Parents Need to Eat Too

Exile in Fatville

Exile in Fatville

After missing three consecutive meetings (two because of our Maine trip, and last Saturday we had a wedding), I finally went back to Weight Watchers today. I gained four pounds, bringing my net loss to—wait for it—half a pound. Since December. Right now I’m just fighting the urge to climb into bed, curl up in a ball, and stay there until I waste away.

I was prepared to have a gain—in fact, at the gym this morning, the scale showed that I’d gained six pounds, which would’ve made me heavier than I was when I started. So there is a teeny tiny upside to this debacle, but it’s so minuscule that I really can’t see it right now. I’m ashamed of myself, and embarrassed that I’ve told the whole world I’m trying to lose weight, driven poor S and all my friends crazy with complaints about my lack of progress, and yet for some reason I’m still unwilling to do the work required to change the situation. That’s what it comes down to: this is 100%, entirely my fault. There is nobody to blame but me, and that makes me feel like the world’s most colossal failure.

My journey to fatville started this time last year in Maine. S and I were on a 3-week honeymoon, driving around northern New England and stopping wherever looked interesting. Money was tight, so we ate a lot of local specialties in down-and-dirty Roadfood -type establishments. For S, this meant numerous lobster rolls, but for me, a non-shellfish eater, it translated into a boatload of fish and chips. In Rockland, Maine, we discovered Wasses’ hot dogs, and ate there probably three times during our week in the area. There was Polly’s Pancake Parlor in New Hampshire, and the tour of Vermont’s Lake Champlain Chocolates factory, complete with can’t-say-no bargain-priced seconds. I returned home eight pounds heavier than I left. Eight pounds in three weeks—I guess I should be grateful that this recent gain is only half as bad.

When we came home my clothing was already feeling snug. S’s was, too, but there’s something in his makeup—or more likely, his relationship with food—that helped him get back to fighting weight with little or no obvious effort. I, on the other hand, moaned about how fat I was getting even as I did nothing about it. And then I got pregnant—S and I started trying to conceive right after we got home, and miraculously succeeded in our first month. But there were problems, and I was put on 100% bed rest for nearly three weeks. I hated not being able to move around, and spent most of my time terrified for the potential baby inside me. And what do I do when I’m scared, bored, frustrated, and angry? I eat, of course. By the time I miscarried in late September, at 7 weeks, I was nearly fifteen pounds heavier than I was at our wedding. Naturally the mourning of our potential child encouraged me to eat even more, and by December, when I finally woke up from my sugar- and fat-induced haze, my gain was a solid twenty-three pounds.

These days I spend a lot of time mourning.

Mourning the hot wife my husband has been denied: The wedding we attended on Saturday was a college friend of his, and during the weeks leading up to it I railed at myself for not being able to fit into a single summer dress in my closet. I desperately wanted to be the hot chick I was a few years ago, to inspire jealousy in S’s friends, to make him proud. Forced to buy a dress, I bought something at Filene’s Basement that was still a size too small, since I’m unwilling to admit that I really am a size 16, and spent the day of the wedding uncomfortably anticipating the moment when I could unzip it and be free.

Mourning the pregnancy I lost and still haven’t accomplished a second time: In my head is a constant refrain of You’re fat and you’re still not pregnant. August 2 will mark one year since we started trying, and my weeks are filled with trips to the fertility doctor for jabs with a needle or ultrasounds, but never any good news.

Mourning the exhilaration I used to feel come summer, when I’d wear camisoles and breezy little skirts and know that men were gazing at me admiringly. This summer I won’t bare my arms if I can avoid it, and I’m quite certain nobody’s giving me the eye. The amount of sweat that pours out of me at this weight is shocking, absolutely shocking, not to mention embarrassing. Don’t even get me started on the discomfort that comes with wearing a skirt—the rubbing of the thighs, the constant sticky hotness.

I’d say that I’m writing this as a pledge to myself to do better, but it seems I’ve lost all confidence that such a thing is possible. Right now I’m just waiting for S to tire of my incessant complaints and weepiness, to stop finding me attractive enough to even want to make a baby. Honestly, I don’t know why I’m writing all this, but maybe it’ll help somehow.

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