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Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Something's Bugging Me...

...and I have to apologize to all my readers out there who are potentially about to be offended by the following. I'm gonna talk about my DH and his most recent observations as he wanders around the Valley where we live. And I'm sure I'm going to lose readers over this, or at least start *someone* talking about how insensitive I am, despite the comments being those of DH.

My DH recently has taken to wondering why people who are... fluffy... continue to stay fluffy. Considering that he has always been a rather lean individual, don't think that he's ever been anywhere near what I could call overweight, I don't think he's really in touch with what it takes to lose large amounts of weight gathered over time and keeping it off.

I've been there. My 5' 4.5" frame (at the time) was intimately involved with the number 155 on the scale for a long time. I know that that's not big by a lot of standards, but considering my build (and I was a teenager), that wasn't a pretty sight. And it wasn't for lack of exercise - my gym teacher was a sadist. Well, whose wasn't back then, but that's besides the point. I got exercise, I just couldn't lose the weight, and it wasn't like I was eating massive amounts of food either. That came later.

Enter track. *That* certainly helped some, and a bout with the Asian flu helped some more. When I finally came out the other side I was 5' 6", and 120 pounds. A little too thin, and my track coach fed me a milkshake a day to put some weight *back* on me. Healthy, not necessarily, but I needed some calories back in my system when I couldn't fully handle a good solid meal so that I had something to burn when I ran. And it helped, along with the much larger amounts of food that I was putting away (much like how I did *before* I got big). I got out of high school at just shy of 5' 7" and 122 pounds. It took 2.5 years, a bout of a flu that landed me in the hospital, and some really good support from a really good coach (may his soul be resting in glorious peace). I don't recommend the course of action I took because that flu really just drained me quicker than it should have. Definitely not a healthy way to lose weight.

But see... it was 2.5 years of hard work. I went through it again, to a slightly lesser extent about 5 years ago, when I hit 142 pounds, and it was all around my thighs and rear end. That got walked off via a two mile walk at lunchtime every day. I decided to beat the weight gain to the punchline when I got my latest responsibilities two years ago, and knew I'd be sitting all day. That's when I joined Curves and I've worked hard at it every time I go in - 4 times a week.

But back to DH. He's never been down that road, and I know he wants to avoid the rotund body shape that his mother, his father, his father's brother and sister, and his own brothers and sisters have adopted (to varying degrees). Recently he's taken to commenting that he'd really like to ask those of a fluffier nature (he doesn't use those words) why they persist in doing this to themselves, and it's starting to really bug me. I know that he won't do it, because he'd be putting himself (and us) at risk for being accused of or sued for harassment, but it bugs me nonetheless. The other day at the park he mentioned that he'd been wandering around the mall and had noticed two rather large women sitting at a bench that could have held four people easily, and they were eating something from Cinnabon, or some other junk food place. He told me that he wanted to ask them why they were doing this to themselves. Personally, I think he might have a death wish.

Before anyone says he's going to have a lack of impulse control, stop right now - he's a bright guy, and anyone who has met him knows that he is very likely to *not* do this. But the fact that he's articulating it is bugging me. Not because he says he's tempted to do this, but the scope of what he's saying. It's as if he's more concerned with outward body image rather than inner personality and self worth. He's not looking for women to starve themselves either, because I know he knows that that isn't healthy. Healthy people eat well, they eat balanced diets, they look good - not like living skeletons walking the earth. But something just isn't right about this.

Now I've known quite a few fluffy people in my life, in person and over the 'net. And they all range from having low self-esteem and low self-worth, to being perfectly happy and confident with themselves, to having a grand old time because they love themselves more than anything else in the world. Some embrace their weight, some hate it, others simply don't care. There's no rhyme or reason to it.

Some have weight problems because of their thyroid and can't find a medication that allows for stability while letting them be thin too. Some have other medications for other problems that trigger weight gain - or prohibit weight loss. Steroid based medications count among these. Some have issues with their metabolism - I knew someone who ate carrots and celery and salad and still couldn't lose the weight. It's not that they weren't trying - they were - it's that chemically and biologicially they just couldn't lose the weight.

