Archive for the ‘My Fat History’ Category

Even my jewelry has elastic waist bands!

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

necklace2.jpgA wonderful thing happened this morning.

My four-year-old son presented me with a necklace of his own design. This is a first, and it really touched my heart.

But you know what really got me jazzed?

When I realized the string was one of those elastic models, that can accommodate heads of all girths and dimensions.

Sixty pounds ago, such a ridiculous thought never would have occurred to me. In fact, the oddity of the thought was so jarring, it forced me to consider how it ever came to be in the first place. Surprisingly, I saw the route. And that’s what I’m about to share with you.

First, there were the thighs.

Ever since the days of grade school tights and leotards, I was aware my thighs were, how shall we say…thicker…than other girls’ thighs. This wasn’t a big deal way back when, because the thickness was a muscle thing, and there was a sense of pride at their rock solid bounty.

But sometime in high school, there came a slight inner-thigh “swak,” as if the very tops of my inner thighs were star-crossed lovers, and they had at long last been reuinited for a long, passionate kiss.

(These days, my thighs’ agents are negotiating spokesperson deals with the folks at Close Up toothpaste, but I digress.)

After the thighs came my booty.

Rare were the pants that could clothe my thighs and buttocks and not jut out a good seven inches from my waist. A belt does not assist with this dilemma – it just strangles the extra fabric in an awkward fashion, and no one’s fooled.

The tummy bulge was the next self-esteem culprit.

A wee littl *pop!* that no amount of lying on my back and sucking it in could hide. Still, in intimate situations, this was the hands-down alternative to sitting up and revealing the belly crease. So, I snuggled deep down under the covers at every opportunity, flat on my back, perfectly horizontal…preferably, in ill-lit rooms.

I do believe it was at this point the hips began to sprawl.

Words like “Ruben-esque,” “voluptuous,” and “bodacious” came into my vocabulary. I had to be careful on dance floors – especially if there was a hip-bumping situation, as there always is in groups of three or more female friends on a disco binge.

During this whole time, I was still somehow OK with myself, because it was just my lower body that had its issues. North of the belly button, I was doing fine. My bras were in the 34/36 range, my arms were strong, and with the right A-frame dress and a decent pair of support hose, I could still turn a few heads.

Things were going along all right – until I got bamboozled by my calves.

Never, never, NEVER did I consider that weight issues went beyond shopping for jeans and pants. Thighs, butt, waist, hips – all these were areas of great distress. But with shoes? I just chalked it up to my wide feet and got over it. I didn’t like the pointy-toe-strappy-look-pin-prick-heel thing anyway.

But one winter I thought it would be a wonderful thing to have a pair of boots.

Boots were sexy. They went with a whole array of thigh, knee, and full-length skirts. I don’t know why I never considered them before, but I was excited to get on the boot band wagon.

Unfortunately, as I was trying on pair after pair, I was sucked into the vortex of my rude awakening. My calves – my CALVES! – were not fitting into any of these standard floor-model styles.

Chunky heels, flat heels, knee-high, 3/4 high – didn’t matter. None of them zipped up past my hard, unforgiving, circumference-a-plenty mid calf.

When I saw the sales lady glance over at me with a mix of pity and disgust, I realized I was the elephant in the bikini shop, and I hadn’t even realized it.

During the next several months, I’d sneak into stores and try on their boots, hoping I had just had a bad day, or the original store had a limited selection. I finally struck gold in mid-April, when I found a pair of black boots at a a discount department store called Ross. These boots had no zipper. What they DID have was stretchy, elastic, plastic-y faux-leather. I gave the cashier my $20 and put the boots away for the next six months, for the next boot season to arrive.

After the calf incident, it’s been all downhill.

I couldn’t ignore the boob spillage anymore, and went up to a 38 bra. (I probably should’ve just gone with 40. But we Weighties have strange little rules in our heads. I don’t know where they come from, I just know they exist.)

Arms of my shirts got cinchier and cinchier. And then, of course, I realized I was a victim of “Muffin Top” – where my mid torso finds creative ways to spill over the tops of my pants. And then there’s the back fat issue…but I already went over THAT horror story.

Which brings me back to my lovely new necklace.

You know Jeff Foxworthy’s “You know you’re a redneck when” jokes?

necklace1.jpgWell, you know you’re a Fattie when your four-year-old son gives you a beautiful homemade necklace, and the thing that makes you happiest about it is the elastic string. Because you know, no matter how much weight you may gain – even in your skull – it’ll always fit you.

Now if only my wedding band had been designed with such sweet forgiveness.

(Oh BOY, does being fat SUCK!!!)

My Fat History: 1977 – 1997

Monday, January 15th, 2007

It’s January, 2007. I’ve got decades of struggling with weight under my straining belt. Since the start of a new year is a time for reflecting on the past and pondering the future, allow me to take a jaunt down my fat’s memory lane.


