Monday, 1 October 2012

Reflections of a fattie: Yoyo moi

I've been fighting my weight for 26 years ever since my first pregnancy when I gained 40 pounds of non-baby fat. I was a size 12 when Nick was a glint in his father's eye and a 16 by the time he arrived.

I didn't get rid of the baby weight from him and packed more on with Stef. It took me five years but I finally got back to my fighting weight. I had a third baby, Marissa, yet managed to keep the pounds off for a couple of years. Then I ballooned back up again.

I lost the weight again when Mr. Big got out of Dodge. From the time I suspected the affair until it was confirmed -- six months -- I lost the forty pounds and then some.

For much of my single mother life, I was rake thin and crazy as a fruit bat.

When I met Scott -- he wide of girth -- I was getting happy again and fat. We've been together nearly ten years and over that time my weight steadily climbed back until I became an unhealthy 220 pounds. That was two years ago; through diet and exercise I'm nearly out of the 200s. I'm confident I will reach my goal weigh of 160 in the next couple of years, but it won't matter. Weight is always on my mind and it always will be.

No matter how much I weigh, I will forever be fat in my mind. It's a real mind fuck.

So I would say, I'm a big of an expert in the whole fat debate. Been here, done that, got the cellulite and stretchmarks to prove it.

So I was interested to see an article in the Globe and Mail this weekend which stated that fat is the new normal. According to experts, people who are fat don't see themselves as fat and they don't see their kids as fat, either.


I agree that people tell their doctors and teachers, friends and acquaintances that they are happy being fat, but are tired of being stigmatized. They know they will never be supermodel tiny, so they've decided to embrace the girth. And they are also afraid to stigmatize their kids. They love their kids and food is love, so they pile it on their plates and look the other way.

I don't believe that people a) don't know they are fat b) don't care they are fat c) don't care if their kids are fat. Everybody wants to look good. Everybody.

People don't give up because they don't care. They give up because they are overwhelmed.

This is not a simple age to be alive in. Nuclear families regularly implode like A Bombs. Jobs are no longer for life. As Mitt Romney rightly pointed out 47 percent of the U.S. population lives off at least some government subsidy because, even if they are smart and educated, they cannot get ahead in this global economy.

We're not fat because we don't care. We're fat because we're stressed out and depressed.

In fact, we are living through the Second Great Depression, only this time depression is more a state of mind than a state of economy.

And so we do what everybody does in a depression; we seek out escapes.

Food, booze and entertainment are the escape for adults. Food, video games and pop are the escape for kids.

If we want to stop rearing nations of fatties then we bloody well better give people something to aim for. I can't find a full time job, my husband is looking for a better job, and my 26-year-old son has finally landed a job after being unemployed for six months. We've run right through our nest egg and our prospects for retirement look bleak. My son is smart and educated and the only job he can get is manual labor which he is happy to do. But that's not a future.

That's an existence.

As I was telling Scott on our dog walk this morning, our family is the living norm. We lurch from paycheque to paycheque, never go out, cocoon around the television set, go to bed and do it over again the next day. We have no friends, anymore. No money even for the gas it costs to socialize, so we live in our private videodrome.

It's easy to give up, roll over and turn on Dr. Phil instead of going to the gym and combing through the want ads. It's just as easy to stick our heads into a collective bag of tortilla chips and a vat of Ben and Jerry's. Why the fuck not?

It's all I can do everyday to just get up and get out the door, but I do it because I love myself and my family enough not to want to die at the age of 67 like my mother. Nor do I want to live my life as a big fat loser.

The Globe can interview all the rich doctors they like. They don't know everything.

People say they don't care they're fat just to make doctors and journalists go away.


1 comment:

  1. Rose,

    I don't for a minute doubt that there are many fat people who plaster over the feelings of dissatisfaction they have about their bodies with the flimsy pretense of "liking" being fat. The truth, for some, is exactly as you say -- they overeat because they're overwhelmed, depressed, unemployed, frustrated, lonely, unhappy -- what have you. You show a great deal of understanding and compassion for people who find themselves in gloomy situations through no fault of their own. Fatness is just one link in a miserable chain of isolation and futility.

    On the other hand, Rose, there are people who genuinely enjoy being fat, and there are people who are thrilled to share their lives with someone who wants to be fat. Some people, I assure you, consider a forty pound weight gain during pregnancy a woman's promising first step on the road to mature and bountiful beauty. There are woman who are delighted when, as a result of a happy marriage, they find themselves -- as you put it -- "getting happy again and fat". Packing on the pounds is the natural outgrowth of a loving and satisfying marriage.

    You are right. Many a woman will spend an evening working her way through a huge bag of tortilla chips and a vat of Ben and Jerry's as an expression inward agony and despair. Another woman, though, will spend that very same evening happily munching her way through a bag of tortilla chips that is every bit as huge and knocking off just as much ice cream as a mark of celebration for her love of food, her love for her body and her love of life. And there very well might be a man right next to her who is happy to supply all the delicious calories she needs to be blissfully happy.

    So, as you see, it's impossible to judge a book by its cover.