I work out with someone at Curves who in the two years we've both been coming through, she's barely lost 10 pounds. And she's a big woman. BIG. She works out, she sweats copious amounts because she's working those machines, she's been on the special Curves diet. And it's not working for her - she's going to her doctor in a couple of weeks to discuss this and find out what's going on. I know DH reads this, and I suspect he's probably thinking she cheats on her diet. I couldn't speak to that, but I see how hard she works out, and how much she wants to be thin like me (her words) and she strikes me as a woman with a mission, but the gold ring is out of unexplainable reach.

There are some who are just fat and lazy - they don't care, they want the closest parking spaces so that they don't have to haul themselves across a parking lot any further than they have to. I can understand that - sometimes I feel that way too and I'm not lugging around an extra person's worth of weight on me. Or even half a person's weight.

There are others that I know who are happy being big. There are men who love big women, and they're all ok with that. The men are happy, the women are happy. I'm happy they're happy. I don't think my DH would be happy, but he's the one who once said he really likes aerobics instructors rear ends. I will *never* have a rear end like an aerobics instructor no matter how hard I work because, simply, I don't attend enough aerobics classes to warrant earning a rear end like that. I don't like aerobics classes anyway and don't take them. I won't have a rear end like that, and I'm OK with it. Ah, but I digress. Some big people are happy being big because they've taken that on as part of their identity.

But I'm frustrated. DH really wants to know why people don't take care of themselves - why they continue to eat what they eat, and do (or not do) what they do and let themselves gain weight, get flabby, be FAT. I've given explanations that run all over the board, and he gives extremes in the other direction. There isn't a happy medium about this, and I feel like everything I say is written off as a lazy excuse - because there *is* no excuse.

You can work on your metabolism with exercise. You can find another medication that won't cause weight gain (nuh-uh, sometimes you *can't* because of other side effects or because of non-effectiveness or reactions - there are no wonder drugs). You can always eat better - get rid of the junk and that's half the problem.

Considering some people don't make bunches of money, "the junk" is what they have to afford. Eating well is expensive. Sometimes there isn't time - for the shopping, for the cooking, for the exercise. Make the time? Oh sure - easier said than done. But if you're truly motivated to this goal of losing weight you *would* find the time....

Maybe he saw those two women at the mall when they are early in their diet cycle - maybe this was their free day, maybe they were even bigger before. Maybe not. Maybe they had a loss in willpower - it happens to the best and the rest of us. But the response to that is sometimes that if they had any willpower in the first place, they wouldn't look like that.

You're hearing the argument spin round and round. Yes, I'm being a little hard on DH, and I'm not quoting him verbatim, but these are the things he and I have gone round about over the past few years about people who are big. And I just give up, because he's got a valid point - if you're dedicated, you can find the time. But it's easy to slip up, and it's easy to get frustrated, and it's oh so hard when you work and work and work at it and *nothing* happens except a weight gain and no muscle development to go along with it. Especially when you've been at it for a long time. Throw a medication on top of that that makes it harder to lose, or impossible to lose, and you're sunk before the boat hits the water.

I'm not taking a poke at my fluffy readers, or my fit ones. I need to get this off my chest. I've been there. I have friends who have been there, who are there now, who don't care where they are with it because they're HAPPY. I'm just trying to vent a little, and try to grasp at some sort of understanding why DH seems so focused on those who are fluffy.

Asking someone why they're so fat, or why they (seemingly) aren't doing anything about it, is rude and insensitive. Talking about it behind their backs is just as bad, and thus, I offer my apologies again to all my fluffy readers (and my formerly fluffy ones, and the not fluffy ones too) for going on about this subject in such a way. I'm not comfortable with the topic when DH starts in on it because I feel like he's going after some of my friends. I know that's not the actual case, but those are the dangers of generalizing things like this. In all honesty, I'm wondering where this fixation over those who are fat/overweight/badly out of shape is coming from.

I don't know how to gracefully exit this topic, nor do I think that this has been put together in anything resembling organized thinking. I just needed to dump this all out and let y'all play with it. The End.