Fat people have read all the break-through books about diet and weight-loss. They’ve tried the programs. They’ve joined groups and classes at their gyms. And, they’ve been successful more times than you can imagine. They have watched the scale drop, and they’ve watched it drop big time. Many times. They have watched the stack of weights increase at the gym. Many times. I’m telling you, they know what they’re doing.
Just don’t ask them how to change their lives perpetually. That’s where fat people are lost. You see, fat people (and I can say this because I was a really fat guy) attack their weight. Which is where they go wrong every time.
All that extra weight… it’s really not the problem. It’s a symptom of the problem, and fat people usually don’t understand that. They believe that all of their problems (or at least most of them) will go away if they can just get skinny. But in reality, it’s the other way around. All of the fat will go away (or at least most of it) if they can just get to the root of their problems and if they can just get to the root of why they let themselves get fat in the first place, and why they continually grease their arteries, and why they slowly kill themselves with hamburgers, soda, and potato chips.
“OL.” I didn’t know what it stood for. But I suddenly understood that I had to learn why I had let myself get to that point. Why had I rationalized it for so long? Why did I not care enough about myself to be healthy? Why had I been strangely okay becoming even more of the very thing I loathed most about myself? What was the root of all of it? Why was I eating toward my earlier death?
Weighing nearly a sixth of a ton was not exactly a walk in the park. It was more like a moment in the park where you’re bent over in agony because the first block you just jogged gave you such a bad side-cramp that you legitimately fear your organs are about to start failing you.
This is what life was like for me, weighing more than a fully-loaded refrigerator:
I would wake up in a panic at night thinking that someone had dropped a golf ball into my throat any time my neck fat suddenly clamped off my trachea. I had large, beautiful (all natural, baby!) breasts. I didn’t fit inside the seats on the old White Rollercoaster as was so graciously pointed out to me by the pimple-faced attendant. I could make myself fit into trendy clothing that was two sizes too small for me. There were ways to believe that donuts were healthy sometimes. My penis literally would suck up inside of me when I sat down and bent over in a cold room. And, I made most skinny people nervous. Especially buffet managers and Geek Squad employees.
When the scale read back “OL,” something triggered inside of me. I knew what I had to do. I knew what I needed to do. And, I knew what I wanted to do. My lifestyle had to change. Permanently.
So, I did the next best thing to actually fixing myself, and the next best thing to getting to the roots of my problems, and I had a surgeon cut my innards up into little pieces. One year later, I weighed 192 lbs.
That was when the doctor told me that I would die if I didn’t find a way to put back on another thirty pounds. My hip bones were protuberant. My rib cage was visible and defined. My tailbone was protruding. I reminded myself of this particular feral dog down in Mexico who was missing most of his tail. That dog tried to kill me, but thankfully it was so emaciated and weak that a solid kick from my Dr. Marten boot punctured its rib cage and he left me alone as he skulked away to die.
And here, at the skinniest I had ever been since I was eight years old, a doctor was telling me to gain weight or die. My tailbone was grinding into everything causing me infection after infection. I eventually developed an allergy to penicillin and, as the doctor so eloquently put it, eventually I’d become allergic to all the antibiotics and there would be nothing they could do to fend off the infections anymore. I needed some blubber on my butt.
This is what life was like for me, as a way too skinny person:
Skiing became fun instead of terrifying. I could run without cramping up. I could shop for clothes at places that weren’t Old Navy. I bruised easily and all the time. I developed giant abscesses near my tailbone that had to be painfully lanced. My beautiful breasts disappeared. People complimented me. A lot. Especially fat people. My boners were suddenly huge. I made most fat people nervous. And, buffet managers loved me because I didn’t eat much of anything and my tables were always freed up sooner than later. I still made Geek Squad employees nervous. I guess they don’t like tall people, either.
I think the most fun I’ve ever had in my life was during that six months when I was trying to gain 30 lbs. so that I “wouldn’t die.”
You know how donuts are just about the best thing ever? Maple bars, specifically?
Well, try eating a doctor-ordered Maple Bar. It’s like having a doctor tell you to introduce crack into your diet. It’s wonderful. And magical. And so much fun…
Until you realize you can’t do it anymore. Then it becomes almost impossible to stop.