More Plants. Less Shite.
It’s not a “diet.” I’m not “going on”and “going off” like my life is a rollercoaster.
This is my fat story. Enjoy, and laugh.
Everybody Loves a Fat Baby
I’m pretty sure I went on my first diet at age 8. No shit.
As a result, I’m pretty freakin’ tired of diets.
I’m tired of that beginning rush of commitment to fit in those jeans I wore in junior high. With every start, it was the diet that would make me skinny — once and for all.
I’m tired of counting things — calories, points, meals, snacks, ounces of chocolate. I’m tired of letting the scale determine my happiness for the day, week or month. And I’m tired of falling off those diets, because they always ended with wild days of eating more brownies, cheddar cheese, and brioche than any one human should consume.
Know what I’m really sick and tired of? The inevitable I’m-such-a-loser guilt that I tortured myself with when I failed. AGAIN!
Ever been there?
I Wasn’t Fat! I Was Big-Boned!
Looking back at pictures of my carefree days of youth, I realize now that I wasn’t really fat until I hit puberty. Chubby, ok, yes. Big-boned? Likely. But not fat.
So I began reminiscing about why I always assumed I was born fat and stayed fat forever.
It started with clothes.
Mom occasionally lost her mind and made my little sister and I dress alike.
You know why that was crazy? Kim, 22 months behind me and a little skinny wisp of a girl, looked great in everything.
Jumpsuits with horizontal stripes? Kim pulled it off.
Plaid shorts and a white button-up blouse? She nailed it like a boss.
Pink Easter coat with matching Sunday hat, cocked sassily to the side? She could’ve been a little Kennedy.
Me? I would be bursting out of that white blouse, and the shorts gave me my first very camel toe. Hats NEVER fit my giant head, and forget about jumpsuits or anything with horizontal stripes. While most eight-year-old girls were wearing sizes 2 or 4, I was wearing a 6 X. We all know what that giant X meant.
Looking back, I was tall and broad. The only thing that first diet did was confirm what I already thought of myself. I was fat. Roly-poly. Obese.
This is How It All Played Out
Now don’t go hatin’ on my mom. It just wasn’t commonplace to parent a chubby child, or a big-boned child. or a child with a “weight problem.” And, encouraged by our ancient family practitioner, my mom did her best. But she had some tough logistics to overcome — we lived next to my grandparents, who were enamored with my curly-haired chubby self. I remember eating a pork chop dinner at the grandies next door, and then going home to a full pot roast, and mashed potatoes and gravy, and eating that, too. And my mom had no idea about first dinner, or about second after school snack.
It wasn’t long before I truly was overweight. And that started a long parade of dieting and binging.
Here’s what I remember between the ages of 10 and 18:
- I was the only kid at my Weight Watchers meeting, ever. My mom came along because she needed to lose 2.4 pounds.
- My favorite food was mayo-laden macaroni salad and anything sweet.
- An after-school snack was two pieces of squishy white bread held together with a heavy slater of mayonnaise Just mayo.
- My school gym suit, a cotton romper-type dealio, was always too small.
- I was the only girl in my swim class that had to wear the school-issued biggest “black” bathing suit.
- I went to a sleepover birthday party at my friend, Marcia’s, house, and didn’t eat the pizza or the cake because I had my monthly weigh-in with old Doc Thompson the next morning.
- When my Alabama granny saw me once a year in the dead of August, I was sure to be sweating profusely, and she would always say, “well, hun, you’re just as fat as you ever were!”
Now this isn’t a let’s-all-pity-Melissa post. Don’t feel sorry for my fat childhood. I was happy, played sports, got good grades, and made everyone laugh, like fat girls often do. Life was great, truly.
But I was pretty close to 300 pounds by the time I got to college — a teensy head start on that freshman 20.
My Special Expertise
I am an expert at Weight Watchers, TOPS, the grapefruit diet, the skinny-soup diet, the toast and hot dog diet, Jenny Craig, NutriSystems, physician-supervised liquid diets, the cottage-cheese diet, the three-day lose ten pounds diet, the rice diet, and on and on. Over the span of a decade I lost about 400 pounds, and gained back 450.
And before every diet I was committed and excited. Yea, me!
And when I fell off the wagon with just a nibble of cheese or a bite of pie, I would down a chocolate cake in disgust.
Here’s the strange thing: the excitement of every diet would subside and go away. But the disgust always seemed to stack itself on the disgust from the last failed attempt to lose weight.
I was carrying around a shitload of disgust by the time I finally decided that gastric bypass surgery was a good idea. So that’s what I did. And that’s how I finally lost 100 pounds.
And nearly 15 years after that surgery I was within 15 pounds of my lowest weight.
But no way was I healthy. I was cranky and tired. I felt slow and all my clothes were tight. My skin was a mess. My knees hurt. And my back was taking a pounding.
This Ain’t About Losing Weight
I finally realized that losing weight wasn’t the key to feeling good about myself, either physically or emotionally.
This plant-eating craziness I’m doing is about living life to the absolute fullest, every damn day. And I can’t do that on meat, ice cream, fried eggs and preservatives.
Feeling healthy, and vibrant, and energized and positive is the goal. Fat or skinny!
‘Cause one thing is absolutely certain: not one of us is getting out of here alive. So we better have a good pass this time around.
So I’ve jumped off that diet train, FOR LIFE.
I refuse to feel any more disgust at my failures.
Instead, I try to eat more plants and less shite. If I do that, I have energy, I laugh more, I am more active, and my joints don’t hurt as much.
Conversely, if I eat more shite and less plants, I feel sluggish, cranky, puffy, rickety, stiff, and damn old.
I’m D O N E with “diets.” I’ve found something that makes me feel good, and, as a bonus, I tend to lose pounds when I eat more plants and less shite. And I don’t feel disgust if I eat a piece of cake on my birthday (or yours).
I think I’ll call this more plants, less shite way of eating the “fuck you undiet.”
I’m learning to love myself as much as I love all my besties.
Who’s with me?