Day 1 Excess Baggage – Why am I so fat? The myths and the facts.

Last week I stood on the scales.

Cue the hallelujah chorus and dancing girls I hear you say. Actually, I’m not hearing you say anything because no one is reading this.

I’ve written the number down, but I still can’t type it – even though no one is reading this.

Actually, I saw three numbers. Because I weighed myself three times – just to be sure…and this was the lowest of the numbers.

Here’s a clue though – it would be enough to qualify me for entry into a season of The Biggest Loser, not that I would ever do that. I don’t believe in their methods as a long term solution – but that’s another story.

It’s the heaviest I’ve ever been and, given that I’m just 5ft 3”, I’m starting to resemble one of those waddling women that you see. You know the ones – who can only dress in stretchy clothes because their bum sticks out at the back and their tummy is bigger than their boobs at the front.

The sort who when they wear a maxi dress they look like they’re sailing into a room like the Queen Mary – the ship, that is – not the person.

That’s now me.

The thing is, I don’t want to be that person. Not anymore.

Now, before you write to me and tell me that I need to feel good about myself, let me make one thing clear – I don’t dislike my body…more on that in a sec. I just don’t like what I’ve done to it. Which leads me to another point – even if you wanted to write to me and tell me I shouldn’t bow to body-shaming pressure – which, incidentally, I don’t believe that I am – you wouldn’t be able to. I closed the comments. Why? Because:

  • I don’t want to be patronised
  • I don’t want to be told that if I just do this or do that it would help
  • I don’t want to be told to be happy in my own skin
  • This is my brain, my body, and my journey.

As I was saying before I got distracted on this rant, I don’t dislike my body and I’m not ashamed of it. I am, however, angry at myself over what I’ve done to it – although having said that, I’m also prepared to forget, forgive and move on already. I have bucket list items to tick off and stamps that need to go in my passport and, with my health deteriorating, that just isn’t going to happen.

  • My back is sore – as a result of my tummy sticking so far out in front.
  • My knees are sore – as a result of carrying this bulk everyday, all day.
  • My ankles are swelling – my right ankle in particular.
  • My blood pressure isn’t great – even though I’m not particularly stressed these days.
  • My hormones are hay wire – well, that’s always been the case, I’ve had PCOS since forever. They’re just worse now.
  • My mood is crappy and my sleep patterns appalling.
  • If I drop things I have problems picking them up.
  • If I get onto the ground, I make noises getting up.
  • I can’t paint my own toenails.
  • Trying on shoes is a struggle.
  • Most of all, I have no sex drive- and that has always been a deal breaker for me.

Something has to give – I can’t afford the time to be sick and I don’t have the focus required to remember to take medication.

That’s what this blog is about. It’s my get well card to myself. It’s my ticket to health.

I’m not going on a diet – I don’t believe in them. I don’t like being told what to do – it’s a control and power thing. I’m making some changes – some transformative changes.

Strange as it sounds given that I am so overweight, I don’t identify with what a lot of overweight people say. It’s why things like Weight Watchers don’t do it for me – although the tools are good. I don’t read all the comments and messages and nod and say things like, oh my God – that is sooo me.

Myth No 1: All fat people have a sweet tooth

Ummm, no they don’t. I don’t eat foods containing sugar. I don’t drink sugary drinks. I dislike the taste it leaves in my mouth. I can count on one hand the number of desserts I’d order in a restaurant – and I eat out a lot. I do, however, enjoy baking for other people, and I do drink my sugar in its fermented form. More on that later.

Myth No 2: Fat people don’t understand nutrition

Yep, wrong again. I know what i should be eating – and, more importantly, what I shouldn’t be eating…and why. More importantly, I like the food that I’m supposed to like – I just like too much of it. I have no idea when to stop…more on that later.

Myth No 3: Fat people eat too much takeaway and junk foods

Nope. Not here. Do you know the last time I had fast food from one of those fast food outlets? No, I don’t either.

Myth No 4: Fat people don’t cook – and when they do, it’s from a jar or a tin

I’m the cookbook queen – I love to cook. More to the point, I usually cook from scratch using fresh ingredients – mostly sourced locally and in season.

Myth No 5: Fat people don’t like to exercise

My hand isn’t up for this one either. I love to walk and do 5kms along the beach most weekdays. I also do belly dancing and love to get outside.

