Monday, July 19, 2010

I Woke Up Fat

Losing weight is a slow and deliberate process. Every day I am looking for subtle changes in my body that tell me that I am losing weight. I see more defined ankles and bony wrists emerging from years of slumber under the cushiony padding that is dissolving away. I pass my hand over my midsection when I am lying on my back and feel the edge of my ribs, jutting like a ledge before the soft curve inward of my newly- concave stomach. New little changes tell me I am slowly but surely moving down the scale: disappearing extra chins, baggy jeans, loose jewelry. I am hyper aware of my body getting smaller day by day.

But it wasn't that way when I gained this weight. It seemed like I was a normal weight one day, a little bit overweight the next, and then suddenly I woke up fat. I don't remember the moment when my ankles puffed out from normal boniness to chunky stubs that wouldn't fit into my rollerblades; I don't recall when my pretty, defined chin and neck started blossoming extra rolls of fat and hanging skin. Somehow, it escaped my notice that I was getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger, day by day. I was too busy eating... too busy burying myself in the computer and the food and trying to escape reality. I was very good at that. I didn't even notice how big I was until I had gained over 100 pounds.

I woke up fat. I tried to wear my necklaces but they were inexplicably too tight. They'd become shortened like chokers and no longer hung gracefully past my collarbones. I HAD no collarbones... where did they go? I shrugged and put the necklaces away, wondering, thinking, "didn't these used to be longer?" I tried on my bracelets and watches but they were too small as well. All of a sudden one day the rings didn't fit, my wedding ring was literally cracked from the pressure of my fattened fingers, and my coats wouldn't button. Did my clothing all shrink? Someone must have put them in the dryer too long. And why are there all these big holes in the inner thighs of my stretch pants? Who knows... buy some more... bigger sizes though because, of course, it's a different brand and they must cut them smaller. Sixteens, eighteens, twenties went by... 2X, 3X, everything is cut wrong. Stick with the comfy stretch pants now and don't think about the size.

I woke up fat. I don't remember noticing the stretch marks blooming like a field of wildflowers across my belly, thighs, and arms. I wondered why my face looked puffier in pictures... mutated, almost.... with bigger cheeks and fewer angles, but it must be because I am aging. I just don't look like a teenager anymore. I didn't look in mirrors much, didn't allow pictures. I needed to lose 'a little weight', I knew, because I was definitely not as small nor limber as I used to be. Things hurt. I ached. It must be age.

I woke up fat. I didn't ease into it gradually as I am easing into slimness again. I was oblivious to my body piling on slab after slab of fat, bulging and growing by leaps and bounds, gaining 80 pounds in under a year. I didn't notice my skin stretching to its limit and then growing, growing, growing to accommodate so many new inches of hips and thighs and arms. I'd turn around in an aisle in the store and be shocked when my hips knocked things off the shelves. When did they make these aisles so narrow? I didn't run my hands over my stomach and wonder where the huge mountain of flesh came from. I didn't notice at all. I was in too much emotional pain. I was in my own little world, trying to avoid realities of abuse, divorce, poverty, loneliness. I was afraid of reality. I blocked it out. And I woke up fat.

Now that I am awake and aware and making the changes I need to make, one thing is perfectly clear: I cannot allow myself back into that oblivious slumber, where reality is denied and ignored and avoided. I have to stay aware of my body, my feelings, my actions. I need to *notice* when my hip bones start to jut out, or when they begin to be re-covered by fat; I need to be aware of the angles of my face and the slenderness of my wrists, so that if those things began to change again I would see it. I have to stay grounded in reality and not let myself go off into a fantasy world of bliss and pleasure by stuffing myself with cupcakes and potato chips.

Stress used to trigger in me a desire to buy and eat every possible pleasurable food; I'd be overwhelmed with emotion and, to escape it, would whip up batches of brownies and drive through McDonald's for Big Mac meals to bury the emotions with food; afterwards the fullness and sickness and guilt and shame overshadowed whatever it was that was stressing me before. It was somehow distressing and comforting all at once. But now, when stressed, my desire is not to binge. I have a drive to stay in control of my eating, to focus and maintain the power over what goes into my mouth. When nothing else feels within my control, I know my eating IS. I know I have the power over this one thing. And THAT gives me a great deal of peace and comfort, and is soothing to me.

As long as I stay self aware... FEELING my feelings, SEEING what it in front of me, NOTICING reality... I won't let days or weeks or months go by again being disconnected from my *self.* I woke up fat, yes. But the important thing is, I WOKE UP. And *awake* I am going to stay.

36 comments:

Vee said...

You said that unbelievably wonderfully. Thank you for your gift of speech. You inspire me.

Vee at http://veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

Lucy said...

As always, you hit the nail right on my head. Thank you.

NewGilmoreGirl said...

I feel the exact same way about the weight gain and loss. Whenever people tell me "It didn't come on overnight, why do you expect it to go away overnight?" I think... "Yes, mine DID come on overnight."

And it definately doesn't feel "fair" that it is taking so long for it to come off. But once again I've had to learn that life isn't fair.

Weight loss is so hard, but as you have pointed out numerous times... so worth it.

Banded Girl said...

Beautifully written, Lyn.

Liana said...

Wow...what a POWERFUL post that only inspires me on even more. You look fantastic!! Thankyou.

