Trigger warning for all sorts of things.
Have you ever noticed that every food in the world sounds mouthwateringly delicious most when you’re “dieting”?
I’ve also noticed that losing weight, or at least reaching a personal, idealized version of a body type that is an amalgamation of pop media and my younger self, takes forever, yet gaining all that weight took me about 10 minutes.
It’s funny because, during quarantine, I started eating dairy after over a year? I was dairy-free vegetarian for a long while before COVID happened and it was just too much stressful work to find dairy-free options on Amazon Fresh, or at the grocery store, whenever we managed to go.
I ordered pizza after hot, delicious extra-large pizza from my favorite pizzeria — one that I had only been able to order cheese-less veggie pies from for just as long to save the cows and save my skin from dairy-related reactions. It was worth it back then, but when we couldn’t even leave the house to get to the supermarket and buy my, admittedly posh, vegan food products, it was all too much to think about.
As I shoveled thick slices of za and family-sized orders of mozzarella sticks into my stoned face, and washed it all down with Diet Coke, I curse myself for not thinking about gaining any weight because this is not something that my metabolism has dealt with in the past. As stupid and snobby as that sounds. This is not a humble brag; I had no idea how to take care of myself because I was so used to eating whatever I wanted and never gaining a pound.
I didn’t exercise. I smoked every day as soon as the clock hit noon. We couldn’t go out two or three or four times a week to see our friends, or have dinner, or go shopping. This is New York City, and I don’t have my driver’s license because I walk and take public transportation basically everywhere. Now I was stuck at home with no other form of exercise to do, nor any semblance of how to start the diet and exercise process.
I was “working from home” back then before it was cool because I was putting my full-time into a horrible live stream. Once my roommates (and boyfriend) were at our apartment all the time as well, I utterly let myself GO.
And it was fucking amazing.
Until it wasn’t.
I was miserable in the skin and the exhaustion and this newfound heaviness that I felt was holding me back from feeling like my old self.
I stopped the live streaming because more than one person asked if I was pregnant. Not that there is anything wrong with being pregnant and live streaming, in my opinion. That’s good fet money. But I wasn’t pregnant and I couldn’t even lie about it because there was no milk to squirt out of my boobs at my camera for the perverts to enjoy.
Here I am now, 30 pounds heavier than I’ve ever been, thinking longingly at my high-calorie and decadent breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert Seamless orders and thinking to myself, HOW COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED?! Who did this to me?!
But it was me! I did this to me! 😭😹
I’m fixing myself. I get that I’m at an age where I have to work extra hard to look the way I want because of that retardant metabolism I mentioned, coupled with societal pressures and the company of all my beautiful friends, some of who have been gym rats for years and were (and still are) of pique physical perfection.
I don’t like when I say, “I’ve gotten so fat,” and someone responds that, “We all have.” Probably in the same way someone who has personally considered themselves “fat” for much longer is now hearing this from their friend who has never experienced “fat” before in her life. Perhaps they still think I don’t get it. Maybe some are even happy to see me bloated and obviously unhappy with my body in a schadenfreude just desserts against me? Pun intended.
Though I had already been hitting the elliptical I begged for as my birthday gift this year, my harshest wake up call came at my friends’ impromptu wedding. I didn’t buy a new dress, because my slim state-of-mind convinced me that I could squeeze into something the summer pre-COVID.
When that rainy Sunday came and I mustered up the courage to look into the closet I had been avoiding since before my friend texted me her nuptial details. I nearly cried when I looked through all the tiny, sparkly fabrics made to fit me at least 4 sizes ago.
I sucked it up and put on my 2020 New Year’s dress, spilling out from the top and bottom and feeling like a glamorous sausage in her flamboyant casing. Here I was, running late because I was trying to make sure everything stayed inside even if I had to move around. I was going to see everyone I hadn’t seen before we were all confined to our homes.
I would be in pictures.
At one of the most beautifully curated weddings I had been to, last minute, or otherwise, my self-esteem was in the toilet whenever I was in close proximity to my friends and my friends’ family members. And I was around everyone the whole time because the wedding was at their lovely, well-lit apartment. I just felt like everyone knew.
I plastered on a smile all the same and used my self-deprecating humor to get me through the evening. It wasn’t about me anyway, though I burned with embarrassment the whole time. I still haven’t looked at the pictures from the wedding. I am afraid to do so.
Then came Florida, where I essentially made the same error in the bikini department. HOWEVER, I prepared only slightly more, and bought a few dresses and a singular one-piece swimsuit in a few sizes up and saved myself similar shame in the perpetual 88 degrees-and-up.
Then I came back and ate everything before making my sudden trip to Austin. Also hot. Still “fat”. But this time I stopped caring because I knew my sister wouldn’t want to go out too much. And that really good vegan food I kept mentioning? I ate all of it. Every single day. And it was not low-calorie, either.
I brought one of those size-appropriate dresses to Texas with me and when I wore it to Cidercade… I was so bloated, I told my sis I hoped that no one asked why that pregnant lady was getting loaded on cider and yelling at the arcade machines.
Again, not pregnant, just bloated.
I tied a flannel around my waist and wore a now-too-small sweater inside the freezing barcade and acted confidently, even though I felt old and out of place amongst all the surprisingly multicultural array of adorable 20-something guys and gals.
Now I am back in New York and taking control of my own destiny, as I keep putting it. Counting calories and making my own dinners and getting my BP over 160 when I work out and walking to the store when it’s still sunny and playing with my cats more than ever and organizing everything in the apartment just to get off the couch and generally fucking starving everyday until Friday, designated Seamless day. Which means Pizza.
Because as much as I am disgusted with my new self when I look in the mirror, I’m not ready to quit that pizza just yet. 🙂