Thursday, April 7, 2011

How I Got Fat, or at Least the Excuses I Use

Quick lunch before/after check-in. My coworker saw this picture up on my screen and is mocking my three pieces of tofu for lunch. :)

Oh dear, this blog has the potential to become a fitness blog if I'm not careful! Shhh - who would think that could come from me? This blog was supposed to be about how I had weight loss surgery and was magically transformed from a gelatinous goo to a beautiful fairy princess, all without breaking a sweat or inconveniencing my slothenly lifestyle in any way.


So, the great thing about weight loss surgery. I FEEL HUMAN AGAIN!

Sure, I have a long, long way to go. But I am feeling great and looking better all the time. Today, for instance, I packed myself into a pair of SIZE 14 jeans like a canned ham. Sure, I can't breathe too good, and sure, I'm a little blue around the lips and finger nails from lack of oxygen, but I CANNOT REMEMBER THE LAST TIME I WORE A SIZE 14!
I think my wedding dress was a size 12. And that was 1991, the summer I was 21 years old. (Quick math check - yes, that's right. Oh dear, that makes me nearly 30 now.) From ages 19-22, I would characterize myself as rather hawt. It was a brief but pleasurable era. I was working out all the time, I felt beautiful and sexy and I was beating the boys off with a stick. I think I weighed about 125 pounds, mas o menos. I remember my jeans were in the size 4-6 range, so when I am near a reasonable weight, I am pretty small.

In fact, at 5'3", I'm suddenly getting an awful lot of comments now about how short I am. Hrm. People are commenting that they had never realized how short I am, and how little. Uh, thanks. :) Even my mom, last time she saw me, said, "Wow, you're really short, aren't you? You're just going to be tiny." Thanks Mom. Genetics played some sort of role, I'm sure. (Although she's 5'5 or so.) On my dad's side, my grandma and my aunt are what I call "bird women." You know the type - short, small frames, tiny. I am a hybrid, I guess. I will never lose weight from my ginormous head, and my feet, at size 7.5-8 are not what typically accompanies a 5'3" frame. But since I wore size 4-6 clothing, I have capacity for smallness. I always thought of my trim frame as Mary Lou Retton-ish. (Note to self: Update this reference point so as to not make myself seem oooolllldddd.)

In 1990, I fell and broke my ankle really badly. I had never been hurt before, and this was *hurt*. I had to have two operations on it. In the course of the same fall, I probably broke my spine, too, although we'll never know for sure.

The accident happened on a rainy Seattle afternoon when I had just gotten off work. I was walking down a steep sidewalk toward the bus stop, when I stepped onto a 3' square water meter cover in the middle of the sidewalk. I slipped, and the inside of my right ankle hit the sunken corner of the meter cover, HARD. It broke off a big chunk of my ankle bone, which had to be reattached with pins and screws. I was laid up in bed for several weeks and had two have two surgeries. At that time, my low back was killing me. I attributed it to laying around in bed all day. Over the years, my back pain became progressively worse and worse and worse, until in 2004 I had a spinal fusion surgery because I was in so much pain, I genuinely didn't care if I lived or died any more. I had put off surgery to have babies (1999 and 2001 and one the stork hand-delivered to me in 2005). By 2004, I could barely take care of the babies. I had the spinal fusion, I walked with a walker for weeks, I was off work for six months, it was a grueling recovery but all parties (myself and my surgical team) agree that I am a poster child for the success of this operation. Years later, I am still pretty much pain free (not so much that I don't pop a vicodin now and then, but not enough that it impacts my life in any way).

But that was 2004, and we're not through with the broken ankles yet. Yes, ankles. In 1990, I broke my first one and had the surgeries. In 1992, probably, I broke the other ankle - playing drunk nighttime hide and seek at a campground with my then-husband and two of our friends. The doctors say this is a surprisingly common injury (breaking the other ankle, not drunk nighttime hide and seek). Apparently, you guard the injured bone and subject your other one to all sorts of stress. Well, in 1993 or so (time is a blur) I broke my left ankle AGAIN when I tripped on a garden hose stretched across the stairs of our front walk.

By the mid-1990s, you can bet that I had received the message loud and clear. DON'T DO ANYTHING - YOU WILL GET HURT. Over this time period, I started piling on the pounds at an alarming rate. And following my back surgery in 2004, the fear was cast in stone. How could I move? I might unfuse my back! Any number of terrors could be unleashed if I fell again, and I honestly couldn't bear the thought. And that's why I think I got fat: fear. I think it just got drummed into my head so hard that my body is fragile and anything I do puts it at terrible risk.

There were other things, too. Fear-related, there were several car accidents (none my fault, but one was especially terrible). Also, in 1998, I quit smoking in order to get ready to have babies. Nothing brings out the self-pity in me like quitting smoking, and I gained a ton of weight. My eating was completely unchecked, because I was quitting smoking, dammit. Leave me alone. I have some additional musings about depression and being married to the wrong man who *seems* like the right man (so my unhappiness must be my fault, of course), but I'll save those for another time.

Anyway, these are my demons - some of them, anyway, and I am confronting them head-on one at a time. I made the mistake of letting fear and other weaknesses drive my life for many years, and I am taking back the reins.


  1. I understand about the car accident related fear. I had two in less than 3 months and both times I had a green light,
    The only broken bone I've had is a finger, so I cannot imagine the pain that you felt. Not just physically, but the anguish too. You have every reason to quit, but for some reason you just keep getting back up and dusting yourself off. :)

  2. I love how you put that you were rather hawt! haha! I remember feeling hawt - age 17-21. I dated a lot of boys those years and met my hubby! ;) Another interesting read today.

  3. Hi Hun! I published my post before I was's finished now :0)