Friday, March 25, 2011
My family is fat. My father has a gut that has many wonder if he has a conjoined twin under his shirt. My mother is so large she rocks back and forth and to-and-fro like a tugboat. My sister has been blessed with an ass that looks like two Great Danes fighting under a blanket. My grandfather's heart exploded and he croaked on the spot. My other grandfather blew a vessel in his brain and checked out three days later. And we all eat like it's a spectator sport, spend lots of time talking about our next meal while we're still finishing the one in front of us and spend an inordinate amount of time discussing, planning, preparing, fantasizing, researching and negotiating the very next time something edible can be placed in our mouths.
I'm no exception. I was a chunky kid who had the physique of a fire hydrant. I was a piss poor athlete but affable, mostly kind and a joker. I was on the heavy end of the bleachers, but there was always a fatter kid than me. Luckily, my social life progressed normally and my physical limitations didn't really hold me back. Although I showed little promise, I'd made half-hearted attempts at organized sports from time to time, ran track but didn't letter and was once told I ran the hurdles so slowly it looked like I was setting them back up after I knocked them over. And like all fat kids, I loathed the swimming pool. My shimmering corpulence ashamed me to the core, I spent more time sitting alone in the shade with a towel over my shoulders artfully splayed over my girth than I did in the pool. Normally outgoing my nakedness muted me in the hopes that I'd fade into the background.
I had two great slimdowns. In my very early twenties, I studied abroad. Poverty compressed my torso. There was very little food I could afford and didn't have much of a recreation budget to do anything other than exercise. I also found, the more weight I lost the more I got laid. I wager few mortals will find a greater motivator. With a 30" waist, broad shoulders and hard-won aerobic stamina, I met my first big love who was a professional athlete and former Olympic trainee. For years, we stayed toned and made exercise and nutrition a priority.
Heartbreak was also good for my waistline. Already in pretty good shape, I went down to 140 pounds at 5'10" and bought the smallest pair of jeans of my adult life. My behavior became destructive though and as my heart healed gym time was exchanged for bar time. Inch by inch, pound by pound my body began to swell like a corpse in the desert sun. Beer by beer, my ass became jigglier, wing by wing my gut became softer, pizza by pizza my face became rounder...