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

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I'm going to write a word.  You say the next thing you think of.  Ready?

Weight loss.

Did you think, "Journey?"  I bet you did.  "Weight loss journey" is a cliche.  I just googled it and got 456,000 results in .31 seconds.  (This is not an ad for Google.)  I HATE the word journey.  Hate it.

Because journeys end.  Are you changing your life or not?  If it's a journey, what do you do when you get there?  If you're like me, twice before, you say, "Hey, I'm cured," and then you get fat again.  I'm not going to do that again.  And by refusing to call this Skip's Journey, I'm not buying into the finality of weight loss.

The War on Fat is kind of like the War on Terror (don't get me started)--it will go on every day until, well, until it doesn't.  The War on Fat is relentless.  It is a series of decisions, made daily, maybe by the hundreds, until you're gone.  Or until you've given up.

I think people call it a journey because being a fat person is so defining.  And it does define you.  People view fat people a certain way.  It also creates limitations.  I can't go on a zipline tour.  I'm pretty sure I'm too fat for a Segway.  I have seen blog postings about people who were too fat to wipe themselves (happily, not me).  There are travel issues--at a minimum the seat belt extender (which I no longer need, happily).  True story--I got bumped from an exit row because the rule was that if you need an extender, you can't sit there.  That was both annoying and humiliating.  So I think people call it a journey because it's a life change that they can't really imagine until they get there.  It's like your first trip to Europe.  You can read everything, talk to people, look at pretty pictures, but it's not like being there.  And then you go home.

I know what it's like to be thin in America.  It's easier to shop for clothes, to commute, to travel, to swim, to bike, to get lucky (and who doesn't want to get lucky?).  But until you're a thin person, you have no idea what it's really like. Even so, I know that I want to get there, and I don't want to go "home" afterward.

I was kind of thin a long time ago.  I don't remember much.  I remember girls checking me out.  I remember taking up less space on a couch than I had expected to.  I remember, in part, the way I no longer stood out--the anonymity.  (It's a good thing.)  I remember buying jeans at the Gap (a regular store in the mall!).  I also remember I never felt like a thin person.  I assume this feeling will be with me for the rest of my life, too.

I'm going to keep tracking my food.  I'm going to keep making good choices.  I'm going to keep eating only when I'm actually hungry.  I'm going to keep working out.  I might even lose the next 100 pounds.  But it's not a journey.  It's my life.

1 comment:

  1. I call it a Wourney, which is possibly the ugliest portmanteau ever created, but boy I hate to avoid a cliche.

    I suppose I do think of it as a "journey" or similar word because I see so much and change so much on the way. There are unexpected turns, and I don't really know what the destination is. So it's an exploration, not a straight line from A to Z.