Fat (almost) My Entire Life And Not Too Thilled About It. But I'm Winning By Losing Now. I Think...

(I wrote this the other night as a kind of self-therapy. I hope it helps someone else, because writing it and rereading it DID help me.)
I didn't start out fat.
I started out as a 4 pound 6 ounce premie, and I was born with a severly enlarged thymus gland, one so big that I couldn't breathe unless vertical. The doctor who delivered me said I wouldn't last the night. But my parents begged him to do what he could, and I was kept vertical in an incubator on oxygen for the first two weeks, and they did what they could in those days to shrink that oversized gland by burning it with X--rays. It worked, but I've also had asthma from birth and many severe allergies (and I was extremely sick probably 25% of the time until I was about 12 or 13).
Now I was born in the deep south, and there used to be (and still is in some plaeces) a firmly-held idea that "a FAT baby is a HEALTHY baby." If that were true then by the time I was 2 should have been the healthiest baby on the planet.
I no longer remember how much I weighed in the first grade, but I was wearing clothes for a 3rd-grader. I was even so big that a larger desk had to be brought in for me, and ALL of the kids used to sing "Fatty, fatty two by four" at me every day at recess.
Then I grew.
Well, I was also always the heaviest kid in the grade school I attended, and for that matter I was also the tallest guy in every grade I was in until I was a senior in high school. That was a problem: one side of my family is extremely tall (great aunts over 6'9" tall for instance, and several male relatives over 7' tall). Well when I started the 7th grade, I was right at 6 feet tall, and my father (who was considerably shorter) said that he didn't want "another GD freak in the family" (my older brother was 6'5"). So they took me to our doctor who sent them to the nrearby univeristy hospital when an educated guess was made that I'd be between 6'9 and 7'4" when I was grown.
That did it for my father, and he finally found someone who thought he could do something about it. I have no idea really what was actually done (I only have fuzzy memories of another time I'd rather forget, and in those days they didn't tell a 12-year-old much about what was being done to him medically anyway.), but I stopped growing in the 8th grade at a little over 6'2".
Worse yet, I also had the very heavy bone structure of and musculature of a much bigger (taller, more giantish like most of my male relatives), and that added to my weight, too.
So in high school not only was I VERY fat, I was also even heavier than I looked. And I had no friends. OK, I had 2. One was a guy who was legally blind, and the other was as much of a shy introvert as I was. Coincidentally we were the only 3 who went to a first-rate college when we graduated, so maybe we were "friends by associateion" or some such.
Dating in high school was a joke - females would laugh at me and walk away. But I had 2 whole dates in 4 years. One was to a "sadie hawkins skatiing party" and she asked me because (as I overheard her say later) that she did it because she felt sorry for me. The other was worse. It was a trick so that I could be "caught" and ridiculed. Luckily I escaped and left, and it left a bad taste in my mouth.
College was uneventful, and in getting my BS and MS in physics I had only 2 fewer dates than I had in high school, i.e., 0. (So sex was out, too...) But at least I made a few friends, and that was an improvement. But by then I had (and still ahve) the worst body image on the planet.
In college, I had to take a swimning (phys ed) course, and I put it off as long as possible. Showering and changing were a nightmare for me. But not because anyone said anything - that stopped after high school, thank God. No it was because I was absolutely sure that everyonewas THINKING the nasty comments and taunts about my size. I even still heard the voices in my head sinhing "fatty, fatty, two by four" non-stop the entire time I was in every one of those clases - and especially when changing or showering.
Eventually I graduated with my degrees and joined the real world. That was not much of an improvement overall. I had been on one diet or another probably 99.9% of the time ever since I turned four. At 26 years old and 325 pounds, I swore off diets altogether and invented my own. Now this was either before the "Atkins Diet" book was published OR it was long before I heard of it.
In about 18 months I went from 325 pounds to 193 - and I looked good and felt good for the very first time in my entire life.
Along in there I met a girl who really seemed to like me, and after 18 months of dating we decided to get married. But this did not go as had imagined it would. She liked to cook (MASSIVE amounts) and since her mother did that to her dad, she insited that I eat EVERYTHING she cooked, too.
In a year, I gained back about 45 pounds that I had struggled so hard to lose. That was the status quo for about 4 years, but suddenly one day (different story altogether) she left and ended up divorcing me (in another state no less so that I didn't even know about it until after the fact).
I immediately went back on my diet and dropped from 245 to about 202, and I was happy.
Fast forward about 32 years.
NowI had been (re)married for 31 years. I was 63 and weighed more than I knew - I can blame it on a very sedentary job, long hours, or whatever, but the real cause was overeating. On May 25th 2011 I bought a set of high-capacity, commercial grade scales, took them home, and weighed.
I weighed 354 pounds and I went on a diet that very day, making changes to my eating and exercise habits, A week later I had lost 14 pounds, and by Thanksgiving, I was down to 278.0 and had lost 9" in the waist.
That's when the problems started again.
I had been doing most of the cooking since May, and my wife couldn't stand not having tons of cakes, cookies, pies, icecream, puddings, candy, etc., around 24x7. She resumed doing all the cooking, and 90% of the things she cooks are casseroles based primarly on Rice, Potatoes, Pastas, Starches, and Sugars. Plus while I had been losing, she had started gaining and at 5'4" is very heavy. Actually right now she's close to MY ideal weight of 190. She's started remaing constantly angry with me for being able to lose weight ("IT ISN'T FAIR!!!" is the warcry), and she has done almost everything she can think of since thanksgiving to stop me from losing further. (Fortunately I don't like chocolate, but she keeps an unlimited supply of caramel and butterscotch around, knowing that they are my biggest weaknesses).
So I'm still stying right at 278 +/- 5 and have been there now for 5 months.
I have a few friends supporting me and giving me positive strokes, but in my mind whenever I look at myself in a mirror, i see a monstrously fat guy who should be banned from beaches and pools.
A fat guy with a horrible self-image and who almost can't look at himself in a full-length mirror naked. I'm dieting more seriously now, and I hope I make it down to my goal of 190 some day, But right now that seems impossibly far away.
If only wishes worked, I'd wish that my parents had never tried to fatten me up, had never forced me to eat full, adult-size protions from the time I was 4, had never kept a fully-stocked candy jar in 4 or 5 rooms of the house., had ... well you get the idea. "IF ONLY..." But then as my favorite uncle used to say,"IF frogs had longer legs they wouldn't bump their butts on the ground every time they jump, too."
I think what I'm saying is that I got fat **initially** through no fault of my own, and it has been a living hell to be fat for 60 or so years since then, and over the years I've done little to do anything really positive about it..
BUT I'm working on it now, and I plan to for the rest of my life. I'm trying to hold on to a positive attitude, so please wish me luck.
I apologize that this is so long, but if I try to go back and edit down one more time, I'll probably chicken out and not send it.
Siegmund Siegmund
61-65, M
5 Responses Mar 26, 2012

