What is “Fat Kid Suit?”
When I first sat down to create this blog in October of 2009, it was part of my attempt to get at the origins of my never ending issues with food & drink. I had also gone “cold turkey” and wanted to write about all the horrors and wonders I was experiencing on my second attempt at a 100% raw food diet.
A distinct memory kept forcing itself into my head of me as a fat 12 year old sitting in church learning how evil I was, choking for air in my tight dress shirt and tie. It was a memory that I could feel, and it got me wondering, was I a fat kid wearing a suit, or a kid wearing a fat suit?
Dieting is tradition in my family. A tradition that sadly, we seem to relish.
My father is a lifetime free member of Weight Watchers because in the 80’s he lost over 100 lbs with the support of other “watchers” who applauded when he lost a few pounds and consoled him when the scale went the other direction. But after years of “meetings” and little gold stars next to his name on the group’s weekly goal sheet each week, he is currently scary obese and frequently turns to the Atkin’s diet in a panic. When he “goes off” his diet, my father gorges on food and always gains back more than he lost.
When my mother was a girl, she was poor and beautiful. She ate mostly pinto beans and potatoes, and during summer breaks picked tomatoes in the fields. She was tan, long-legged, and sinewy.
Now mom is obese. And worse, badly malnourished. How can that be? She had gastric bypass surgery (her stomach was stapled in order to “shrink” it) a couple years ago and it didn’t work. She manages to overeat despite pain and discomfort, yet most of the nutrients “bypass” her system and are never absorbed, resulting in chronic exhaustion. My mother is also frequently “dieting,” usually some attempt at calorie restriction, eating bland colorless foods.
I’m the oldest of five children, and all my siblings have struggled with extreme weight fluctuations as well, and each of us started dieting at very young ages.
My first diet was in the seventh grade, and I remember feeling it was both a fun game and a right of passage. My weight has been Helter Skelter since age twelve.
One day in the locker room after seventh grade P.E. class a much larger alpha male kind of kid took the tip off his aerosol deodorant can and thew the can at me. Because the spray tip was off, it stuck in my back like an arrowhead, creating a nasty puncture wound. As he threw the can he yelled out my name so everyone would turn, and then screamed “Where did you get that body? K-mart?” This is back when nothing was more insulting and embarrassing than K-Mart. Naked and humiliated I felt fat and stupid for being the object of so much disgust and laughter.
Since then I’ve been insect thin a few times and I’ve been as much as 80lbs overweight. As I type this tonight, I am frustrated to admit that when I weighed myself at the health food store today on a doctors type scale it read 254lbs. That’s approx 64lbs overweight for me, I look and feel great and healthy at around 190.
How I Got This Bad
A few quick stats to establish a baseline:
- I am a 36 year old male, 5’11”, and very dense whether I’m fat or thin.
- I’ve done a lot of things for work, but have spent the past three years bartending. Making a careful calculation of my alcohol intake, I realized I’m drinking over 100 alcoholic beverages PER WEEK.
- When I finally wake each day I race to the nearest Starbucks for a Venti Iced vat of delicious aromatic acidic black tar and an iced maple scone.
- Not surprisingly I frequently experience horrific acid reflux and wake in the night coughing and choking on my own putrid bile. Ironically, because I always fancied myself to be a health conscious person I avoid the little purple Prilosecs my father pops like candy and have tried my best to offset the drinking and poor eating with “natural treatments” (cold-pressed aloe juice and papaya chewables).
- For years I’ve done pretty well with eating decent healthy food, but I binge on frozen pizzas or Mexican food, especially when I drink heavily which is basically all the time.
- After reading John Robbins Diet for a new America when I was 18, I went totally vegan for almost 2 years. On a vegan diet, albeit not the healthiest version of one, I gained weight & felt awful. I think a lot of this was due to the fact that so many vegan foods are basically concentrated wheat gluten and processed soy products.
- Off and on over the years I’ve lost a lot of weight doing the Atkins diet but feel disgusting the entire time I’m doing it and rapidly gain the weight back.
- I’m no stranger to severe calorie restriction. One diet my brother and I experimented with had us each eating just one El Pollo Loco BRC burrito per day, and one Lean Cuisine frozen dinner each night (well under 800 calories a day), for several months.
- Another diet I’ve tried is “Eat Right For Your Blood Type.” I’m a type O so it was mostly red meat and vegetables. Weight loss wasn’t drastic, but I did feel pretty good.
- Two years ago while living in San Francisco, I got a sudden weird impulse. Eat 100% raw for one month. Which I did. It was the best I ever felt in my life. I had ridiculous, almost crackhead levels of energy, needed little sleep, was super productive, felt some kind of euphoric magnanimous benevolence, lost over twenty pounds in one month, 100% of my food/caffeine/alcohol cravings disappeared, and most importantly I was really happy.
- Soon after that month spent raw, some serious personal shit happened in my life, and since being fat & unhealthy is really about being out of control and is 99% a mental-emotional-head thing, I fell back into the yo-yo unhealthy world I was born into. Long story short, here I am back at a starting point. Realizing that I need to re-visit eating raw live foods, and see where that takes me…
Finally I’ve reached a point where I feel so dehydrated, toxic, and exhausted that I must wake from this strange stupor I’ve been in and have decided to make a radical change. Magazines and doctors warn against radical approaches to health, but in this situation I have to say; FUCK moderation! Seriously.
A chilling look into the mirror recently revealed one of those grotesque twins from Alice In Wonderland staring back at me. And that was with my clothes on! With my clothes off a horror movie unfurls before me too frightening to watch with my eyes open.
Here I am in Palm Springs California, and no way in hell am I accepting any pool party invitations looking like this!
I will be blogging about eating only raw food for 60 days straight. However, this blog isn’t strictly about raw foods or fat people. In fact, I have no idea if eating raw will be a permanent aspect of my life. But for now it’s my way of trying to get honest with myself about my state of mind, and my state of health. I want to be happy and I want to live authentically.
Can a raw foods lifestyle help me? Will I soon be able to look people in the eye and feel comfortable in my body and head again? Will I be free to take the fat kid suit off, and just be whatever I am underneath?