Reality Check

Today, I got a reality check. When I weighed in at the gym three weeks ago, I wasn’t happy about what I saw. Today, I REALLY got a reality check at my first Weight Watchers meeting at work. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I gotta keep it real, because that’s my promise to you, reader. That’s what blog is for. I’ve gained about 9 pounds back out of the 12 I’ve recently lost. Ugh. It sucks. But I can’t sit here and whine and pretend that I don’t know why it happened. It happened because I celebrated the end of my semester with delicious things like Bailey’s Irish Cream, and because I ate gooey brie cheese on top of triscuits at midnight while playing Monopoly. It happened because I took a break from the treadmill in favor of my couch, and because I got so wrapped up in buying gifts and taking finals and traveling and sleeping and this and that, that I forgot about the real goal.

What’s the silver lining? The silver lining is that it’s never too late to start over – and today, I started over. I am committing to you, to this blog, and most importantly, to myself, that next week I will have lost some weight. It doesn’t matter if it’s half of a pound or four, but next week, the scale will be ticking downwards. It has to be. There’s no better time than now – while I have the support of my co-workers as we all battle the bulge together, and while I have the clean slate of a fresh new year

. I’m going to be tracking my points on my iPhone, and working out at least three times a week. I’ll use my little sticker calendar plan to chart my work outs, and I’ll drink more water. I’ll try to avoid snacks as a remedy for stress, and more than ever, I’ll use this blog as an outlet. I have to do this, because I realized with some remorse the other day, that every year, my resolution is the same. To lose weight. Next year, I don’t want the same resolution. I want to do this now, while I’m young and sparky. Several of my more “mature” friends have warned me that it’s a million times better to shed the weight now, so I gotta do it. I must. I can. I will.

What was the last reality check you had about something you’ve been avoiding, ignoring or had just plain forgotten about?

Stop Eating, Fatty

You know how sometimes you get hungry, and you eat something? Well, after an eight hour work day and a three hour class with no dinner break, I was starving. So I walked over to the local burger joint and hooked myself up with a small paper tray of delicious beer battered onion rings and a juicy cheeseburger. Yeah, not exactly ‘diet’ food, but it’s real life, and real life can’t always be diet-friendly. As I walked with my friend Virginia back to the bar where we were meeting my friends, I ripped an onion ring out of the bag and animatedly began to eat it, because I’m a silly person, and that’s what silly people do. I believe I was eating it in a Cookie Monster type of fashion, while saying “NOM NOM NOM!”. Yup. That’s me. As I ate this onion ring, a truck drove by, rolled down their windows and yelled out “Stop Eating, Fatty!” I froze. Did I really hear what I thought I heard? No. Couldn’t be me. Why would someone say that? As my brain processed the thoughts and I verbalized them to my friend, she insisted that’s not what she heard, but I’m pretty sure I heard what I heard. “Stop Eating, Fatty.”

Lucia with the infamous cheese burger. At least it had a wheat bun!

Let’s let it sit for a minute. Just words. Three words. No big deal. Wrong. Big deal. My strong, barbed wire façade came crashing down, and my formerly invisible shield of armor had a serious dent in it. I’m a pretty confident overweight person, and I carry my weight well, so I really don’t get insulted a lot by people based on my looks – at least not to my face. This hurt. It stung. So I have this to say to the young man that yelled at me from his truck: Screw you.

I hope the fleas of 1,000 camels infest your armpits. I hope the next time you entertain a lover in the bedroom, they point and laugh in shock when you drop your drawers. I hope you one day realize how your heartless, cruel comments carry more weight than just a funny thing to laugh at with your “homies”. I hope you realize that the person on the receiving end of your immaturity has feelings, emotions and real world struggles. Guess what? This fatty didn’t stop eating. She finished the damn onion rings, and the cheeseburger too – because fat people still need to eat. Contrary to popular belief, we can’t just stop eating and hope that the fat melts away like a blubbery iceberg in the summer.

Fat people aren’t emotionless. We’re not giant masses of cellulite so preoccupied with our next meal that we can’t stop and feel the pain of an insult. My fat doesn’t protect me like a shield from idiots with open windows who decide it’s fun to yell at random pedestrians. I hope you know that behind this fat body is a tender, beating heart; as alive and vulnerable as the tiny one of yours that cowers inside your illusion of coolness. It’s not “cool” to make fun of people. It’s not funny. It’s not brave. It’s appalling, and I sincerely hope Karma meets you quickly for a follow-up to this encounter. You should know I finished my onion rings, and while you hurt my feelings, I won’t shed a single tear for you or toss and turn at night. And I will absolutely not stop eating – because this fatty doesn’t take orders from anybody.


