A 45-year-old fat man trying to find his inner skinny dude.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why am I here?

I'm not writing this for accountability. Lots of the weight loss bloggers say they are, and they put up numbers and talk about what they're eating. That's ok with me, and I often find such things interesting. Tips about good things to eat that won't kill me are fine with me. But I'm not writing this to focus on that stuff.

I'm writing this because I want to read more about the mental part of all this. Not just weight loss, but weight in general. My thesis is that anyone you see who is more than a little thick has issues.

MsBitchCakes talked about it in a posting from October 2008. She said she doesn't have a weight problem; she has a food problem. Which is to say, I think, that if you deal with the food, the weight will take care of itself.

Some people use drugs or alcohol to mute whatever psychic pain they have. Some people eat. Maybe I should be reading more about addiction.

There are a couple of blogs devoted to maintenance that I find useful on this score. In fact, though I'm losing (trying to, anyway), I find the mindset espoused on the maintenance blogs very helpful. I don't consider this a journey, because that word suggests an ending. It is only a journey to the extent that I'm changing diverting from a path my life was on to a new one. I'm under no illusions. If I lose 130 more pounds, I'm not going to live a normal life like my friends who has never had a weigh problem. I am going to write down every damn thing I ever eat.

It's a little overwhelming to think of it in those terms. But I can do it today. I don't think this is much different from the alcoholic who is on the wagon. No drinks ever again would be daunting. No drinks today, not so much.

It's not an episodic kind of thing. People think episodically, and why wouldn't we. Commercials show a problem and resolution in thirty seconds. TV shows in 22 minutes, maybe an hour. Movies in an hour and a half or two. Real life is not prone to clean, neat resolutions.

I'd like to minimize the setbacks. I'd like to live and eat in a healthy way. But, as I've said before, it's about more than health.

Friday, July 30, 2010


My high school reunion was a couple of weeks ago. I didn't go. I didn't even consider it. The last one I went to was the ten year, and that was enough. I realized then--and the point reiterates itself every time I start following links on Facebook--that I really didn't like most of the people I went to high school with. I am a little embarrassed to admit the degree of schadenfreude I experience when looking at pictures from the reunion. Most of the people I know are pretty fat. When they were kids, most of them wrote me off because I was fat. I fantasize about asking them about it. "Is it weird for you being fat?" "Remember when I was fat and you were thin?" That second question would have worked at the ten year. I was thin. People didn't know who I was.

I grew up a fat kid. By the time I was in first grade, I was a porker. I don't know why I started eating. At some point, my weight and eating habits have all the markings of a power struggle in the family. Kids teased me, of course, and I sometimes struck back. I remember hitting a bully named Todd so hard on the back that he cried. This was when I was in seventh grade. He was an eighth-grader. I was shocked that he cried. And glad.

I didn't really date. A little. I was a (bad) shotputter, so not a jock. But mostly I was the funny fat kid. A cliche, and you can read about the funny fat kid in countless blogs about weigh loss. I tried to please people so they would stay off my ass. But if you do that long enough, you find it hard to figure out what it is you want. At least, that's my story.

A lot of blogs talk about the health problems of being fat. I have had some problems, but nothing as dramatic as some people talk about. The guy at 344pounds.com seems to have had serious trouble. I have been on high blood pressure pills since I was 27. But I got into a bad marriage at 26, and when I got divorced, the doctor cut the dosage in half, even though I was up 90 pounds from when I married. (You'd think that would have been an issue in the marriage, but I don't think it was. My ex never said a word, though that was common, so I'll probably never know.) I had some back spasm problems when I was up around 400 pounds, but those mostly resolved when I started working out and lost some weight. I have a problem with my ankle that is due to my flat feet which I think are inherited. No doubt the weight exacerbated the problem, but I don't know if it caused it.

People lose weight for lots of reasons. To get laid (done that), for heath (that too), because they're sick of being fat (Drew Carey). I'm in it for the clothes.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What the hell else am I doing?

