Monday, September 1, 2008

A Jurl and Her Labor

Ugh. I haven't mentioned Jenny Craig in awhile because I quit ordering the food when I went part-time, it's just too pricey for me to justify when I'm reducing my salary by a third. But, man, I am struggling. Last night, as I tossed and turned to find a position where the weight of my gut didn't pull on my back causing me pain not unlike labor, I felt like a manatee stuck on a sandbar, desperately trying to push its gi-normous self back in the water.

There is no haven from this shame. Even in the dark cover of night I burn with the frustration that tomorrow is another day I wake up a chubbs and go to bed even chubbier.

It doesn't help that I'm married to Mr. Work-out Everyday and Eat Lots of Fish Because It's low-fat. Bastard. Why couldn't I have married a fat, lazy sloth to compliment my inner-manatee? His "example" of perfection does not have the motivating effect on me my Husband intends.

I feel a little guilty because when we met I was on the smaller side and also worked out, so, technically, he got robbed. Ah, life has a cruel sense of humor and I'm often the punch line.

My fist-fight with weight started when I was about seven and I've been on the losing end ever since. I hit my peak of porker at twenty-one when two things happened that helped me get the edge in the battle of the bulge: 1) my first male admirer came on to me at a gas station, a trucker with a mesh cap and a rebel flag tee-shirt; and 2) my best friend said I was becoming a miserable human being that no one, including her, wanted to be around.

Though I have nothing against truckers, seeing myself as a pork rhine-eatin, truckin side-kick with the call sign Big Mamma, scared the crap out of me. And having your dearest friend tell you to pull your head out of your ass can really have an impact, a head-pullin-out-of-ass impact.

I promptly committed to losing weight and losing a lot of it. I bought my first work-out video (Richard Simmons' Sweatin to the Oldies) and lots of frozen chicken. I even begged my mother to let me withdraw form the spring semester of school so I could focus on my battle plan, and bless her, she agreed. I did not let her down. I ate nutritionally and carefully. I worked-out twice a day, soon progressing past Richard and his sparkly shorts to the MTV Grind work out with that Eric guy from the first Real World. I also drank a gallon of water a day, sometimes literally. I don't recommend that much water because it leaks out of you when you least expect it.

So by the time I left college for law school where I met Husband, I'd lost 140pounds. I'd also picked up an eating disorder when stress related to my grandmother's death threatened to turn the fat-tide against me.

But, something happens when you fall in love. Some people lose their appetite and some people lose all sense of portion control. Guess which variety I am? And since I can't have over-eating without sloth like behavior, the exercise soon went by the wayside.

The weight really took off once we got engaged. I'm one of those rare brides that actually gained weight before the wedding. The weight continued to creep back on during the first five years of marriage and then just as I started to get control of myself I got pregnant. No more control.

We waited three years to have the second kid and during those three years I fought back against the weight with depression, not the best defense. I started seeing a therapist and, once again, I started to get control. Then Husband date raped me, getting me knocked-up in one shot.

Here I am, fat and unhappy. I wish I could love everything about myself just as I am, but that's impossible for me. Trust, I've tried. My anxiety, distress, and pain related to my weight is as natural to me as breathing. As I've mentioned before, if I didn't have this black hole of despair eating at me I might not know myself. Still, I want to break free of these carbohydrate chains because I can't feel happiness. No matter what joy there is in my life, what wonderful thing happens, I can't feel it deep down because I'm too filled with shame and self-loathing. And to be honest, because I have an image of true happiness and it involves thin people.

You may wonder why, if therapy helped me before, don't I go back and try again? Because, I'm stubborn. I want to do it all on my own! Except I'd take it any way I could get it, including, but not limited to, a fairy god mother, tape worm, or being partially eaten by a zombie. Maybe I'd better be making a phone call to Nancy the Therapist. Maybe.

It's either get a grip or jump off my roof and see if I can make a crevasse deep enough for a swimming pool.


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. I feel the exact same way and it's a constant battle. It's a hard thing because it starts to consume you. And it's even harder when you have friends and family who eat all they want and still stay board thin. I'm sick of the weight battle!! And, why can men put on pounds and it's OK for them. That just urks me!

jurl said...

anon- I grew up surrounded by skinny cousins so I know how that goes. I am consumed by it to the point of seeing everything through my fat lenses. But I know I have an emotional attachment to food (and sometimes vomitting) that I continue to nurture even though I profess my desire to break away. When I was a fat kid, going to school to be tortured by other kids, I would pray for some other addiction-alcohol, drugs, or anything not related to food because i'd rather be anything than fat, I would rather have been dead than fat.

I still have hope that I will come to terms with this hole inside of me that I fill with food, this hole that stays empty no matter what I shove into it, this empty space that can only truly be filled with a spiritual satisfaction I do not currently possess.

