Now, I know I’ve been posting a lot about fat, and weight-loss lately, but it’s because this is what I’m doing right now and, guess what? It consumes most of my life. That’s right, in just over 3 months I’ve lost 33lbs, and it is the most significant thing I’ve done in the last 3 months. People have been very encouraging, offered a lot of support, kindness, and helpful advice – a great deal of which I have made use of and all of which I am grateful for. In so many ways, getting started on this and doing well so far means so much, I am very proud of myself, I feel accomplished and I feel better. However, I’ve also realized some really important things:
33lbs means nothing. You can’t tell. I look exactly the same as I did 33lbs ago. There is no evidence of my work in my day-to-day life. If someone wants to say something mean to me, they’ll still call me fat, and they’ll be right, because I’m fat, and I’m just as fat as I was when I started. Kindly people will tell me I look slightly slimmer, and it’s different. It is slightly different, and I have pictures to prove it, but at the end of the day, I have the same fat body I did when I started. The same “look how fat that person is!”, “Oh my god, you’re so huge!”, “You should take the stairs!” fat body.
This might seem strange or shocking, but that’s how it is for really fat people, 30lbs, 50lbs, even 70lbs (If my body looks noticeably different 15, 30lbs from now, I’ll be stunned.) these are joke numbers, they have no impact. Volumes of weight that would completely change the appearance or even life, of a “overweight”, “average”, or even “slightly obese” person are meaningless to really fat people. The reason I bring this up is because of how many people think really fat people don’t lose weight because we’re lazy. It’s not that we’re lazy, it’s that this is so much harder than someone who isn’t really fat can possibly imagine. I go to the gym 10+ hours a week, I’ve spent so much money on training, I count every single calorie that goes in to or out of my body, I keep spreadsheets, I consult calculators all day. I am always in some kind of pain, because working out everyday hurts. The first thing I do in the morning is plan how I’m going to eat during the day, and I obsess over every single bite.
Because I have to, because to lose 33lbs in 3 months when you’re really fat means being really motivated, really diligent, it means there are no cheat days, there are no breaks, there is no day where you don’t push yourself as hard as you can, there is no time where you aren’t aware of every inch of your body.
Does that sound crazy depressing? Does it sound pathetic and sad that last week I got stuck at 370lbs for 3 days, and spent time sitting alone in a locker room honestly contemplating my self-worth over where the scale was stuck, and then chastised myself because that time could have been spent working out? And all for weight you can’t see, for weight that doesn’t make a damn bit of difference.
The reason I think telling you this is important is that I do this gladly, I count, and obsess, and interrogate every pound, every minute on the treadmill, and every calorie willingly, because I want to. What’s more important is that is that I don’t hate my body now, I didn’t before, I won’t ever in the future. I love my body, I love the way I look. I do feel a bit guilty, like I’ve betrayed my fat self, sorry that I felt fine before I started, confident and happy, and yet I’m still asking my body to do this for me, still asking it to climb endless hills to nowhere, and count food.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being denied in any way. Eating the amount I need to eat is easy (except when it’s difficult to eat enough) because when you’re as big as I am, even diet numbers involve giving yourself a lot of fuel. (Want a quick window into what it takes to power my body? To maintain my weight at my current activity level, I’d have to eat over 4,000 calories a day. As it stands, I eat fewer calories than I would burn laying in bed all day. And some days, I don’t manage to eat enough.)
Even with all that I’m doing, and doing it right – a healthy diet, committed, challenging exercise, self-motivated, and being held accountable – the distance to actual, tangible results is hard to fathom. I’ve done this for 3 months, and lost approximately 10lbs per month. I am still 7 months away from being considered “severely obese” rather than “morbidly obese.” I’ll probably be “severely obese” for my birthday! Yay! March 2015 might see me get into the “moderately obese” category, and from there I’ll still be 70lbs away from “normal.” This is all assuming that it’s even possible for me to maintain this level of commitment until October 2015, or a total of 1 year and 7 months from now. (It’s also important to mention that my goal weight is right in the center of “overweight” and that in order to maintain that I’ll probably have to live like this for the rest of my life.) Also, this language! Everything I encounter on my journey basically tells me that the grim reaper is sleeping on my futon, and I’m about to fuse to my chair.
This all seems very depressing, but the idea is that people should realize just how difficult this is, it’s not easy, there is no easy way. The scary part of this is that all of this is that it is much easier for me than it is for many people who want to lose weight. I have no medical conditions, no dietary restrictions, no issues with mobility, or mental illness. This is how difficult it is for someone who is confident, comfortable, physically and emotionally healthy, with an awesome support system, as well as resources to spare to pay for the gym, and the trainer. Now just imagine how hard it is for someone with even slightly different circumstances. This is why if someone doesn’t want to lose weight, and wants to be happy being fat that is totally up to them, and no one should be allowed to tell them to do this, or shame them for not doing it.