May 19 2014
As a kid, I ate whatever in the world I wanted. Pizza, chips, coke–I never had to think about it, and never experienced weight problems because of it. I loved to dance, but other than that, exercise was not a part of my life. Oh, I walked to and from school and did whatever worked into my day, but it wasn’t a focus. I didn’t understand what calories were and I didn’t care.
I married young and had four kids in my twenties. The weight fell off after each child, though it took some time, which gave me some anxiety, considering my unfamiliarity with being overweight. Further, my eating habits were so haphazard and uneducated, a fact I credit to my natural metabolism.
Then came my thirties. Three more kids came along (thank God!), and for the first time in my life I was overweight. It ate me up more than I cared to admit. In fact, I didn’t admit it at all. I “embraced my body,” wanted to “set a good example for my daughters,” exercised “because it felt good,” and otherwise was in denial about the fact that I really needed to change my eating habits. The problem? I didn’t have the foggiest notion how. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 27 2014
Thirteen years ago when I had gastric bypass surgery, losing over 150 pounds, I thought it would be the end of being called fat. Then my 7-year-old daughter, Cara, came home school the other day and said a girl had teased her.
“Your mom is like the fat minion from ‘Despicable Me,’” Cara repeated to me.
She barely got the words out before she broke into hysterical crying and I didn’t know how to comfort her. She was upset that someone would say that about me and I was upset that she had been teased for my shortcomings.
What she doesn’t know is that I could not care less about being called fat. I have been called fat my whole life and it no longer fazes me. My teasing started early. I remember when I was five and cast as one of the three little pigs in my day camp’s “Disney Review.” The kids seem to think “Pig” was a name that should stick. By middle school my nickname was “Moose,” but in high school I was just a regular teen. My personality kept me sailing through college and into my early 20s, but by my mid-20s I was hovering at the 300-pound mark and it was hard to ignore the looks and stares I was getting–especially on planes and subways. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 1 2014
This morning I read this piece about a woman who had a fat mother whose shame about her body changed her daughter’s ideas of beauty, and not for the better.
I am fat. I am fat enough that I notice that people stare at me and avert their eyes uncomfortably when I make eye contact with them. People cast their eyes downward at me on airplanes if they realize I have to sit next to them. Believe me, I am the uncomfortable one, having to somehow fit my plus-sized form into those tiny commuter plane seats and then have to fasten my seat belt while six pairs of eyes stare at me to see if I can.
I am also a mom.
My daughter tells me nearly every single day that I am beautiful. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 24 2013
Confession: I avoid mirrors. I dress in the dark (but that is at least partially because there is a window in our closet that has no curtains). I am very unhappy with how I look.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, you’re just being self-indulgent and stupid. You just had a baby THREE MONTHS ago–and ANOTHER baby 15 months before that. You have a lot going for you: your health, a great husband and family, a home, a job that lets you work from home and be with your kids. You’ve got a lot going for you, lady.” Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 20 2012
My husband at his heaviest.
I read Yael Armstrong’s piece, “I’m Not Going To Make My Kids Weight Crazy,” with great interest, as weight is a frequent topic of conversation in our house.
Not my weight. I’ve never had much interest in my weight. Due to a variety of chronic problems and food intolerances, I grew up a skinny kid whom every Jewish grandmother was constantly trying to fatten up. As I got older, I never even owned a scale. The only relationship I had with eating was, does this make me feel sick, or does this not make me feel sick? I stick to a pretty strict diet for health reasons, but it’s not a hardship as early conditioning has made it so I recoil from most foods. (Yes, stand-up comedians, I am that very special brand of stupid that I sometimes forget to eat. The only time I ever felt hungry was the three times I was pregnant, and the new sensation took me by surprise every single time.) Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 8 2012
Last week my mother came to visit us for the first time in almost a year. Because my kids know my father and his wife (who I lovingly refer to as my second mom) so well, I was very excited for them to get to know my other mom, too.
She got off the plane, jumped in the car, and immediately began talking about her weight.
It didn’t take long for me to remember what I thought I’d forgotten. My life, for the first 18-20 years, had been consumed and terrorized by weight.
My mom never called me fat. She always said that I was “perfect.” She never criticized me at all.
She criticized herself endlessly. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 9 2012
“I think that you should keep doing Weight Watchers,” said my 5-year-old boy. “Then we can be a thin family.”
It’s not lost on me that my sons have inherited my husband’s long, lean build. And it’s not lost on the boys, apparently, either.
Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 10 2012
There is a half-eaten challah sitting on our counter, left over from Friday night.
This might not seem like much to you, but this is a very big deal to me. Because I didn’t eat it.
Yes, like millions of other Americans, I am determined to lose weight this year. But the odds are stacked against me, and I know it. Not only do 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail, but, as Tara Parker Pope outlined in her recent New York Times article, my body is literally fighting against me to hang on to the weight. It’s no surprise that obesity runs in families (as it does in mine), but what may be more surprising is that once our body gains extra weight, a variety of different hormones conspire against us to fight against weight loss. Even if we do manage to drop the pounds, other hormones kick in to try and get them back. As Parker Pope says, “This translates into a sobering reality: once we become fat, most of us, despite our best efforts, will probably stay fat.”
It’s certainly true for me. In the eight years since I dropped ten pounds to fit into my wedding dress, my weight has crept up, and two rounds of IVF and two babies didn’t help. I’ve got 20 pounds to lose (and keep off), and I know my body isn’t interested in cooperating in the least. It’s found a steady state, and despite the fact that I was exercising and eating relatively well, the pounds weren’t coming off. I knew something needed to change, but I didn’t know what, or how. Read the rest of this entry →