I have really really wanted to eat today. I decided I'm bored and maybe a little depressed. I don't have much to be depressed about, but that isn't, in my experience, relevant to feeling that way. Wait. That's not right. What I mean is that you can be depressed whether things are going well or not. So that's where I was today, I think. I felt empty of something and wanted to be filled up.

The good news is that I'm within my points for the day, and it's after 9pm. I'll be going to bed soon, so I'm all set.

I don't think I'll be down this week, or at least not down as much as I want. My average so far is 1.4 pounds a week, which is about 73 pounds a year. I'm impatient. I want it to happen today. And yes, I know it didn't come on in a day. Don't care.

I read today that Drew Carey is down 80 pounds, that he lost it because he was tired of being fat. Me too. But he did it by eating no carbs and working out. I just don't know how the loss is sustainable if he plans on going back to eating everything. I'm not talking about the science of it. I'm talking about knowing how to eat everything. That's what people tend to do. When they avoid certain types of foods for a diet, they lose, and then they fold the formerly forbidden foods back in, and gain. I think you have to learn how to eat everything, learn about portion control, moderation, eating when you're hungry. That food is fuel. But I'm impressed with the 80 and I hope he can keep it off.

Gaining make me feel like a failure. I've been thinking about the time, years ago, when my doctor weighed me and I was about 300 pounds. I was up about 40 from my (first) wedding. It had taken me four or five years to get there, but it was disappointed. Still, I didn't do anything to change things. I can't remember why, except that I think I focused on having no time to go to the gym instead of figuring out the food. The food is key.

Anyway, now I'm within 30 pounds of 300. I'm really hopeful that I'll be there in the next 12 to 14 weeks. Even if I don't get there that fast, I'm going to stick with the program. What the hell else am I doing?

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Today I weighed in at a meeting. Down 1.4, which is not as much as I had hoped. It's also for two weeks. I have to remember that in my world, where staying the same is a win, losing is a big deal. I'm down almost 30 pounds since April. There are faster ways to do it, especially when you're as big as I am, but I want something I can live with long term. I want to change my life.

I was up for about an hour last night. When my brain starts working, I sometimes have a hard time getting it to stop. Last night was bad because I thought of something that happened when I was a kid. I was 13 or 14, and it was around a holiday, because my mother's parents were there, too. We'd had a roast beef instead of a turkey, so I'm not sure what the occasion was. Probably Christmas. Anyway, a couple hours after we ate, I was in the basement at our miniature pool table. I had cut off some pieces of the meat for a snack. At some point I was going up to cut off pieces of meat so often I was tired of it, and there was so little of the roast left, that I just took the whole thing down with me and at it while I shot pool. This was probably a six or seven pound roast, half of which had fed five of us plus two grandparents.

My dad looked for the roast later to make some sandwiches--you know, a light dinner. He couldn't find it, asked me where I was. "I ate it," I said. Very sheepish. That created a crisis, embarrassment (me because I was out of control, the folks because I was out of control and they didn't know what to do).

I couldn't possibly have been hungry. I don't know what was going on. Maybe I was bored. Maybe I was agitated about something. I don't even remember what happened after that. But I'm still mortified about it, and I try to think what I would do if I were that kid's parent. In a way, today I am.

Today in the meeting, someone mentioned how weigh-in day functions as a cheat day. I get the concept. I have a lovely, skinny friend who really works at staying thin, and she and her mother have shared the concept of the cheat day since D was little. (D thinks a 600 calorie breakfast is ENORMOUS. Not for me it's not.) Anyway, I understand the concept of a cheat day, but who would I be cheating? Me, right? So why do that? My concept, though, is based on the theory that it's not about the food. It's about need. I have some ideas about the need, but it could be food or anything else that's the object of the need. Mine's food. For other people it's Sailor Jerry's rum. I don't want to cheat myself. I've been doing that my whole life.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Little History

I remember the things that made me drop weight. I also remember that until now, I didn't really focus on the mental. In high school and college, I didn't realize that I would have to be careful my whole life. In fact, my father once told me that I'd have to worry about my weight my whole life. That pissed me off. He was right. That still pisses me off. (I could go on about parental issues, but I won't. My parents are nice people, and whatever mistakes they made with me are what they are. I'm 44. I'm responsible for myself.)

