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hello i am fat

important questions

Here is a dilemma, which is kind of hilarious and also sad. After the big closet clean-out, I was able to give most of my clothes to pie, who looks very cute in them. The ones she didn’t take, I could donate, and then people all over San Francisco could look almost but not quite as cute as me or pie.

Now, however, I’ve done the dresser clean out, and I’ve ended up with a nearly empty dresser, and six paper bags full of clothing. What do I do with these? Donate! you cry, and I say yes! That is so brilliant! Except that these bags are 6 paper bags full of pants that are not in the greatest shape, nightgowns, sleepshirts, and underpants. I don’t think there’s a Goodwill in the world that is going to take my underpants.

I could trash the stuff, but it seems like a huge waste and it makes me sad. Are there shelters which take underpants? I imagine there must be, but I also imagine that it’s new underwear that they are wanting, and not so much the kind which has been, you know. Gently used.

Pillows! I could make pillows! Or new skirts. Or a blanket. I had some really cute underpants. Who wouldn’t want an all-cotton quilt featuring adorable stripes, dots, polar bears and little hearts? Communists, that’s who. I think I have just figured out my mother’s day present this year. Losing weight is awesome.

Elastic Waists & Bodies of Work

We are now live! Conde Nast is pleased to present Elastic Waist. I'll be writing a daily weight blog round up, but the real draw, you'll find, are the daily articles by my favorite Weetabix, and the sexy Lunchbox Guru column which makes you want to be a better person.

My column, Body of Work, is running every weekday morning. Please update your links (there oughtn't be a "typepad" in there) and enjoy, I hope.

In the meantime, I will enjoy my latte. Calciumlicious!

dispatches from the front: part mumble

Note One: I have officially lost one hundred and four pounds. Or, 104. Or, ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR. That is a lot of goddamn pounds. It is more than half-way. 62 more pounds to go to my doctor's goal for me. Jesus Christ. Holy crap. Whee!

Note Two: Yesterday, stretching before my run, I realized that I could put both palms boom, flat down on the floor. (See above re: crap, holy and whee!)

Note the Third: I dropped by Forth and Towne when I was at (shudder) the mall this past weekend. Their sizes go up to 20, and they had a very lovely dress on their website not so long ago, and I thought I would try it on, maybe pick up something pretty to celebrate having lost ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR (104) pounds. I tried on the dress in a 20. Too big. Down to an 18. Too big. Down, incredulously, to an 16 - wait, no 16? Okay, I'll try the 14, I said, flush with power. Back fat! Yar. (Also: sexy) So I didn't buy it. But to not be in their largest sizes? Oh, that was a revelation. (Ibid.)

sneak peak

For those of you who say I don't post enough (which is everyone including my mother), what you'll find over here will probably make you happy. New post every weekday morning. (But ssshh. We're not live yet.)

news & notes

I updated the look of this site (sleek! sexy!) and updated my links (you are so sleek! you are so sexy!) after I realized both were horribly out of date and if I did not fix them, I would have tiny little fits.

I think I did a reasonable job in clearing out the dead links and adding pages I have been reading, but if you think I love you and have forgotten about you, please tell me. If you think I would love you if only I knew you, please say hey, and let's have a beautiful relationship. If you think you've written me an email and I never responded, you are probably right, because I suck at email and humbly apologize.

Also! The always-amazing Big Fat Deal has gotten an even sexier face lift and a brand new URL. Please head over and join the party - there are smart people, saying smart things, and there is nothing better in the world than that.

I'm Gary Gnu, and that's the gnews.

Seat 14C

I took a vacation, not so long ago. A week with friends, down at Joshua Tree. I was unhappy about the flight, because I am always unhappy about flying, and I hate, so so so so much, asking my seat partner if it is okay if I leave the arm rest up. That is like turning to someone and saying "Hello! Please notice how fat I am! Thanks!" It's a short flight, SF to LA, but I still worry. That is what I do.

I got on the plane, and sat in the seat, and thought, "Hmm." Then, I experimentally lowered the armrest. And I fit. I was still snug in there, my hip touching the arm, but I fit, and was comfortable, and I was so excited that I kept it down, even when it turned out that I had the whole aisle to myself. Awesome.

Awesomer: on the way back, I climbed into my seat (same aisle on the same type of plane), put the armrest down, and found I had space. I was not snug - the seat was all roomy. I almost burst into tears. I hid behind my Entertainment Weekly and giggled wildly.

I love this. It also pisses me off. I am trying to come up with a way to express this that makes sense, and I've spent five minutes backspacing things. The best way to say it is maybe that it pisses me off that I spent so many years uncomfortable, miserable and ashamed, trying to fit into public spaces. It feels like - like I wasn't fit for public consumption, and I was being punished for that. It goes back to the old debate - should we make the world more fat-accessible, or does that encourage people to get fatter? I think I would have just been grateful.

cleaning out the closet

The thing about having been skinnier than this, but also way fatter than this, is that I am suddenly trapped in a terribly unfashionable in-between state from which there is no escape, because I really don't want to spend money on new clothes. By which I mean "am so poor I cannot afford to spend money on new clothes, especially clothes that will last me a whole month, max, but probably not even that long."

I know, wah, poor me, who it is so hard to be. It remains frustrating. The clothes I have, the smaller clothes – some fit me, but most are still ever-so-slightly too short or too tight or ride up or cling to things that haven't gone away yet (go away, go away, go away). They need about another ten pounds for fitting correctly. The larger-size clothes I have that used to fit me, they are mostly swimming on me, big fashionable sacks, which makes me sad because I'd like to say hello, world! Please enjoy my littler waist! But in these things, not so much.

I have got to go through my closet and separate out the larger sizes from the still-larger sizes from the medium large sizes to the smaller sizes, because while it sounds like a lot of fun to surprise yourself every day when you're getting dressed – to what degree will this totally not fit? let's find out! – it is not, and it is frustrating.

But I have been putting that off. Mostly, I think, because I'm going to miss (some of) my clothes so much. I had some excellent clothes, and I am unearthing things I haven't worn in ages, as I dig through my closet, desperate for something to wear. All of them are too-big things, but I am wearing them anyway, because soon I will not be able to wear them at all without social embarrassment, and I am wearing them happily, even though they look really stupid. On Monday I wore my awesome silk-screened Pirate Love blouse, and on Tuesday, I wore my long pleated denim skirt, and Wednesday was my pink t-shirt with the birds and swirlies.

Today, it is a long satin skirt with sequins sewn on. It was originally ankle-length, but since it no longer sits at my waist, but instead rides down on my hips, it is even longer. And it swishes and is ridiculous and I love it. I loved it less when I was getting on the bus, and I stepped on the skirt. Which meant that I yanked it down, which meant that despite how fast I pulled it back up, all the way to my neck, a good three-quarters of the bus enjoyed a long, leisurely look at my leopard-print underpants (which, incidentally, are also becoming far too large on me. Sexy!).

