Friday, November 14, 2014

Notes On Feeling Fat

Notes On Feeling Fat






            I did something that took some nerve yesterday.  I looked at myself naked in a full length mirror.  Frontal and side view.  I’ve avoided doing it for years and I finally got tired of being such a coward and did the deed.  I looked.
            It was disturbing but also liberating.  I’m sixty five years old; age is happening to my body. I won't be one of those people who cling to youth with frantic denial. I want to enjoy being a cranky old man who groans and says "Fech!" Things could be much worse.  All the flab has settled around my mid-section, leaving my shoulders, arms and legs looking okay..  I weigh two
hundred and stand five foot eight.  I “carry my weight well”, so I’ve been told.  I’m not a waddling fire plug.  I’m more like a bear or a gorilla.  These creatures don’t have tapering waistlines.
        It’s the fault of the medications.  That’s what I tell myself.  The medicines changed my metabolism.  I got heavy after I started taking the medications for my leg neuropathy and ...all those other things.
Forget the compulsive bed-time eating, the appetite for Reese’s Pieces and
Nestle’s Crunch.  Never mind the yum yum indulgence of putting peanut butter on Ritz Crackers and tossing down half a roll.  I ride a bicycle every day, three sixty five.  I know, you hate me.  I also do a daily yoga practice.  I know, you hate me even more.
            It’s a case of good disciplines counteracting bad habits.
            I am a disciplined compulsive.  Is that a paradox?  Try living with it.
Is anyone else like this?  Is anyone locked in a struggle between the rational and irrational parts of themselves?  I’m killing myself while saving my life.  I’m a suicidal yogi health food candy addict.  
            I practice aerobic “spinning”.  I sweat hard and push myself until I’m panting .
            My treadmill test indicated that I am free of heart disease.
            How do I live with myself?
            Tolerantly.  Very tolerantly.
            Am I the only baby boomer with a past full of addictions and recoveries?
Am I the only sixty-something with chronic pain in at least two parts of my body?
Am I the only man who feels conned and imprisoned by the pharmaceutical companies because I have to take meds for blood pressure, depression and physical pain?  These meds have saved and restored my quality of life.  They’ve also made me a prisoner.
            I feel as if I’ve loaned out my body as a lab rat and everything will stay cool as long as I keep running on the treadmill.
            My belly’s been large for twenty years.  I’m a husky strong man.  What will body shame get me?  Nothing.  Avoiding my reflection in the mirror is absurd., I don’t know what I really look like.  Each gaze into my reflected image is so loaded with ingrained value judgments, fantasies and delusions that it’s pointless to obsess on my appearance.  I just don’t know and never will know what I look like.  Furthermore, I don’t look the same to any two people.  Nothing does!  So what the fuck?
            I’ve made a deal with my belly.  I talk to it.  Belly, I say, you are a part of me, you are a product of genetics, lifestyle and a thousand other factors.  You and I will have have to get along.  Let’s be friends.  It’s obvious you’re not going anywhere.
            So, belly, how ya doin’ today?  No pain?  That’s good.  Let’s go for a ride.