I am sick of sitting in bed. I am sick of TV, because it's over 200 channels of nothing to watch most of the time. I am so spoiled, I swear.
How I Got Fat (with apologies to Alan Sherman)
This incident also brought the "you should really lose weight" speech by my doctor, and the echo of, "No shit, really?" by my head. I only have two reasons I want to lose weight: health and clothing size. Right now, I am at the very edge of what can be bought in a normal store. I wear a 2xl shirt, and size 42 waist. The thinnest I have been as an adult was a XL shirt and size 36 waist. I also have this annoying habit for fluxuating weight between 290 and 315, depending on the time of the month (I have weight cycles). So sometimes my clothing is loose and baggy, and other times it is a bit tight. I have always had cycles, but since I have gotten married, the cycles have been creeping up ever so slightly in 14 years. When I got married, I was a skinny 180-190, and looked terrible. Now I am 290-315, and also look terrible, but in another way: I am pudding man.
I don't have any aversion or denial to being fat. I am fat. Fatty fatty two by four. I was fat, very fat, between the ages of 12 and 13 before I sprouted upwards and developed a mild kind of anorexia I like to call "amnesiac anorexia," which was "I forgot to eat." See, my mother started her heavy drinking around this time, and when she was sober, she kind of overfed me to compensate. Often, my food was like a steak with a side of spaghetti and mashed potatoes. I was also a VERY fussy eater, and even thought I assaulted my poor mother with picky whining and nibbling, she gave into me. She even let me eat pancake batter and frosting from the can. Yugh. This was where I think I got a lot of my poor eating habits, and then, almost incredulously, I got tired of being fed by her. It might have been a strange form of rebellion, but my eating pattern changed radically around age 13. First, one of my problems turned out that I had an ulcer, which for the longest time, my pediatrician thought, "How could a 12 year old kid get an ulcer?" Then when the bleeding got heavy enough, I got put on this medication that I could not eat within hours of taking it. My mother gave me this medicine just before breakfast, and this was a vast mistake. All food made me ill. So I stopped eating breakfast. In junior high, this kid named Robbie used to beat me up savagely for my lunch, so I stopped bringing lunch to school (I hated school food, and my parents were against school lunches anyway). So by the end of junior high, I stopped eating breakfast and lunch. This also had a great added benefit that I didn't have to use the school bathroom, which is where a lot of bullies hung out in. Of course, looking back on it, no wonder I was so sluggish in school. I was now eating one meal a day.
By high school, my mother's drinking had increased, and my weight decreased as I started avoiding food. Sometimes I'd go days without eating at a time. I wasn't doing this consciously, because when I got "reminded" of food, I would be very hungry. But there was some subliminal process going on. I shudder to think of my nutritional intake during this period. I dropped from a 300 pound behemoth at 5''2" to a 190 pound gangly giant at 6'0". This was fine with me! Of course, my friends thought it was funny that I would be at a party, eating chips stating I had forgotten to eat for two days, and now was famished. I think a lot of them assumed my mother was drunk, my father was away, and there was no food in the house, which might have been true to an extent, but I could have always gotten food if I really wanted it at home. My mother had gotten all her booze when she went out "food shopping" so her drunk periods were always periods where lots of new food was in the cabinets.
The worst period was my senior year, when I dropped to 135 while in the hospital. This was due to a massive screw up I am not ready to relate here, but my eating was sharply curved for two months due to injury, excessive nervousness, and because I felt sorry for someone in worse shape that I was. When I got back to the real world, I went back to 160 in less than a month, and was steady at 186 until just before I got married.
The reason I got fat again is several fold. First, I got married, and suddenly, my irresponsible and sporadic food intake was increased to three solid meals a day. Then I got a lifestyle where I didn't move much, and now I am in middle age. I never learned to eat properly or balanced, and I have this severe addiction to sweets that is very hard to curtail.
My addiction to sweets is so much like alcoholism, I see parallels in it all the time. I binge on it all the time, go through withdrawal, realize I need to do something about it, but don't ever seriously admit I have a problem. I rely on it for tough times, and chocolate has been the ONLY thing to get me through depression cycles. I am sure if my family forbid me to have any, I'd hide it or eat sweets at work. It's even tied to childhood trauma. The whole gambit. This is one of the major underlying forces deep in my programming which keeps me a teetotaler: imagine this pattern to alcohol. It would destroy me, my family, my life.
Why I Never Exercise
When I was a manager at Cargo Furniture, I met another pair of managers at a conference who were probably gay workout buddies (meant seriously, in a good way). One of them, a very pumped-up and developed man, said to his pal and then to me, "Look at Grig. Grig, you have the frame to really look good. I know bodybuilders who would KILL for that frame. You should really work out, man, use what God gave you. Take care of yourself." He meant it to be a complement mixed with some advice, and I took it as such. I thank him for that, because he showed me, in a mirror, what he was talking about. He saw me as a sculpture waiting to be built, and is probably the only person who ever said anything encouraging in that manner. I truly believe what he said. Not that I want to be built like a bodybuilder, but it would be nice to have a lot of energy.
So why don't I work out? Ever been fat, uncoordinated, and nonathletic as a kid? Yeah. That's why. Exercise = gym = PE = teasing = failure = misery = avoidance. Memories of exercise are directly connected to anger and frustration, pain and humiliation, and the solemn swear to myself that I when gym was over, I would shut that door on my life, shatter the key, and never look back. I don't want to go there ever again. Of course, I don't want to be fat and low on energy anymore, either. These two opposing forces create a knot of frustration... which drives me to chocolate.
That's no good.
It's weird, it's like I logically know that I have to exercise and move around to be healthy, yet some internal process sabotages it. Right away, it's like "I want to exercise," then "Oops... knee hurts." The harder I try to do it, the more my internal sabotage process goes to work. "I could die if I don't exercise more," I cry. "Go eat some chocolate," is the response. "Don't you care if I die? Most of my physical miseries are a direct result of this." "No exercise. It's dumb. Remember your promise." "I made that promise when I was 15, can't we re-evaluate this contract? It's no longer valid, made under a different life experience. I don't have bullies or parents anymore. I am different now." "It does not matter what you say, this is solid. This belief is as solid as your aversion to hurt people. If you break this, all deep moral contracts you have made will be in jeopardy. It will not be broken. Ever."
Crap. Stupid promise I made at 15. I wish I had the sense to have made the promise, "I will stay in shape, *despite* gym. That will show those bastards." So now I have to figure out some loophole, some sneaky way to get around that, because I have to admit, I cannot break promises made to myself. I mean, if I do that, I will totally lose my sense of moral boundary, and in today's world of cheats and liars, my own promises of morality and deed are all I have to keep me stable.
This will be a long fight.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000092.html