So maybe this weekend I will do some closet purging and say some sad goodbyes and maybe see if I can break into my neighbor's house and steal some of her pants.

dispatches from the front: part two

I crossed my legs. I sat on the couch, and swung one leg over the other, and pointed my toe, and there I was, sitting on the couch with my legs crossed like a normal girl. I uncrossed them, and I did it again. And then I did it again. Floop, up and over. And I said to my friends, I said "Oh my god, you guys, I crossed my legs! Do you see? Wait, look, watch!" And they said "Oh, that's very nice," and I don't think they understood, because they have never had a problem such as being unable to cross their legs, but they were very happy for me, if a little confused. Me, I cried a little. Piece by piece, I'm getting my body back.

downward spiral

The weight is falling off so quickly, now – two pounds, three pounds, five pounds a week, gone (and I want to say gone forever, but there are no guarantees, even now). This is one of the reasons I chose this surgery, one of the secret reasons I am not supposed to talk about. Weight loss surgery is a last-resort, health-focused, flashing red lights and sirens choice to make, and losing the weight so quickly, that’s a side benefit, a bonus that is all about getting you out of the danger zone of diabetes and heart attacks and apnea that chokes you while you sleep, kind of like when my cat, for whom I am considering weight loss surgery, sits on my chest.

But I am not going to lie – on all the weight loss surgery blogs I found, I read all their information carefully and I considered the pros and the cons, and then I looked at those pictures people posted, their monthly weigh-ins and their photo updates, and I could not stop myself from thinking about how, if you put those pictures together, if you flipped through them fast, letting the months fly past under your thumb, you would see a miracle, an enviable, unbearably wonderful miracle. Being fat, and then, suddenly, not being so fat any more, shrinking and shrinking and shrinking down to nothing, down to something so utterly unlike where you started, all spectacularly Alice in Wonderland.

A goddamn miracle! Sign me up. Oh yes, health benefits, those are nice too. Goodbye, cake! Hello, GAP jeans! Wait, don’t take the cake away so quickly. We need to embrace one last rich and fudgelicious time.

It was the part I thought I looked forward to the most, my blink-of-an-eye transition from morbidly obese to girl at whom you won’t look at twice, and it has been one of the biggest shocks of this whole experience, the thing that’s left me vulnerable and scared, even more than my realization that I no longer wanted chocolate cake and who was I, and what the fuck had they done with me?

I am losing weight so quickly, that it is hard to get my bearings. I do not understand my body anymore – it changes its shape under my hands every day, in ways I can’t predict or plan for, and it has me wondering what I am doing to my body, exactly. It has me standing in front of the mirror and looking for signs of change, but more often, for signs that the body I knew is still there, and I am still me.

My body is shrinking, and soon I will be in territory I’ve never been in – I’ve lost weight before, gotten down to the two-teens, but after that, what happens? What will I look like, and how will I feel, and how is my body going to change? I have spent my entire life plump, chubby, overweight, fat, obese – who I am has been shaped by who I have been, and if you catch me off-guard, and ask me point blank, I will tell you: I like the person I am, the reader, the writer, the bad-joke-teller, the oversensitive person I am and would not be if I had not grown up looking the way I did and feeling the way I did. And now I am undoing all that, film spinning in reverse and I am becoming lighter, less substantial and solid, turning into something I am afraid I will not recognize.

dispatch from the front

Started off in tight size 28W pants. Today: size 20. 20R

Mood: Like, whoa.

More to come.

(p.s. they look so tiny. am i really that tiny?)

on the way

Some people call them yay moments, or Aha moments, or smilestones, but I will tell you right now, I will kill myself flat dead before I allow any of those words to pass my lips. Except in an ironic manner. I give myself a pass for irony, which is delicious like candy and twice as fun. But not as fun as puns, which are like bon bons or maybe kittens. Which you can eat like bon bons.

Anyway! I did not have a yay moment, or a smilestone – what happened was that I realized that I could do something now that I’ve lost 75 pounds which I haven’t been able to do in a really long time because I was so out of shape and it made me extremely happy.

I’m starting to kind of understand the “smilestone” thing. It’s shorter, anyway.

On my day off, which was today, I decided that I should get out of the house because hiding like a rat in the dark is probably not healthy, and also it was lovely out, with sun and wind, in a way it has not been for awhile, around here.

What I did, despite the bright sun which burns and my natural, inherent lazy nature which will ultimately be my downfall when the revolution comes and my back is up against the wall, was walk on down to the main drag of my neighborhood, with the shops and the things, and I browsed, window-style, up one side and down the other, and into the coffee shop for delicious herbal tea, and then into the bookstore for an hour, up and down the aisle, and then toddling on home, perfectly not-tired, if a little dazzled from all the weather.

This represents, more or less, 10 or 12 blocks, maybe. Some of them slightly uphill, even! They are not long blocks, granted, but considering that it had been hard for me to walk the two blocks to the bus before my surgery, and was still hard after what with being as weak as a bon-bon-sized kitten, this was a revelation to me. I did not stop to rest, or need to take a break. I remember considering waiting for the train to take me the four blocks home from where I was, and then idly dismissing the possibility.

I walked! Easily and happily and without any coercion from Guy, who demands that I not die from some kind of pulmonary embolism, which he insists is still a possibility and which I think is just a scare tactic. I walked, comfortably and happily and recreationally – it is like I’ve got a piece of my life back, a piece of normal life, and I’m on my way back to being normal.

punchlines

When I first read about it – how losing weight so quickly will make you super crazy ("It's like you have PMS all the time!" they said, all the post-surgery patients who had been going through it for weeks and months and almost a year) it should have been one of those things that gave me pause. Major pause. Hormones, stored in fat, being dumped into your bloodstream by the cartload. And I have never been a girl who deals well with hormones. Super, major, extra pause.

Instead, I was consumed by debating the ethics of weight loss surgery with myself, giving up versus giving in versus giving out versus but it's hard versus but I have to versus what the fuck am I doing versus what the fuck will I do if I don't – the whole messy ordeal. I read everything I could get my hands on, written by post-ops, who could tell me everything that could happen and when and why and how, and some of it seemed very important and some of it, quite frankly, I shrugged off.

I don't even know why I shrugged it off – hubris, I guess. So many people having problems with the disgusting taste of protein shakes, but I would be different, because geeze, people – they're not that bad. Except, as it turns out, they made me want to die rather than drink them, in the early days. Take as much time off as you can? I don't need that much time off! Everything will taste different? Oh, come on! How can my tastes change. Except – well you probably know the punchlines already. You are smart, and very pretty.

And the next punchline, you know that too, for the way that I thought the whole PMS thing couldn't possibly be as bad as they said it was.

Except that it's not, and it is making me mad, because I want to blame everything on it.

It is probably true that I can blame some things on my surgery – I have, since the first day, been startled by a feeling of complete vulnerability. It is hard to be alone, anymore, without feeling like something terrible is going to happen, and there will be nothing to stop it. This I will blame on my surgery – I am an emotional person, but now I am Super Emotional Girl, and I need a cape. On which I will blow my nose as I bawl.

It is hard to be alone, anymore, without feeling intensely, painfully, outrageously alone and lonely. Except I can't bear the thought of seeing anyone, because they don't love me and never did and anyway they shouldn't because I am awful and ridiculous and mostly I don't even understand the things that are coming out of my mouth, either, so I don't expect you to, though it's probably just hormones, making me stupid, and forgetful, and crazy and weird. But maybe I am just stupid and forgetful and crazy and weird. Or maybe the hormones make me think that I am stupid and forgetful and crazy and weird. Or maybe I just really wish I could drink a bottle of wine and have a cake. I don't know.

