The Devil Wants Me Fat

Okay, so I took the title of this blog post directly from a book I saw at Half Price Books once. I was a teenager and my friend and I were just convulsed over the idea that there was this giant CONSPIRACY by the dark side to make us fat. (When you're a nerdy fourteen-year-old, that's the kind of thing you find funny. Blaming the devil --bwahahaha.)  (Oh, just hush.)

Anyway, what made me think of it is that I've been losing weight. I haven't been focused on it because I was more concerned with becoming healthy. But I've lost almost 30 pounds now, and, most important to me, I've gone down four sizes in clothing. I've been having flashes of feeling really strong and fit --when you think of where I was a mere two years ago, this just seems like the most incredible blessing. It feels like a miracle.

I was trying to find a photo of me when I was at my heaviest but I think I've deleted them all. This was the only one I could find and...well, I also look like maybe I have some mental issues. Y'all, I probably DID. Chronic pain will make you crazy. Anyway, here it is:

August 29, 2010
Something has shifted in my attitude, though. I look at this picture and I feel so bad for that woman.  I remember how unhappy she was, how pain robbed her of everything she prized.  I think of how filled she was with self-loathing and how every step was a reminder of how much she'd lost. I think about how she used food and alcohol to try to dull that pain.

I feel terrible for her.  And I feel so unbelievably blessed to be where I am today, speaking of her in the past tense.

It's an interesting thing, though, how much our brains hate change.  Someone told me that the part of our brain that processes change is located in the same area that perceives pain.  We perceive change--even GOOD change-- as pain.  I really believe that.

I think it's part of the reason people can't make themselves take the first step toward reclaiming their bodies and lives. I know that was the case with me. My mother tried to get me to go to yoga back in Texas, before we ever moved. My good friend Donna tried to get me to go to her acupuncturist for at least two years before I finally went.

I keep trying to figure out  what was it that made me take the first step. What made me go to that yoga class?  I don't know. I wish I did because if I could figure it out and share it with people, maybe it would help other people take that first step. I know I took action when I absolutely couldn't bear the pain of going on as I had been. Maybe there's a way not to have to sink to that depth. I don't know.

A long time ago, I read this book called "Bird By Bird" by Anne Lamott.  It's a book about writing, but I took away an important life lesson from it.

"...thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out in our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder papers and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird."

Take control over one tiny thing. One bird. That's all we have to do today. One bird.

Anyway, here I am, getting healthy and strong and almost pain free. I'm doing things with my body that I KNOW I couldn't do when I was young. It's fantastic!

Still, there's this part of my brain that's worried about all of this change. Yesterday, for example, I accidentally bought a pie. I'm normally very disciplined about what I eat, especially after seeing that video by Dr. Terry Wahls. (You didn't watch that video yet, did you? You should go watch it --you know what a bulldog I can be. Yes, I know it's almost 18 minutes. I KNOW. You deserve to spend 18 minutes watching a video that may change your life.)


So, yesterday, I bought a pie.

I ate a tiny piece of it.

I liked it.

But something was very different. I didn't feel guilt. I didn't feel satisfied. I noticed that it tasted good but it wasn't, like, the best thing I've ever had. I'm over it. Maybe there's some key thing here that I've been missing about not attaching blame or joy to food. I noticed it, but I didn't really engage on an emotional level at all. I think "comfort food" is no longer a phrase I can use.

And then my husband came home and saw the pie. In all of the years we've been together, this may be the very first pie I've ever bought. We're just not a pie family --my kids don't like it. Anyway, he started to laugh. "SOMEONE around here is losing weight and it's making her body really nervous."

He was completely right. At first I didn't believe him but this morning, after I ate my very balanced, healthy breakfast, I got ready to leave for an appointment. "Maybe you need a few pita chips for the road, " said my unconscious. (I didn't have them.  I wasn't hungry.) Some part of me is NERVOUS.

May 10, 2012

I noted the impulse, though.  Clearly, the devil wants me fat.


