Officially Fat

Before you criticize the title or the tone-deaf nature of writing a particularly self-centered post instead of something about gun violence or Memorial Day or ongoing war, know that I already hate this post just as much as you do, and I haven’t even finished writing it yet. I just needed a whiny, self-indulgent self-pitying moment. I’ll probably take it down soon.

***

I have recently learned that per my BMI, I’m overweight.

Fun fact: If you search Pixabay for stock images of “scale”, you will get a lot of cool lizard photos in the results. Photo by Samuel Ramos on Unsplash

This isn’t news, in the sense that no one gains weight without noticing it. There were the milestones of clothes not fitting anymore, but I have a lot of clothes, and I was still able to find clothes that would still more or less contain my body fat, so this didn’t seem so devastating. There was time recently when Husband and I intended to go swimming at the gym, but then the swimsuit I packed, one that, several years ago, fit me well and that I spent good money on, literally did not fit over my ass.

I don’t mean “the swimsuit didn’t fit” as in, “it didn’t look flattering; I mean, I literally couldn’t fit my enlarged ass into said swimsuit. Photo by Klara Avsenik on Unsplash

That was pretty devastating, but I worked out on the elliptical instead so the afternoon was at least somewhat salvaged.

But somehow, looking at the numbers was a new milestone. Twelve, maybe thirteen years ago, I was lying on blood donor forms, rounding my weight up ~5-7 lbs. so I could donate because I was below the minimum weight requirement. Five years ago, friends and coworkers would label me as “thin” or “slim”. When I went to Brazil, one of my friend’s friends called me something in Portuguese that translates to “skinny bitch” (I don’t speak Portuguese and I don’t recall the phrase; My friend only taught me how to say “thank you” and five different words for “penis”) – she meant it in a good way. And now, I’m officially overweight. The identity shift is weird and uncomfortable.

***

I can’t tell you how it happened, because I don’t entirely know myself. But I can tell you how it didn’t happen: I didn’t get pregnant. I didn’t take antidepressants or any medication with a side effect of weight gain. I didn’t develop a health condition that would make weight easier to gain/harder to lose. I didn’t face financial hardship such that healthy food became unaffordable.

In short, I got fat on my own. Without the help of any external circumstance. And without any silver linings like a baby. I got fat for no good reason, and with nothing to show for it.

***

A dose of perspective is needed here: My size is such that I’m not (yet?) on the receiving end of fatphobic societal harassment. I’m not single and not trying to navigate the dating world as an overweight woman over 35. Not that the dating world is kind to anyone, from what I hear. But I’m told it’s particularly unkind to overweight people. My husband is no less attracted to me. This is mostly because he was not really attracted to my physical appearance in the first place. [There are other reasons why we are together, however, Husband actually being attracted to my physical appearance is not one of them. This has always been the case.] So yeah, nothing has changed there. This could be worse.

Still, the timing of this latest milestone of weight gain is unfortunate. Shavuot, the holiday of Torah study and decadent dairy meals and cheesecake, is coming up. Before this BMI milestone, I was trying to figure out if I had enough friends whom I still liked enough to invite for a “2nd night of Shavuot fondue party”. How the fuck is one supposed to celebrate Shavuot on a diet? Pretty sure the one thing the entire community of conflicting weight loss advice agrees on is that cheese fondue = the exact opposite a healthy diet.

Bread dipped in melted cheese. The literal opposite of healthy eating. Photo by Klara Avsenik on Unsplash

I haven’t sent out an invitation, so there’s nothing to cancel, but I feel sad. I’m not a Torah study person at all, and the all-night study sessions on Shavuot just bore me to tears and make me feel stupid; the fondue party idea offered something to look forward to with this holiday.

And I have summer travel plans to a location known for amazing cuisine. I don’t eat exclusively kosher outside the home, but this place actually has a kosher restaurant with a menu that looks divine. Amazing food in this place. Totally not weight-loss friendly. Fuck me.

Also, regardless of destination, no one travels to eat salad. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

***

I suppose I should go on a diet. I’ve never really dieted before. Diet and weight loss advice is pretty ubiquitous. Plenty of it conflicts with each other, which means that at least some of it is wrong. After reading various different articles and advice on the subject, I have come to this conclusion: long-term, sustained weight-loss is a project. A commitment to changed habits, in some form or another. Sigh.

I feel exhausted by the thought of another “should” of a self-improvement / life-improvement project. There are so many. I’m not actually good at my job, am not in love with my industry, and relative to other peers in my industry, am arguably old and under-accomplished. Changing those things, either by actually improving job skills, trying to get another job with more money/higher title, studying for the certification exam (something I abandoned after I failed it last year, but ought to pick up again), changing industries, networking/getting a mentor to move up, etc. – all those career-related self-improvement projects. The house-hunting project. The ongoing losing battle with basic time-management. And now weight-loss. Sigh.

