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My Fat Story (part one)

February 6, 2012

It seems particularly apropos that my first post on the new blog would be about my body. Like countless other women I have struggled with my weight. Fortunately it’s only been for the last 22 years or so. By struggled I mean “obsessed over”. I wasn’t a chubby kid, I didn’t get teased on the playground but my nanny once told me that my thighs jiggled and I was off to the races after that. Imagine a hippo in a tutu and you’ve got a picture of how I began to see myself. It’s possible that I turned to food for comfort. It’s also possible that it was turning to food that lead to those jiggling thighs. That shall remain one of the great unanswered questions of my life. (If you didn’t know that this is me being dramatic, now you do.)

When I was in the seventh grade, a year after the nanny’s comment, some boys called me thunder thighs and said “BOOM!” as I walked by. I begged them to stop and tried to walk away but they followed. For reasons unrelated to the above humiliation I would end up being “not invited back” to that school the following year, for which I was ever so grateful. (That’s the fancy way for a private school to kick you out without actually kicking you out.)

At my new school I had the same monster thighs that were intimate friends but no one seemed to care. Or if they did I wasn’t aware of it. I played sports, I wasn’t anywhere near a couch potato so I figured I was just the way I was meant to be and left it at that. I had friends, boyfriends and girlfriends. I now know that what other people thought was more important to me than what I thought. As long as other people liked me it didn’t matter so much that I hated myself and the way I looked. It was a house of cards built on a cloud if there ever was one. I tried to put the issue to bed far back in my mind but it snuck forward every time I got dressed or undressed or saw a picture of myself. Unfortunately it never crept far enough forward to fire me into action and just sat in a place that brought inert misery. Once or twice I did some diet research but that was only after too many pork rinds or donuts had given me a stomach ache.

Years later, pork rinds a thing of the past, I was an adult woman with an adult career, sort of. Not much was happening. I was booking bit parts here and there. Everything was sporadic. It didn’t help that I had no idea what I wanted and looked to everyone else to tell me. Are you sensing a theme? My manager at the time sat me down and told me that if I wanted to work, I’d have to lose weight. Her male counter part followed with, “It’s not that you’re really fat, it’s just that you’re thick”. I nodded in shocked agreement. I’d never had anyone speak to me in such a frank manner about a subject I thought was taboo. They sent me to Lindora where I was put on an extremely low carb diet. Half way through the first week I became ill enough that I didn’t change out of a bathrobe for two days and the thought of eating another egg or tofu or piece of chicken seemed less preferable than starving. Halfway through the second week I broke down. I sat myself at the giant pine breakfast room table with a deep Japanese soup bowl, a box of Life cereal, a carton of milk and a spoon. I filled that thing to the brim and ate it all. To this day I have yet to taste anything as delicious as that first bite. I helped myself to a refill and then, over the next three days, proceeded to gain back what weight I’d lost in the previous fourteen – never mind how much extra I gained after that.

Following my high protein crash and burn I went to weight watchers. The program seemed more suited to my personality so I thought it would be easy. The hardest part turned out to be actually showing up to a meeting. The first time I headed to downtown Burbank, on time and with no excuses, I saw an eighty year old man get hit by a car, flung rag doll style through the air, and land in a heap on the pavement. That was a sign. I went home and ate ice cream. It would be another week before I tried again. The second time’s a charm. My hands were shaking as I filled out the paperwork and paid my registration fee. I took my shoes off and stepped on what I’m pretty sure was an elephant scale. It was flat shiny metal and meant to hold so much weight that there wouldn’t be a cut off thereby assuring that none of us fatties had to feel any worse about ourselves than we already did. When I saw my number, 160 I think it was, I thought it wasn’t that bad. I felt positive. I knew I could do it. All of that changed when the woman weighing me in patted me on the shoulder and said, “don’t worry, we’ll get it off”. I started crying.

I was diligent about attendance. I was equally diligent about filling in my points chart, really just a piece of paper with a fold for each day of the week. I carried the points book in my purse everywhere I went. I told my husband that we could only frequent establishments listed in the restaurant guide. I started working out for the first time since college. I was inspired, in one particular meeting, to try something new, something I was afraid to try. I signed up at a gym I’d had my eye on and started boxing. I loved it. I looked forward to Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays like a kid waiting to get her braces off. What could be better for a person with anger issues than to punch the shit out of a bag and run around in circles for an hour? Oh, did I forget to mention that I have anger issues? I sputtered out on the Weight Watchers meetings pretty quickly but stuck with the boxing. I had also gained a vague sense of portion size but didn’t realize it until later.

