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  • Adam 9:32 am on September 24, 2014 Permalink |
    Tags: fast, , , gallbladder, , juice fast, nearly dead, obese, , , sick, starving, surgery   

    Phase 5: Like “Really” Fat 

    I’d been heavy since I was a teenager so it never shocked me how fat I was. It comes on in stages, in waves and you don’t really think about it.

    There’s lots of little cues you start to see. Parts of you start sagging. Other parts jiggle. You feel more tired more quickly. Stairs become scary. You’re afraid to let people see you without a shirt. These things just slowly build up.

    I remember when my belt started bothering me. My belly hung over my belt buckle and because my jobs involved sitting a lot, my belly would press down into my belt buckle. It’s strange, I never really had the issue before, and suddenly my stomach hurt all the time. It would leave scratches and callouses on my stomach. I got used to the idea that every time I stood up, I had to brace myself for a sharp pain and pull my belt out of my stomach.

    Carrie commented one day that I had horrible skin where this occurred. I was so instantly ashamed that I snapped at her. “I KNOW” I would say with a hint of sarcasm. I would desperately try to draw her attention anywhere else.

    This was my body, I knew all its faults and features. She would stop talking about it but her eyes said plenty. God, what I wouldn’t give to wear a belt without a sense of fear. Every time I strap one on, and trust me at this weight you NEED one, I would shudder a little inside. I knew it would hurt later. I felt that I probably deserved it. I thought about switching to suspenders, but just the thought of explaining why the hell I looked like a 50’s nerd, sent me into paralysis.

    I tried juice-fasting. We watched the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, and it was fairly inspiring. It seemed like there was not only a way back from my condition, but a quick way back. I fasted the first time for 23 days and I lost 30 pounds in that time.

    I was so exuberant. 30 pounds. I don’t think I’ve ever lost 30 pounds…. ever. Inevitably, this proved to be a quick fix with a quick backlash. I started gaining some of the weight back. I hadn’t really learned to change anything. I just hoped that motivation alone would set me on the path.

    After a month or so I started having stomach pains. I ended up losing weight so quickly, I gave myself gallstones. Eventually after 3 trips to the emergency room I had to have surgery to remove my gallbladder and I was bedridden for days, barely able to move for weeks.

    I was terrified and in pain. Carrie was with me and beside me the whole time. I made it through and silently vowed not to juice fast like that again. Around this time I weighed about 340 pounds, dipping to a low of 330 around the end of the juice fast. Before I knew it, I was 350, 360 pounds. I was closer to 400 pounds than I was to 300 pounds.

    There’s something about nice round numbers that people love. 200 pounds, 300 pounds. These are milestones. If you pass 200 pounds, you’re getting unhealthy. When you cross north of 300 you’re definitively unhealthy. When you approach 400 you feel like human garbage. I watched the scale silently scream toward 400. Hell, I had to get a new scale because my roommate’s old one, only went to 350. That’s right, the scale didn’t even work for me anymore. Every time I thought about it I felt a deep and burning shame. That sometime as simple as ‘eating right’ and ‘being active’ seemed impossible, crippling, terrifying.

    As I hovered and fluctuated around 370, 380, I would try to focus on other things. I did improv comedy, I worked in journalism and writing. I laughed with my friends, went to the movies constantly. There wasn’t much I could do at that weight. So every few weeks I’d find myself, standing on shore while my friends went ‘tubing’ and hanging back while people walked ahead. Pretending constantly that I didn’t want to do things because they were boring, or tedious. When in fact I just didn’t trust my body to keep up. I got so ashamed that I couldn’t really even process it. I just ignored it. I’d have fits of shame almost daily but just tamp them down to avoid getting depressed.

  • Adam 6:23 pm on September 21, 2014 Permalink |
    Tags: background, backstory, , dad, family, , , , obese, , weight   

    Phase 2: I’m Fat 

    Yeah, I’m overweight. Some computer junkie cliché. I love technology, sitting, video games, pizza and offensive jokes. I’ve struggled with my weight since I was 18. I left my parents’ house where my alcoholic father made every day a dark guessing-game.  I took a job across the country, 3000 miles away in Florida. Once I was there I was alone, in my own apartment, making too much money and I had nothing to do. I ordered pizza every night I went shopping for beer and frozen meals. It didn’t occur to me at the time, but I had NO idea how to take care of myself.

    I just figured, “hey I’m alive right”? I have a bank account and shoes on my feet and food in my stomach. I’m not doing too bad…

    Over the course of a year I gained a lot of weight, and felt some of the deepest depression I’ve ever felt. I remember sleeping for 20 hours a day and feeling exhausted and going right back to bed. I just couldn’t cope with life. Eventually I was laid-off and forced to move back to California. Which was probably for the best. I saw the glances my friends gave me. My hair was different, I weighed about 40 pounds more than when I left. Most people were very accepting. They just shrugged and welcomed me back to my life. Then my Dad passed away.

    My Dad was a complicated guy with a hard life. He was big, sometimes mean, and assertive as hell. He was a mechanic, a carpenter, a man’s man and not someone to ‘fuck with’. He also had a huge sense of humor, he loved his wife and kids, and after a terrible accident he ended up developing a full blown alcohol problem. Toward the end he was guzzling a gallon of vodka a day, reminiscing fondly with me one minute and drifting off to stare accusingly at me and criticizing my life choices the next. He drank himself to death, which I think is what he had wanted for a long time. Just to get out.

    There’s a lot I need to work on about what happened to my father. I remember sleeping with a knife under my pillow, a 14 year old would-be hero. Ready to step in in case my Dad decided to hurt Mom again. I remember drinking myself almost to death in an effort to forget about the problems he caused in our family. I remember the shame of picking him up off the bathroom floor and realizing from all the blood and glass, that he wasn’t invincible.

    This isn’t about my Father, but I think it’s important to know. I loved him and he loved us, but his exit from this world was about one of the worst and most painful you could imagine.

    I was 18 going on 19 and I fancied myself an adult. I did what I thought an adult would do. I shut down. I didn’t cry, I tried to work, I smoked some pot and medicated myself. I tried desperately to get over it and to not think about it. Come to find out, I was pretty good at that.

    Of course during that year following this I was pretty much a mess. I don’t even know what I ate like at that time, but I’m sure it wasn’t good. When the dust finally settled I was worse off than ever. Something like 60+ pounds overweight, lost, confused, and lonely.

    There was a string of relationships, some as short as two weeks. With damaged girls. One night stands. Crazy fights and getting cheated on several times. Mostly I worked, I read a lot and I retreated into my computer, video games and the internet.

    Over the next few years there were some ups and downs. Times where I would try for a while and then backslide slowly. It got harder and harder to diet and work-out and while It always got worse – it was so gradual that I hardly noticed. I sort of came to accept being fat.

    It’s how everyone sees me, everyone knows me and for a bit there, I was even kind of OK with it. I still had fun, I still felt okay. I was just a ‘heavy’ guy.

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