There’s this really cute picture from 1977. It was summertime, and I was playing in the backyard with my neighbor and one-year-old brother. I had a two-piece bathing suit on. I’m five years old. One of my parents snapped a sweet picture of the three of us, all smiles, dripping wet from our idyllic frolicking.


When I saw the picture, I crinkled my freckled nose. Hmm. I didn’t know my thighs touched, or that my belly was a bit round. Of course, this was a normal five-year-old’s body, and the two other kids in the picture had their own “imperfections.” But it was the first time I saw my bodily flaws right there in front of me. Ick.


In second grade, I started taking ballet. As I stood next to the barre in my black leotard and pink tights with eight other ballerinas, it was clear I wasn’t one of those “little” girls. Those girls had knobby knees and pointy elbows. Their bodies were straight up and down. They were light on their feet, and the teacher complimented them on their form. Me? I was practically Marilyn Monroe without the boobs. According to my teacher, I had “a great arch, and nice muscle tone” – the latter of which broadcast itself to the world through my thick-ish thighs. All of this is hard to miss when there are full-length, wall-sized mirrors surrounding you. None of this seems like a good thing to a seven year old.


Flash forward to sixth grade, when I made a point to write in my diary that I weighed 95 lbs., which seemed QUITE monstrous, as I happen to know the “cool” chick in our grade weighed a whopping 80 lbs., if she weighted a deuce.


In junior high school, I recall being privately humiliated when I had to buy pants in size 6-8, when all my friends bee-bopped happily in their size 0-5 apparel.


Then came high school, when I weighed in each year for my varsity sports physical. I remember the number going from 125 my freshman year, to 128 my sophomore year, to 132 my junior year, then hitting a nauseating 136 my senior year. I was all muscle back then with a nice, tight bod, but since it’s common knowledge from the world that no woman worth anything was supposed to weigh more than 125, I KNEW I was a total Fattie.


Soon, college was upon me. Thanks to my new relationship with late-night pizzas and all-you-can-eat cafeteria meal plans, I gained the freshman 15 in a blink of an eye, going from 139 to 154 in the first semester. (Boy, I thought I was a butterball at 154. To think that’s a pie-in-the-sky goal weight now!)


I got down to 143 a year or two later. How? By banishing fat from my diet, stairmastering for an hour every night between 10-11pm while reading stuff by and about Milton Friedman, Sigmund Freud, and John Updike, and dancing my butt off at clubs for a few hours after that. (The calories consumed in alcoholic beverages didn’t stand a chance during those vibrant years!) Still, I was absolutely PI**ED OFF that the scale would not get below the 140s, no matter what I did. In my head, I was still officially way above what I was supposed to weigh.


Then the post-college bomb known as Real Life hit.

Soon, 145 became 150. 150 climbed to 155. Then, two years after I graduated, I’m bawling, BAWLING, because I just waddled into Jenny Craig to find I was up to a ginormous 159. Oh my GAWWWD, that’s nearly 160!!! Yipes!


After two months of eating these itty, bitty plastic containers of indiscernible mush with no significant weight loss to show for it, I gave Jenny the boot.


It’s at this point I knew I had to change my life.


I quit my job in a major US city to work at a resort outside of Yellowstone National Park. Fresh air, antlers, and Wrangler patches as far as the eye could see. Lots of opportunities to get active, breathe, remember what’s important, write, think, regroup, etc. I was 24.


Only problem was, the place where I worked was a resort for guests, and a veritable commune for employees. I got my room and board for a pittance, but the staff kitchen was run by a 75 year old woman who did all her cooking with gravy, butter, lard, potatoes, cheese, and sides of fatty, oily beef. Anything green was doused in a glaze of slippery sauce. Biscuits were aplenty. Pies and ice cream were the side dishes.

During the next five months, I gained 40 pounds.


Yes. You read that right.


So there I was, standing in the doctor’s office, crying my eyes out. I just found out I weighed an impossible 195. Five more pounds, and I’m officially a TWO HUNDRED POUND WOMAN. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. Everything sagged and drooped. It was painful to smile, cuz I could feel my cheeks and neck looking for a place to go.


It’s at this time the good nurse practitioner slipped me a prescription for some diet drug that was all the rage in the outside world. The drug was called Phen-Fen. Or Fen-Phen. Or “that glorious little pill that gave me headaches, sucked the saliva out of my gums, left me sleepless, but totally, ABSOLUTELY took my hunger away.”

I called a friend in Los Angeles, asked her if she wanted a roommate, packed my bags and drove my little car 1000 miles to my new life. Warm weather, sunshine, skinny people everywhere. I was determined to reinvent my life and body.

Two weeks after I arrived, and less than two months after popping this amazing little pill, and I was down to 167. Life was starting to look up…

Until the drug was recalled. Something about heart attacks, and killing people.


It’s 1997. Ten years ago. And the last time I’ve seen the 160s.

The ascent begins in earnest.