Kim said...

I couldn't have said it better...but I will certainly read it from you...over and over! Your blogs are truly a highlight of my day...Thanks so much for sharing--and for saying it an ever so poignant way!!!

Jilligan said...

I have really loved and related to your last few posts.

Anonymous said...

De-lurking to say amazing. Powerful, amazing post.

Erin said...

I continue to be in awe of your posts...thank you.

Jessica said...

I read this and cried. You really have inspired and motivated me to be my best. I thank you.

Diz said...

Lyn what a powerful post- I loved it! You're a passionate and inspired writer- keep up the good work! You are getting there day by day; I've seen the pictures. :) xoxo!

D

-J.Darling said...

Thanks!!!

I'm passing this post on via the Diary of a Mad Fat Woman as our Motivational Monday post!

LOVEOFMYLIFE1924 said...

Awesome! I had to print this and place it 3 places in my space, work, bedroom and kitchen! You said, everything that I have been living the past 10 years! From the jewelry to the big macs! Thanks for the posting!

notofthisworld said...

That was nicely written.

Lanie Painie said...

I love that you are in my mind and articulating the things that I can't say.

Lou said...

Awesome post. Real and so articulate. A great inspriation and wake up call for all of us. You rock!

-J.Darling said...

You've been blogged!: ) Thanks!
http://roastedbearmeat.blogspot.com/2010/07/freedom-and-journaling.html

Melody said...

Ditto. I wish I had your ability to express feelings into words. Wonderful post.

Jennifer said...

Wow Lyn. Your post is a lot like the one I did today on my blog. I dont want to forget what it was like either. Excellent post today. Feel free to take a peek at mine since I blogged about so many of the same feelings. I am glad you too are feeling in control of yourself. Its amazing how different life can be.

Jennifer
http://wecanlosethepounds.blogspot.com/

Deedah said...

That was an amazing post. Thanks!

Joy said...

Great Post!! I am so with you on this one. Glad I finally woke up. Hugs!

Liway said...

Lyn...I must have tried on 50 dresses today (my stepdaughter gets married in 2 weeks). I have no idea WHEN my stomach/thighs/chest got this big ...I just came to the stunning realization today - exactly how big they are. I honestly had NO idea!! Sooo bizzare to "wake up"!! Thanks so much for your post..!! You're so awesome!! :)

KansasSunflower said...

Wow, that was so true that I didn't even realize I had thought some of those things about myself until you pointed them out! You're such an inspiration!

Love this post!

Lynda with a Y said...

Amen, sister. You speak the truth. I think we've all felt that way. I know I've looked at photos of myself and wondered, "who is that?"

Anonymous said...

Lyn-
You said it perfectly! I had gained a lot of weight during my pregnancies so when I had my kids I thought I looked really good because I was no longer swollen and had a big belly. Now that my youngest is three I look at pictures and I cringe and think when did I get this big?! I think most people would agree with you about weight creeping up on us and us not noticing it.

Sarah Lownsbery

Melissa said...

Just wanted to comment that I'm really enjoying reading your blog. I keep coming back here for inspiration...I just started Medifast last Thursday and am having a hard time with it. Looking forward to your next post!

Lori said...

I have wondered how I could have been in such deep denial that I didn't notice my growing girth. I had similar experiences with necklaces and wondered what their problem was. It took a while for me to realize I was the one with the problem.
Lori

Melissa said...

Lyn, Thanks for your comment and suggestion about the Medifast discussion board. I did go ahead and join and have already received some great feedback. :)

Glenn, Fat at Fifty-five said...

Really, really good post. I can identify with it completely.

elisaannh said...

The truth is always clear and defining. Beautifully written.

Cris said...

What a wonderful, insightful post.

Greek Girl from Queens said...

This was one of the most powerful blog entries I've read in a long while, Lyn. I'm going through a bit of a tough time at the moment, and the temptation to binge, as I once used to do, is looming very large indeed. But reading this from you just now has truly helped me to think, focus and remember how far I've come, and not to ever go back to that lowest of low points in my life ever again.

Thank you, as always, for your honesty, your courage, and the beauty and subtle power in your words.

Steelers6 said...

Here is a post of yours last year about this time - Tues July 14 This was around 240 lbs? I think.

"I'm sure I will lose the weight. I know I will. And I would wager I won't be obese anymore by this time next year. Slow and steady, step by step. I won't give up. I'll cheer you on as you succeed. I'll use your success as inspiration, as many of you used mine. Better to see the success of others as motivation, rather than becoming discouraged. We can ALL reach our goals. Do the work. The results will come."

And look where you are today!! Wahoooooo.

It is a good reminder to see someone's success as motivation too. You are a motivator, my friend.
So proud of you. Chrissy

Dee said...

You certainly pinpointed what it is like to notice one day that you're fat. It's sad that it is that way -- how we can be so busy, so stressed, so absent from life that we don't realize we are using food to solve problems and wake up one day fat.

What a great reminder to always keep aware of what we are doing and feeling so it doesn't happen again.

Hanlie said...

You really knocked this one out of the park, Lyn! It is so true - gaining weight happens when we are not paying attention to the things that matter. And I believe that you can only really start losing weight when you start paying attention and being aware.

Dee Dee said...

Thanks for sharing your journey. It's helping people like me who want to be free from fat.