It would be nice for once to not suck at so many things. I was talking to someone around New Year’s, and she mentioned all these resolutions around doing more to go green and help the planet, and I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, it must be amazing to suck at so few things such that you can focus on improving the planet instead of constantly having to focus on improving on your own shortcomings.” Obviously, I didn’t say that. I just nodded like a person who had the mental energy to also focus on reducing plastic use in addition to numerous personal shortcomings.

***

I find the body positivity movement unhelpful. First of all, the faces of body positivity are like, Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday, who are literally models by profession. It is true that plus-size models are proof that one can be a bigger size and be beautiful. However, it is not in any way proof that I personally, am beautiful at a larger size. Even when I was thinner, I wasn’t good-looking or photogenic; now I’m heavier, still not good-looking, and still not photogenic.

It is very easy to love your body when you are a literal model. Photo by Loe Moshkovska: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-holding-pink-stability-ball-1362478/

Then, so much of body positivity movement includes sentiments like, “I’m proud of my rolls and stretch marks because my body is so strong and birthed my beautiful babies“, or “I’m proud of my body because I have survived some incredible hardship/disease/trauma“. I have birthed zero babies. I have faced zero hardships. If anything, I have been ridiculously spoiled with good circumstances. I have zero problem-solving or coping skills whatsoever. I am not strong, physically or mentally. I can’t identify with these sentiments.

Body neutrality strikes me as a stupid term. I feel many things about my body; neutral is not one of them. Perhaps my current mindset is more Body Resigned Acceptance. I’m not thrilled with the aesthetics of my body, and less thrilled than usual given this recent revelation of overweight status, but it’s the body G-d gave me and it’s not like I can trade. I’m also not yet at the age of Age-Related Health Problems, although I sense that day will come. But what’s the alternative? I have to accept this because there is no option not to, really.

61 comments

  1. Covid restrictions have not helped anyone. As we age our metabolism slows and weight can creep upon us. More walk-walk and less wine-wine have helped both my husband and I shed (and keep off) over 100 pounds between the two of us (and I still have some more weight to lose). Cut yourself a little slack and eventually you clothes will do likewise.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Oh dear! I swear, it’s totally okay to make your blog about you! It doesn’t strike me as being tonedeaf at all!! ❤

    Yeah, I've been wrestling with my weight for years. The iffing is finally helping, I guess, but it's so hard to stick to it when I love junk food as much as I do!! And in my case, cheese is disgusting, so I'd pass on the fondue anyway! 😀 But I hear ya! Cheese fondue, geez! Perfect for the dieter! (Not.)

    You can do it! We can be weight loss buddies!! YAY!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I really appreciate the feedback. To be honest, it always feels odd to me to write about a national tragedy that didn’t directly impact me, and that I have nothing novel to say about it anyway. I always feel like this with September 11.

      On a lighter note, you hate cheese?!?!?! How is that possible?? Granted, I shouldn’t talk because I hate many popular things: avocados, olives, doughnuts, eclairs, French toast, the smell of French toast…the list goes on! I’ll never cease to be amused by the quirks of personal taste.

      Liked by 2 people

      • HA HA HA! Cheese! Yuck. I don’t know why this seems funny to me, but when I visited Sonya last year, we were walking up the street and I was telling her how I don’t like cheese. Someone we walked past said, in this perfect European accent, “No cheese.” And I was like, “Right, exactly! No cheese!” Maybe it was the way she said it. 😀

        Weird coincidence, I’ve been sitting here trying to write about my reaction to the world trade center attack, but it’s not coming along very well, so I put it into the memoir cut scenes doc. Oh well! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed your post today and my body has maxed out to its limit of fatness 20 years ago, so all of my clothes still fit. I used to call it sun fat, feeling that if you didn’t have any fat, that you probably weren’t having any fun, but I know better now. I am glad that I am not an overweight girl, as I know how much guys want their girls to be shapely, but actually not many people like you if you are heavy. When I went to Brazil, I didn’t learn any words for “penis”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have a point. The chefs on all those TV shows are always like, “fat is flavor” – I suppose there’s some truth about body fat and enjoying oneself, although yeah, moderation is everything.

      The words I learned were pênis, pau, pinto, caralho, and to be honest, I don’t remember the fifth one. This was like 5 years ago. You probably need some Brazilian friends with a dirty mind.

