel free of the OCD that tended to arise when I had the obligation of performing close to the exact same ritual close to every fucking day.

Having said that, in all their neuroses, Ashtangis remain some of my favourite people. Ernest, sincere, hardworking, self-deprecating, although they may be disproportionately committed to their cause, they are often quite fun, funny and lovely. I returned to Mysore for the friends, familiarity and trust that most of the restaurants would not cause cholera. Lucky for me, a beautiful long-term Canadian practitioner and excellent Eating Ally was in town.

One time over lunch at the Sixth Main, my friend was talking about the struggle to be a healthy role model for newer younger practitioners and the trend to take up radical non-eating regimes in the quest for lightness, purity and the breezy lithe body that seemingly bends and folds and balances with no effort.


Slurping up my bowl of noodles I blurted out, “I just don’t find weight-loss inspiring.”
“Thanks,” said my friend. “I’ll gonna make sure I remember that.”

Me too, I’m gonna make sure I remember that.

Upon returning to Canada, yet again, my cells bounced back to something stronger. This body, it never deserts me, and I am so grateful. Although I would not necessarily reward myself with a trophy for the Poster Girl of Liberated Eating Habits, life has brought me other lovely prizes, and I do feel entirely committed to cutting through the bullshit and arriving at a deeper love, for your cells and for mine.


Friends, your Fat Days, they are not inspiring.
Come on people, what else ya got?

The End.

In honour of this blog post,
I took a picture
of myself
with no pants on.

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go

Bodhisattva Business Ventures:

Deep Cleans by Erica J. Schmidt (@deepcleanswitherica)
Montreal Hippie Threads (@mtlhippiethreads)
Instagram: montrealhippiethreads

The Benefits of an Ashtanga Yoga Practice, Part Two
Are You Strong and Are You Skinny?
Finally, and undoubtedly, I feel grateful for my life

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