Unknown said…
that's IT! I've had enough. yoga classes, here I come.
knittergran said…
Wow! You are tiny woman!
Congratulations on all of your successes!
roe said…
Love it! You look great and your story is inspiring. I am also in chronic pain and am ready to try acupuncture.
psam ordener said…
I lost 20 pounds and still wear the same size! I am SO jealous.
Unknown said…
You really are an inspiration to me. I am taking a very small step towards reclaiming my body and my self. No soda, and while I'm over the NEED of it I'm not over it. One bird at a time.

Anonymous said…
You were, are, and will continue to be beautiful. But I agree, happiness looks especially good on you, my lovely friend.

Kate (it won't let me sign in to my DK account on my phone. Stupid Safari)
Mrs. G. said…
For some reason this post made me teary. I think I might be you in the past tense.
Barb Matijevich said…
Mrs. G, it made me teary when I was writing it. I don't know why it's so hard to find ourselves lovable as we are. And that's what all the books say, "You have to love yourself to make lasting changes." We're so awful to ourselves. I look at that nice woman I was a few years ago and I think, "What a nice person. How loving and kind she is to people, and how incredibly self destructive." I think about the loving firmness I show my kids. I would NEVER let them eat an entire box of candy --I love them too much to let them sicken themselves. But I didn't love myself enough to apply the same principle. And gradually, you know, I was really punishing myself for being imperfect. It's an ongoing battle to try to stay kind to myself--I have decades of doing the opposite in my past.

It's funny, a friend wrote after my last post and said, "Wow, I had no idea you'd given up so much." But honestly, I swear it didn't feel like sacrifice. It felt like loving myself. It felt kind.

Heather, you could never have been me in the past tense. You are so self aware: you would never let yourself talk smack like that to yourself. It's such BS and you see through that. I hope you don't mind if I say that I think the only thing holding you back from achieving any dang thing you put your mind to, is that you just haven't chosen your first bird. I dare you to do so. I DOUBLE DOG dare you. What's the first present you're going to give to yourself? What feels true to you today?
hokgardner said…
I'm so happy for you and proud of you. And given what's going on in my house right now, I'm going to go read Bird by Bird. It's absolutely the book I need.
Lynn said…
I have my own copy of Anne Lamott's book, and several others of hers. She is an amazing writer. As are you.
I'm so glad you are feeling better. You might just inspire me to get back to yoga class. I do some on my own, but it isn't the same.

And I love what you say about your body getting nervous. I've noticed that, when I am in the middle of a bad habit, I don't really hear what I am saying to myself, the negative self-talk that I am using against myself. But the minute I go against that habit, the words come through loud and clear. It's as if the evil whatever knows I am slipping from its clutches.
tanita✿davis said…
YIKES. This post brings up a lot of emotions. Our subconscious sabotages us, and ... wow. Been there, done that. I am SO self-unkind, without meaning to be - I'm naturally so good to others, but myself... I believe we sort of try to escape our bodies by lulling our minds with sugar, sugar, sugar. And a side of fat.

A move is good for that, as you sort, toss, and decide what to keep... boy, oh, boy, are some things going to get tossed. I had already decided, but this really reinforces it. I hear you on the yoga; the mind-body connection/consciousness is so vital, but I keep thinking, I CAN'T DO ALL THAT BENDY STUFF. And yet: I know better. I just have to actually want to inhabit the body I have, and then, it turns into a place where I can live.

Is it wrong to say that the first picture shows a beautiful woman on the beach? Are you one of those people who hates all of her old pictures? I think you look slightly ethereal, like you were trying to be peaceful then... and incredibly strong and lithe now.

Wow, success. How do you even get over the fear? One bird at a time, I guess...
Pandy said…
Hey, you look great! Enjoy the pie!
Riann said…
The devil wants me fat, too! That's why I just ate two peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Oy.
Coupons said…
I'm trying to lose weight on my doctor's advice, and I totally get where you're coming from. Hope I can do as well as you have!