      Liked by 2 people

        • Awesome! How long were you there for?
          The only food words I learned were brigadero and pao de queijo. Oh, and caipirinha. Not so useful for getting around unless one wants to live on chocolate and cheese bread. Fortunately, I was going to visit my friend and she took me around. I can’t imagine trying to navigate Sao Paulo on my own with such limited command of the language.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I was there for 12 weeks working in a tobacco plant. We worked long hours, but the city was beautiful. Santa Cruz is located in Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state of Brazil. I had to take two planes to get there and then it was a long taxi ride. I met a girl who was very friendly, and she invited me to her house where her mother cooked Pastel. which is a fried pastry with different fillings. I also went to an Octoberfest there and I got invited to a Halloween party. It was a lot of fun.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Cheesecake and blintzes are more traditional. But I like fondue because cooking is, well, not my strongest suit, to put it mildly. And with cheese fondue, it’s basically just a little bit of stirring the cheese and wine and presto – dinner party! I decided to go for it. It is a holiday. I didn’t realize that Catholics also celebrate Shavuot as the feast of weeks.

          Like

  4. I’ve been officially fat for over 10 years. I can and do blame meds in part, but I didn’t start weight-increasing meds until after I was already officially fat. At this point I’m just used to it and have kind of given up on my appearance more generally, so bring on the cheesecake!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suspect I will eventually get to the true acceptance phase, because if nothing else, I find it harder to imagine taking on the all-compassing project of changing all of my habits to diet and exercise properly in order to lose weight. But I’m still struggling with the identity shift at present. I used to be slim. Now I’m overweight. It’s weird to wrap my head around.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m slim but it’s a nonstop battle and takes some degree of OCD if not outright mental illness to sustain with a desk job and sedentary lifestyle overall. The problem with exercise of any intensity to be effective (as opposed to mild walks) is that it makes you HUNGRY. The brain is amazingly adept at trying to get more calories into the body in case of a famine. All diets are difficult; most end in failure. I have nothing helpful to say except that I enjoy your honest posts 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m aware that most diets fail and that weight loss is a commitment. My sibling lost a lot of weight, and it was a whole lifestyle change. It is difficult. I feel exhausted just thinking about this. Appreciate the honesty.

      That was helpful, Paula. Thank you. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I hear you. I’m also overweight, and have been for a number of years. I haven’t adjusted to it, or lost the weight. Recent family illness is prompting me to try to lose it more seriously than in the past, but I’m not hopeful.

    The colleague who wants to save the planet because she’s got no personal shortcomings may actually be saving the planet to avoid thinking about her (many?) personal shortcomings. I would guess this is more common than the environmental movement would like us to think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Re: colleague, I came across here as snarkier here than I felt in real life. I didn’t know her so well and had nothing against this person. I have no way of knowing her shortcomings. Probably she was reasonably content with herself, not struggling with basic skills or contemplating major life decisions. But it is an interesting thought about people focusing outward to avoid focusing inward.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. JYP, your honesty is refreshing. Your writing about anything is compelling. Usually I stop reading when it’s about a person’s believed shortcomings and slide down the ladder to self- criticism. But, not this time. I don’t have any words of wisdom (I’m in my eighties). And no advice (even though I’m a retired nurse practitioner in psychiatry). Anyway, you’re not asking anyone to fix anything. I think you got it all out, you’re smart, and you’ve got the answers. BTW – the body is ever changing with age. We just have to keep it from moving East to West or going South. Success how we do it is an individual matter.
    📚🎶 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was a fat social outcast as a 12 year old, which motivated me to get down to a normal weight. Fourteen years ago I was diagnosed as Pre-Diabetic, which motivated me to lose the requisite amount of weight. One psychologist describes discipline as terror of the right things. I think he’s right.

    Liked by 3 people

    • “discipline as terror of the right things” – This is an intriguing thought. I like this.
      Thank you for sharing your story. Mine is almost the opposite. For most of my life, I was considered slim; it’s only now that there’s been a change.

      Like

  9. I’m a Swiss person. If you tell me to quit cheese in the name of thin I will say bad words to you. 😛

    Meh. Focus on health. Have the fondue but maybe not every Saturday. Then have some extra salad the next day. It’s really not complicated unless you need cheesecake and chocolate every day for mental health or other reasons. 🤷‍♀️

    And you’re a great writer! Very entertaining!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know what, I respect that. Gruyere, chevre, extra sharp aged cheddar – that’s like my love language. We are on the same wavelength.🧀

      I am the sort of person would claim to require cheesecake and chocolate every day for mental health reasons. Correlation or causation, hmm… I suppose this is a moderation opportunity.

