Thursday, May 3, 2012

A big, fat story.

I have a friend. For the sake of anonymity, we'll call her... Fatty. Trust me, it's appropriate. This is Fatty's story. Her big, fat, horrifying story. (And if you think it sounds familiar, it doesn't.)

Once a upon a time, there was a young girl. Fatty was an average girl in an average family growing up in an average city. If asked, most people would have denied, even vehemently, that Fatty was fat. "It's just baby weight!" her mom would say. "She's just a little pudgy," others would chime in. But all thought she'd eventually grow out of it.

Fatty didn't think about her weight. It never occurred to her that she should. No one ever said "you might want to skip a meal" or "maybe, instead of dessert, you could have another round of NOT EATING."

On the bright side, because no one ever broached the topic, Fatty grew up without the body image issues of so many of her peers. It wasn't that she didn't care... she just didn't know she should.

Fatty got older. She met a boy, fell in love, and got engaged. And then, one day during her engagement, she stepped on a scale. Just for kicks, she thought. She wasn't prepared for the three-digit number that started with a two to rear it's ugly head and snap at her. She stumbled back in shock. It just couldn't be possible! How had she not known?!

And thus it started. A lifetime of struggling with her weight.

Fatty went on a diet. Since she had never done so before, she really had no concept of what "dieting" even meant. She had never paid attention to things like calories and fat and carbohydrates. She could only do what sounded logical.

1. Eat less. A lot less.

The first 25 pounds came off quickly. The rest a bit slower.

Over the next five years, Fatty would try all sorts of diets. Atkins, South Beach, the Slim Fast plan and more. Finally, she tried Weight Watchers and was quite successful. It took nearly two years, but she finally reached her goal weight of 135.

Now, I need to interrupt for a moment and tell you a quick story. Yes, a story within a story. Trust me. It's relevant. You'll want to remember this.

Fatty worked with a woman who was also overweight. As Fatty got closer to her goal, she noticed (well, it was pointed out to her as Fatty isn't very observant) that said co-worker was also losing weight and quite a bit at that. One day, Fatty and co-worker passed each other in the hall. They got to talking and Fatty felt it would be remiss if she didn't comment on her co-worker's weight loss achievements. So she did. And to Fatty's surprise, the co-worker beamed at her and said, "It's all because of you!" Turns out, she had been inspired (her word) by Fatty's own achievements. Fatty walked away, slightly stunned. She was only losing weight so that she wouldn't be, well, fat. She hadn't anticipated that others would be impacted by her doing so.

So, Fatty reached her goal. Looking back on pictures, I realize now just how thin she was. I'm not sure if she realized it though. I'm not sure if everyone's own self-image is as skewed, but I don't think Fatty will ever see herself as she truly is. Whether it be fat or thin.

And I'd imagine you probably see where I'm going with Fatty's story.

Remember how Fatty fell in love? And got married? And lost all that weight? Well, then the opposite happened. Fatty fell OUT of love. Got DIVORCED. And gained a SHIT TON. She gained every... single... pound... back. And that horrifying three-digit number that starts with a two? It's back and snapping louder than ever.

After the divorce, Fatty moved back home with her folks... and her habits began to change. She stopped cooking and started eating out. A lot. She'd stop for candy and snacks on her way to work most days. Not because she was depressed, but because it made her happy to do so. Of course she said she was buying for the whole office, but even Fatty knew the bullshit for what it was.

And the re-gaining of the weight was unfairly faster than it ever came off in the first place.

Did Fatty notice? Of course she did.

Did Fatty care? Of course she did.

But she believed wholeheartedly that she could get "back on track" at any time of her choosing.

When Fatty saw the return of that three-digit number that starts with a two, she finally had to acknowledge that things had gotten completely out of hand. Still, even after facing the fact that Fatty was fat again, the habits that had formed over the last two years were hard to break. And she struggled.

She needed a good, swift kick to the face to finally make her take action. And it came from an unexpected source.

Remember Fatty's co-worker? Well, it was odd. As Fatty gained weight, so did her co-worker. People would murmur about it, about how sad it was that this middle-aged divorcee had worked so hard to lose weight just to put it all back on again. But Fatty stayed silent. She was a person in a glass house.

Then Fatty came to work one day to find an envelope from said co-worker. She opened it with a smile, thinking it a thank you note for her recent help. Fatty was wrong. What she found instead was a brochure. For Food Addiction Anonymous.

Enough said. Point taken. Check fucking mate.

And thus Fatty's SECOND weight loss journey began.

Stay tuned.


  1. dear Stephanie,

    please, please document your journey.

  2. Just remember, the first steps in weight loss are the hardest.

    That's not true. They all suck.

    And I should know. After a lifetime of being able to take weight off by simply eating reasonably, I hit the upper 30s. Now it appears I'm actually going to have to WORK at it. I'm still carrying the weight of my Christmas overindulgences. Suck, suck, suck.

    Which brings me to my real advice: do it now, young'un. It ain't gonna get any easier.

    (Bundle of cheer, aren't I? Sorry. Gloomy day here.)

  3. We're here to cheer you on! You can do it.

  4. Don't diet. Just grow another coupla feet taller.