Friday, December 15, 2006

I promised myself when I started this blog that I wasn’t going to turn it into a big, whiny rant about how much weight I have to lose, and how hard it is to lose it. Let’s face it… you don’t want to read that, because you probably don’t really care (and it’s okay to admit that, you won’t hurt my feelings), and I don’t want to write about it (most of the time), because I’m sick of even thinking about it.

But here’s the thing…

I’m fat.

There. I said it. I am long-past ‘chubby’, ‘full-figured’, or ‘pleasingly plump’. It’s out in the open for the world now to see, and I can’t take it back.

I don’t make excuses for my fatness. I don’t blame others. I joke about my fatness. I dress appropriately for my size; you will never see me in a belly shirt or hip-hugger jeans. I own my fatness, and you won’t ever see me on the news, suing McDonald’s because I can’t stay away from the bacon, egg & cheese bagel they serve for breakfast now.

I don’t mean to belabor the point, but just so there’s no mistake:

• I am not fat because I feel as if my 16 year old birth-mother ‘rejected’ me by surrendering me for adoption when I was an infant (because I don’t).
• I am not fat because my (adopted) mother had serious psychological problems, which led to her having three nervous breakdowns during her lifetime.
• I am not fat because my father never had tea parties with me while I was growing up.
• I am not fat because I didn’t get a ‘Chatty-Cathy’ doll for Christmas when I was 6.
• I am not fat because no one asked me to the Homecoming dance in 10th grade.
• I am not fat because my brother seems to have forgotten that I exist.

If you’ve ever had a weight problem, or maybe even if you haven’t, then you’ll understand when I say that I’ve always had a magic number in my head; that number that I use to tell myself ‘Well, as long as I don’t weigh this much, I’m fine.’ Thanks to the miracle of losing – gaining – losing – gaining, I’ve hit that magic number more than once. Believe me; I am not proud of or happy about this fact.

The simple fact of the matter is:

• I am fat because I snuck food into my room as a child.
• I am fat because, while working at McDonald’s as a teenager, I took full advantage out of the fact that I could eat there for free while I was working.
• I am fat because I haven’t taken proper care of myself as an adult.
• I am fat because I indulge myself.

I’ve heard it all…

“But you have such a pretty face.” (Give me a nickel for every time this one has come up…)
“You’d be so much prettier if you’d reduce.” (A direct quote from my great-grandmother when I was little… no love lost there when she died my freshman year of high-school.)
“Ruth, are you pregnant?” (At my mother’s funeral, just 2 months after I’d gotten married, from a close family friend, to which I responded “No, Mrs. Hamilton, I’m just fat.”)
“You just wouldn’t be the same you if you were thin!” (From a woman at my church that I’ve known all my life.)

Why do people think that it’s okay, that it’s acceptable, to say things like this to someone that’s overweight? In case anyone is wondering, it’s not. I’d never dream of going up to an ugly person and saying “You just wouldn’t be the same you if you were attractive!” Just so you know.

As comfortable as I am with my size, there is a thin girl inside me, screaming to be let free. I’ve dieted. I’ve taken pills. I’ve gone to Weight Watchers. I used to have a membership to a women-only health club, and to the YMCA. I’ve gone to aerobics class. I own Richard Simmons’ Disco Sweat video. I even went through a little binge-purge phase (which obviously had no affect). I look around me, especially at the people I work with, and see so many people that have had ‘the surgery’, and they all look great. Top that off with finding out that 1) the insurance would cover it and 2) they can do the surgery by laparoscopy (so no big, ugly scar) makes it a very tempting possibility. About an hour of surgery and the pounds would just melt away. Instant results… instant gratification… a whole new wardrobe, just from the ‘thin’ clothes already hanging in the closet… no endless hours on the treadmill… no constant thought about what I’m going to put in my mouth next…

But I can’t.

Because for me, it would be a cop-out. For me, it would be giving up. It would be admitting defeat. It would mean that the fat girl won. This battle has been raging for 37 years now, but I’m just not ready to let her win.

I’ve lost weight before. I know I can do it again. I know I can summon the willpower to start the fight anew (cue the theme from ‘Rocky’ here). When I let myself really think about it, I find that I’m scared to start this whole process again.

I lost weight before, then my mom died, and it all came back and then some.

I lost weight again, after being diagnosed with the Diabetes, and then I got pregnant and had a baby. Ironically, it wasn’t until after my son was born that I really started to gain the weight back.

And each time the weight comes back, there’s even more of it. So I start again, and the weight starts to come off… what’s going to happen this time, to make it all come back? What am I going to lose? Who am I going to lose? What great catastrophe will flash down from above on the end of a lightning bolt to shake up my world this time? The thought scares me.

Sometimes, I wonder if I'm afraid to let the thin girl out. There's a whole other world of things that thins girls have to deal with. Being fat means being safe. Being fat means being able to fly under the radar, because people don't pay much attention to the fat girls.

I have to let that thought go; I can’t let it stop me from finally doing what I need to do… for myself, and for my son, so that I can at least see him graduate from high school.

So here I go. Back to endless hours on the treadmill (which I’m still considering trading in for a stationary bike). Back to keeping a diary of everything that goes in my mouth, because that’s the only way I’ll be honest with myself about what I’m eating. Back to being so strict with myself that it irritates the husband.

All so the thin girl can be set free.

All because I won’t let myself take the easy way out.

Anyone want some carrots?


Teresa said...

Pass them carrots here babe! I'm with you on this one! you wanna accountability partner on this one?

Twyla said...

I'll take some carrots too, although I'll need to dip them in ranch dressing which will pretty much defeat my purpose.
That was such an open and honest post. I too have struggled with weight all my life, and I have no excuses either, other than over-eating and being lazy. When I was a kid, I was tiny. My nickname was 'toothpick'. Then around the age of 10, I started getting bigger and by the time I was in grade 8, I looked like a doughboy. My older sister's boyfriend, now husband, used to tell me all the time that I looked like I was 5 months pregnant. I could have punched him in the face. By the time I was in grade 10, I developed an eating disorder, and over the summer went down to 105lbs. I'm 5'5. When I started school that fall, some people seriously didn't recognize me. So this continued until I met someone I felt comfortable enough with that I didn't need to be skinny. I ended up marrying him(huge mistake)and I got pregnant right away, and then the weight all started coming back. After 2 pregnancies, I was over 200. I tried so hard to lose weight, but in a 6 month period I only lost 15lbs. Then my husband and I seperated, and I lost 40lbs. I know it was from stress, because I didn't do anything different...although most days I felt too sick to eat.
Wow, this is a LOOONNNNG comment. Sorry about that. Back to my point. I have now gained about 15lbs back, and I keep gaining. I need to do something, but I can't get motivated. It's such a struggle to lose weight. I keep saying I'm going to start in the new year(like everyone else does). I really want to enjoy the holidays without feeling guilty. Just know that you're not alone. :-)

justrose said...

this post was extremely moving, as all of your posts are. sometimes i feel like you write the way i would write, if i weren't so worried about what everyone thought. sometimes i think i could've written the things you've written, at different times.

"Sometimes, I wonder if I'm afraid to let the thin girl out...Being fat means being safe..."

i get it. believe me, i get it. the struggle with weight for me (which NEVER ends) is entirely psychic, spiritual. i have thought so much about this, i could write volumes.

i wanted to write this, so you know you are not alone in your feelings, but i feel like i'm not explaining myself right and so maybe we can talk about it more sometime? i'd like to if you would.