What makes it worse is that I am avoiding people because I am tired and possibly or not stupid and crazy and forgetful and weird, which puts me out of practice with the social graces. Except, that's funny – I have never been socially graceful, as it turns out. So that's something else I can't blame on my surgery.

But I want to, because that means this is all going to go away, eventually. I bet everything is going to go away, and then everything will be wonderfullest. I will be the happiest and the prettiest and the sun will shine and my skin will clear up and my taxes will be done and I will believe I can fly. I will believe that I can touch the sky. I WILL THINK ABOUT IT EVERY NIGHT AND DAY. I WILL SPREAD MY WINGS AND FLY AWAY. WITH CAKE.

In the meantime, I can wait it out. Without cake.

singing the praises of pants

I have bought new pants, and they are beautiful pants which I cannot take off, because I don't have any other pants because my laundry cart fell over in my crammed-full closet of crap and is barring the door from opening more than a crack and I can peer in and look at the clothes I have heaped up on the floor in a jumbled, slightly stinking pile but I cannot actually get to any of them to wash or to wear, and it really is very difficult to be me.

But back to the pants. Which I have! My size 20-mumbles, I realized, were not sitting at my waist, but hanging down around my hips, with the crotch bagging around mid-thigh. And while that is a look that attracts sexy persons to me like very peckish bees to extremely delicious honey, the pant legs were dragging along behind me on the floor like I was some kind skater dude, and also I started the bad habit of yanking my pants up, pulling the waist band out like I was some "After" photograph in a weight loss infomercial, and demanding everyone look at me and how cool I am because MY PANTS THEY ARE SO LARGE! QUICK, STICK IN A WATERMELON!

Since I have little to no self-control, it was clear that the pants would have to go. And they did. Right on my floor! After I went to Old Navy, and looked around. I thought, well, pants are an investment. I need them to cover my butt. I can spent thirty dollars on pants. I guess. But it turns out that Old Navy has a sales rack, and on the sales rack, things were on sale, but also, they were on sale again so that means, like, double sale! Tiny amounts of dollars! As if money was falling from the sky and saying here I am, please take me!

There were no pants that were attractive, but there were jeans. And usually, I hate jeans. But I grabbed the darkest washes I could find, in many denominations and styles, and tried them on, and as I suspected, the flare/bootcut kinds made me look short and ridiculous, because I have short and ridiculous legs and where are my feet? Please help.

I thought the straight-leg cut would make me look round and ridiculous, because my short and ridiculous legs are also quite round, like hams, but lo. I am telling you, lo. I looked good. I looked really, really cute. I felt cute. They were comfortable. They were two sizes smaller than my watermelon pants. They cost, when I went to the counter, 8 dollars. If I never get my closet door open, the cost-per-wear of these things will go into negative numbers! My pants are going to owe me so much money.

alive. also, kicking

It is amazing how the numbers look so different, on the way down instead of heading up into super terrifying morbid obesity land. 257 is a number to rejoice in, not a number that makes me scared and depressed and feeling like I am failing and a failure. 257 used to be 6 pounds over my third highest weight ever, a number I never thought I'd get heavier than. It is also 14 pounds away from second highest weight ever, a number that made me cry a lot.

It is also exactly 60 pounds lighter than my highest weight ever, the number that made me realize my body was broken, and made me consider weight loss surgery, which is the hardest thing I've ever done.

I have lost 60 pounds so far, and it has been a goddamn struggle every single day. I have hurt in a thousand different ways, from gas and dizziness and weakness and cramps and awesome things like problematic bowel movements. Never in my life did I think I would have problematic bowel movements, or that they'd be the things that made me lie on the floor of the bathroom and kind of vaguely want to die. This has been hard.

It has also made me stupid, forgetful, a crybaby, grumpy, angry, peevish, furious and forgetful.

Vitamins suck, protein sucks, protein shakes suck, exercise sucks, water tastes weird, I hate everything and I want to just stop. I want it all to stop.

The struggle took up most of every breathing moment for the first two weeks, and daily, it's become a smaller and smaller part of the day. For almost an hour, I felt good, and then two hours, and three, and four, and now those hours are in a row, and now there are more of them in a row. Daily, I am surprised when I realize I've hit another snag, and I am reminded that this isn't as easy as it looks and I can't become complacent, and ow, it hurts, oh ow, ow ow. But it gets better and I get better, and here I am, two months later, having lost 60 pounds and looking forward to things getting best.

I'm going to write, as I have time, about the past two months, from the bowel prep to the hospital and the surgery itself, to recovery to now. I want to record these things while I still remember, mostly (since I really am getting stupider every day), and because I think it is helpful and important and because I want to relieve every disgusting moment of it in Technicolor detail, of course. But mostly because it is helpful and important.

Thanks, again – I feel like I am always saying thanks – to everyone who checked in on me and wrote emails and commented and thought about me. It is, as always, immensely appreciated.

but most importantly

I am stupid to not have added a huge thank you to all of you who wrote me such supportive and kind emails and posted such great comments. They were a huge help, before during and after, and thank you so much for thinking of me.

Ding!

So, that happened. How was your week?

Oh, ho ho.

I will go into further detail later, in a post to be entitled "Holy Fuck, Think Twice," just in time for the holidays, I think. But to sum up: this is hard. You may go into this thinking it's hard, but I am tough! I am strong like bull! I am no tiny peanut to be eaten by the elephant of pain! Or maybe some other metaphors that make more sense!

But you don't know, man. You don't know until you do it, and it's hard, and it hurts. Morphine is nice, and liquid vicodin, that's pretty sweet, but there is so much that is painful and strange and off-putting and frustrating about this whole experience.

I woke up hurting, and it got better each and every day. But what isn't changing is how tired I am all the time, how frustrating it is to want to go to the corner store and have to go have a lie down when I get back, to pick something up and then remember I'm not supposed to pick anything up and be reminded by that unpleasant stretching feeling in my belly. Showering is exhausting, sitting up is exhausting and lying down is exhausting and I almost cried, the night I finally managed to arrange the pillows in such a way that would let me finally – finally! – sleep on my side. No, I'm lying. I did cry. That's something I do at the drop of a hat, for no good reason.

There is no way I could have gone through this alone – no fucking way. Guy has been incredible. He has done so much for me, and so sweetly and cheerfully and happily that I could cry. And did. Several times, with a pillow over my head while he laughed at me for being silly.

This has been hard and frustrating and exhausting, and getting my protein shakes in and my water in and my vitamins in has been a chore like you wouldn't believe. Who the fuck would think drinking a protein shake was a hard job? It's a hard job. They are nasty like nasty ass in a nasty juice made from nasty. I'm not getting enough protein and I won't get enough protein for awhile, not until I heal some more and can take in more than I currently can.

Also, everything smells like Hospital. My bed and my clean clothes and my living room and my deodorant, none of which smelled like Hospital before I left. I don't know WHY but it is driving me NUTS.