One night, a season after splitting from the WW rooms, the aforementioned husband and I were half watching an entertainment chat show when a segment on celebrity diets came on. All I really remember sticking out was her name, Carrie Latt Wiatt, and that she had worked with Jennifer Aniston. Chad (the husband) had paid more attention than I had. Enough that he went out the next day and bought me her book, “Portion Savvy”. It would change my life.

Looking back I know that any number of the other programs would have worked if I’d stuck with them but I didn’t because I was looking for the easy out. I was looking for the weight to just fall off my body by way of magic in seven days and it just doesn’t happen like that. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve had to learn this lesson twice so far.

“Part two:Learning My Lesson (the first time)” to follow.

image via http://www.nlm.nih.gov

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2012 11:50 pm

    That is very Honestly written, I met you at an L Con, You are a beautiful woman and in no way fat , You are amazing

  2. February 6, 2012 11:55 pm

    I never realized you had weight issues. Well, I don’t like my thighs either and even if I lose weight they are “jiggling” type. That’s the way I inherited them I think.

  3. February 7, 2012 12:16 am

    Oh…the joys of being on a constant diet. Great piece, looking forward to part 2.

  4. Kimberly Brill permalink
    February 7, 2012 12:26 am

    Thank you for being real and sharing your story. You are inspiring on many levels. Peace of mind. kb

  5. Deanna Dunlap permalink
    February 7, 2012 1:43 am

    I am so in your shoes.I look in the mirror everyday and think if I could just lose 10 lbs. then maybe another 10 lbs. Vicious cycle that I really, really want to break, I am just not sure it’s ever going to happen. I work out like 5 days a week, but eat whatever I want. Not good for losing weight. I am a muscular and short woman, also not helpful with my weight issues. I gain 5 pounds and it shows. I have tried all the diets, tried WW, know all the correct things I should be eating and, more importantly, what I SHOULD NOT be eating. When will I get the gumption to change how I feel about my body and actually do something for more than 10 days at a time to see a change? I don’t know. But, I am sure hoping it’s before swimsuit season.

  6. February 7, 2012 2:34 am

    nice writing clem, you bear all. i think all girls can relate to this story. i hope one day you can feel content with yourself because you are a natural beauty

  7. February 7, 2012 3:15 am

    Hi I loved your honesty…and bravery…in telling your story. We all should be more courteous near overweight women. I’m sure they’re all struggling.

  8. Beth permalink
    February 7, 2012 4:56 am

    Tell it, girl! Miss you.

  9. Paige permalink
    February 8, 2012 12:49 am

    Im not sure why, but I’m surprised to hear/read that you’ve struggled with your weight over the years. I think at some point, we all do — whether it’s warranted or not — including me. But I’m now 30 pounds lighter and although I do feel better about myself, I still struggle with it.
    I also have to say — like you need an extra boost of confidence — in my opinion, you were the hottest woman to grace The L Word! So don’t let your weight issues get you too down. 🙂

  10. February 8, 2012 9:57 pm

    One of my first reaction upon reading was wanting to punch those idiots who ever made you feel bad about your appearance (I don’t know exactly what that says about me, but that’s another issue. 🙂 ).

    What I learned first hand in my 32 years of living is that you have to accept and love the body you have been given. You cannot change your genes. If your genetics doesn’t allow your body to shrink into a size zero (what kind of size is that anyway?), it’s just not going to happen and definitely not in a healthy way. Everyone would be much happier if they accepted the fact that they will never have legs like a gazelle cause their body is just not made up for that.

    However, what each of us is capable of is treating yourself well and taking care of your body. What really matters is that you feel good, strong, healthy and fit cause, at the end, that will mirror in your soul. But I agree that it is all easier said than done. It is very, very much a mind thing but once it makes click you can control it.

    Thank you for your “sensible grown up blog”. I know the feeling of wanting to do something that maybe has an impact on a deeper level for one or the other. This urge resulted in creating my website.

    PS: I loved your post about “Thoughts on Black Friday”. Straight out of my heart. For what it’s worth and the little I know about you, I think you’re wonderful insight and out.

  11. keilanb77 permalink
    February 9, 2012 2:20 pm

    Thank u for being real !!! It takes a lot to share such a personal topic with everyone. Weight issue or not..I think you are a beautiful and amazingly talented woman. Your honesty is commendable.

  12. aka eyeball permalink
    March 2, 2012 10:06 am

    You have a tender-caustic edge to your writing. I feel I owe you money for reading that. Thank you!

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