I’m going to let you in on a little secret from the Big Books of Secrets of Fat Girls: we’re not all wallowing in low self-esteem every day. I know this probably comes as a shock to you because we’re supposed to be. We’re supposed to hate ourselves and our worthless bodies but this isn’t always the case. We aren’t all constantly on the D-word. No, not that D-word; Diet. We aren’t all in therapy for some childhood trauma. Now before you go all Nicole Arbour on me and claim to give two fucks about my “health,” I need you to understand a few things.
There are two camps of fat girls. (Sidenote: When I say “girls,” I mean women and men everywhere. I don’t know why “girls” fits so well but it does and that’s what I go with.) Anyway – the two camps of fat girls are the “born-fats” and the “got-fats.”
Sorry, but I can’t speak to the “got-fats.” I know there are plenty of people that put weight on as they got older for good reasons. You may face a sports injury, your metabolism slows down, or maybe you had a few kids. This shit happens and it’s totally natural. I suspect that the “got-fats” are the folks that are a little more insecure about who they are. They don’t enjoy how their bodies have changed and truly feel their lives are impacted by some limitations. I’m not knocking the “got-fats,” in any way; I just can’t identify with you guys.
I am a “born fat.”
You know how most babies lose ten percent of their weight when they leave the hospital and head home to sleep in their own cribs? My weight something like doubled in that time period. When I was four years old, my parents took me to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to find out if there was something wrong with me. Other than being 92 pounds, according to the paperwork I still have, there was no “remarkable” problem or issue. There was mention of some elevated Cortisol levels, but that theory fizzled out sometime in the late 80s. In fact, doctors noted that I was “fucking fabulous,” even at four. OK, that wasn’t really a direct quote; I made that part up. It was noted that I was remarkably outgoing, however.
And if you think I was allowed to eat like shit when I was a kid, you’re fooling yourself. My dad always cooked real food with, like, vegetables and shit. I was the only kid under ten that wanted to eat eggplant parm. My mom was health conscious (a least for my purposes) and always was starting some new initiative fueled by foil cooked fish and diet cokes. When other kids got potato chips in their lunch in the fourth grade, I got these things called Munchies. Nope, they weren’t the great snack Frito-Lay makes now chock full of variety and carbs. Rather, they were the Weight Watchers equivalent of chips that tasted like shitty Communion wafers made entirely of garlic. I was forced to eat prunes every day to be sure I was shitting the fat out and I was never – NEVER – allowed to have any type of candy, except on the rare occasion I might be hanging with my grandparents.
I became involved in twirling and dance and was the most flexible and athletic fat girl to ever grace a gym floor. But I was still fat. I was a “born fat.” In the fourth grade, I was 140 pounds but fit as fuck. Though I couldn’t button my women’s size 10 jeans and instead wore a long shirt to cover the fly, and certainly couldn’t do any pull-ups during that ridiculous President’s Physical Fitness Clusterfuck Challenge, I could easily hold my own. Other than accidentally squeezing out an occasional fart during the sit-up portion of the challenge when a peer was holding my feet and having to pretend it was a noise my elbow made, I wasn’t at any disadvantage.
But as you get older, you naturally become less active. No longer under the watchful eye of your parents, you rebel and try junk food, gluttony and sloth. Then you have a kid and maybe a thyroid surgery or two and so a “born fat” becomes a “born fat” who got … more fat.
After 37 years of being fat, I can tell you this: I have exactly zero self-esteem problems. In fact, my husband swears that I have a high self-esteem problem that I probably need therapy to cure. I’m not depressed or shy or reserved in any way. I don’t know how to be another way. This, however, is probably part of the problem in my motivation to lose weight. Unlike some fat girls, I don’t hate myself. I don’t look in the mirror and see my flaws; I only see my flawless nose and my face that doesn’t need Botox yet. I love my DDD boobs, even though they could use a serious lift at this point. And I see strong ass legs that have been carrying my big ass around for 37 grueling years. My legs are the real MVP.
We simply don’t have the same concerns. I’ve never ever been concerned with remaining a size four, so when people say things like “abs are made in the kitchen,” I scoff. Abs? What the fuck are those? Not my circus, not my monkeys. While you’re worried about a thigh gap, I’m worried about thigh chafe, which I apply powder liberally to prevent. I’m not worried about bathing suit season because I sport a black tank top and black shorts (which are really capris) over every bathing suit. While you may have some anxiety about speaking in front of a crowd, I’m clamoring to do so. And I’m not sorry about or ashamed of any of that shit.
But I fucking love food. It’s celebratory, it’s comforting. I love going out to new places and trying new shit. I’m social and I love being social over truffle stuffed mushrooms.
And before we discuss the health issues that come with being overweight, I’ll go ahead and advise you to shut the fuck up in advance. Nobody gives a shit when people smoke, or snort the occasional line of party cocaine (no, not me; not ever.) Nobody seems to care about people who don’t take the medication they’ve been advised to swallow everyday or those overachievers who allow themselves to be so consumed with stress that they physically manifest sickness in their bodies. The argument that anyone should be concerned with my health should be promptly shoved up your own ass immediately. People don’t care about your health; they’re just desperate for an excuse for their discrimination to be socially acceptable so go peddle that shit elsewhere.
That being said, there are some things that happen to your body after 37 years of being fat. This comes in the form of a pill I have to take nightly to help control my blood pressure, and two arthritic knees that need to be replaced with titanium joints. I suppose this shit happens to thin people too but these are my battle wounds.
In 2011, I lost 120 pounds on a VLC diet. For those who aren’t familiar with the D-word and its various forms, this is a Very Low Calorie Diet. Basically, it sucks the joy out of your life but it works. And I’m a lover of joy so I’m constantly torn about going on a D-word again. I’ve tried a few times since then to give in to some “sensible lifestyle change,” but nothing about me is sensible. They say you can eat anything in moderation but I simply don’t do moderation. I’m pretty sure my family crest proudly displays our motto: “Nothing in moderation.” But these old knees hurt too badly to not do anything at all.
That’s the point we’re at: my only motivation to lose weight is to avoid physical pain. So this morning, I made myself a protein shake with frozen fruit instead of whatever “three-shits before noon” inducing food I usually cram in my craw. On the upside – I haven’t murdered anyone yet. Of course, I’m the only one home and the day is only at the halfway mark but I guess we’ll take it hour by hour. Here we go again on a MOTHERFUCKING DIET.
My body is a temple … Temple of Doom. Here’s to you not telling me you’re concerned with my health and here’s to my knees not completely giving in before I turn 38.