But also: I am walking. I am doing better every day. I am glad to have done this and am waiting impatiently for the weeks to tick by, for things to get easier and easier until this is an ordinary way that I just am. It's coming closer each day and I am strong like bull and not a tiny peanut at all and I have lost 30 pounds, and I already feel lighter.

I woke up on that hospital bed aching and scared and tired, feeling sick and sad, but mostly thinking I can't wait to get started. That, and more morphine, please. Ding!

5, 4, 3, 2

So it's actually tomorrow, then, for real and true. I had meant to write things down, before it was 14 hours away, but it turns out that it takes a lot of energy to keep it together and tie up loose ends at work and with freelance stuff. There was also my birthday, and Halloween, and a friend came to visit, and suddenly it was too much and I had a little bit of a breakdown.

That was unpleasant. It started last Sunday, and then through most of Monday. I started wondering what the fuck I was doing, and feeling bad and sad and freaked out about the whole thing – not in the manic okayokayokay I have to do everything right now ohmygodohmygod kind of way, but a seriously terrible feeling of shaking, nauseous anxiety.

I made the mistake of being honest with my primary care physician about it, when I went in for my final check up, that Monday morning, and he sat down and said "Well, then you shouldn't do it. It's elective, isn't it? You should just postpone. Until next year."

And that was kind of shocking. And I thought Oh, he is probably right, because he is a doctor, and I am being stupid for doing this, aren't I. And then I kept thinking about what had me scared, and anxious, and upset, and it was that, exactly. That it was so so ridiculously stupid to put myself through major surgery on an elective basis, isn't it. I mean, who the hell do I think I am, doing this for no reason except I want to? What if something happens to me, and then I am hurting everyone who loves me because I decided that elective surgery was a so-great idea? My life is pretty wonderful, and it isn't that bad, being morbidly obese, and maybe someday I'll lose the weight but if I don't, that's okay, and what the hell am I doing?

It was bad. And then I thought wait – selfish? I think I am being selfish? I don't want to end up like my mother in ten years, diabetic and on a CPAP machine, with degenerative joint disease, and that's selfish? I am a low-risk patient. I am not going to do something major like this and fuck it up. I am not doing this on a whim. What the fuck is wrong with me, thinking it's selfish to do something for my health, physically and emotionally? Wow.

So, I got over it. And in the past week, I've been equal parts crazed and excited and tired (quit caffeine. That sucks) and still nervous. Because, well, I'm not stupid.

Now we're at a hotel in San Jose (because my insurance sucks, and would not let me go to CPMC, which is like, a ten minute cab ride away from my house). I am finishing up my three day bowel prep which is supposed to be easier than the normal one-day flush out your system with lye and a scrubbing brush kind of prep that usually happens, but I am finding it sucks a lot. I have not et for three days, and the laxatives made me wildly yack-up sick yesterday, and that was fun, and now today I just want to sleep a lot. Lack of calories, I'm guessing, will do that to you. I have probably lost like, ten pounds, which means my liver will get all small and cute and make my surgery easier. Go me!

Guy, who has been wonderful, has gone out to take a walk on his own. He is more nervous than I am. He has been incredible. My friends have been incredibly supportive and kind – watching my cat and sending me the best emails ever, and just generally being great. You guys, reading this blog, have also been great – thanks so much for you emails and your good luck and your best wishes. Think of me tomorrow morning, 9:30 PST. I'll see you on the other side.

va-roooom

Oh, holy shit. Do you know how far away my surgery date is? It is practically tomorrow. It's like, an hour and a half from now. The anesthesiologist is currently standing next to me with rolls of nickels in an athletic sock, just waiting for me to stop typing. It has not happened yet, but it will happen any second. Just seconds away! Right now! It is happening right this second, and it does not tickle, believe you me.

Or it only feels like it is happening right now, which explains the knot in my chest which is nervousness. It is actually a whole month away (fine a month AND TWO DAYS) but it feels like it is rushing headlong at me, horns down and bellowing barooooo and ready to flip me into the air and leave me sprawling. Oh, holy shit.

I am moving into the home stretch with preparing – I've got my paperwork for work, uh, paperworked and dropped off at the doctor's office, and I've ordered vitamins and I've, done, uh, stuff. Things. Very important ones. Some of them, all at once, because I am a multitasker. I am sure I am prepared, or mostly prepared. Kind of. I don't feel prepared. I feel manic and like I need to make a list and yet I've made a list but I can't really read it what with the way my eyes are rolling around inside my head, animated by the pure adrenaline being injected directly into my brain by my magic kidneys.

I'm a little crazy right now. But also – excited. So excited. I am reading forums and livejournal communities and email lists and writing down things of note and things to think about and questions to keep asking and things to remember and it is scary as hell and also really cool and I am starting to really believe that I am smart enough and tough enough to go through this, and keep doing it, and do it right, and come through with flying colors, as the kids say. I will keep multitasking with my fingers crossed, anyway.

before

We took pictures of me last night, front back and side, the way you are supposed to for your very important Record of Weight Loss, and let me tell you something – there is no fucking way I look like that. No way. That is not how I look inside my head. Oh god, I can't believe that's how I look outside my head. You're beautiful, Guy says, and then I kill him dead because for someone in his condition, it is a cruelty to let him go on.

It is kind of horrible, this mound of flesh I have suddenly become (with a pimply chin. why has my skin gone all to hell(er)?) but I am not entirely in despair, because it will not be for long, it will not be for long, it will not be for very much longer. I am exercising every day – every morning, I do a video called "Walk Away the Pounds!" because I am a dork! And two! And three! And walk! And hate! And walk! And hate! And walk! Into! Your house! And kill! Leslie! Fucking! Sansone! You stupid! Fucking! Whore! And walk! And two! And three!

Also I am doing weight watchers, and I have not had candy in like, three weeks? Four weeks? MANY GODDAMN WEEKS. And I am doing well and proud and getting further away from those photos, but not nearly fast enough to make me happy. I wonder if anything will ever make me happy. We'll see.

In the meantime, I also have to register for the hospital, find a way into San Jose (which is the easy part) and find a way home after surgery (which is the part that will suck), find a hotel room, find time to go to the "pre op class" that the hospital has which I don't understand, fill out the short term disability forms that will let me not lose a million dollars when I'm out of work, confirm with HR, confirm with my boss, stock up on the things I will need after surgery (like Hope and Faith and a gun to shoot myself in the head and also protein drinks and vitamins) and the things I need to take with me into the hospital and call the anesthesiology department about the cost of being knocked out cold, knock on wood, and make an appointment for bloodwork and an appointment to see my regular physician to talk about my bloodwork and an appointment with my surgeon to fill out the last parts of paperwork, including the paper that says yes, I know, my head could explode at any time during this surgery and it totally isn't the doctor's fault, because I shouldn't have had an exploding head in the first place, I am so dumb.

And – is that it? I don't think that's it. That's a lot, and I know there's more, and I am so scared, and so excited, and so terrified and elated and apprehensive about the surgery, and what's going to happen after the surgery, from the small things to the larger, life-changing bits. This shit is scary, and it is huge. Like my before photos.

baby steps

I quit smoking! It has been five weeks. Every one of which has been deeply unpleasant. When I quit smoking (and I have quit smoking many times), I do not ever get to that magical point where people are all evangelical and the smell of cigarettes is just, phew! and ew! and and oh! how could they ever have lived a life full of such poison, rot and stink?

