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May 31, 2005

The Divorce Diet; or Why Am I So Fat?

Last week I did a little math and I discovered something interesting.

On that particular day, a very normal day in my life, I had ingested 60% of my daily calories from wine.

The other 40%? That came from jalepeno potato chips and french fries. People, I am on the wine and fried potato diet and it is scaring me.

When most folks go through a divorce they join gyms and go on diets and lose weight and this is, I suppose, what they call The Divorce Diet. It's all about looking your best in the face of adversity, because getting thin is the best revenge or some crock of shit like that. Yet me? I am apparently revenge-free. I do nothing in the right order. Can't even get on the Divorce Diet bandwagon 'cause I am stuck on the whine and wine wheelbarrow.

Truth time: Since my husband moved out, I have gained not ten, not twenty, but nearly forty pounds, and friends? I am Fat.

True to my Live Out Loud creed, I work the fatness into conversation (as if by acknowledging it I can minimize it.) (I can't.) I just say it a lot when talking, pre-emptively. As in, "Well, ya'll know, I don't like those small claustrophobic yarn shops because I'm fat and might knock something over like a bull in a china shop. Watch out, Rowan, here comes Laurie's ass!"

It's a weird way of claiming something, out loud, before someone else does. I point out The Obvious before others get a chance to mention it. This is Defensive Driving 101, as applied to weight gain.

I wish this weren't the case. Because as much as I like this living out loud thing, and I do, I'd really prefer to keep The Fat a secret. In the last year of marriage I was dreadfully unhappy but dammit, I hid it! I was so good at hiding and lying -- to myself and others -- and pretending. Of course, when you get divorced people start to figure out that maybe it wasn't Leave-it-to-Beaver-land at your house. But if you don't talk about it, that shameful word divorce, neither will they. WEIGHT IS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT BALLGAME. People think they can stand next to you, and even though they weigh barely as much as you yourself did in the 4th grade, they complain (incessantly) about how fat they are. "I'm so fat! How will I ever squeeze into my size zero jeans!?" (Note to self: Zero? That's a size?)

And if you manage not to snatch them baldheaded or smack 'em with a bat flap or shove a Snickers bar up their nether regions, then you are considered A Good Listener. And also, still you feel undeniably Fat.

And fat? It's relative. It's all in how you feel. What's "fat" to me and my body may look good to someone else, and what's fat to a size zero, well, OK ... I don't understand that, but I do know what it feels like to have an I'm Fat attack. It's a feeling, not a number on the scale.

I have struggled with my weight my whole life. Not a little five- or ten-pound struggle, but the true gain/lose 40 pounds a year struggle. I wish it were a private battle, like scabies or acid reflux. (You know I like to work scabies into every column.) But with weight you can't hide your issue. You can't say to folks you haven't seen in a while, "Oh yeah! That! It's not my ass. I am just hauling around a compost heap for a friend. Junk in the trunk, hah hah!" Or "Oh! Don't think I've become fat. No, no. I haven't. What you see there is just my polar insulation. I'm very cold in the new office and need 72 layers of clothes to keep warm."

So, you know, people can tell. They can see The Fat.

Also, as a side note, why is it that people feel they can comment on your weight? I even catch myself doing it, and I am incredibly sensitive about weight. I have heard myself say, "You look so skinny today!" It's such a bizarre thing to remark upon. But if you had really bad teeth and started to get them fixed up, no one would dare bust out with, "Nice choppers you got there, darlin! They're looking whiter every day! Keep up the great dentistry!"

At any given time, 25 million women in America are on a diet. Starting tomorrow, I will be one of them. Not because I want Mr. X back, or because I think I have to be skinny to find a new man.

Frankly, I just don't want to die.


And ya'll, I don't want you to die either. Let's just live forever and piss people off. But I know we can't live forever on a gallon of wine and jalepeno potato chips. It's not healthy. And I can't fit into any of my clothes, and I have negative feelings about my body and I genuinely want to shove a Snickers bar into the face of the next 97-pound girl who tells me she's fat.

Obviously, this is not a healthy response. And I can't go to jail for assualt with a Deadly Snickers Bar because I'd look horrible in prison-issue orange.

So instead, I'm going on a diet. Not some crazy grapefruit and meatballs diet, just your basic "eat something other than McDonald's" diet. I may incorporate some of the "eat a vegetable that isn't fried" diet as well. My goal is to get the wine down to a healthy 10% of calories. If the planets align just so, I'm going to OH MY GOD maybe exercise. Maybe. (I haven't committed to that one yet.) Mostly, I'm just going to work on not feeling so bad about my body, and try to live forever. Both totally achievable goals. Don't you agree?

Posted by laurie at May 31, 2005 12:33 AM