I looked at the pie I made last night and I gained 8 pounds. Unbelievable. Normal people would say things like"Oh what's 8 pounds." But for me it was one of those, "I'll be back soon, I just need to go cry in the shower," moments.
I was the fat girl that looked Bruce Vilanch. It all started in 2011, during Facebook doppelgänger week. There're nothing more startling than the realization that the celebrity you look most like is a fat, male, comedy writer, with a closet full of ridiculous t-shirts.
Maybe I should start over. During the past 6 years, I've been trying to lose weight. I spent the first 3 years trying to get over my addictions to things like fast food, soda, frozen pizza, Snapple, ice cream and all easily prepared foods. I had also just quit smoking after 15 years. At the age of 30 I was 187 pounds. Which is something that people in the health care field generally frown upon if you're only 5'4. My solution was to start cooking more and trying to make better choices when it came to food. I tried cutting out meat and going the vegetarian route. It was a nice effort that lasted about 4 months, and then Thanksgiving happened. I'm clearly have no willpower and am a shitty vegetarian.
At the beginning of 2012 my fiancé became severely ill. I was trying to keep him company while he was out of commission, but one day I just needed to get out of the house. So I decided to take our dogs for a walk, one at a time. I chose taking them one at a time, because at that point they weren't properly leash trained and I was afraid that a 47 pound dog and a 75 pound dog would drag me down the hill. And what an ugly sight that would have been. I took our smaller dog around the block first. She was so thrilled to be out and about that she decided we should try to run from the corner of the street to our house, exactly one house down. I've never felt so winded and out of shape in all of my life. Panting, snorting, slobbering, all over the kitchen, and that was just me. I think it took me 40 minutes to recover, before I was able to take our other dog for his walk around the block. When I thought being pulled down a hill would be an ugly sight, it was no match for the terrific mess that returned after the second walk. I'm pretty sure that it was the most exercise that any of us had gotten in years. But I was proud, I did what I had set out to do. This was a great first step, it got me out of the house and it was helping the dogs to burn off some of their energy as well.
Walking soon became a part of our daily routine. When my fiancé recovered from his illness, he joined in and we began having our "family walk." I was still massively out of shape and would get completely winded by just the walk around the block. About 6 months into this routine I decided I needed to pair my eating habits and walking habits with one more for of exercise. I dug out our Nintendo Wii and set up the Wii Fit. The Wii Fit was designed not only for family gaming, but with fitness in mind. I began doing the basic Yoga on there and charting my weight and daily exercise routines. Just being able to visually see the progress I was making was probably the most helpful part. Seeing the chart go from obese to overweight was a giant step.
It was still 2012 and I was really in to watching RuPaul's Drag Race, and my favorite contestant of all time, Sharon Needles won season 4. Months earlier, a video on her website had encouraged people to be nicer to those with weight problems. For some reason this really resonated with me. If she could overcome the stigma of being different and achieve her goal, so could I. I vowed then and there to make a real change in my life. It was now the spring of 2013 and I had already come down 20 pounds from where I began, but I was bound and goddamned determined to shed it all. A week after my birthday I saw that a club in Rhode Island was hosting a meet and greet with none other than Sharon Needles. I was nervous about meeting her and when we met, I may have drunkenly blurted out something stupid that made her laugh. I may have also started talking about what a pivotal role she was playing in my weight loss. She congratulated me on accomplishment and encouraged me to continue on my path. Sharon Needles was such an inspiration to me, at that point that I knew what I had to do. The next week I joined a gym.
Over a 2 year period I have gone to the gym every other day. I've managed not only to get to a point where I don't get winded as easily, but I no longer pant, snort, slobber and sweat profusely during a workout. The Wii Fit chart went from overweight to normal. I lost 60 pounds. It was not easy. Keeping to a fitness schedule, charting that progress on the Wii Fit, and trying to do well with portion control and better food choices wasn't easy. I mean have you ever tasted a cannoli? Who wants to have an apple when there's fucking Gelato!
In the spring of 2015 I achieved my goal, and actually reached my BMI. Hell, I even made it 4 pounds under my BMI. At first I was proud of myself, however I noticed other people starting to resent me for it. People would make passive aggressive comments or they would say things that were unintentional insults. When someone would say "wow, you look so amazing now!" It would always seem like they were emphasizing on the "now," part and make me feel more insecure. I have had body image issues every since having my breast reduction surgery, back in 2007. Being big and top heavy was one thing, but after the surgery I thought I looked like the Grimace. Having everything even out should have been a huge boost to my self esteem, but it only reinforced my insecurities. Can't have anything nice.
So one of my problems is my need to self destruct. Hitting my BMI was a major achievement. However, it didn't come without consequences. One of the things I would do on a regular basis was to peruse the internet for new and fantastic dinner recipes. Since we were cooking more, I also took up baking. Because when you're looking for a good salad recipe on Pintrest and Carmel, chocolate, peanut butter-mousse pie, comes up; who can say no to that? Someone suggested that maybe this was a self destructive way to "test the bounds of reality," because of some subconscious guilt over the weight loss.
I kept up my routines, but would sneak in snacks. One of my biggest routine changes involved never eating after 9pm. In the fall my doctor told me I could stand to put back on a few pounds so I "don't start to look weird." Apparently, nobody in the doctor's office remembered my Bruce Vilanch phase. I allowed myself to have a little something now and again after 9pm. After Thanksgiving I went up 4 points from my BMI. It was the impending doom of winter, but I was certain anything I gained would be gone by April. Because of the unusually warm winter, I fluctuated up and down. It's May now. I was doing pretty well until last week. I still go to the gym every other day, and it's going on 3 years now. I don't know if it's stress or not being able to walk the dogs because of the cold and rainy weather or what? All I know is that last night I made that pie, and when I got on the scale after the gym today, there was an extra 8 pounds. I was beside myself. I don't know how it happened, but there it was. Unbelievable. Stupid self esteem! Stupid self destruction! Stupid fat! Stupid pie! Give me the stupid pie and let me go cry in the shower!
P.S. I hate ending this on such a down note. I feel like Dante, from Clerks talking about "life being a series of down endings." So here's a photo of me on New Years Eve of 2005, looking like Bruce Vilanch, wearing a shirt that says Fuck Me I'm Fat.