That Time I Failed Miserably at Life

Three years ago I had an idea. A bad idea. Sick of being tethered to a scale, to the idea that I had to weigh everything in my life, I smashed my scale and declared myself free. It was fun and liberating at first. I went to restaurants and ordered whatever I wanted. I drank wine with no inhibition. I went out for wings, ate cake at parties, you know, all of the things normal people do.

But I’m not normal. I can’t be normal. Ever. Like an addict or an alcoholic, I will forever need to be in check. So what happened during this three-year foodfest? Well, my clothes grew tighter, my breath shorter, and my confidence began to fall away like a dandelion gone to seed. Suddenly, I was becoming the worst version of me again. I was growing heavy, hiding from the world, unable or unwilling to do things with my kids, my husband, my friends. Because for some, fat is okay, fat is livable, fat is survivable. For me it is not.

Dandelion-seed-head-blowi-001I think about that girl, the one in my book, me at 21, 22. Fat, really fat, and stuck in a web of my own doing. For me, fat is a death sentence, a lack of options, a tapeworm with unlimited resources. It’s important to understand what I mean by fat. I’m not talking chunky, overweight, or even hefty. The numbers I’m talking about are much bigger and louder than most people will ever realize. In fact, I often half-joke that my goal weight is often the starting point for others. And I was going back there again, that place. That dark place where nothing good lives.

On July 17th, 2015, I had enough (again). As I did all of those years ago, while living the story in my memoir, Fat Girl, Skinny, I simply woke up and said, “That’s it” (again).  Now, here I am (again). Weighing myself every day, counting calories, tracking exercise, weighing meals. Every single part of my life is measured. Everything is accounted for. Every part of my life is weighed (again). I cannot take one step without it counting for something. And now, fifty pounds lighter, my life is slowly being reclaimed.

So my experiment was a failure. It was fun, and I enjoyed every single ounce of those fifty pounds, but like an addict, I cannot simply give myself over to my vice.  It has taken me seventeen years to finally get it. To realize that I cannot trust myself. It has taken me the same fifty or sixty pounds to get it. Being thin doesn’t fix everything, for many people it doesn’t fix anything. But being fat, being overweight, being obese, is toxic for me. It changes me, changes who I am. I’m not thin, by any means, but I’m at a place now (again) where I feel okay about my health and my body. I can run with my kids in the yard, shop at “regular” clothing stores, and be myself again.

It saddens me that I can’t be trusted to exist without weights and measures. It saddens me that my daughters will know this uncontrolled version of me. But it’s my reality, and I must accept it. So, my experiment failed. But my life will not. I will keep going, keep pushing that rock, because it’s worth it. Every giggle from my girls, every touch of my husband’s hand, it’s all the good stuff, and that tastes better than any cake. (well, maybe not any cake…)

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