Let’s Get Fat

Let’s Face it- we live in a world where thin rules. No one wants to look at a fat person on television or in a movie. You know, what they say- the camera adds fifteen to twenty pounds. Hogwash! Fat is fat.

I’m not fat (hey!) nor am I thin. I’m somewhere in between. I look at pictures taken of me years ago, and yeah- I look thinner back then. You can see it in the face. I used to exercise like crazy, playing baseball, basketball, volleyball, tennis and jogging. Slowly, over the years, each one of the above went by the wayside and my weight edged up.

I used to be able to power walk a couple miles or so at a time; now, I take it as it comes with my bad left foot- the one with the swollen ankle that is here to stay. It’s come down to sitting on a stationary bike and pedaling away like a maniac while watching a live sports presentation or a show that has potential to keep my interest for at least an hour.

But then one day I discovered that too much extended session pedaling was putting too much pressure on my stomach muscles causing me undue pain and I ended up spending a couple of thousand dollars getting MRI scanned at the hospital. Lesson learned- next time ease up on the pedaling and don’t complain about the pain.

My brother Gary, the baby among the siblings, is in his mid 40’s and still thin. He likes to jog for several miles as long as his energy permits. But even he is now at that point in life where he wonders if all the knocking himself out is worth it. A favorite expression of Gary is- “let’s get fat.” There will come a time for him as I say to other younger people as well- don’t wish it on yourself. You’ll get there.

The other day I bumped into a lady friend in her mid to late 60’s, someone who lives in the condo building down the block. She looks positively anorexic. She is not proud of it. She says that her frequent chemotherapy treatments has caused her to loss of appetite. Her equally thin and drawn husband suffers from diabetes and pines for eating sweets which he cannot.

Then there was the fellow who made a living selling illegal tax shelters and ended up spending some time in federal prison. He went in chubby, came out nice and svelte. Our paths crossed a couple of months after he was released and he still looked fantastic. I asked him why he didn’t go back to binge eating. He replied that he had been disciplined to eat only when hungry. So, I took up that mantra. It didn’t help as I found out that I was always hungry.

This obsession with weight brings about mind games. After each successful visit to the bathroom I try to convince myself that it is okay to once again eat like a pig. Or on a day that I decide to take a water pill and spend the next four hours being drained of excess liquid, I am confident that half a bottle of pop will do no harm.

The worst thing you want to say to a tailor when you buy a new suit is “let it out” but then you remember that you are doing this because when you bent down the other day while wearing your one good suit, the pants split in such a way that it was best to just turn it into expensive rags.

I can look down and tell you the color of my belt but that’s only because I memorized it before putting it on and besides- who is going to wear a brown belt with black pants? Yes, I remember when my waist was a 34 and considered anyone who was a 38 just plain fat. Now, I don’t trust anyone under 38.

Dad couldn’t walk and let alone stand the last few years of his life cooped up in a long term care facility but he sure could eat. That was his pleasure. He had no restrictions- he was not diabetic. Well, he did have one eating problem as time went on. He couldn’t eat anything hard- it had to be ground up or otherwise he would choke. He suffered from aspiration pneumonia. He didn’t lose weight. He looked the same as ever until the last few months when he got cancer of the bladder. That was not on his diet plan but then he wasn’t given a right to make a choice.

I’m in the middle of this quandary. Do I want to look corpulent, to be obese or a moving, breathing piece of blubber? Heck no! Can I get back to that size 34 waistline? Fat chance.