Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What's it like to be fat?

I am sick today, with a severe head cold. My head is swimming. But I wanted to post something. I can't tell you how many times over the past ten years I have awakened in the morning and my first thought was, "I hate being fat." I would haul my massive self out of bed and to the bathroom... a seemingly simple task turned into a monumental, painful daily ritual because of my morbid obesity. My knees hurt, my ankles hurt, everything hurt. It was hard to even move. I was disgusted with myself. And every morning, I would think, "This just can't go on any longer. I can't live like this. Today is the day I am changing my life." Most of the time, my resolve lasted about an hour. Maybe I would eat a healthy breakfast, but by 10am I had dissolved into a very large puddle of self pity mixed with cravings and topped with self-destructive behavior. I would binge, and then sit back and think, "I guess I will have to start tomorrow."

The other day, I stumbled across a file on my computer. It was a little note I had written to myself over 2 years ago, when I weighed about 260 pounds. I had forgotten about this little note, but when I read it, I immediately knew I wanted to share it here. It is a candid look into the thoughts and feelings that went through my head for TEN YEARS. Ten years of remorse, regret, disappointment in myself. But never enough, until now, to really change.

So without further commentary, here is my little note to myself, dated 10/24/05.

As I stood in the kitchen licking the brownie batter off a wooden spoon, I started thinking about what my problem is. Sometimes I wonder if I am delusional. I got up this morning excited to go pick up 9 rolls of film I had dropped off to be developed last week. On the rolls were pictures of my wedding day, pictures of my graduation from college, pictures of me pregnant, and pictures of me holding my new sweet baby. I cannot tell you how excited I was to go get those and see the pictures and relive those wonderful moments. How precious they are. So I go pick up the film. I sit in the car and open the packs, one by one. Who is that fat lady in the white dress?? Who is that chunky woman with the triple chins and big calves sticking out from under that white dress?? OMG. It's me. I open more packages. Who is that puffy looking mother holding the precious tiny baby? Who is that really heavy girl getting ready to accept her college diploma? Who is that?? What happened to me? I don't remember being that fat when I got married. I felt beautiful. I don't remember being so large when I was holding my new baby. Or when I graduated. I felt so light and happy. But look, who is that in the pictures where I should have been? It's me! So I drive home, thinking, I cannot live this way. I cannot be embarrassed of every picture of every wonderful moment in my life. I wanted to hang those pictures on my walls because those moments felt so beautiful, but in reality, I won't hang them anywhere. I look horrible. It makes me sad. How then, can I come home and after the baby is asleep, justify baking just *one more* batch of chewy fudge brownies? How then, can I stand in the kitchen licking batter off the spoon and the bowl, hurrying before my kids come home from school, before my husband sees me. How? I stopped and thought about it. (No, I didn't stop licking the batter, I stopped after I had licked the bowl clean). When I am eating like that, with no one around, I am beautiful. I am thin. Heck, I feel like I am 12 or 16 years old, without a care, just enjoying the yummy taste of brownie batter. I go into some kind of time warp, or sugar coma, or something, and I am just a normal sized person enjoying something yummy. I swear to god if someone came up on me with a full sized mirror while I was licking that spoon I would have a complete heart attack. When I stop and think what I actually do look like... a big, 260 pound woman with cankles and triple chins and hairy legs, snarfing down brownie batter in her kitchen... I am appalled. That's what I am? But I don't feel that way when I am eating it. It's like in those pictures, it's so beautiful and all until I see the way it really looks. Why can't I look how I feel? Maybe that's why I eat, partly, because of how wonderful I feel and I forget how I look. I have to forget how I look, or I would cry all day. Something has to change.


Anonymous said...

Wow...this is how I feel all the time. I often feel beautiful but when I really look at myself and compare myself to others, I feel fat and ugly. Maybe it's what we see on TV and magazines that condition us to think certain physical traits are beautiful and others are not. But beauty standards these days are unrealistic..and this makes it hard for those of us who don't live up to them to accept what we look like. We should be able to look at outselfs in the mirror and in pictures and still love our looks despite it not being anywhere near perfect.

^_^ I think it would be great if you could hang those pictures!


Dinah Soar said...

I have the same problem...the way I think I look and the way I really look are poles apart...but lately I've been "seeing" how I look in the mirror. Why now I have no idea,.... but I don't like the way I look.

I was so disgusted with myself, with the disconnect that is my own doing, that I put a sign on my fridge that said "LOOK IN THE MIRROR!" as a reminder. I also put the warnings "You'll regret it tomorrow!" and "No matter how good it tastes today, tommorrow you'll be tasting regret".

Those were my mantra each time I was tempted to indulge myself. Repeating those messages helped me not stray. I thought, this struggle I experience must be the same for alcoholics trying not to imbibe or smokers dying to have a cigarette. We who let food call the shots share the same struggle as any addict and just like them we have to fight, resist, not cave.

Sybil said...

And, isn't it strange how some days we look in the mirror and look great and the next day, we look in the same mirror, and we really haven't changed and we think we look horrible. It must be a mind or emotional thing, eh?

I always find reading my writing from days past very interesting. Sad in some ways because I've been struggling with the same darn issues for so long and I still haven't gotten where I want to be - at least not physically.


Ms Ingrid said...

I am so impressed. That is exactly how I felt past 5 years until January 31st, this year. But I cannot describe it so accurately.

I feel much better now, but I am still disgusted by my lower body - buns and things are the source of my misery and I don't know how much more I have to lose to be completely happy.

I love your posts, I read them every day.

honib1 said...

ohhh boy you hit a home run with me.. I can feel that post.. to me the hardest part is realizing I am the same woman I was at 16 that I am at 45.. the same feeling of imperfection.. the same feeling of what a loser ( not in a good way) I am.. the same feelings of I can not achieve anything.. the same feelings of I am a failure.. only now at 45.. I tell myself.. look.. you are fat.. if you want to change .. do.. if you dont then don't but you have to believe in yourself first.. no matter if no one elses believes in you.. U have to believe first.. thats what I tell myself.. now you my friend.. tell yourself that too..

Karen (aka Deadbudgee) said...

OMG Lyn, I could have written the same thing any number of times in my life. It is so tragic that we have "ruined" so many of our wonderful life moments by being so ashamed of our weight. Now is the day to change all that. We don't have to have ONE MORE OCCASION where we are mortified by family photos. We don't have to have one more holiday where we cry over how we look in our special outfit. We CAN be the people we are meant to be.


Heather said...

that is a very powerful letter to yourself. it must be wonderful to look back and now realize how mcuh stronger you are and able to handle the changes in the way you are living your life. You are not that woman anymore!