Wednesday, February 5, 2014

On Getting Fat

I read once that after the end of WWII, the German people admired fatness. It meant that the deprivations and near starvation of the last months of the war were over.

The artist Botticelli seemed to admire hefty women.

However, as a formerly-thin person, I am not comfortable wearing a layer of thick fat over my body. It not only does not look good, it does not feel good.

When we were kids, my sisters and I had an expression we used to describe extreme fatness. It was "as big as Mrs.  H_______," who was a woman in my grandmother's neighborhood. I've looked at a photo of this lady recently. While she was well-rounded, I must admit that I can't be that far off matching her.

My mother was a woman of iron will. When she reached middle-age she changed her eating habits and stayed very trim. At the time, I thought she had just developed a taste for dry shredded wheat. That's what she ate for supper every night. She just nibbled away at a dry biscuit or two. She never made any fuss or explanation about it. It was just what she did. Now I realize that she was watching her weight.

That is something I did not have to do in my younger days. Metabolism and activity levels can, however, change as life's stages change.
Here I am c. 1975 with Jeremy, Kristofer (I babysat for him for several years), and Anne Marie. It is not my ambition to get that thin again; I was that size naturally. If I ate as much now as I did then, I'd be even more obese now.

Changing life habits can be very difficult.

Yes, I eat a lot less now than I did when I was young. But "calories in/calories out" still holds true. Less food may help, but when activity is greatly reduced that is not enough.

And when I am hungry I still want to eat.

As a formerly slim person, I most definitely feel ashamed of gaining so much weight. As a senior citizen with asthma, I find upping activity difficult. Being a person whose favorite activity is reading makes it even more difficult. Being active was natural for me years ago. I walked a lot, had a busy household, added an outside job. Things have changed.

I can lose thirty pounds on Nutrisystem. At about that point, I reach the stage where I just can't eat that food any longer. I know they talk about how delicious it is in the TV ads. And some of it is not bad. It works, but I really need to get myself in hand to eat real food and keep in control. Otherwise, I'll just repeat the pattern of losing and gradually gaining it back.

So, I keep beating myself up over it--but in a rather desultory way. I am definitely in the winter blahs. Part of me cares. Part of me just doesn't have the mental energy to care enough to do something about it. I always feel the most inspired to "do something about it" right after I've had a meal and am not hungry!

But I know I'm in trouble when I find that I hate to go out in public where someone I know may see me. And doctor's visits--that dreaded scale!

So, this is my confession: My name is Michelle and I am overweight.


  1. I have a reminder on the whiteboard on my refrigerator...10 by 5. I want to be back into my size 10 clothes by May. I hate that I've backslid since doing so well on Nutrisystem.

  2. If we were sposed to be skinny food wouldn't taste so good. Proof sugar is nectar of the gods, not heart killing poison if you ask me.

    1. We are genetically programmed to have to burn a lot more calories just in our daily work for survival, like our ancestors did. Modern conveniences are wonderful, but our bodies are meant to be using up the food eaten each day. When it isn't used up--fat storage. When we are doing a lot of physical work, that good tasting food is fuel, not fat. Of course, if I lived as the ancients did, I'd probably be dead by now and not worrying about my weight!