Oops, I left out something, and to some people it could be important or at least significant.

My body image is finally beginning to change - just a little bit - for the better. I no longer look in the mirror and see myself as the size of Shamu the whale. While it may be a small thing to some people, I've actually developed enough confidence that I've even started going to a nearby spa where the two genders are strictly segregated, and everyone is completely nude at all times. (That's only in the "wet" areas - in the "common" areas where there are either 7 or 8 different saunas, everyone wears the spa's "uniform" which you are handed when you come in. The dressing rooms, showers, bathrooms, hot tubs, steam rooms, massage areas, and super-hot dry sauna are called the "wet" areas and that's where clothing is not allowed.

Much to my surprise, I'm finding that I even enjoy it (as do my joints as the heat feels great on the arthritis I have in both hips and both shoulders).

So it was a huge surprise to have my body image start changing and if you are dieting and have a very negative self image, keep your hope intact - your body image IS going to improve :-)

Good luck - and avoid some of the holiday excesses if you can :-)

This is an update. For all of my good intentions, I discovered something that really threw me for a loop a few months back. The scales I had bought were exactly the same ones two of my three doctors use, and they are far from cheap. However my wife had refused to use them a single time until she came home from her annual physical last June and announced that they were very inaccurate, showing a weight that was far too low. So i checked their calibration using weights from my son's weight set, and she was right. To shorten this considerably, they went back to the manufacturer and were recalibrated, AND we got a second set of scales (different brand) and then checked both against the balance scales at my internist's office. I learned that the scales I had been using were inaccurate but were very consistent and were "off" by a fixed percentage. Now in my original posting I said I started at 354 - but that was a typo. It was actually 358.6, or so I thought. But after getting the engineering report from the scales' manufacturer, i actually started out at a much higher weight, around 396 (I don't have the spreadsheet on this computer and can't look right now).
That left me in a very "down" state for about 2 weeks, and what got me over it was realizing that I had lost 10-12" in hips, waist, and chest (each) - and in thinking about the clothes I had just then donated to Good Will.
Today I am now down 135.2 lbs so far at an accurate 261.2, and I am still aiming for my goal of 200. I'm just not going to get there as soon as I wanted to.

And somewhere along the way it hit me that achieving and holding a weight of 200 (or 190 if I can, since I'm "raising my sights a bit" long term) is not a goal, it's a journey which will never end even when I finally get there. That's because after I do get there (and I will), I will still be "dieting" and working to maintain that weight and not let it "creep back up" for the rest of my life.

To "cap" on someone else's words, "Getting there" isn't just half the fun, it's also only half the battle.

So to any of you who are struggling with weight and body image, let me tell you that it IS possible, and you really can do it. Or as I have said here elsewhere, "If I can do it, ANYBODY can."

what did you do to lose those 14 pounds within that week, what were your weight loss methods? I had to have larger desks brought in too. I cried every single night of my childhood.

This is a small addendum - but it's an update that made me feel really good today....<br />
<br />
Today I had a regular 6-month appointment with my urologist (if you EVER get one really severe kidney/bladder/googley-bits infection, you get to have such checkups every 6 months for several years thereafter). While I was there, of course I underwent the usual poking and prodding, although she (my urologist is female) did try to make it a little more bearable than some other doctors I have had to use in the past.<br />
<br />
Anyway the subject of weight came up and she was HIGHLY complimentary of how much weight I had lost (80 pounds as of this morning). But when I said that I still had about 80 to go, she told me, "No, I don't think so. Look, I've just seen your entire body, and you don't need to lose nearly that much. Thirty, maybe, but you look really good."<br />
<br />
Now this doctor is a woman who is very attractive and who is about 15 years younger than me (and no, she's happily married and nobody was hitting on anybody.)<br />
<br />
That's the first compliment I've ever had like that in my entire life, and I loved it. It made my day, and I'm still sitting here smiling just thinging about it.<br />
<br />
Now I'm not really dreading my visit to the dermatologist in a couple of weeks when I know I'm going to have a full body check. (skin cancer runs in my family, so this is a "preventative" necessity)<br />
<br />
Wow. At this rate I might even buy a bathing suit and go swimming this summer..

Dr. Barry sears mastering the zone book.buy it..learn about glycemic index and then buy a food almanac and pick foods you like that are low glycemic.