Saturday, May 17, 2014

Reaction to Fat Girl Rant on Louis CK

Here's the scene: It's from a recent episode of Louis CK. The character talks about being fat. There has been a lot of reaction in the press and online. There is a reason for that; it's an excellent rant. Now it's my turn.

I never in a million years thought I would ever be fat. I was an athletic youngster, not overweight at all. I did hear "hold in your stomach" most of my life from my mother. She tended to mention weight often. But that was then. I do understand I am the sum total of my parts, including my childhood, but somewhere along the line, my body and way of dealing with my body changed.

I never intended to be fat. That wouldn't happen to me. But it did. As a young married person, I tried to cook healthy meals and exercise, at least I think I did. The full memories of that time are cloudy. We did, however, start eating chips and dip and other foods available from the newly built 7-11 not far from home. At that time, there were no convenience stores or grocers in our area. There was the local country store, but they closed at 7. Impulse buying and eating wasn't possible before 7-11; you had to plan a 10-mile trip to a store and often, the trip just wasn't worth taking. Small gains, but easily taken off by eating right again.

Then came children. With the first child, I dove head first into health and organics. I had a garden. My body was fine. I wasn't fat. Over time, I relaxed and allowed certain foods back into the house. A mother has to bake, right? A few pounds here and there.

Throughout all of these years, I swam off and on. The desire would come and go. But I kept it up as best as I could.

Two more children came at once. I lost weight the whole pregnancy. Afterward, I ate Oreos.

And shortly after that, I started buying bigger clothes. I don't know the exact what and how and why of it all, but in the years that followed, I got fat. Really fat. I still swam. I stayed in the 250+ range for many years and just dealt with it. I ate a lot at night. Always at night. The kids would go to bed, my husband would go to bed, and I would eat. Now we have grocery stores and several 7-11s within a very short distance, and they carry ice cream, Dove Bars, ice cream sandwiches, and all sorts of junk food that had become my addiction.

In 1994, my mother died, I received family news of a bit of an impact, and my business was failing, as was my marriage. What I didn't know is that I was also suffering a fairly severe depressive episode that had been going on for months and maybe years. I stopped eating. All my life I had wished for an anorexic episode and I got one! I had to force myself to eat. I had maybe yogurt for breakfast, a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch, and barely any dinner, I started eating apples and sprouts, and tried to stay within an attempted healthy food outline. But I lost 111 pounds in 9 months. I had become addicted to swimming, going a mile a day for 5-6 days a week. I moved out and lived alone, and I was sleeping maybe 3 hours a night. I was broke and lived on chicken and peanut butter and diet Dr Pepper. I also began to realize that things were not good. I started an antidepressant, gave my business away, moved to Pittsburgh for work and a change, and got a divorce. After several trials, an antidepressant was found that worked for me and allowed me to sleep, work, go home, sleep, work, go home, and maintain that routine.

As my mental health improved, so did my appetite and before I knew it, even though I was walking everyday at lunch, I was back in the 200 range.

I didn't plan on being fat.

Then came the reconciliation. I moved back to Williamsburg and my husband and I remarried. There's a long story there, but that's not what this is about. We were happy with one another and still are. We began our bad eating habits almost immediately. Our five-year break worked, though, in terms of our relationship. As weight increased, my mobility began to suffer because of an old injury in my left knee. I had PT for years before and started it again. I took a lot of ibuprofen. It got to where I could barely walk. I started taking water exercise classes to help. I have always been a ballerina in the water.

My orthopedist told me I would know when it was time to have it replaced. By then, I was up to almost 300 pounds and topped out at 309. I did have the left knee replaced. After a long period of rehab and healing, I returned to aquatic exercise class and slowly, slowly, slowly began to move on land as well. I also changed internal medicine doctors. He suggested I try Weight Watchers. Well, hell, I'd done that several times in the past. But I said, "What the heck?" and did it anyway. A year later, I was down 30 pounds. I also had my second knee replaced at about that time. Within a matter of a few weeks, I was back in the pool and still attending Weight Watchers. I lost up to 55 pounds and was doing okay! But I stopped going. I wasn't feeling it anymore. I started to put it back on again, even with the exercise.

My doctor suggested trying MyFitnessPal, which I still use, but I wasn't losing weight. I am sure I was self-sabotaging. A few months after that, he recommended reading It Starts with Food and giving Whole30 a try. That threw me off my balance big time. I took a month to read the book and make the decision, and just plain did it. I was down 85 pounds by Thanksgiving of 2013. Holidays and a period of not caring followed for almost 4 months. I gained 15. I went back to the doctor and my blood work was so out of whack that it wasn't funny. I stopped right there. I said to myself that a) I didn't want my diabetes to take over my life (been dealing with insulin resistance and then diabetes since 1994) and b) I didn't want to be fat. And thus far, I'm fine with eating and exercising and sleeping.

Here's the thing about being fat - others see it as repulsive, you become invisible, you can't move properly, your center of balance is all flubbed up, and if people interact with you at all, they may treat you as an inferior. You're seen as weak. How could you let yourself get like that? You know the magic formula - diet and exercise. Why don't you do it? You must hate yourself. There are so many fat people jokes that it's normal to be made fun of. The list goes on and on.

I surely never intended to be fat.

As I see it, the contributing factors were (though probably not limited to):

  • Eating at night
  • Not exercising regularly
  • Not getting good sleep
  • Depression, leading to not caring
  • An element of addiction
  • Sugar begetting the desire for more sugar
  • Possibly a cry for attention
I'm in pretty good shape right now, but the reality is, I'm still fat. I don't want to be fat. I never did. I am still addicted to night eating, but am able to not give in more often than not. The Whole30 started me on the trip to paleo and now primal. I'm balancing proteins and carbs, and am getting 4 days of pretty decent exercise. I'm testing my blood sugar regularly and taking the diabetes seriously. I am also sleeping well and getting to bed earlier.

Back to the fat girl rant. The character is right - All fat or any person wants is to have a person that sees them, feels their wants and desires and emotions, and well, to hold hands. 

Being fat is not for wimps.

In July 2013, I wrote a piece about being fat. A lot of it is duplicated with this post, but that's okay. Any processing of poor decisions to encourage good decisions is okay by me. 

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