Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Call Me Mike or Mary Anne
I have battled my weight since 1987.
In August 1984, I left my hometown weighing 107 pounds and wearing girls size 12 jeans (I'm short. Very short. 5'3/4" short. Short.)
In September 1984, I discovered that weekends, including keg parties and pizza consumed at 2 a.m., began on Thursday nights and ended with the first class on Monday morning. If I managed to make it to class, that is.
In the spring of 1985, I started trying to match bite for Dunkin Donuts bite my boyfriend who was about 6' 1" and who officially qualified as a stringbean. He had a certificate and everything.
Even all that youthful, nubile sex didn't save me from gaining a few pounds.
By July 1985, the size 12 jeans no longer fit. Good thing I was working at Sears so I could use my employee discount to buy some skirts and pants with elastic waistbands.
I went to France for a summer semester in 1987. There I lived on wine, pastries, pizza, coffee, beer spiked with all manner of sin and whatever I could get my hands on at Flunch. No, I didn't really like French food. What a shame my palate was so limited back then. Talk about missed opportunities!
However, thankfully, when I was in France, I walked everywhere.
Then I came back to U.S. and enjoyed all the things I'd missed while I was away. No, I don't mean fruits and vegetables and whole grains. I mean Oreos, peanut butter, Arby's, Skyline Chili and Big Boys. The sandwiches, not the gender.
As luck would have it, I chose that same moment to give up walking for the great American past time of sitting behind the wheel of a car on an ever-expanding bottom.
And so it began. The slow slide into the reality that is fat genes, fat jeans and tears in front of the mirror because no fair!!!! I'm shaped just like Grandma Hewitt!!!
Why couldn't I have really been adopted like my sister told me I was?
Getting married, settling down, and having children did not help matters.
Phentermine did. But that's no solution, clearly. I can suppress my appetite, but eventually, my bad habits catch up with me. Again.
You see, I come by my bad habits honestly. You know how some people are Charmin people or Chevy people? My dad was a Ford man who loved his Pepsi. Cereal wasn't breakfast until we'd ladled tablespoons of sugar over it. That was a gift from our mom. Dad's breakfast of choice was a tall glass of 2% milk with about 1/4 cup of Hershey's Syrup added for giggles. The only bread in our house was white.
I learned well how to nurture my sweet tooth like it was my most precious possession. If I want to clear my family from a room, I don't have to pass gas (although that can work if I've consumed the proper combination of chocolate and green peppers). Nope, all I have to do is load a bowl with cherry jello, sprinkle it with sugar and pour milk over it. Sugar sprinkled on gelatinous sugar. You'd think I was eating raw brains or something.
But I am not here to play the blame game. I'm a grown up. I am perfectly capable of making my own choices now. I just choose to make all the wrong ones when it comes to food and exercise.
It's come to my attention, however, through the baleful stare I receive from the scales right before they squeeze their eyes shut in pain as I step on them, that things are horribly out of control. Again. I am obese. Contrary to conventional wisdom, saying it does not make it any easier. I no longer can see myself as a potentially thin person. I can't even remember what it looked like. Even my eyelids look fat. No really.
Bless his heart, MathMan pointed it out the other day without knowing.
Him: Are you sinuses bothering you?
Me: Yes, a little. Why?
Him: Your eyes look puffy.
When he left the room, I ran, okay... I lumbered to the bathroom to stare at myself in the mirror. More injustice! My mother's eyelids had attached themselves to my face!
I have nothing and no one to blame but myself.
I'm genetically predisposed to being rotund. I carry my weight around my middle like a fat little apple on fat little legs. Let's just say, I would hate to read how someone might describe me in writing.
You know, once, a long long time ago, when I worked for AARP, one of the older volunteers (older being someone in their late 80s, perspective, my friends) was overheard describing me as "you know, that pretty, chubby girl." I was crushed. I wanted to parse the heck out of that statement. Did he mean pretty, but chubby or pretty chubby as in "Watch it, girly, or you'll find yourself crossing the line from chubby to fatso before you can say Ice Cream Sandwich."
But I knew what he meant. Chubby, but too cute to call a fatty. That was then. Now, I don't even qualify as cute or a girl. I'm silver-haired and swaddled in a layer of lard that is going to kill me. Slowly. But dead is dead. And I'm not a fan of the nasty way people who are festering with slow killers, the proverbial ticking time bombs, age.
So I'm making some changes and I'm going to log them online because I'm too cheap to go out and buy a notebook. And besides, I've forgotten how to write longhand.
From time to time, I'll share some of my journey? adventure? shame? with you. I know, you're thrilled. But perhaps watching me flounder about in this fat suit (see, I still don't want to believe this is the real me) will A. Make you feel better about yourself; B. Give you some universal sense that you are not alone in your struggles, whatever they maybe; and/or C. Make you laugh, because let's not kid ourselves, watching the fat chick slip and fall? Even I, with my highly cultured sense of humor, find that funny.
The thing I'm not seeking here, to be just flat out honest with you, is advice. People, I'm 44 years old, moderately educated and weigh - well, let's not get too personal. I'm aware of what I should be doing. Both my parents have hypertension and each has some level of diabetes. There have been incidents of colon cancer and breast cancer on my father's side. On my mother's side, it's like nothing to have open heart surgery. People, I get it. I really, really do. But getting it and implementing it are two entirely different things. I am an emotional eater with a heavy hitter sweet tooth. I am allergic to exercise. Really. I have a doctor's note.
But there it is, plain and simple, what I need to do. Eat less of what's bad for me. Eat more of what's good for me. Move more. Yes, yes, yes, and yes. And for that one person who is going to email me and tell me to make sure I'm drinking enough water. Noted.
So if I don't want your advice, why I am writing about it? Well, accountability. You know, MathMan has a cute way of describing accountability. He likens it to Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel. In the book, Mike and his trusty steam shovel Mary Anne dig better, faster, deeper when they have an audience.
Well, writing about this need to get healthy is my own way of doing a Mike Mulligan. If I write about it, I know one or more of you are going to occasionally remind me of my plan to be healthy. Oh yeah, you'll whack me with it just after I bake a pie or write about consuming martinis and wine full of empty calories. And that's cool. That's accountability. That's what friends are for, right?
But then there are those of you who will snatch a picture of me from my flickr and send it to me and make me want to grind my teeth and scream at the universe and dive head first into some Ben & Jerry's Phish Food. And that's cool, too. There's a bit of me who likes you when you're cruel.
Of course, I should say here that I am indeed doing this for my health. But the truth is that I want to get skinny so that I can indulge my fantasies of swanning about in steampunk fashions or vintage clothing from the 30s, 40s and 50s.
Mostly, though, I'm doing this Because I soooo need a day when I can look in the mirror and not say to myself "Fat, fat, the water rat....."
Whatever it takes, People, whatever it takes......