Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Own Worst Enemy

I suppose that I should start by introducing myself. My name is Lys, and I'm fat. I know that most people don't introduce themselves that way, but if we were meeting face to face you would already know that I'm fat. Since this is an online venue, the only way you would know that I'm fat is either by me saying so, or if I have a particularly fat photo up on my account.

So there we go. I'm fat. I've been fat for most of my life, really. I can't remember a time when I wasn't fat. My first diet started when I was about eight or ten years old. How many of you remember the Grapefruit Diet? It was a real taste-bud tingler, let me tell you! It consisted of half of an unsweetened grapefruit and a piece of dry whole wheat toast for breakfast, half of a can of plain tuna with some cottage cheese and a salad and melba toast for lunch, then a small portion of protein and a salad for dinner. Oh, and the salads were eaten either plain or with nonfat dressing (which was NASTY back then, by the way).

I know! How could I NOT still be eating that every day? It's so DELICIOUS!

All right, all right, I don't believe me either. But there you go. I started my illustrious dieting career at the tender age of 8 or so, and I haven't looked back (positively) since. I've tried them all, you know. I've been to Weight Watchers, Diet Workshops, and Nutrisystem. I've done E-diets,, The Daily Plate, and WW Online. I, ladies and gentlemen, have had gastric bypass! That's right! I was sliced open like a Thanksgiving turkey and had my insides manipulated in unnatural ways JUST SO THAT I COULD LOSE WEIGHT!

Of course, the last was successful in a medical sense. I have lost over 100+ pounds and kept them off for over 5 years. Technically that is a success. Though I am still over 240 pounds from my "ideal" weight, my diabetes has returned with a vengeance, my arthritis has started getting worse again, and I still have sleep apnea. But it was a success!

Anyway, for most of my life I have been convinced that it basically boils down to the fact that I'm a weak-willed, useless, drain on society, failure. Obviously I could lose the weight if I really tried, I mean, that's what everyone says, right? So it must be me. It doesn't matter that I tried as hard as I could, I obviously had to be lying about what I was eating or how much I was moving. "Eat less, move more!" is such a simple thing to say.

But I wasn't lying about how much I was eating. I wasn't lying about how much I was moving. When I tracked my calories, I was actually eating less than many of my slender friends. Quite frankly, the years of yo-yo dieting had destroyed every weight-regulating system in my body, and my body didn't trust me any more.

I finally realized that I am fat, and that I likely would stay that way forever.

Then, about a year or so ago, I started to get a glimmering of an idea. It was pretty nebulous at first, but it came down to realizing that maybe I just needed to start eating what my body said that it wanted, and that I just needed to start moving in ways that I enjoy rather than forcing myself to go to the gym and walk miles to nowhere on a treadmill. Maybe I needed to start really LISTENING to my body and letting it do its job?

This seemed a bit simplistic to me at first. I mean, wasn't that what got me into this mess? Listening to my body say "I want chocolate" and "Let's skip the gym and sleep another hour and a half instead." was how I got here to begin with, right? But that's because my body had given up, and was taking the path of least resistance. And just as I started crystallizing this train of thought, I found out about a book called "Health At Every Size" by Linda Bacon, PhD.

I started reading her book, and everything I'd been thinking was right there, in black and white in front of me! Not only that, she had SCIENCE backing up those lines of thought, that reasoning, the idea that our bodies know what to do if we just get out of the way and let them! We can love ourselves AS WE ARE, and in doing so, we open the door to a healthier lifestyle because our bodies tell us to eat good, whole foods and to get up and dance around the living room when a song we like comes on. We just stopped listening to our bodies, and so our bodies stopped trying to make us listen, and started trying to do what we wanted even though it was totally messed up.

What a revelation!

And so now, here I am. I'm still fat, still finding myself saying cruel things to myself on a regular basis, but I'm now trying to change that. I am trying to listen to my body, trying to learn to love myself the way that I am right now, rolls and all. As my life continues, and my ability to love myself increases along with my ability to actually hear what my body is telling me, it is entirely possible that more weight will come off. It is also entirely possible that it won't. But whether it does or doesn't, as long as my life gets healthier, my body finds its proper settings again, and I can dance, sing, swordfight or do anything else that I want to do without getting out of breath after 30 seconds, then it really doesn't matter.

This is the journey that I'm starting tonight. I have no doubt that there will be rocky moments and that people will be cruel. I have no doubt that there will be times when I am crueler to myself than anyone else. But you're welcome to come along for the ride as we find out what life is like when someone learns to be healthy at whatever size they happen to be, and when they finally learn to love themselves for who they are.


  1. I wish you could see yourself as many of us see you. You are loved.

  2. I am in agreement with kathyc! You are precious and loved in the sight of your family and friends. You are like sunshine on a cloudy day whenever I speak to you. You are beautiful just as you are.


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