Perhaps, we should stopp wagin war against ourselves and figure out how to really show our bodies care and devotion. I know that's way easier said than done.

Anonymous said...

My issue isn't with weight-- but what's becoming painfully clear is that self loathing comes in all shapes and sizes and manifests itself in a broad spectrum of self destructive behaviors. You mentioned fat lenses. I wish they made "best friend" or "family" lenses-- if we could just see ourselves the way those who love us see us, we'd be so much more forgiving of our imperfections. It's never going to happen though. We'll never wear those lenses because we don't recognize what we see when we look through them.

I truly believe the way the people who love us see us is the more accurate view of who we are. Jurl, you are your toughest critic. I don't know if Nancy has the answers or if there is even really an answer out there, but from one person familiar with the "dark place" to another-- it's time to do whatever you need to do to crawl out of the black hole and give yourself a break from the self loathing. Easier said than done, but find your way because this kind of self torture is not productive.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about skinny cousins, Jurl. One of my cousins is pregnant right now about to pop and still weighs less than I do! Just sickening!!!

Anonymous said...

Being overweight sucks! If there was a country where being fat was beautiful- I'd move there!

BoBono said...

Oh Jurl...reading this post is so sad yet comforting in some insane way. I've never seen (or heard) anyone else put in print what I often feel. I often think I should just start drinking every night instead of eating. People are sympathetic to alcoholics and maybe once I got thin enough, I'd be able to get sober. As if that would be so much easier than eating normally and exercising! I have also thought that having a tapeworm would explain my desire to binge or I'll daydream that maybe I could get "lucky" enough to have a large stomach tumor that would neccesitate a surgery similar to gastric bypass.

It seems crazy even to me when I write it but maybe that's part of the solution. Bring the issues up into the light and be healed by it!

Thank you for your honesty. I wish you health and contentment! I wish us all that!

Claudia said...

Jurl... There's hope. I have struggled with weight issues all my life. Having a sister who weighs 100 lbs. wet doesn't help either. However, this year, after I had reached the apex in a lifetime of yo yo weight loss and gain, I decided enough was enough. I decided that there was no magic pill or operation, but that if I wanted to lose the weight for good, I was going to have to do it the hard way - diet and exercise. I started a Low Glycemic index diet that is very similar to South Beach and the Zone. It is easy to tell someone to "go on a diet", but as I well know, until you are ready to get on the wagon, no one else can hoist you on(no pun intended).

I was ready - I had to be. None of my clothes fit anymore!!! I started going to a diet guru/nutritionist. We set an overall goal of losing at least 15%of my body weight and I set smaller goals within my overall goal. I have reached my first small goal of getting to my weight pre- baby #2 (-10 lbs). My next goal is to get under 200 lbs (that would be -25 lbs.). I have 4 lbs to go for that goal. My last goal is the 15% which coincides with my weight pre-baby #1. It has been 3 months, but I already feel healthy and a diet, for once, is making me feel good about myself. I take one night a week to go to my diet guru meetings even if it takes time from my husband and kids. I decided to, for once, put myself first. I am slowly crawling out of the hole of self-loathing and negative behavior that got me where I was.

I know that everyone's situations and struggles with weight are different and that we all have diverse reasons for the abuse we inflict on ourselves, but if it helps anyone to know, I am beating the battle with my bulge and I know you can too!! I got help and guidance from professionals and they support me and cheer for me. You don't have to do it alone, Jurl!! Good luck and be strong.

jurl said...

anon- I hear ya, sister. Although, I know even my friends and especially Husband would like to see me lose weight. But, they probably don't define me by my fat like I do. An you're totally right about getting out of this hole. I begin the climb today. somehow.

anon- nothing worse than cute skinny pregnant people!

anon- I couldn't move to the Fat Land because I don't really like fat people. just kidding! sort of.

bobono- isn't it crazy that it seems better to be a skinny drunk than a sober fatty? The problem with food addiction is you wear it for everybody to see, in a culture of thin is a win. You are so not alone in any fight that you wage with this issue. Nor are you alone in the admission that there is an easier way to lose weight besides cancer, but eating healthy and working out just doesn't seem easier, somehow......I wish you peace, health, and no stomach tumors.

Claudia- You go jurl! That's the way to do it and that's the way to keep it off. Doing it for the right reasons, in the right way should be celebrated! You're my hero.

Liss said...

You are a fabulous person. A wonderful mother, wife, friend, daughter & sister (cousin). No one in your life who loves you and trully knows you has ever defined you by your weight. You are defined by every great and wonderful thing about you. Your brilliant mind, loving heart, sense of humor, family commitment and generous soul. I have seen you struggle our whole lives, and although I cannot say "I feel your pain",because I have not, I have felt your pain in my heart when you talk about your struggle. I wish I could wave a wand and make your pain go away. You are such a beautiful person, I do wish that you could see what we see. I love you!!!

jurl said...

Liss- you are lovely.