March 16, 2011

I'm fat.

There's nothing like reconnecting with childhood friends to remind a girl just how fat she really is.  Facebook is full-on exposure therapy, what with all the tagged photos from high school popping up like little boils on your already fragile self-esteem.  You were all safe in your chubby cocoon and then along comes photo-uploading Sally Sunshine from high school.  Suddenly you're outed.  You'd think you purposely misled the people who've only known you as a fat person.  They see the photos and say adorable things like, "You were so skinny back then!"  Or, "Wow, you looked great!"  Or, "Man, you look so different!" 

Yeah, shut up.

I was born skinny.  Six pounds and some change.  Then came the "average" years.  All five of them.  My shame about being chubby started early.  I remember lying about my weight as far back as the fourth grade.  Back then, schools did yearly weight checks.  I didn't want any of my fellow students to know my weight, so I asked the nurse to whisper it in my ear and I'd pass it along to the person recording the weights.  I weighed 106, but told the weight-recorder I weighed 86.  (Is it weird that I still remember my fourth grade weight?)

I was athletic as a kid.  I played soccer and like every other child of the 80s, ran around outside until supper time.  But sugar was always my weakness.  I remember sneaking desserts and even stealing them from other kids' lunches when I was in elementary school.  (Damn you, Little Debbie!)  My mom was anorexic, though I didn't know it until I became an adult.  I think she struggled with my fatness.  My body was so different from hers.  I'm built like my dad's side.  Short and muscular and prone to Buddha bellies.  

In middle school and high school I was even more active.  I played basketball, lifted weights, and threw the shot put.  No more sneaking or stealing food.  My grandma made great balanced meals and I ate reasonable amounts.  But I was still chubby.  At my most active, I was a size 14.  I was healthy and naturally curvy.  There was no shortage of interested boys.  But I still felt so much shame about my body.

College was when it got out of control.  The only exercise I had was dancing at clubs once a week.  Late night Taco Bell runs, dorm life with snacking at all hours, and three meals a day of all-you-can-eat-buffets in the campus cafeteria added up.  Choosing my own food didn't work out so well.  I put on 35 pounds.

I was a size 20 when Tree Guy and I got married.  That was a size or so out of my comfort zone, but I didn't try to lose weight because I'd heard about the failure rates of diets.  And I was afraid to fail.  As long as I kept telling myself, I'm fat because I haven't tried to lose weight, I could operate under the illusion that someday, when I wanted to, I could get my weight under control.  

My early adult years brought autoimmunity.  Autoimmunity often means steroids.  And steroids almost always mean extra weight.  I've been on high doses of steroids for months at a time three times in my life.  Each time I gained 35-45 pounds (along with acne, mood swings, the sweats, and the random chin hair).  Prednisone sucks(!), but sometimes it's all that works to bring an autoimmune flare under control.  My doctors told me not to worry--that steroid weight just naturally comes off after you're off the drug. 

Yeah, right. 
"moon face"

In my experience, it comes off (mostly) in a few years (with effort).  With all the side effects of steroids (did I mention "moon face"?), doctors have to lie to get you to take them!  At least the rest of the side effects go away.  For the most part.  (I heart you, Tweezers!)

I've lost about half of my most recent (ahem!, 2006) steroid weight gain with a combination of Weight Watchers and nutrient malabsorption from Crohn's disease.  I've still got 25 pounds to lose just to get back to Comfortably Fat.  I am in solid Uncomfortably Fat territory right now.      

One of the benefits of moving away from your hometown is that you can change and it's not that shocking.  You meet people along the way who only know you as you are now--they don't compare you to who you used to be.  You can be bookish and no longer enjoy crowds.  You can be tattooed and free-spirited.  And you can be fat.  It's freeing, really.  

But there are old friends worth reconnecting with.  My 20 year high school reunion is coming up.  (Yikes!)  I'm proud of the person I've become, and even prouder of my family.  Being fat gets in the way too much as it is (grandma swimsuits, airplane seat belts)--I don't want to let it keep me from the fun. 

So I'm just going to step out from behind the muumuu and proclaim to the world that I'm fat.  (Not that I wear muumuus.)  (But if you do that's okay.)  (If it's good enough for Debra Messing...) (Because there's nothing wrong with wearing what makes you feel comfortable.)  (I'm more of a stretchy jeans and tee girl myself.) (My mom isn't fat and she wears a caftan.)  (I think that's fancy-speak for muumuu.)  (Don't tell her I said that.)  


  1. K, so I get to chime in as best friend here and say that you're awsome as is and tough as freakin' nails to have dealt with all of the medical issues so well. And you're beautiful. And your husband thinks you rock...I know...I've caught him lookin' at ya!

  2. ^^I love that she has caught your man looking at you! I got teased today at daycare when my man squeezed my big ole fat butt as I got in the truck! ::snort::

    You know I struggle with my weight...I don't want to be skinny, I want to be comfortable and healthy...and I think that's what you are desiring too.

    Embrace your them how great you are and never be ashamed of who you have become. Size is irrelevant. The woman inside and outside is a prize!

  3. Aww, thanks ladies. Will you come to my high school reunion with me and beat up whoever snickers about my rotummbly? :P

  4. Ok, so I am a little behind at reading your posts, but I just have to agree with the other comments on this one... you are a beautiful person inside and out!! You and I have talked about weight and diets before, and I struggle terribly with sticking with a plan... as of today I haven't been doing Weight Watchers for a little over a week... time to get back into it with the right outlook... I am just aiming for "comfortably fat", not looking at the fact that I would need to lose over 100 pounds just to be the weight that "they" say I need to be! Thanks for the inspiration!! :)