There is a big difference between being fat in mind, and fat in body. I am no longer fat in body by most medical standards. The nurses don’t break out the big blood pressure cuffs anymore, and the doctors don’t end my checkups with the whole “you’re going to get diabetes/have a heart attack/stroke out on the toilet” speech anymore. But, mentally I am still the fat ass that I was 105 pounds ago. I still feel like people stare at me as if I don’t belong whenever I enter the misses section of a department store. I still feel a little embarrassed ordering food in a restaurant as if they are judging me. I still look for clothes to hide my body and I still hate walking away from people because I feel like they are staring in disgust at my enormous backside.
I still have trepidation about sitting in chairs, buckling seatbelts, and walking on treadmills for I am certain that the last six months has all been a dream and the moment I let my guard down and do anything without caution I will break a chair, need a seatbelt extender, or snap the belt on the treadmill.
I look at old pictures and can’t begin to remember or rationalize the life I used to live. How did I think it was ok to scarf down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every single night and sometimes follow it with a Butterfinger chaser? Why did I not see the damage I was doing everytime I devoured a Red Robins A-1 Peppercorn burger (2000 calories and 96 grams of fat, yessir!!), an order (or two) of buttery garlic and parmesan steak fries and a tower of greasy onion rings? The list could on and on and on…..just as the size of my waistline once did.
My greatest anxiety now is how to never end up back in that same place. Mentally, I just constantly tell myself I can’t have this because of the surgery, or I can’t have that because my stomach can’t handle it, but what about the day a year or two from now when that is no longer true? I don’t want to become the statistic that so many assume I will be, who starts gaining weight and old habits back after a couple of successful years.
For the most part, I am over my love affair and obsession with food. I no longer crave it more than I yearn for breath as I once did. I no longer turn to it for comfort, need it to feel socially relevant, or resent my inability to consume it. But every once in awhile, I will find myself bored and reaching for the chips or the chocolate or some other decadent little snack cake and I have to stop myself and wonder why I was doing it. Or, more importantly, how can I stop the instinctive action that has dominated me for most of my 35 years?
How can I take what I see on the outside and make it match what is on the inside? Is it unreasonable to assume that it’s even possible.
There is one thing of which I am absolutely certain, and that is this – obesity/overeating IS a disease, whether genetic or environmental. Naysayers of the (thinner) world, before you shake your empty heads, just remember that unless you have lived it or lived through it, you should remain open to its possibility. I myself can’t understand how someone becomes an alcoholic or a drug addict, yet the world is full of them and the rehab centers that help them.
If this is true – the addiction of food and its subsequent obesity – than would it be safe to say that I will always be obese, even if it is just in memory? If so, then I humbly present myself to the universe in a thinner shell and say:
“Hello, my name is Lisa and I am an overeater.”
And hopefully, this serves to remind of that from which I came, and how hard I have worked to get to this place, and how I never want to go through it again. From my ice cream stained lips to God’s ears.