Et tu, black safety pants?

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…

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.

The ROLLS (or: “Back Fat Sneak Attack!”)

December 11th, 2006

The thing about Back Fat is, you just have no idea.

bodyparts_backfat.jpgWe’re not owls. We don’t have 270 degree head rotation capabilities. And we Weighties spend most of our time avoiding prolonged self-scrutiny in the mirror. We’re not about to start using the hand-helds so we can get a more accurate look at our all-too-obvious flaws.

That’s why our scathing self-criticism is focused on our jelly bellies, sprawling thighs, and bulging booties. These are the parts we can see on a daily basis. Or else we’re trying to cram them into our ever-shrinking jeans, slacks, skirts, and trousers.

But shirts? We just buy bigger shirts. We don’t stress out too much about it. “It’s our bodacious bosom,” we say, or we just go with the styles that are designed to be roomy. “Ethereal” or “Sporty” are two style words that come to mind to support the purchase of larger tops.

Now, I admit – the bra straps should be a giveaway. But since something like 98% of all women are roaming the Earth with ill-fitting bras, it’s easy to understand how we Weighties don’t pay much attention to a sadistic, flesh-binding torture devices.

But then it happens.

Someone snaps a spontaneous pic at a party or gathering, and you happen to have had your back to the camera, mingling innocently, unaware of the Lebowitz-wannabe behind you.

After the merry-making event, the party pics gets emailed around to all attendees. So many happy pictures! What a fun time was had by all! Until you notice the back of a very large woman with Quasimodo-esque lumps plumping out of her sweater, and by some strange coincidence, the sweater is the same color of the sweater you were wearing. Oh, and she has your same hair-do as you, and even your pants look similar…

Egad! It’s YOU! It’s YOUR Back Fat!! You didn’t even know you had to worry about your back, and yet – there it is, a monstrosity if ever there was one.

Layered rolls, tumbling, cascading. Displaced skin. Pudge with nowhere to go but out. Shoulder blade cushion. Armpit stash. No wonder you can’t wear button down shirts anymore.

It’s not your ample cleavage on your chest. It’s the growing boob garden on your back.

And as your epidermis expands, and your shoulders get closer to your skull by default, you notice you’re being attacked from behind, too. And those guerrilla warriors take no prisonors.

And to think, you never even saw it coming.

Weighing in on…Waking Up Fat, Every Day

December 7th, 2006

Consciousness. Coming to. Transitioning from the cushion of slumber to the inescapable dread of day.

For me, hell begins as soon as my brain flips on. There’s a lightning fast inventory taken, a checklist that goes something like this:

-Alive? Check.

-Any noticeable, pre-motion pain? Usually nope, with the occasional yup.

-Still fat? You betcha.

Sunk into the thick mattress pillow, I feel the giant imprint of my flesh. Queen-size bed. I swear I’m half of it. Do skinny people thrive in full-size beds? If I can’t get a handle on my girth, will I have to upgrade to a king someday? Soon? Does my svelt husband have any room when we sleep? Or has he trained himself to balance on his side and work with a sliver of space for seven hours a night?

On the brave days, or the extra-self-loathing days, I actually feel the bulge of my tummy, hips, and thighs with my fingers. Poke, gloop, blop. Poke, glerp, pinch, ech. Are there really people who can’t pinch an inch of extraneous flub? What must that be like? I’ve got fistfuls to spare, all decorated with stretchmarks and cellulite.

I feel it all, and it weighs me down even before I set foot on the floor to feel it literally weighing me down. I’m in my mid-thirties, and I’m relatively healthy. Every month, every year I put on a pound or twenty, and this weight thing gets worse. I know this. I’ve tried to flip the cycle. Diets, “live-its,” trainers, exercise binges, weights, whole foods, no carbs, homeopathic pill-popping campaigns, and the worst remedy of all: HOPE.

These days, HOPE is a last resort. I’ve tried it before, and it’s always failed me. These days, the option of HOPE gets less accessible. I used to be able to summon all my strength (whatever strength I thought I had, anyway), do a “buck up little camper” like no one else, set a focused mind and a determined spirit onto the goal of conquering my weight issue once and for all, release the fact that I’ve said as much before and never succeeded, insist that the “real” time is destined so it might as well be today, and get excited about the prospect of all this “not me” stuff finally, FINALLY getting off of my beautiful, glorious, wonderful body once and for all.

But after you’ve failed so many times at the one thing that tortures you daily, hourly, and in virtually every waking moment, mustering such HOPE becomes as painful as the weight itself. By now, I’ve tried the gamut of approaches. I’ve watched others succeed so I know it *can* be done…just not by me.

Which then becomes the suckiest thing about it. People DO lose weight. People much larger than me. I see it all the time. I watch The Biggest Losers, the Oprah Winfreys, the makeover shows. Hundreds of pounds, *POOF*! All gone. And boy, do the newly-thin look HAPPY!

Then there’s My mom. My neighbor. My best friend. Eight pounds, 20 pounds, 50 pounds. I see it can be done. They’ve all done it. I just haven’t been able to do it. It’s not like walking on water, or pulling some high-fallutin’ David Blane stunt. It’s losing weight. People can do it. I haven’t been able to do it. Therefore, I suck.

