Showing posts from August, 2017

Winter: Thin People in Fat Bodies

I’m probably not the right person to spill secrets about thin people in fat bodies, but here’s my stab at it. I can’t quite comprehend what it would be like to grow up skinny and spend my young adult years as a slender person, only to grow fat in middle or old age. I probably would not know what to do about it; I would have to learn how to diet and at an age when new knowledge doesn’t come easily, like learning a new language, which, in a sense, learning how to diet is. Chronic dieters speak fat fluently, but thin people have no idea where to even begin because speaking thin is much easier than speaking fat, a complicated language of calories, points, scales, nutritional values, psychological traumas associated with fat, weight loss programs, sociological aspects, and the politics of physical space. Life-long thin people don’t worry about the above issues; they eat whatever they want and whenever they want – they feel hungry, they eat. Their mantra: Listen to your body,

Winter: Fat People in Thin Bodies

We’re everywhere. We are the woman in the grocery store, her cart filled with skinny food. We are the man who grinds away at the gym, lifting weights and sweating his six-pack abs body into muscular submission. We are the child who sits in the classroom, her skinny-kid right arm posed with a pencil over a math problem. To look at us you would think we have not a care in the world, that we live perfect normal slender lives – that we can eat whatever we want without consequences. You would be wrong. If you looked closer, you will notice the woman gazing longingly at the snack aisle, waging a personal battle with a bag of Cheetos. On the man’s phone, you would see the man’s “before” photo, depicting his 400-pound body plopped on the sofa and eating a half gallon of ice cream. If you were in the child’s inner circle, you would know that she spent last summer at a fat camp for children, eating nothing but salads, steamed vegetables, and lean meats for a month and being tr

Winter: Mo

The author, age 15, and her grandmother Mo _______________________ After my grandmother Mo died, I inherited her diaries, sporadic histories of her life, varying from when she was a teenager to her golden years. What I discovered surprised me: even in her late 70’s and early 80’s, Mo was obsessed with her weight. She weighed herself daily and recorded the number, typically around 140, perhaps slightly chunky for her 5-foot height. If she lost weight or remained the same, she had a good day, but if she gained, her day was shot – and she was miserable and complained bitterly in her diary and planned starvation strategies for that day to shed it. Sound familiar? At first, I was surprised because I never thought of Mo as being fat or even fat-obsessive – it seemed to me that her weight never varied. Sure, when she was younger, she was slimmer than when I knew her, but wasn’t that the natural order of the world? After all, she bore and raised four children and was raising

Summer: Happy Dance Days

The Author, Enjoying a Happy Dance Day ________________________ Occasionally, golden days occur, when absolutely everything goes right. A Sunday in August was such a day. It was golden from minute one; I jumped out of bed, fully alert and ready to face the day. My CPAP informed me that I had enjoyed 8.2 hours of sleep, a good sign – getting a good night’s sleep seems to be my key to everything that’s good and healthy. My body was quiet and not haranguing me about anything: I wasn’t hungry nor was I feeling crappy. My joints weren’t aching. My weight was stable, neither a gain or loss. I’ll take it . Even my broken toe felt better, and last night’s cooking burn just below my left wrist was just a non-painful red spot. And the knife cut on my right thumb was healing nicely. Have I told you I’m a klutz? I planned to go back to The Celebration of Life, where, the previous day, I had acquired The Holy Grail of the specimen world: a 552 gram rutilated quartz sphere,

Spring: Bloatus Blossom

The author, age 16 ______________________ “Jeffer the Heifer.” – An early childhood nickname bestowed upon me by a mean boy, who happened to be my cousin. On some level, being dubbed as a heifer made a strange sort of sense, for I had endured a years-long adversarial relationship with this junior lunkhead. I expected to be bullied by him; the adults in the room thought the boy was kind of cute and clever, insisting that I was just a thin-skinned whiner who wouldn’t stand up for herself. I was never going to have the support of my family, so for most of my childhood I just sucked it up and avoided this person whenever possible. Never mind that the term “heifer” was wildly imprecise because I wasn’t terribly overweight, perhaps a bit chunky. Big deal. But even if I had been morbidly obese, it would have been cruel to allow this boy to bully me. I now understand that the adults around me were wrong to allow and even encourage this boy to make my life miserable, tha

Spring: Chubby Child Body

The author's First Communion -- Age 8 _____________________ I will never criticize a child for being overweight. No child ever chooses to carry extra weight – for reasons that are not yet completely understood, some people are genetically predisposed to carry extra pounds, and others have a flaw in their appestat which can throw appetite control out of kilter. To blame a child for something that she or he has little control over is cruel and inhuman, and yet overweight children are harassed by other children and even by adults who may believe that they have the child’s best interests at heart. If any blame can be assigned, let’s point the finger at the fast food industry that markets unhealthy food to children and, perhaps, the parents who give in to the incessant marketing. A child does not yet have the psychological tools to fend off the blizzard of ads propagated by the fast food industry. Hell, most adults are easily manipulated by cagey advertisements – just