      Thank you ❤️

      Like

  10. I don’t even know my BMI and don’t want to know. Honestly, it means very little. My fiance’s BMI puts him in the very overweight category and he wears a size medium. He must have higher gravitational mass atomic particles or something. I’m packing a few extra pounds more than I’d like right now. I remember back in college I thought I was fat and was so ashamed to be around people I thought were thin. Then years later I found old clothes from then and they were all small, even junior’s sizes. I guess I thought I was the size small of the obese category. How much time I wasted worrying about something nonexistent! At one point in my later twenties I was prescribed an antidepressant for “panic attacks” (I’m sure you’ve heard from my sob stories that they were actually seizures) and I gained thirty-five pounds. I only went up one dress size though. I’m not very toned and I have bad posture, but my hidden talent is carrying weight very well. When I stopped the drug I lost a large amount of the extra weight but have fluctuated in between my original and my highest weight. I’m a little annoyed about my weight right now but mainly because it’s my fault from eating badly. I guess I’d say to stop eating too many carbs and sugar, and for the love of all that is holy, do not eat after eight pm. It’s so sad how we as women analyze the numbers on the scale and the tags of our clothes as though smaller numbers confer more worth.

    Like

    • Women’s sizes make no sense anyway. I was trying to explain women’s sizing to my husband, a very smart man who went to an Ivy League school at 16 and has a PhD, and he was completely baffled. He was like, “in men’s sizing, the number is an actual measurement o- what do these numbers mean?” Maybe this is really a secret code. The whole system defies logic. In any case, you have a good point about how weight carries differently. Truth is, for all this whining and sadness about my new identity as an officially overweight person, if I were wearing clothes that still fit, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell much of a difference between now and three years ago. Perspective is a good thing. And hey, you found a hidden supertalent. One down, four to go!

      Like

  11. We all fat by BMI unless one is on the verge of anorexia or in super good shape. I wouldn’t pay much attention to BMI. However, as you age weight can become a problem. COVID didn’t help matters either. I think you will manage.

    Liked by 1 person

      • That’s one of the issues with BMI. After my 12 hours of redneck roofing, and eating dinner, I had lost 4 pounds from that morning. This morning I’m down another pound. Since I rarely do than much manual labor these days, the pounds want to pile up.

        Liked by 1 person

          • An hour of Zumba is more reasonable. When I was racing bicycles, I worked 40+ hours a week, and trained another 20+ hours a week. Riding 300 to 400 miles a week kept me thin in thoughts days.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Impressive. But that is not going to happen either. I haven’t ridden a bike in at least a decade; ever since I fell rollerblading and fractured my wrist, I’ve been vaguely turned off by the idea of physical activities with wheels. I realize this is a bit stupid because it’s been a few years now, but the idea just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. To be honest though, physical activity at present really just consists of touring various houses that sell to someone else five minutes after we look at them. A deeply pointless exercise (pun intended)

            Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t ride bicycles now because there are too many distracted drivers, and the ones that are not distracted are angry. After surviving cancers I’m not going to go out and get killed by distracted, road raging drivers. It’s bad enough driving a little sports car with all the big pickup trucks raging around.

            The housing market is wild. My mom’s house never really hit the market. The realtor had buyers lined up. My programmer said his aunt’s house sold in a matter of minutes for $13K over the asking price, and my friend Susan said her mom’s house sold in a matter of hours for a significant amount over the asking price. It seems you are lucky to be able to look at anything before it’s sold.

            I’ve had more interest than normal from people asking if I want to sell our property. I’ve thought about telling them “Sure for $10 million!” but I’m afraid they might take me up on it. I’m not selling paradise at any price.

            Liked by 1 person

  12. Welcome to my world!!! I’m not offering any advice, just saying that intermittent fasting has worked best for me for almost 2 years now. You can eat anything you want, but just not all day long.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. It happens to everyone, JYP. But if you want to lose weight it’s still possible. (Because you’re still young) and even if you don’t want to you’re still young and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. A little exercise doesn’t hurt.
    Still don’t feel too bad about this, dearie. All the best whichever way you choose to go. XoXo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I haven’t quite decided the amount of effort I want to put into addressing this. I’m not ready to take on the significant project of weight loss, but at the same time, this feels like a wake up call that something should change. Appreciate the well wishes

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for sharing this. I found it to be refreshing and well written. I appreciated your frankness. Your “I’m not struggling with anything and this is my body. Hadn’t gotten to this point for any specific reason” Kind of talk.
    Great read 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  15. JYP! WP stopped my following your blog. This happens with quite a few people, but I hadn’t realized it. I thought you’d stopped blogging! Anywho, I’m sorry you’re fat, and I’m headed to re-follow you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m with you on your views of the body positivity movement. Not because I’m fat-phobic, but because on the micro scale of things, I can be better. I don’t care what anyone else thinks or says about my body size, and I can appreciate that outlook from the acceptance movement, but at the same time, I can be better than who I was yesterday, and what’s wrong with that?

    Sure, there is no finish line when it comes to self-improvement, and some people may label that pursuit as toxic, but I feel happier improving every day, and no one has ever improved without first going through some pain.

    Thanks so much for your honesty, JYP, and for being so candid about your own situation. Wishing you all the best no matter which path you take!

    Like

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