Growing frustration

It frustrates me how fat I feel these days.

Poundwise, I’m about the heaviest I’ve ever been. I first hit this weight in high school, but all through college was able to look back on this point as a (whew) anomaly. Since moving away from Berkeley, though (in other words in the past two years), I’ve been at that weight another two or three times. It’s a weight that no healthy 5’5” 24-year-old should be, and yet I don’t feel like I’m such a standout weight-wise (and I do hope I don’t look it, though I often fear I do). In high school when I was this heavy I felt constantly terrible and out of shape. Then, once grad school started, I wasn’t always quite so heavy but I still got that same feeling of sluggishness. These days, I’m not exactly doing a great job with eating and fitness, but I feel like I’m closer than ever to my ideal. I’m stronger than ever (though less flexible), I’m more mindful than ever of my eating habits, and my fitness routine is more successfully self-motivated (i.e., not through a class) than ever before.

So why do I still feel so fat?

It’s so frustrating, when I think of all the things I’m doing, and how I still feel like such a fat-ass. I’m wearing big clothing sizes, and my stomach sticks out so much (except first thing in the morning) that I’m always afraid I look pregnant. All too often, I’ll look in the mirror and all I can see is how much my body jiggles and how ponderous it feels. I guess what bothers me so much is how different my mirror image looks from how I feel. I feel like a strong, beautiful, healthy young woman; until I look at myself, I feel great. But when I look in the mirror , I see a flabby, bulgy, rotund woman who looks to be rapidly heading into her thirties. (It’s true – in only slightly less trendy clothing, I look like a thirtysomething schoolteacher. I’ve tried it.)

What keeps me down, and what might help me out? Two things to consider here are food and perseverance.

I was talking to dear Maggie the other day about how I feel about my body, and she said she’d be sad if I ever became skinny because that would mean I’d lost my passion for food. At first I sort of didn’t like to hear that, but it didn’t even take a minute for me to decide she was right. I love food – I don’t need to tell you this – I love love love it, and what’s more I’m very good at making it. There’s no call to hide it; it is one of the ruling passions of my life. And since I can’t seem to control it (and I’m not certain I’d really want to), I can’t expect to get slim with such an obsession. And anyway, as Maggie rightly points out, I wouldn’t really want to be skinny. I haven’t been skinny since I was a child, and were I to return to that state I don’t believe I’d know myself.

1990 approx. Lisa's dance portrait

I’d be satisfied to just be fit, and not feel like such a fatty anymore. Plus, I think my personality is better suited to a little padding, don’t you?

But that brings us to the second item, which is perseverance. It’s obvious I’m not going to be able to stop fattening myself via my food intake, though I do try not to be gluttonous. So that leaves exercise. I like to move, once I get going, but I have a tough time getting started, especially when I’m doing poorly at time management (which is often) and have thus tricked my brain into thinking I don’t have time to exercise.

I often wish I were one of those people who could translate my self-fat-loathing into a strong motivation to work out, but I’ve long since given up on that. So instead I just have to push myself and push myself to keep exercising, even just a little bit whenever I can, and I have to trust that I will see results. This is the hardest part. I have actually seen a positive change since Erik and I started taking more regular walks, but I still feel so fat it’s very hard not to just get discouraged and give it all up. I can see the teeny-tiny changes, but on an everyday basis it’s just hard to believe a half hour of walking on level ground is going to have any effect… particularly since I can’t ever seem to turn down dessert when I’m offered it.

Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and I just can’t believe I’ll ever lose any of this fat. I feel like it’ll be with me forever, until I decide to sacrifice my baking skills (which will be never), increasing in size by the week, until I’m too big to wear nice clothes or ever feel attractive anymore while walking down the street. I’ll just keep getting older and fatter and older and fatter.

I know I need to have more determination, but it’s just so hard for me to keep it going. Case in point: today I had a light lunch and a smallish dinner and no snacks in between, which was great and very restrained of me since I resisted many opportunities to eat… then I followed this all up with chocolate fondue and palmiers for dessert. And I didn’t have a chance to exercise at all today. I know one fondue and palmier won’t kill me, but the point is I just can’t seem to help myself…

I’m so tired of being fat but I don’t have the will to stick a tougher regimen but I don’t want to be fat for the rest of my life! Aaaarggghh!

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]