It’s Not Easy Being Fat

Now that I’ve lost 60 pounds and four dress sizes, I have something to say.

755I’m shocked at how much better I get treated now that I am thinner. No more sharp comments about my size when I’m on an airplane. Help offered in stores–and politely. Offers of help carrying items that are exactly as heavy as when I struggled with them six months ago. I am the same person, but the world I find myself in is not. It’s a big surprise. And not a pleasant one. We are a lot more judgmental than I had imagined.

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Now, for the tougher love: Diets don’t work. I’ve been overweight for about 12 years. I’ve lost 400 pounds on diets. And gained back 405. So this time I did not go on a diet. I changed my relationship with food. It’s called behavior modification. What didn’t work on my diet was dealing with lost weight. Once I’d met my “goal,” I told myself I could handle an occasional “treat.”

Trouble is, I couldn’t. A once-a-month treat of french fries became a once-a-week scale1treat. Then I’d order fries anytime it was an option. Ice cream was a daily good-night send-off. It started with one-quarter cup. It ended with a cup a night, more if it was a flavor I liked. The list goes on.

I finally realized that I had to change my behavior with food. It was the hardest decision I have ever made. Food is my friend. My mom was an excellent French cook. My husband is a chef. I am a foodie. And in the long run it doesn’t matter. I was helpless in the grasp of  sugar and carbs. So, nothing for me to do but restructure my eating habits. For the rest of my life. There can’t be a “treat just this once” because it starts the battle with my will power over again. And eventually I will rationalize my way out of it. So, awful as it is, this is better. I know how to change my behavior one day at a time. I don’t try to outguess the future.

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model_with_stuff_on_her_head_7-1_m-400x300When I mention how much weight I’ve lost (which I occasionally do in my goal-setting and time management class), I always get two replies. Two people will raise their hands. The first one will say that their weight loss was mine plus 10 pounds. The second one will claim to have lost as much as I did plus 20 pounds. No matter how much weight I say I’ve lost, the two hands will always go up and claim a weight loss 10- and 20- pounds more than mine.  Statistically, this is unlikely. Socially, it’s not surprising. We are a competitive culture, and being the best and first with the most is something we want to claim. No one has ever claimed a weight loss less than the one I claim. Interesting.

–Quinn McDonald fits into a medium size T-shirt. This makes packing a carry-on much easier. It now fits at least one more outfit.