Archive for January, 2007

Don’t see THIS very often, huh?

Sunday, January 21st, 2007


Who DARE doth mock the skinny chicks of the world? I’ve never seen it happen before. Wow. I don’t know what to make of it. Maybe being a little fleshy ain’t such a bad thing after all?

(Ha! At least she gets to shop in stores that don’t carry pants with elastic waist bands!)

Size angst is NOT exclusive to the “XLs & Beyond” of the world

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

For any Girl of Girth, it can be a challenge to hear skinny gals – whether they’re long-term leanies or recently svelt – complain about how tough it is to find clothes that fit when they’re shopping.

However, on her “Perfuncto” blog, Salma Gundi presented a compelling enough scenario to garner sympathy from me. Even if she is a “long limbed small.” (I think she had me with the “…abdominal fat deposits and shrinking boobs…”)

Here’s an excerpt:

The world is apparently made for mediums. The world of Marshall’s, at least, is made for mediums. I am not a medium. I am also not a 5 foot tall 15 year old. Where the hell am I supposed to shop for 10 dollar pants without looking like a Baby Phat ghetto princess or a polyester typing pool matron? Did the other long limbed smalls with abdominal fat deposits and shrinking boobs get there before me and take all the goodies? Damn them. I bet they got up early, too.

I feel your pain, Salma. I may feel it while standing next to a different rack, clinging desperately to the XLs and avoiding that abyss of wretched fabric over in the Women’s section. But I feel it, nonetheless.

Funny stuff.

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.

Weighing in on…Monday Mornings

Monday, January 8th, 2007

Okay, so there’s New Year’s Day, the annual blip of hope and new beginnings for Fatties the world over.

Then we have the seasonal anniversaries of resolve and renewal, like “Yikes! Bathingsuit Season’s Just Around the Corner!” Day (May), and “Help! I’m the Size of a Woman in Labor!” Day (September).

Then we have the most universal and ubiquitous collective conscious experience for Fatties, hands down:


Fifty-two times every year. No exceptions.

The food oopsies of the weekend have come and gone. The party’s over. It’s a new week. Either the kids are back at school, the work week has begun, the regular primetime TV schedule is back in full swing, or some combination of the three.

Whatever the individual triggers are, the outcome’s the same. A nausea-like wave of realization slaps us in the flub and tells us it’s time to buckle down, get serious, and shed some pounds.

Ambitious exercise regimens course through some of our brains. Weekly meal planning is the go-to rite of passage for others.

Details aren’t as important as understanding this:

Every female – and I do mean EVERY female – with any unwanted chub on her skeletal structure whatsoever, considers some kind of diet or weight loss regimen on Monday mornings.

There’s a theatrical sweep of the psychological slate. Inner monologues are channeled as drill sergeants, knuckle-whipping nuns, and broad-shouldered, square-jawed women named Helga.

“That’s it. I’m serious this time.”

“No more messing around. Let’s do this thing.”

“I am never eating anything but cabbage, celery, and fiber-infused cereal, ever again.”

“Two hours a day – 1000 crunches, five miles on the treadmill, full-circuit free weights, and a good 30 minutes on the bike, elliptical, or stairmaster, depending on my mood. No excuses.”

“How bad IS bulimia on my tooth enamel, really?”

Cookies are sworn off. Fast food is noted as the Devil’s poison, never to be touched. Gym memberships are recalled fondly.

The plan’s in place. The strategy is bulletproof. Fate as a skinny Minnie is signed, sealed, and just waiting to be delivered.

Breakfast’s are skipped. Fat clothes are scowled at and told they’re not long for their closets.

For those first few hours on Monday morning, women are proud and happy of themselves. There have been no slip-ups – no binges, no skipped workouts, no surrender to fried, salty lard sticks.

From 6am to 11am on Monday, Weighties everywhere are thinking, “This very well could be the first day of the rest of my flat-stomached life.”

And it could. Except for one, small thing.


And even if Tuesday keeps the same rules and momentum as a flawless, faithful, perfectly executed Monday – a feat of grand proportions! – then Wednesday has to come and go. And Thursday has that after-work networking thing. And Friday there’s dinner with the Swinsons, then brunch on Saturday, and your in-laws are coming over for dinner on Sunday, and they ALWAYS want bread, dessert, and wine, at the VERY least…

But thank heavens for Monday.

Monday – the day all diets and weight loss plans are possible, if only for one fabulous, fleeting jiffy.

(I’d write more, but it’s 11:10am right now. I have to go eat something before I pass out.)

Et tu, black safety pants?

Friday, January 5th, 2007

It finally happened. Even my fat black pants have betrayed me.

I bought these pants in a “just in case” mode about a year ago. They were a half size too big, only 15 bucks at TJ Maxx, and I had just lost two or three pounds, so I figured I’d never really have to wear them. But – just in case…

They were my safety pants. Every Fattie has at least one pair. Mine hung merrily at the back of my closet, not unlike a secret stash of cash hidden under a mattress for a fat, rainy day, so to speak. 