One good thing about this blog, and one of the reasons that I started it, is I realized that I wanted to blog on a topic in which I would have a never-ending stream of things to write about. Not all of them are funny, like I had hoped, given my blog’s name and tagline, but all of them are honest and hopefully evoke a little emotion inside of your heart. Tonight’s post is kind of a bummer, and I apologize for that – but if I’m going to be completely honest in my little space on the internet about my weight loss quest, I need to be willing to bare some of these difficult details.

OMG! A bathing suit shot of me surfaces on the internet! Scandalous @ 11 years old.

I must have been 11, or maybe 12 years old. I was wearing the biggest size in the junior’s jeans – i think at the time, a 14 or a 15 depending on the brand. They didn’t make Junior Plus back then – it was just juniors, and if you were too fat for that, Misses. It was a precarious thing to try on jeans because I was burdened early on with blooming hips and often left dressing rooms in tears, cursing my full, changing body.

I recall after a particular shopping trip coming home from the store and craving a popsicle. My Nana was visiting from Tennessee and I remember her leaning back in the recliner as I came in the door. She was just the type of grandma you imagine in movies – heavy, but in the squishy old lady way, with tight gray curls and a never-ending supply of lifesavers and tic-tacs (for her diabetes). My Nana was a shocker because she looked like any sweet grandma on the outside, but when she opened her mouth, unexpected swear words would fly out of her pink-lipsticked mouth.

My beloved Nana and Uncle Larry in Georgia

“What are you doing, Lyss?” she called from her recliner, curious about the immediate opening of the refrigerator so soon after I arrived home. “I’m just getting a popsicle,” I replied, tearing the cold stick out of the waxy paper, happy that I had found an orange one amidst all the leftover red ones. My favorite flavor was green – for lime, but those always went fast in a house of three kids.

“Are you sure you want to do that?” she said.

I looked down at the popsicle, not sure why anyone WOULDN’T want to eat a popsicle – cold, refreshing, easy to carry, quick to eat. “Why?” I asked back, at this time licking the melting juice from the bottom of the stick.

“Well,” she said, her voice distinctively trailing off.  “You’re getting kind of chunky.”

I froze. “Chunky” is a word reserved for a type of soup. Not pretty, 11-year-old girls with wavy blonde hair who win school-wide spelling bees and play flute in the concert band.

I felt the instant welling of hurt inside of me, churning upwards like vomit in my throat. I can’t remember what I did after this, but I’m pretty sure I went upstairs and cried – cried to my little 11 year old self for being a big fat failure and for not being able to resist a popsicle. Despite my Nana’s warning, I remained chunky.

It’s hard writing about this, because I know I WAS chunky. What was hard about it was the way it was presented. I know my Nana didn’t mean to hurt me, and this post isn’t about a “Mean Grandma”. She also battled her weight and had lots to lose. I try to put myself in her position, to think about what I’d say to my future daughter or granddaughter if their life was so quickly mirroring mine, one headed towards the grim and painful path of obesity. It’s things like this that make me so afraid for when I have children, because their worldview can be so easily melded depending on the lessons you teach them.

If I was my Nana, would I have said it a little differently? Would I have waited until there WASN’T food in my hand, albeit a 50-calorie popsicle? Would I have saved my concern for my parents, or rather had a frank discussion about exercising and healthy food? Might I have said, “Have an apple instead”? Would I keep the popsicles under a locked box with a key, and have only frozen grapes instead? I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. She wasn’t saying it to hurt my feelings, she was saying it to try and prevent me from starting down the very path she herself struggled on so often.

If you have kids, or when you have kids, how would you handle it if they were getting a little chunky? Would you be so matter of fact and hope that bluntness would drive home the point, or would you approach it in a completely different manner? My father has always been very pragmatic and closed-mouth about his daughters’ weight, whereas my mother is quite a bit more blunt. Is a child’s perception of what a word means just that – THEIR individual perception, or is it the way the message is presented that carries the meaning?