Me, I love smoking. I fucking love it. I will always love it, and it will always love me back. No matter for how long I quit. That is the kind of relationship me and smoking have. We love, we live, we laugh, we get cancer and die – but we die together! And isn't that the important thing? I love you smoking. Wait for me. Stay alive! I will find you! Though probably not.

Quitting smoking was the first step in the whole pre-screening process of processes that come before the major process, with the cutting and chopping and the anesthesia. The next was finding a doctor who would accept my insurance and in return, be accepted by my insurance, and it turns out he exists. Thank you for existing, mr. doctor man.

I went in with Guy for my evaluation and thingums, and I was surprised at how emotional I got, talking about my history of fatness and how I wasn't stupid and my primary care physician says to me "forget weight loss surgery! Just eat less and move more!" as if I am retarded and slow. Like I'm leaving every appointment all "she said I should eat twinkies and float in a vat of pudding! I love weight loss!" As if I have not been trying that for 20 years, up and down and up and down.

Guy was phenomenal and was very interested in the vitamination process, post-surgery. He is making plans about pill boxes with the days of the week and the times of the day, and he is taking off time from work to be around while I am recovering and he is worried for me and proud of me for being brave and he has loved me both fat and thinner and I can't imagine being any luckier.

At the psychologist appointment, the doctor told me I was a very excellent candidate, and he was kind and also supportive and it did not feel as if I were paying him to feel like that. But he asked questions about my relationships and he said – you know they're going to change, right? You know things are going to be different after you lose this weight? It could be good, or it could be bad, but I want you to prepare for it. Your boyfriend might not like you slender; he might not deal well with the attention you get. You might not deal well with the attention you get. Are you prepared for that? I can't imagine things changing; it seems completely impossible. Of course it is possible. Of course I will try to imagine that these things might happen. Forewarned means armed and dangerous.

Oh, this is so much more complicated than I wanted it to be. That does not surprise me, though. Easy way out, my ass.

And after all that, with the waiting and the quitting and the waiting and the talking and the appointmenting, now I have a date for the surgery. I am going in on Tuesday, November 7th. Election day. I elect to be healthy! Hahahaha! Sorry.

I am kind of freaking out, and I can't tell if it is happy EEEEEE or happy OH MY GOD, but from the churning sensation in my gut and the way I am dancing around my desk anyway, I think it might be a little bit of both. Holy, holy shit. I'm doing this. I can't wait to do this.

things as they happen

The sad thing about not chronicling all the seconds that pass as they are passing right that second is that you forget what you've done and what led from A straight through B and C and D and so on. And it is annoying how things keep happening and everything changes and the earth keeps all swinging around the sun and shit. Slow down! Go back! I would like five minutes to enjoy my waffle and my television programs, thank you.

So what has happened, on the macro level, is that I have gone from simply deciding to have weight loss surgery to believing in it and looking forward to it (though I remain terrified of it, on a purely logical and rational basis, because ow, major surgery). It is something that I have stopped being embarrassed to talk about, and now admit to freely, to various reactions. Most of them have been positive. My mother, though – still haven't told my mother. My mother drives me nuts enough as it is.

In the meantime, before I tell you all about the excitement, adventure, and really wild things, I also want to say that I am very excited to be a guest poster on one of my more favorite sites, Big Fat Deal, with the lovely Monique.

I get to post about my very personal knee-jerk reactions to stories about obesity in the news, and point out cool things and talk about interesting things, and I am really pleased to be a part of it. We'd love you to come say hi, and talk all smart in that way that you do.

the story so far.

Hi! It’s been awhile. It’s been a busy couple of months. I was finishing up grad school, and working on a thesis, and neglecting my entire house entirely and then I went around the world in a little tugboat and cured cancer. I wrote a first draft, cut off all my hair, bought a car, cleaned my house, cured more cancer, and am probably going to be scheduled for bariatric surgery sometime in October.

Crazy, crazy couple of months.

In between thinking about grad school stuff and trying to write down things that make me sound smart and maintain a relationship and cure a lot of cancer, all I have been doing is thinking about my health, and my body, and the future of my health and the future of my body if things keep going the way they have been, which is a sad future full of doom and plork.

There is a way to articulate this, this conclusion I have come to, how I made my decision and why, but it is difficult to do, in short sentences and pithy paragraphs. And it is very true that if you think surgery is a ridiculous, stupid, short cut kind of asshole move, then there is not a whole lot I can say to change your mind. Amusingly, that is where I was, the day I started thinking about it, and it’s taken five months of researching, and reading, and thinking, and talking to doctors – my own, and the surgeons who do this kind of thing, to figure out if I really wanted to do this to myself.

It has been difficult and frustrating, and kind of crazy and enlightening and amazing and heartbreaking – talking to people who have gone through surgery, and reading about it, and talking to the doctors who have watched their patients for five or more years and how their lives have changed. Thinking about my own life, and my history of weight loss which is more of a history of weight gain, and writing pages and pages and pages arguing with myself just like a crazy person.

In the end, it turns out that that as much as I want to, I can’t do this alone. I am so tired of working hard and having everything go to shit over and over again. I am tired of feeling bad about myself for failing, and I am tired of failing. And I am so extremely tired of letting that failure feel like it consumes my whole life.

Surgery is not a magic cure – I am going to have the same issues going into the operating room as I do now. They do not, as the patients on one surgery group I read are fond of saying, operate on your head. It’s a weight loss tool, is how they think about it, and I’m still going to have to do all that work – the exercise, the dieting, the watching what I eat for the rest of my life, but the difference is that it will work. It will stick. Stick! Like I threw paint against the wall, instead of magic markers and haddocks.

This is what it boils down to: I would not do it if I didn’t really believe in the work that I’m going to have to do and the non-magicalness of the whole thing - I am pretty good at recognizing when I am bullshitting myself, and I don’t think I’m bullshitting. I am ready to do this, and accept the risks that I know are inherent. For me - it is worth it, I think, to take that risk.

And I think what I’m doing here is justifying myself, which I did not plan to do. This is what I am doing, and those are the reasons I am doing it, and I’m doing it now, while I am still
relatively healthy and young, and still devastatingly attractive.

So I went in several months ago for an initial consultation, while I was still deciding – I figured there would be insurance issues, and I would rather have everything underway while I was deciding and be able to turn down my approval, ultimately, if that is what I chose to do, rather than making up my mind and then having to wait a year. I got denied, and then took awhile to decide whether to appeal, or abandon the whole thing. I went to a patient support meeting, and talked to the people who were post-op, all of whom were ricocheting off the walls, delighted with life and full of energy and glowing and thrilled, and I went home and wrote an appeal letter. And then this afternoon, I got my letter of medical necessity, and I sat down, and made the decision to do this.

