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

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Yay! Thanksgiving!

It is Thanksgiving.  I have some advice (this is really for myself, but if it helps you, great).  First, though, the non-advice.  Last night, on The Biggest Loser, a guy tried to sell everybody on whipping up cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.  Bullshit.  I've tried that.  It's not the same, it's not that easy to do, and it's not going to help you if you're jonesing for potatoes made with some cream or milk and butter.  Eat the damn potatoes, and enjoy every bit.  Fuck the cauliflower.  (I might put that on a shirt.)

The advice:  It's a day, not a weekend.  Ideally, it's a meal.  Same for Christmas.  Here in America, the Holidays start with Halloween and end with New Year's Day (or even the Superbowl).  It's the wrong approach.  A feast is a historic rarity.  Keep it that way.

A friend has a situation.  First, a little about her.  She is from the south.  Her parents are heavy.  She grew up fat (we have traded stories about what that's like).  Then in high school she lost 130 pounds and started competing in beauty pageants.  She did well.  Later she went to law school, and she works in a big city.  Wow, right?

Her parents are still heavy.  Her mom has some health problems that mean she really can't walk.  Her dad, however, eats.  Thirty years ago, he was a normal-weight guy.  A couple of years ago, however, he was about 580 pounds, and he was having health problems.  He was going to have lapband surgery, but he had to lose weight first (100 pounds, maybe).  Talk about irony.  They told him to keep it below 4000 calories a day.  That's a lot.  Some days I struggle to get 2600.  I am rarely really hungry.

My friend told me yesterday her dad is up to 651.  He has apparently been eating more than 4000 calories a day.  He will not be able to walk her down the aisle next year.  He will not be able to dance with her at her wedding.  He and her mother are visiting her in right now, and they cannot leave her apartment without her help.  By the time they get to the front door of her building, he has to take a rest.

She is both heartbroken and angry.  He is 55.  I ran the numbers.  He could eat about 4900 calories a day and lose weight.  If he gets down to 550, he could have the surgery (though if you could lose 100 pounds without surgery, why do it?).

I've been pretty big (hell, I still am), but I don't know how you get that big without changing something.  If you've read much of this blog, you know that I think this has to do with emotional and addiction-type issues.  But how far does any addiction go before you say, hold on.  I guess I know the answer.  Sometimes people don't say hold on.  Sometimes addictions kill them.

I have no advice for my friend, either.  Enjoy him while he's here, I guess.  I'm losing because I want to, and every time someone tried to talk to me about it out of love, I'd get pissed off anyway.  I don't know how  you get someone to take care of himself if he doesn't want to.  And clearly, someone is helping him get bigger.  I wonder what will happen when he can't leave the house at all.

I say I'm in it for the clothes, and while part of that is shtick, it's also true.  Lots of people talk about losing weight for health, but I have no interest in health when I feel shitty about the way I look.  For me it's all of a piece.  And having a doctor tell me once a year that my cholesterol and triglycerides look great is not enough to get me to the gym.  The linen pants in my closet that I love and have not been able to wear in years will.

What will work for my friend's dad?  No idea.  I hope he will find the maximum of what he's comfortable weighing soon.  I found it a few years ago, and I started dropping weight.  I am now at the lowest I've been in ten years.  I am also at the highest I ever want to be again.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy the food today.  But today only!


  1. "I have no interest in health when I feel shitty about the way I look"

    Tell it like it is Skip! That cracked me up.

    I'm sorry about your friend and her parents. Sometimes you can't fix other people's problems (well, I guess you can NEVER fix other people's problems) and it's hard to watch helplessly. I have a relative who is an alcoholic, and she spent the holiday in the hospital suffering from malnutrition, kidney infection, and the beginnings of cirrhosis. But I don't know what any of us could have done to change the course she was on. It's hard.

    Also I like what you said about Thanksgiving is ONE day, preferably one meal. I've done well with the holidays in the past by keeping that in mind: I eat whatever I want and however much I want on Thanksgiving, but it's just the one meal. Same with Christmas.

  2. I'm very sorry about your relative. You're exactly right--there's nothing anyone can do, no matter what the substance being abused is. I have often fantasized that I was the one who could get someone back on track. It has never worked.

    One day is key. The pumpkin pie keeps calling me, though. Unlike other things, this is always better than I expect. Most things that are supposed to be good disappoint me.

    Thanks for reading my blog, too. I really appreciate it.