how it happened

After spending my entire New Year’s Day lying on the couch in agony, but also watching an endless stream of “the 500 million pound woman who had extreme surgery at the Brookhaven Obesity Clinic”-type shows on Discovery Health (love that channel!) I realized that everyone who is overweight, whether 20 pounds or 200, says the same thing: “I don’t know how this happened.” Then they go on to tell how they were always X weight, and then all of a sudden there was a pregnancy or a car accident or some event – and BAM! They’re X+20 or X+200. So really, everyone knows how it happened.

It got me to thinking about how I don’t know how this happened, but I do. And here’s my “how it happened” story.

Well, first of all, I ate too much. I mean, that’s the bottom line. Everyone who got here but doesn’t know how ultimately just ate too damn much. But (and this is the thing that people like my father will never understand) there’s something else behind that. I’m not saying there are excuses, or good reasons – but there are reasons. Some are better than others. Having babies. Being in an accident that leaves you unable to work out for six months. The traumatic loss of your mother at the age of six, leaving you to be raised by your father who, in trying to be both a mother and a father, overcompensates and lets you overindulge. For example.

My reasons are not nearly that good. I have not had any children. I am insanely healthy and have never been physically unable to work out in my life. I have no childhood traumas or guilt complexes or severe deep-rooted psychoses*. I just really like food.

Now, this love of food has created a lifelong struggle with weight – but only to a point. Let’s say my highest weight ever was X. I’d struggle and yo-yo, from X to X-30, to X-5, to X and back again. This was pretty consistent until mid-2006.

Then, the Shape Thing happened. Thank you for sticking with me until now – because the Shape Thing is really the point of this blog, and as usual it takes me a while to get to the point.

Somewhere around April 2006 I was at about X-12, and feeling pretty decent about that. Also around that time I answered a post on a Media Bistro message board. Media Bistro is a professional journalism site, and when you’re a paid member you have access to some preferred content – including some posts by other journalists and magazine editors looking for certain topics or writers. This post was from an editor at Shape Magazine. They were looking for their next weight-loss diary writer. They wanted a woman in her 30s who had struggled with her weight most of her life – oh, and preferably was a good writer. Hello Amy! So I responded with all the necessary information, and not long afterwards, got a call from the editor. They all loved me. They thought I’d be great. Only, there was one other woman some other editors liked too. So they wanted to get my permission to post my information, along with this other woman’s, and do a poll among readers. OK, sure. It meant letting the world know my weight without the guarantee of all the rewards that would come with being the next weight-loss diary person, but I was willing to take the chance. Being chosen would mean not only a nutritionist, trainer and therapist for the next year, but also the opportunity to be a published columnist in a national magazine. I was pumped.

So I waited. And waited. And while I was waiting and not hearing anything from these people, I ate. And didn’t work out a lot. Because I figured, I was a shoo-in for this. And it didn’t matter what I did to myself in the next few months, because I was going to have professionals to fix it!

So I gained. 10 pounds. Then 20. Still nothing from Shape. I called and sent e-mails – but nothing. Then one day, a friend of a friend got an e-mail about the poll. It was up! No one had told me – but whatever. I sent the link out to everyone I knew. And I know a LOT of people. They all voted for me. A lot. There is no way this other woman got as many votes. Then one day, the poll was down. I figured I’d hear something from Shape – hopefully positive. But at the very least, I assumed they’d be professional and let me know one way or another.

They didn’t. I found out I didn’t get it when I went on their website and saw their new Weight Loss Diary writer – the bitch who beat me. I’m convinced they chose her because she was a mom. Otherwise, she was in no way as good of a candidate as me. I’d send you the link to her now – at the end of her year she’s lost 25 pounds, and continues to write about it on her own site – but I don’t want to increase their website traffic. Because of their utter lack of sensitivity, decency and professionalism, I have boycotted Shape ever since.

So, there I was – now 20 pounds from where I was before the Shape Thing, 25 pounds overweight, depressed, upset and angry.

Some might have said, “screw you, Shape! I’m going to start my own weight-loss blog and embark on my own weight loss journey and show you I don’t need you.” And – well, yeah, I said all those things. But I didn’t so much follow through. Instead, over the next year, I proceeded to gain another 20 pounds. What’s my excuse for that? Nothing. I ate too much. I won’t even say I didn’t work out enough – in 2007 Barry and I both had personal trainers and gym memberships and worked out a pretty decent amount. But we also ate. Well – I ate. I stress-ate, I happy-ate – I just ate. And when I made an attempt at a diet, the amount of weight I needed to lose just to get down to my former highest weight overwhelmed me. My brain said, “I have to lose 20 pounds just to get to the weight I was when I used to think I was a gigantic fat-ass.” It discouraged me. So in all of 2007, I didn’t make much of a dent in my weight at all. X became a number that was wishful thinking, rather than the point of no return.

But finally, at the very end of the year, I think I got back on the right track. I lost 10 pounds – of which I am still down eight, after the holidays. It’s going to be a struggle, but I think I can do it this time. The Shape Thing is behind me. I’m still incredibly bitter and resentful over the unprofessional way they handled it, but I can’t let it interfere now. And if anything, I feel a little bit of pride in reading The Bitch Who Beat Me’s writings, and knowing how inferior they are to what I’m capable of. You blew it, Shape! You could have had me. You could have had all this. So bite me.

And that, my friends, is how it happened.

*OK, I mean, it’s not like I have NO psychoses or issues, as my friends are quick to point out (LOVE you guys! mean it!) but they’re not deep-rooted by any means. I’m quite familiar and comfortable with them. We’re good buds, me and my issues.

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