There are still hoops – I have to get the doctor I’ve chosen to be accepted as my physician, and I have a battery of tests to go through, and I have to quit smoking (I don’t want to quit smoking). There is my supervisor to sit down with and discuss when is best to be away from work, and for how long she can spare me, and I have been exercising but I want to start weight lifting now to strengthen my body and minimize the muscle loss, I hope, and I want to start cutting back the wine with dinner, because oh, I will miss that, and it is better to tear the band aid off slowly, slowly than all at once, motherfuckingow, and I want to prepare myself mentally like some kind of fancy kung fu master, kapowie kazing, and I want to remember the person I am now, who I like, and make promises to not forget that I became the person I am because I have spent my whole life being overweight and that is something to not ever lose sight of.

I also have to work on not being completely fucking terrified of major surgery, and curing some more cancer.

comedy

If I am ready to consider something as major as major surgery, then I am ready to lose weight. I did not intend to spend the time between now and my consultation, or between the consultation and possibly-surgery lying around waiting for the trucks filled with butter to come hose me down.

If I do do this, I am going to go into it as ready as possible, start developing an exercise plan which is a good habit, a weight lifting plan so's I got some muscle tone that hopefully will not be washed away in a gush of weight loss, start working on thinking about good choices now, rather than be gobsmacked by the hey, wow, can't eat candy what?

So that I am in a good place, if I do go and do this, and if I don't? I have already started on the road to being healthy again. Like I said, I am pretty sure I'm ready.

Last night, before all the food in the fridge heaved and collapsed into sticky dust, I decided to start by making a good dinner. A chicken stir fry. I spent a long time chopping the vegetables that were not gooey and digging out the pan and de-fatting the chicken breasts and cutting them up and I pulled out the extra virgin olive oil and poured a tablespoon in and turned the knob on the stove, and it went click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click -

Etcetera. No flame. No pilot light. No gas going in, no gas going out, no idea what's going on, except that my stove's broke! PG&E are coming. Evenutally. I ate peanut butter & jelly. Which, you know, is better than General Tso's. But still.

the deal

I post dramatically about major surgery, and then I go away. That's awesome. I'm sorry.

So this is the deal – I spent the whole day researching and obsessing about it and wondering and worrying and thinking and deciding that this was the greatest idea that any one has ever had in the history of ideas and I might have even spent some time on the Anthropologie website, picking out my new wardrobe and also planning my plastic surgeries and accompanying tattoos to cover the scars. That's how gonzo I was about the whole thing. That is how, sometimes, I get. It is a personality issue, I think.

Then, the next morning, I woke up, and among my top five thoughts (which included "fuck you, dayball," "get off my face, cat," and "hello I love you shower you make nice hot water go down woosh," and "COFFEE RULES") was "Holy shit, major fucking surgery? What the hell was I thinking?"

The whole idea made me feel nauseated and amazed that it would have ever occurred to me as a real thing that I would really do to my actual, real body which is made of organs that are whole and functioning, if a little kind of fat. Wow, I said. I'm stupid! And I picked up the book Volumetrics, which was highly recommended, by a crazy-smart friend of mine who happens to study obesity, as the only scientifically sound diet and nutrition program that she could recommend whole-heartedly.

She has, of course, mentioned it several times over the course of our friendship -- not to me, and not in a pushy kind of hey, have you thought about a diet? way, because that is not how she is like – but it always sounded much too boring to me. Eat healthily, and make choices that keep you more full and satisfied over choices that are filled with empty calories? S-nooooore!

But I decided that the longing for weight-loss surgery was clearly a sign that I needed to do something, and was even ready to do it, so I cancelled my consultation appointment at the surgeon's office, and read the Volumetrics book avidly, made notes and a grocery list, and filled up my fridge with good foods that are good for me and filling and delicious, and they have been sitting in the fridge ever since, because when the fuck did I think I would have time to actually cook? I am in grad school, in my last semester, with two classes and final projects and homeworks and a book to be writing and a job at a desk and a freelance job on the couch, and my food, rotting quietly in the fridge. Fuck.

It really is a great book. It's sensible and comforting in its sensibleness and sensibility, too. It is smart and correct and if I were a better person, there too would I be, sensibly losing a pound a week and always feeling full and satisfied. Maybe that's what I'll do someday, I thought to myself.

In the meantime, I have been walking when I can, and not eating candy (except when I nervously and in the fashion of PMS inhale three glasses of wine and then eat an entire lump-of-chocolate wedding favor in a couple of bites) and I keep feeling insanely tired and run-down and miserable in my body and it hurts to walk (which kills me, because I've always been a walker) and it hurts to breathe and embarrassing, humiliating things suddenly start to happen, to your body, and there are things that suddenly become embarrassingly and humiliatingly hard, when you are a size. And these are things that make you hate yourself and your body, and be more sad than you are, and people to whom I had mentioned the possibility of surgery asked me how the consultation went and I started thinking about it again.

I did some more research – calm, considered research, not fueled by the insane, exciting idea that I would be "magically" thin and boom, all my problems would be solved. I made out lists of positives and negatives. I read forums about side effects and the way you have to live the rest of your life, after weight-loss surgery, and I made some more long lists, thinking hard about whether I'd be willing to live with those side effects and restrictions.

I spent a lot of time reading weight loss surgery blogs – I read the entire archives of every blog I could find, from the morons who wrote things about surgery being magic, and how they had finally managed to eat a whole pie and yet they still lost three pounds this week!!!!1! and the smart, cute as a goddamn button, sensible and basically awesome people who went into the business knowing what it entailed, and took it seriously, who knew what changes they had to make and why and did their damnedest to live the right way and make some serious adjustments to their habits, eating and moving, physically and psychologically. I learned what you can do and might do and what you should do and could do, and that the surgery isn't magic and it isn't a miracle cure, and that the astonished, proud, amazed looks on these women's faces in their six-months-out photos is just fantastic.

And I learned that I have exhausted all my internal resources – that I know what I need to do to lose weight, that I know it's calories in versus calories out, but that I can't do it. That I would do it if I could. I do not think I am lazy, or stupid, or pathetic, or self-sabotaging. That if it was that easy for me, I would be healthy and slim and a crazy tri athelete. There is something going on with me that I have never, in years of therapy – if it were as easy as getting therapy for my issues, I would be healthy, and slim, and a quadrathelete – figured out what food issues I have got and what to do about them that will work.

And I learned that I would happily, gratefully welcome an outside resource, an additional control. That I think – I am pretty sure – that not only would I be willing to work with my body in order to change it for the better, that I think I could do it, if I had the kind of incentive that is absolutely concrete, the help that this would offer me.

And I found out, after making list after list – and this was news to me – that I would rather spend the rest of my life at a healthy weight, dealing with food in a whole new and difficult way, and dealing with the possible physical side effects, than spend the rest of my life at this weight – because it is pretty clear to me that going on as I am, I will always be fat – dealing with the physical, emotional and psychological side-effects, all of which hurt so very fucking much, and all of which are killing me in their own special ways.

At the end of it, I had pages and pages of lists, and talking-to-myself writing, hours and days and weeks of research, and another appointment for a consultation, and a pretty good idea of what my ultimate decision is going to be.

