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hello i am fat


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.