When I was in high school, I wanted to be able to wear clothing. Come to think of it, that's probably what happened in college. (Clothes=looking good=meeting up with the opposite sex.) This time, though, I was rated for life insurance. That wouldn't matter that much to me, except my lovely new wife and I are planning to have a kid. The insurance company wants me down to 300 for at least three months before they will cover me for more then $50k.

But I'm not doing it for the insurance. I don't want my kid to have a fat dad. I don't want my kid to suffer by being a fat kid. Growing up fat sucked. I would do anything to avoid that, and the kid will already have bad genes to deal with.

I'm an emotional eater. That part is easy. In Mean Girls, one of the leads is giving another character the rundown on the various cliques at the lunchroom tables. One is the table for girls who eat their feelings. I get it. I'm the same way.

Since April, I've been on the program. I have noticed that since I'm not eating to mute my feelings, I'm pretty agitated generally. I want to figure out what to do with all that emotion, which is primarily anxiety. I feel as though I'm in trouble a lot--like I'm an eleven-year-old with someone mad at me (it may or may not be reality, and it's usually not). I'm not going to eat to feed the monster. I want to find something else to do for that. Working out helps, if I can remain stress-free about it. When I start thinking I'm not working out hard enough or long enough, exercise contributes to my stress.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fat Man Gone

There are a lot of weight loss blogs. Most of the ones I've found have good stories of people who have lost a lot of weight. Some have good stories of people who have actually kept the weight off for a long time. I'm not sure the net needs another one. I'm not sure I'll keep it up. But I'm here anyway. Today, at least.

I don't plan on listing my weigh-ins, and I don't know how much of this blog will deal with recipes or food. While I'm learning to cook and learning what goes with what, none of that is really interesting to me vis a vis weight loss and maintenance.

It's not about the food. At least not for me. I want to think and learn about what mentally makes and keeps people fat. That includes me.

I have a theory that fat people are not much different than drug addicts or alcoholics. They self-medicate with drugs and booze. We're self-medicating with food. Every time I see someone really huge, I think that person must have real problems dealing with his or her emotions. They eat to compensate. Historically, so have I.

Here's some history. I grew up fat (starting at about five years old). I went to Weight Watchers summer camp in Wisconsin the summer I turned 12. (Yes, they used to have camps.) I lost 33 pounds there, and I stayed with the program for a while and then forgot all about it.

I got bigger, and then in high school I lost 70 pounds by counting calories and writing everything down. That lasted until I had a group of friends who liked to party and eat pizza and burritos late-night.

In my junior year of college, I was about 340 pounds, and I lost about 120. I looked pretty good at 220 or 225. But over the ensuing 17 years or so, I put it all back on and then some. By the time I was 37, I was about 350 pounds. I got divorced and spent the next six months or so eating ice cream with Tony Soprano (on disc). I got to about 400 pounds.

I went to Weight Watchers and dropped about 55 pounds, keeping most of it off (but not staying with the program) until last fall, when I started to creep up. I was not happy, felt out of control, desperate. I went back in April 2010.

As of today, I'm down about 27 pounds. I understand that this is going to have to be like AA for me. I'm going to write down what I eat for the rest of my life. The enormity of that hit me hard a couple of weeks ago, but I realize that I only have to write it down today. Just today, whenever that day is. I can do that.

In the past, I didn't listen to my body well. I found it easy to slip into mindless eating fueled by emotions. I'm trying to listen now. I'm rarely hungry. I'm with the program. I'm learning.

I started at 358. Now I'm at 331. I'm shooting for 230. Well, I'm shooting for less, really. But for now, 230 sounds ok.

Why start yet another weightloss blog? Because I'm curious about other people. How do you do it? What messes you up? Do you agree with the concept of emotional causation?

One last thought. Sure I want to be healthy. But I'm also in it for the clothes.

Thanks for reading. Talk to me. Call me Skip.