But – and this is the important part – I haven't, yet, made the decision. I am not going to do that until I go through the ninety year consultation process and talk to people I trust and give myself some real time to sit with this idea, to let it sink in that it is permanent, and would be real. To allow myself some room to be one hundred percent flinchingly honest about my chances. The whole thing is scary and huge and when I said I was pretty sure what my decision was going to be – I lied. I don't know. But I would appreciate some luck, if you've got any to spare.

irreversible steps

Already, I'm imagining how I am going to be, a year from now, and I haven't even totally decided that that's what I want to do, take such a major, irreversible step, I haven't gone to a consultation appointment -- I haven't even made up my mind if I'm going to that appointment. But I am thinking about how, a year from now, I will fit into Guy's sweatshirts, on a rainy, miserable day like this, without feeling like a crazed sausage, be able to walk up the hill from the bus without wanting to cry, be able to get the tattoo on my shoulder that won't look ridiculous on such a fat arm, be able to --

Fill in the blank here, with your own secret wish. You can fill in the blank with your own vision of how things will be when the weight is finally gone, and for good – you know exactly what it is I'm talking about, those overwhelmingly hopeful feelings you get, when you start again, when you think that this time, you've found a solution, and it is the solution, and you are proud and happy and confident.

I am not so proud and happy and confident, and I haven't even made the decision yet, but I can't stop having the fantasy.

Yesterday, I stumbled on this website, for a type of weight loss surgery I had never heard of. Weight loss surgery, to me, sounds like giving up, and dangerous and frightening, and dumping. It sounded like life-long deprivation and scariness and risks I would never dream of taking.

This surgery, the duodenal switch, is apparently different. I will let you read about the specifics yourself, but the basic breakdown is that it seems to be the most long-term successful of all the types of surgery, with the fewest side effects. I spent all day reading about, hours and hours researching, fascinated, and intrigued, and increasingly interested and at the end of the day, when I closed the browser, I thought holy shit, I want to do this.

Holy shit, what is wrong with me?

It looks like the easy solution I have cried about wanting, the problem-solving magic technique that I have begged for, in the middle of an hours-long session of self-loathing and self-pity and misery, after a day of clothing shopping or another failed day of a diet or one of those awful, startling moments when you catch a glimpse of yourself in a photo or a shop window and realize what it is you really look like, and are reminded why it is you find it so easy to forget, and hard to remember why any one loves you, looking the way you do.

It looks like the easy solution, and so I am deeply suspicious, and fully cognizant of the drawbacks, which sound awful, the fact that it is major surgery and involves intense pain and dead-serious risk and danger and dangerous, painful recovery and money, a whole lot of money, and the fact that I want it and I wish for it with all my heart even while I remain completely, totally unsure, and a little bit ashamed – surgery versus will power and strength, it seems to me.

I am ashamed to be so lacking, to feel like I could use such drastic help. I could use such drastic help. Do I need such drastic help? I don't know.

But I made a consultation appointment - just a consultation - with a surgeon in my city who has a very good reputation, and I will go to the support meeting, and I suppose, by next week, I will know for sure.

And if you have any experience with weight loss surgery, good or bad, will let me know in the comments, please? Thanks.

moving (on over)

Hallo! I do not know how fat I am! I am sure it is pretty fat, but right now, I do not care. But this is not the ordinary not really caring – this is me pretty much staying on track and getting some exercise and not really thinking, too hard, about food and the business, because I have been moving. It is refreshing to have a stress that is different than the usual kind of stress. It easy to talk yourself out of panic and worry when you remember that you're doing this to yourself, until you get really mad at yourself for doing that to yourself, and what were you thinking and holy crap, why didn't anyone ever punch you in the face, dude, because you are cruising for a bruising, that's right, I said it, and then suddenly you're face down in a pie.

The awesome thing about moving is that there is no pie! And there is no time for eating, and no time for breathing and no time for anything, and you have to steal thirty seconds out of the day in order to feel sorry for yourself. That is my new special fancy Not Fat No More Diet with a TM at the end of it – Move Your Way to Not Fatness(TM)! If you move far away enough, the fat won't find you! Fat has a very poor sense of direction, I swear. My credentials are that I am super awesome. Send checks now!

So the other good thing about moving is that I am out of a Bad Neighborhood (which I had always secretly loved, until the squatters moved in with their crack and their hopped up on goofballsness) and into a Good Neighborhood (with an unfair percentage of restaurants that I'm really, really fond of) , and the Good Neighborhood has got (besides an unfair percentage of restaurants which, I might have mentioned, I'm really, really fond of) this proximal kind of thing to the park going on. The Park, actually. THE PARK.

I have begun to walk through THE PARK to work every morning, in the sunshine and the fresh air, listening to the birds tweet and enjoying the bounty of nature and construction and traffic, and I arrive at my desk flushed and deeply unhappy, and yet pretty damn proud of myself, because I have walked to work, and now I can lie down for the rest of the day and maybe roll around in a little bit in marinara.

I have got great plans in the works about walking to THE PARK every weekend and rolling around in not marinara, but grass and nature and trees, if I can work out a way to do that and not find myself knee deep in dog stuff. I have even decided that I can walk to the beach, and won't that be a party? Though I predict I will start to walk to the beach and then stop at a waffle house instead, because the beach is rather farther from me than THE PARK is.

So I'm doing okay. Except for one really bad and awful day where I turned to Guy and said you know what? I am having a fucking giant cookie and he looked at me and said I will buy you that cookie, I have been stuck like glue to my Opti-Medi-Science-Fast, and while I have not noticed any particular slimmingness going on, I am sure that when I finally unearth the box my scale might possibly be in and then get around to unpacking it and then work up the courage to stand on it, I will be very surprised. I am hoping it will be pleasantly.

wagons

Here is a secret: if I stop writing here for months at a time, it probably means that I am dead. Either dead, or have fallen off the wagon so spectacularly, and with such an earth-rattling thud, that I wish I were dead, because a life in which eating Twinkies is the only way to cure pain is no life at all.

So I’m not dead. Logic leads you to believe the thing about the earth-rattling and the wishing I were dead, and logic is your friend, my friend. It was – well, I’m not going to say it was stupid to try and go on a diet around Christmas and before big trips in which eating will be a central feature, because it could have worked if I were a different kind of person.

But I am not that person, and it didn’t work, and I sat down and dangled one foot out the back, and then dangled the other foot out, and let my feet sort of drag along the road as the wagon laboriously trudged up mount not fat no more, and then suddenly, the wagon was miles away and then vanished in the distance and there I was, rolling around naked in a puddle of chocolate, and I must have just slipped, woops.

Yeah, woops, my pants don’t fit and I feel like hell! Don’t I feel like a silly asshole!

Logic, our old friend, tells us that I could have gone right back into the diet and the health and the things directly after the holidays with food in were over, but I kept pushing it forward a bit – there was a party coming up, or a lunch, or a dinner, or a thing, and I’ll start right after, and it was a story that is familiar in all kinds of ways, most of them in that place in your stomach where you feel kind of sick and sort of sad, where knots go to die.

My most recent excuse, and the reason I had pasta with mushroom sauce for lunch this afternoon, is that we are going to the Fancy Food Show and how can I be a no-eating Optifast loser when there is free cheese to be had? Free delicious cheese! And, I hear, underpants. Why they’re giving away underpants at a food sho – oh. Wait. Never mind. Ew. I mean, probably not really, but ew anyway. Thanks, brain!