Myth no 6: Fat people put other people first and never make time for themselves

Ok, I’m only going to say this once – I’m selfish. Yes, I do carry the weight of other people’s whatever on my shoulder, and could do guilt for Australia, but I also do take time for myself every single day.

Myth no 7: Fat people hate themselves

I mentioned earlier that I don’t dislike my body. I don’t stand in front of the mirror in my underwear and cry. Well, I possibly would if I was doing it on reality TV, but I don’t. I have, however, abused it – for no fault of its own. My body has been trying to communicate to me for years and I simply haven’t listened. Oh, and in case it’s not clear yet, nor do I hate myself…or disrespect myself. I live so far in my head and my emotions that I truly am out of touch with my physical form.

So, if all the things that usually apply to fat people don’t apply to me, why am I fat?

That’s a good question – and one that I know the answer to.

Fact No 1: I eat too much

My portion sizes are out of control.

Fact No 2: I can’t say no

Breakfast out? Why not? Lunch? Cool! Another wine? Don’t mind if I do.

Fact No 3: I drink too much alcohol

These days I drink every night. It’s something that has snuck up on me over the last couple of years. It started as self-medicating after a bad day at work…the problem being that every day was a bad day. In fact, in that particular job, I broke more worst day ever records than I thought it was possible to break. Man, I hated that job. So I drank – to help me sleep, to quell the constant anxiety, to numb my emotions.

Don’t get me wrong, I never drank until I was drunk – I hate the idea of being out of control – but I did stop just short of that way too often.

The job has gone, that stress is done, yet I’m still drinking every night. I know enough about how the body treats alcohol to know that those calories are going straight to my tummy as fat and my early morning walk isn’t enough to deal with what I drank the previous night.

Fact No 4: I could exercise more effectively

I walk, I belly dance. I don’t do any strength training, I don’t do any flexibility work, and I don’t push myself.

Fact No 5: I’m seriously creative with my excuses

Yeah, I don’t need to add any more explanation to this.

Fact No 6: I’m full of bullshit

What’s worse, I have the ability to convince myself (and others around me) that the bullshit I’m full of isn’t really bullshit when it absolutely is. I remove myself from the consequences of my own behaviour.

Fact no 7: Boundaries and I are not besties

I’m a walking contradiction and can go from complete control to utter chaos quicker than a Ferrari can do 0-60. I literally forget what it is that I’m meant to be doing unless it’s in front of me as a daily reminder. I’ll reach for that evening wine because that’s what I always do – and truly won’t notice that I’ve done it. I’ll eat a bag of peanuts because it’s there. I associate being “good” with being constrained or being at work and once the work week is done will snap those chains and break free. I resent having to conform, I resent being told what to do and when to do it, I resent anyone else having a say in my life, and I will subconsciously set myself up to fail if it means that someone else was right and I was wrong.

 

I’m not asking you to believe  it or understand it, I’m saying that’s how my brain works.

Fact No 8: Moderation is not a concept I’m familiar with

Moderation has never worked for me. In fact, I’m of the opinion that the only people moderation works for are those for whom moderation is a default position anyway. When I read those tips for getting healthy that say things like “just make healthier choices, move more, and limit your treats” I feel like throwing something at them.

I’m an all or nothing girl – there’s no point denying that. I don’t lean into anything – I go at it…or I don’t.

I remember reading something once – I think it was by one of those motivational trainers who do the multi week programs – where the comment was made that moderation is what grown-ups do, and anything else is immature.

Really?

See, that’s why I have the problem with comments like that. Some of us are wired that way and surely it makes more sense to use that to our advantage than to try and train us into being something that we’re not. Despite not liking how I look, I happen to like who I am, so go on, give me another reason not to.

Fact No 9: I’m scared

Yes, and this right here is the crux of the matter. I’m scared. Not necessarily of losing weight, but I’m scared of what will happen when the layers are peeled back – when I’m exposed to the world without the insulation of all of my padding.

  • What if people like me more?
  • What if people notice me more?
  • What if I’m no longer invisible?
  • What if it makes me restless like it did last time?
  • What if I’m no longer content with settling?

Fact no 10: Weight loss is a head game

Yes, it’s about eating smarter and moving smarter, but mostly it’s about being accountable, honest, and cutting the bullshit as well as the booze and the portions.

More on that next time…

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