I am a fat woman in a thin body. I am a thin woman in a fat body. I am a fat girl in a thin body. I am a thin girl in a fat body. Fat girl, fat woman – Fat woman, thin girl – Thin girl, fat woman – Fat woman, fat girl – Fat girl, thin woman – Thin woman, fat girl – Fat girl, fat woman – Fat woman, fat girl – Fat girl, thin girl – Thin girl, fat girl – Fat girl, fat woman... Around and around I go, Not-so-merry-go-round. Fat is my truth, Consuming above all. Two tales, one body, One body, two tales. Two bodies? Thin narrates a sudden lie, Fat an epic truth, *A Tale of Two Bodies* Another truth: Fat, I am shamed; Thin, I am raw. A bared secret: I turn to fat, In a flash; I dwell in fat. I have journeyed to thin – A distant land, A short sojourn. I am a fat woman walking. I am a thin girl running.
The author mostly off camera _________________________ I’m taking a break from meetings at Weight Watchers, now known as WW, although I’ll probably continue weighing in. This has not been an easy decision; WW has been my second home for the past two and a half years – it was there when I needed it most, and I’m forever grateful. However, for the past year or so, my uneasiness has slowly grown, first as a nagging little voice letting me know that all wasn’t right, at least for me, to full-blown discontent. Before I offer my reasons for pulling back, let me first affirm what I still love about WW. 1. The program itself is sound, emphasizing a life-style change, as opposed to “being-on-a diet.” Because of this focus, I have, within a 16-pound window, kept the weight off for over a year and a half, something I have never done before. 2. The people, both the other members and the staff, are very welcoming. No one has ever said a mean thing to me, and, as far as
A Shadow Selfie of the Author, Walking at the Mall At the Start of Her Journey ________________________________ Jennifer S. Lee, also known as Jennifer Semple Siegel, is the author of three books, several short stories, essays, and scholarly articles. Jennifer is also a retired adjunct professor. She has taught Creative Writing and Literature at York College of Pennsylvania and Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje (Skopje, Macedonia). Her fiction and non-fiction, including scholarly articles, have been published in various national and regional journals, magazines, and anthologies. From 1993-1996, she edited Onion River Review , a literary journal. She earned her M.F.A. in fiction from Goddard College (Plainfield, Vermont). In 2009, Jennifer served as a Fulbright Scholar in Skopje, Macedonia. In addition to her teaching and own writing, her Fulbright project included helping to develop a new American Studies program at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University.
Palisades Park Comic Book Ad (1950's) Remember those iconic comic book ads for Palisades Amusement Park ? Even the name was cool. Growing up in the Midwest, I thought that this park must have been heaven on earth. I mean, how cool would it to be able to ride a Ferris wheel on the edge of a cliff? Palisades Park Ferris Wheel In fact, I was a bit aggrieved that I lived too far away. The amusement park might as well have been on the moon. Comic books filled with ads for free admission I could never use – Even back in the early 1960’s, our culture was East- or West-coast centric, the Midwest a lonely outpost for farmers and hayseeds. Boo, hoo. Once, I sent away for a booklet that offered names, addresses, and photos of potential pen pals (I wasn’t in it – Hell, no!). I flipped through it until I found a boy from New Jersey. His name was Lawrence Miller; he lived over the border from Philly – Cherry Hill, I believe. South Jersey. Palisades Park was
The Author at Her 4th Birthday Party at Madge's Day/Night Nursery _____________________________ I’m not quite sure when The Beast was unleashed. None of my early memories revolved around food or the yearning for it. When I was four, my weight was normal – I was terribly little and cute, as most tots tend to be: a beguiling curly-haired blonde with mischievous blue eyes and a sparkling personality. Life hadn’t yet bruised me, although, unbeknownst to me, the world was crumbling around me: my mother in crisis, her drinking, joblessness, and love life reeling out of control. Living in California, I was parked at a day/night nursery, a boarding house for kids of all ages, placed there by Mo, my grandmother, when it became clear my mother would be unable to care for me going forward. Mo’s friend owned the boarding house, so she likely assumed I’d be happy there, and I was mostly safe, if not content – but some of my worst fears and nightmares occurred there. Madge, the pro
Okay. I admit it: I’m a True Believer. I’m all in when it comes to intermittent fasting (IF), and I have been very successful at losing weight and keeping it off (so far), so, naturally, I want to shout it from the mountaintop, to help and educate others who may be struggling with obesity, depression, little nagging health problems, metabolic diseases, and terrible eating habits as I have all my adult life. As such, I realize that I may sometimes come off as an IF Zombie rounding up the masses until they comply… Okay, it’s not that bad; it’s not my intention to guilt anyone into doing something they don’t want to do, but a part of me feels responsible to spread the word, so to speak, to consider how I turned my hardcore problem (addiction?) around and became a thinner, happier, and healthier person who has become a more mindful eater, while still enjoying goodies – within limits. But is IF right for everyone? Probably not. For example, * People with Type 1 Diabetes sh
Jennifer in 2010 -- Her thick neck in this photo is indicative of Sleep Apnea. ___________________ Diagnosis: Sleep Apnea. It was May 2016 when the Pulmonologist delivered the bad news. I weighed in at 196 – not my all-time high, but high enough (In the late 1990’s, I tipped the scales at a whopping 230 pounds, morbid obesity territory, given my small bone structure). Before the diagnosis, I had decided to stop dieting altogether – I was 65, after all, and after so many diet failures, enough was enough. Never mind that I was beginning to experience mobility issues and shortness of breath after walking just one block. And uphill walking? My heart seemed to pound against my ears. Still, these issues weren’t enough to send me to Dietland – I was having enough trouble navigating through the portal of Elderland without worrying about my weight. But Sleep Apnea? This sounds serious. Scary. Moreover, I would need to use a CPAP, possibly for the rest of my life. The CPAP,
Above : Six years ago (March 2016), I was 80 pounds heavier (196 pounds) than I am now. In May 2016, things got real. I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, and I needed to lose weight for health reasons. I went back to Weight Watchers, and throughout the rest of 2016 and 2017, I lost about 67 pounds and got down to 127-130, but then I stalled out (Sound familiar?). I started gaining again. A familiar arc... Between 2017 and 2019, my weight jumped from 127 to 155, and then I read about IF. A game changer. ______________ Above : In spring 2019. Before IF. About 35 pounds heavier (About 150 pounds). I had lost a lot of weight in 2017, but I could not keep it off. I was always hungry, it seemed, and my weight was ticking upward -- again. In late 2019, I read an article about IF and decided to give losing weight one more shot. I started on January 2, 2020, just before the pandemic. ______________ Above : After IF. 2022. At goal (115-117 pounds). I also lost the red hair, L