It is funny how the further I push away the starting date, the more I start to slip. At first it was just plain old not doing Optifast, but eating okay. Then it was eating less okay. Then it was eating so un-okay that I was getting sugar rushes at 9:30 in the morning, and that is not bright. And then it was so the most un-okay that I started to get a little horrified at myself.

No one with any respect for themselves should eat the way I’ve been eating.

Excuse me. I need to write that again.

No one, with any respect for themselves, should eat the way I’ve been eating.

It is hilarious to me that I am so astounded by this revelation. It is hilarious that as astounded and touched as I am by this brand-new way of thinking, I know that I am still not going to restart my diet until after the fancy food show. Does cheese have that great a hold on me? It is a mystery.

Well, not really.

The difference may be that while I was half-heartedly thinking I could sort of maybe restart perhaps after the show, could be, with the likelihood of me finding some other reason to push it off one more time at or near about 100 percent, I am pretty sure I will manage to do something bright like actually go through with it this time. Restart, stick to, cut the shit, show some respect like a grownup woman with an irreplaceable body and plenty-replaceable kit kats that do not have to be all eaten at once because they’re not going anywhere, okay?

Okay.

So you know that if I don’t write again for several or nine months, I should be ashamed of myself. Please feel free to be ashamed of me too.

i am made from artificial preservatives and sweetners

"Splenda" would make a really great name for a dog, wouldn't it? Either a dog, or a first-born. Tumor.

aftermath

The day before Thanksgiving, I weighed in, and lost a comparatively disappointing three pounds, which adds up to a not very disappointing 19 pounds total all together, which continues to be a big number, especially for three whole weeks, but not feel like a very big number at all.

Then I went to Thanksgiving dinner, and luckily, the turkey turned out poorly, so I was able to avoid putting my head inside it and eating my way out, but the side dishes were tasty, and I ate bits of those, and some cheese and crackers, and drank rather more than I should have (wine is good! champagne, it goes to your head! whiskey, I missed you) and did not feel too full at all, though I did not like having all that alcohol. Well, that's a lie. Of course I loved all that alcohol. I just didn't like that I had drank it, and it had been so easy to hold out my glass again.

But I would walk on the beach, and it would be okay! Strolling totally counteracts the effects of calories on the ass. Except that our cooking adventures sort of went awry, so that we didn't sit down until pretty late, and the walk on the beach didn't so much happen.

After a long day of cooking and drinking and cheese noshing, I didn't actually manage to eat that much dessert, either – not even of my big beautiful chocolate cake which takes several pounds of bittersweet chocolate and a lot of love - and to make up for it, Guy brought me a slice in bed the next morning, along with a cup of coffee with real live sugar in it. Oh, sugar.

So I started the day with cake, and continued it at lunchtime with pizza, and polished it off with a dinner full of Chinese food and a dessert of the leftover chocolate from my cake-baking adventure, and I looked at the detritus and it was not good, and I did not feel so great. Which was a shock! and I was, as you can imagine, totally stunned.

I avoided the scale very hard, but I imagined I could feel my pants constricting, wrapping around my waist and beginning to creep up my torso, where it would take a flying leap and wind itself around my neck and strangle me. And the headline will read "Fat Lady Killed By Stupid Pants."

Stupid pants.

Then I got up the next morning and said okay, fine, and I weighed myself, and my pants lied, because I had only gained two pounds. But – two pounds. Two pounds suck.

And so – here is where the faint strains of triumphant music begin to softly swell – I put pants on and I made a damn shake and I walked down to the pier, where I bought flowers. And that is about a mile and a half, rock on.

And then I went back home, and had a goddamn shake, and went back out and walked most of the way to my eyebrow grooming appointment, and that was close to two miles and then I went home and furiously did not eat any food except science food, and then today I walked to work which is a little under two miles and I have furiously only eaten science food and I will be damned if I have continued to keep these two pounds, or any of the friends of the two pounds who can kiss my fat ass goodbye. Ask me how I feel next week, though, when I go to Chicago for the weekend.

three weeks. counting.

It's been three weeks, now. I have officially lost 16 pounds, and tomorrow, I find out what my third week total is.

16 pounds seems like kind of a miracle. Most of the time, I don't feel appreciably different, or changed, but then I notice that my jeans are fitting me again, not leaving behind furrows along my waist when I peel them off at the end of the day, or I look in the mirror and see that my neck is less puffy, when a friend tells me that she can tell that my face is thinner.

And when I think about it – 16 pounds is a lot of pounds. That's several babies, or a ham, or several babies sitting on a ham, perched on a bucket of chicken and juggling pool balls. 16 pounds is a significant amount of weight, and something to be proud about – sometimes it is easy to just focus on my little pre-set meals of depressing science, and sometimes it takes a lot of goddamn discipline, to continue to "eat" this way, to smile and lie politely that you are not at all hungry but thank you for offering a taste of your delicious pecan pie.

But most of the time, it is a little depressing that a number of babies worth of weight is such a drop in the bucket for me. 16 pounds on most people is super-significant, and changes the entire shape of their body. On me, it's a little face poofiness and some jeans. Then, I get impatient. Okay, 16 pounds isn't enough. When do I get to 30, and 50, and 75? Why is this taking so fucking long? I thought this was a fucking miracle diet of the future! Where is science when I need it? Damn you, science. I best wake up Giselle tomorrow morning, or you'll be hearing from my lawyer.

So it's going quickly, and it's not going quickly enough, and days when I think that I will lie down and die if I have to eat another goddamn meal out of a little white packet are days that never end, and days in which the months loom up, dark and forbidding and studded with chocolate chips, streams of molten gravy pouring down and pooling into whirlpools of hate that form faces which wail "turn back! turn back! Super size your extra value meal!" and then I cry and cry and cry at the thought, and drink another stupid shake and try not to think about how long I'll be drinking stupid shakes, those are the longest days of all.

This has all made me long like a crazy person for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has never, ironically, been my favorite holiday. It's very nice to get together with people and share a meal and give thanks and put your face in a pie, but turkey and its accompanying gang members have never been my thing, because I do have a little discernment when it comes to food, you know. I'm not a whore. Just maybe a little loose and at the ready when Dr. Drakes and his Army of Cakes comes to town.

Yet waiting for this Thanksgiving is going to kill me. In conjunction with my doctor, we have approved a brief removal of myself from the plan and a moderate consumption of Thanksgiving foods, provided I do smart things like eat moderately and not put my face in a pie. But ha, I have her fooled there – I am making a cake! Which I am totally putting my face into.

No, I know. I don't want to have a gallbladder fit, or a heart attack, or die from chocolate overload, which actually sounds kind of nice, but I have too many Christmas presents yet to make, so no dying for me. I am thinking about it kind of obsessively, what I'm going to do. Trying to go in with a plan and a determination – small tastes of things, small plate, one glass of wine, no, thank you to seconds, a walk on the beach after we eat. Staying in control. God help me.

If it is a thing that you celebrate, Happy Thanksgiving! And if not, have a lovely weekend.