And they were perfect as safety pants, too. Stretchy fabric, wide leg, and utterly non-descript. And of course, BLACK, a Fat Chick’s favorite hue. They were everything you need in a safety pant – from a slider clip reinforcing the double-button waist fastener, to faux front pockets. Comfortable, flexible, black, and at the ready. Just in case.

As it happens, “just in case” came three times last year: Once at a funeral, once at a business workshop, and once at an evening open house for a newly opened educational institution.

When duty called, those trusted black safety pants charged into action! They know their cue all too well. If I look at my bed and see no fewer than 14 outfit combinations strewn and dismissed, they know their time has arrived. A nice crease up the front, a longish shirt or sweater to hide my side bulges and buttocks, and away we go.

This has worked perfectly for the last year. Until this morning.

I’ve got fabulous dinner plans tonight at a nice restaurant with three of my oldest and dearest friends. All of us have our own lives these days, with work, husbands, boyfriends, kids, and distance keeping us apart longer than we’d like.

Every woman wants to feel pretty in front of her oldest friends – at least in a public setting. So I took my shower and began my ceremonial jaunt through the tired outfits in my closet.

White shirt with black blazer and cords? Uh, no. Not unless I plan on working for the waitstaff, or time machining it back to 1986.

Jeans with a dressy top? LAME.

Do I go with a skirt, tights, and black boots? There goes the comfort factor, right out the window. Especially since I hobbled myself earlier this year stomping my foot down in an all out tantrum. But I digress…

I went through 13 more trials like this until I finally succumbed to the Reach Back.

There they were, my trusted black slacks, limp on the hanger in all their excessive fabric glory.


Except…when I shimmy-shimmy-shimmied them up my legs, past my thighs and hips, something horrible happened.

They pulled.

At first I thought I grabbed the wrong pair of black pants. My hand flew up, shoving clothes to the left and right, searching to correct the error.

Alas, there was no mistake. My fat black safety pants are snug. Not impossible to wear, but not exactly comfortable, either. I have no other options in my wardrobe, so I’m going to have to go with them.

To compensate, I’ve got a loud, happy, purple top with a plunging neckline. I’ve put my power hoop earrings on. I’ve even donned a thong, for good measure.

But while I laugh and reminisce with these women I love, these women who love me as I am, have seen me in the buff hundreds of times at all stages of plumpness, these gals who know of my struggles almost as much as anybody does, I’ll feel the strain. The pull. The fabric shackles, if you will.

No matter how happy I am or how much fun I’m having, I won’t be able to dismiss the physical sensation – and thus the omnipresent reminder – that even my fat black safety pants are screaming for help.

All I’ll be able to do is hope they don’t split on me. Cuz thongs are not the undergarments you want to be wearing in that scenario.

Oh, joy, a new year…

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

Well, there it is.

scale_010407_longview.jpgThere’s the truth of the matter.

Two hundred and ten whopping, flopping, sopping pounds.

Not a bad weight if you’re a 6’9″ Amazonian, or a 6’1″ quarter back for a professional football team. But for a 5’6″ white girl in her mid-thirties?

It’s hell. Pure, horrid, stinkified HELL.

I’m at my highest weight EVER.

(Not counting the number that climbed and climbed during the nine months of my pregnancy. Now THAT was a whopper! But it was for two human beings, so I didn’t feel too, too bad about it.)

And now I’ve got a brand new year to face head-on.

A brand new year to feel the hope and possibility, pain and frustration, angst and impossibility of doing whatever I can to get that number down, down, down.

scale_010407_closeup.jpgBack below 200, where it belongs.

Below 180, where I feel pretty fit and decently happy.

Below 170, where I haven’t been in ten years.

Dare I say, somewhere in the 150s? 

No. I dare not. Not yet. It simply hurts too much to think about that kind of distance.

The calorie counting has begun. The re-commitment to a regular exercise regimen is in place. The mounting panic of any situation where there’s food not prepared by me is in full swing. My Weight Watchers weigh-in is imminent. That’s happening next Monday. I dread it. I loathe it. I want to spit on what I interpret as their falsely-empathetic faces.

They see numbers like mine all the time. I’m convinced they don’t remember how much it hurts, and how hard it is to force these numbers down to where they belong. I assume they assume anyone who’s not losing steadily is lying – going home and gorging on chips and fried chicken and heaps of macaroni and cheese, candy bars and donuts and rows and rows of store-bought cookies.

I don’t do this, but I DO eat too much. I can’t help it. I’m hungry all the time.

So my challenge is to learn how to deal with the constant, gnawing, insatiable hunger.

My challenge is to learn how to stop eating after I’ve consumed all my dang points, even though I want to scream and rip someone’s hair out because it’s only 4pm, and I NEED something to hold my over until I go to bed at 11:30.

Oh, joy, a new freakin’ year.