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hello i am fat

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.

steps two through two thousand

The picture, that was the first step. And then the doctor called, and the blood work was not great, I continued to feel like very tired hell, and I came to the realization that the reason I have been so uncomfortable wearing high heels, lately (lately!) and my shoes have gotten so strangely tight is not just because my goddamn feet are fat, too (though I bet they are), but I’ve been balancing several hundreds pounds upon them, and that’s too way much weight to put on two small feet. I can’t wear heels because I’m too fat. That’s depressing.

As if the whole thing isn’t depressing. But you know, sometimes it’s the smaller things that catch you up and tip you over and send you sprawling. At which point the ground shakes, because you are so fat. By “you” I mean “me,” of course.

So I talked to the doctor, and she referred me to the liquid diet people, and I have started drinking delicious chocolate shakes and chowing down on munchy delicious granola bars of miracle science.

I figured that any time I talked about it, it would be “I’m miserable!” and “Oh, I am so hungry!” and “Oh, can I please just die, now, because this is fucking unfair.”

But you know, I wouldn’t need to be doing this shit if I hadn’t gotten to this point in the first place, eh? Personal responsibility is very important, you know. And also it sucks.

It hasn’t been that bad though – no, seriously. It hasn’t really made me want to die, even the first three days. I’m not, of course, totally thrilled, and I miss going out for a drink after work, but it has been such an amazing relief to not have to think about food beyond remembering to “eat” every two hours, and to generally keep track of how many little packets I have torn open.

You’d think all I would be able to do is think about food and be depressed, but already, I have energy and I am excited and I am putting all my big fat eggs into one tiny little basket, calculating how much weight I will lose by this date, and this date, and this date and doing little dances of soon to be skinny glee.

I don’t expect it to remain easy. I have to start exercising serious-like after the first week, and start a weight lifting regimen to make sure I minimize muscle loss and metabolism slow-down, and I haven’t been doing it for very long or have had any serious temptation, or been in the midst of ferocious doom PMS or been away from home and my blender, where it is generally easy to keep things under control.

And then, of course, the holidays are coming. They are delicious meaty holidays full of food piles, and drinking delicious things, some (or possibly most) of which are alcoholic. This isn’t going to be a cakewalk, so to speak. It is, in fact, going to suck.

Right now I am hoping for my liking of exercise to kick in (I do! I really do like to kick my own ass, when I am not so desperately out of shape that it hurts unbearably) and hoping I lose enough weight, before it gets really hard, to feel inspired. Or maybe I will even surprise myself and discover resources and toughness and do this thing right, and see it to the end.

before and after

A few weekends ago, I went to that big conference I had so crazily swore I would lose weight in time for – the one at which I would be super hot and super svelte and get to a point with my body that I could minimize the panic and the fear that comes from standing up in front of people and being expected to say smart things. I figured removing the fat would remove at least a little bit of my own self-consciousness, and, quite frankly, give myself one less thing to be criticized for, if that makes any sense.

It was a great plan, and it went okay for awhile, but I don’t know. I can’t reconstruct it for you. I can’t reconstruct it for myself, even. Somehow I ended up gaining another couple handfuls of pounds (somehow. as if I woke up one morning to find them sitting on my chest and sucking my breath, like a cat. a really fat cat.) and I went to the conference fat. Really fat, in fact. Is that irony? It could be irony.

The conference went well, despite not feeling at all confident about how I looked – I was an award winner kind of person, and everyone was extraordinarily kind and I felt kind of good and more and more comfortable, but never entirely, because I never can be, when I am porky.

I seem to have relaxed enough to allow pictures of me to be taken. Smile! they said, and Guy put his arm around me and we smiled for the camera and I smiled at other cameras and I made funny faces, as I tend to do, and I didn’t think about the end results, until I got an email from the really kind photographer, who said “I thought you’d want to see these great photos of you guys!” and I downloaded the photos and I opened them and then I closed them immediately, because it was, frankly, just alarming.

Guy looked adorable, as he frequently does, and we were all cuddly and it was a cute picture. If you cut me right out. Or if you didn’t cut me out, if you could maybe find me a neck, that would be okay, because this vision of me as a perfectly spherical woman wearing a muffler of fat? It’s fucking nightmare fuel.

At first I was kind of really unhappy to have photographic evidence of Me as Neck-Free Whale, but then I become conscious of the possibilities. After I finished crying. Tearfully I snuffled, and blew my nose on a butter wrapper, and realized that now I had the picture I could provide to the editors of Redbook for my spectacular Before and After story! Entitled “Journey Though the Valley of the Pork: One Woman’s Dramatic Weight Loss Odyssey.”

Or, you know, it can be a before picture. It can remind me where I am now, and what I don’t want to be, and what I will never be again. That, too. It is remarkable, sometimes, what it takes to get through to your own head.