Good morning, world.

And soon, I get the privilege of figuring out what to wear.

Oh, dear God, kill me now.

Weighing in on…Fat Sunday

November 27th, 2006

You’ve heard of Fat Tuesday, right?

Also known as Mardi Gras, it’s the hedonistic celebration before Ash Wednesday, which launches a month and a half of devout self-discipline before Easter Sunday. Fat Tuesday doth not know restraint. It’s the night when all rules are ditched, excess is in high fashion, freaks are out in full regalia, bingeing is king, and repercussions are far, far from anyone’s mind.

Well, there’s another five-day event that shares these same traits, but no one talks about it. It’s named after its final hurrah: Fat Sunday. It’s the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Day One of the Fat Sunday experience is Prep Wednesday. Dips are mixed, desserts are whipped, potatoes are mashed, and the spoons and bowls assisting with these matters are scraped, slurped, and licked by Fatties all over America, including me.

Buttery, creamy, slathery treats, just waiting to be assembled. No guests are watching, just us Fatties in the privacy of our kitchens, thinking about the Yum Factor, about all the folks who’ll be digging into our delights, and how no one will be worrying about the calorie counts. 

As you know, Prep Wednesday rolls right into Permission-to-Gorge Thursday, better known as Thanksgiving. Most Fatties go dainty on breakfast – or skip it altogether! – thinking those 200-300 calories will take the edge off the 2,000-3,000 we’ll be consuming throughout the day. (It’s Fat Math.)

Blessed Mother of Gravy, but there’s a lot of eating to be done on Permission-to-Gorge Thursday! I’m surprised this day hasn’t inspired a niche industry of porto-vomitoriums. Even the veggies surrender, with carrots drenched in sugar and butter, appetizer celery sticks gunked with cream cheese and olives, and 20-pound bags of potatoes infused with as much thick richness as the USDA allows. And of course, there’s that little matter of the 20+ bird perched atop the table in its crisped-skinned glory.

Since more food is presented on Permission-to-Gorge Thursday than can be consumed by a tribe of 50-feet tall sumo wrestlers, the consumption fest spills into Leftover Friday, followed by Refridgerator Raid Saturday. Both days involve piling the same fatty foods into our systems over and over again, with Leftover Friday being an attempt to recreate the magic of the former day, and Refridgerator Raid Saturday being a desperate act to clear out the best goodies before other family members move in on our territory.  

At long last, we’ve come upon Fat Sunday.

One more day before the reset button, and before we discover our pants won’t button. By now, mega-consumption is not a joy but a habit. If we listen carefully, there’s a chain gang of Fatties chanting in the backs of our minds:

Oh, Lawd! Have mercy on my intestinal pain

I’m a sinner who never gonna get no thinner

Ain’t got nothin’ but a belly o’ jelly

And thighs the size of the Mississippi river

After 40 days and nights of rain!

This is the day when all Fatties must decide what gets thrown out and what gets gobbled up before the midnight deadline, cuz we simply can’t begin our work weeks with that same shovel-it-in mentality. After all, we Fatties already have issues with massive and swift weight gain when we think we’re behaving. All bets are off if that feeble exercise in moderation is taken out of the picture.

On Fat Sunday, there’s a slew of emotions battling it out. Panic. Dread. Sadness. Surrender. Regret. Numbness. And determination – to eat-eat-eat for one more string of 12-16 hours, before Monday’s wrath falls upon us.

So we do. Maybe there’s a party to go to. Or a brunch. Or a holiday parade in a nearby town, streets lined with treats and warm-hearthed specials for weary parade watchers.

Or maybe we just throw some sweatpants on, hope for a good movie or three, and finish the gastro-masochism we started.

Hey, it’s Fat Sunday, baby. What can ya do? And not so far back in our minds is the bigger realization of this hopeless day: It’s the launch of the holiday season, with parties and cookies, potlucks and eggnogs, festivities, fudge, and fruitcake golore.

For Fatties the world over, it’s the great white flag of surrender. If we couldn’t lose the weight for yet another year, we’re certainly not going to lose it during this last stretch. Sad, but true.

So on Fat Sunday, we mourn. It’s no fun being stuck in a fat suit. No fun at all.


“Maybe next year…” we stammer.

Yeah. Maybe next year.

But we doubt it.

Thanksgiving: A Holy Day for Fat Folks

November 23rd, 2006

thanksgiving.jpgWhat a perfect day to start a blog about being fat. Thanksgiving, that lovely holiday where friends and family gather to stuff their faces full of gravy-drenched poultry, green bean casseroles, porkified stuffings, yams, potatoes, butter-slathered rolls, pies, pies, and pies, and a dash of cranberry gloop for aesthetic appeal.

The average American consumes well over 3,000 calories during their Turkey-day meal. I, for one, can’t wait to feel my butt cheeks spreading over the edge of my chair as my family passes plate after platter of calorie-laden goodness from one to another.

And as I laugh with my family, feeling my chins are multiplying by the moment, tugging at my sweater to hide the sag and jiggle, I’ll be thinking about this blog, glad to finally have a place to get the truth of being fat out to the expanding masses.