Part 2…Young and Reckless
Well, my family left the states and went to live in Germany. I went to a German-American high school for the last two years. It was quite good but not very interested in athletics. Possibly it went ‘too far’ into the other direction. The only thing we had was a ‘sort of’ PE class where we mostly skived off, and Bundesjugendspiele – a German national youth games that you did sports and stuff as a whole school. Most of my friends (and I finally got friends) were rail-thin from excessive partying, or like me, a bit plump, but either way, not too physically active. Or were we? Unlike the US I did walk a lot in Germany because I didn’t have a car, while the city had great public transport. I’d think nothing of walking to the U-Bahn (metro), then all around town shopping, coming home with my feet on fire. I did take tennis lessons but would whine that they began too early and dropped them. Or my dad, who was taking them with me dropped them. Or let me. I don’t remember.
Ah but then I got a car and my walking days were essentially over. Oh, I’d go from the car park to the office or the shops but I was very good at finding the stores with underground or roof-top parking. I still would do things that would leave me half dead now; visiting my friend deep in the medieval heart of Tuebingen, where it wasn’t practical to drive, for example, but don’t believe everything you may hear about how Europeans walk more than Americans do; it’s perfectly possible to live just as sedentary life there as here. Harder to walk in the US though, I guess, with the lack of sidewalks, etc.
So we came back to the US and I was still able to buy my clothes in ‘normal’ stores. Off to finish up my college and again, I did walk more than now, but not much. And nobody was pushing me to do sports; I had no close friends who were athletic, and please remember — I had no clue what to do but I did enjoy my freedom to do nothing, so nothing is what I did. And of course, with a job and a car, you can literally eat 24 hours a day. I didn’t but I didn’t really deny myself much. This was a time when some issues with my family were really coming to a head and I was pretty much miserable and unhappy for many years. And I grew; this is the time I think when I went from ‘chubby’ to ‘big.’
The messages I was sending myself really sucked. I started hanging out at Girth and Mirth, a club for large men and their admirers, and found a lover who liked me for my fatness (and maybe niceness too). Now, I have to figure that’s like being turned on by somebody either suicidal or at least very sick, but there you are. I wasn’t alone. Well, then he left me and I was alone and I didn’t even have his eyes to watch over me and tell me I was eating too much (not that he ever did). I was extraordinarily sad and depressed and ate quite a bit. Since I didn’t hurt and could fit in my car, I didn’t bother much about it. I considered it ‘freedom’ to deep fry crap and ‘liberty’ to eat vast amounts of dessert all the time. If only I’d known. (That seems really on looking back to be a theme.)
Time went by and I really didn’t want to admit any consequences to my behaviour, nor to my indulgent overeating. Oh, well. I frankly didn’t care. Professionally there was quite a bit of turmoil in my life at this point, and financially as well, and I went from not having the money to buy food, not eating nearly every dinner out, at Denny’s, where I was famous for my order of battered deep fried chicken strips with french fries and french fries (eeeewww who wants those nasty vegetables?).
Wound up moving to Northern Virginia, where I equated “ethnic food” with “good food” and ate a lot of it. Especially delivered; it was classy and in, so it couldn’t be bad, right? Life was pretty empty then, I had my friends but I was still on my butt financially and emotionally.
And then came the winter of my content. I was working in an office with a real buffster, a winner of the Army bodybuilding championship and I finally asked him to design a weight training routine for me. He agreed and I was doing push-ups and sit-ups and riding the recumbent bike. My longest time was 45 minutes. I also adopted a very low fat diet. I ate nothing that had less than 3 grams of fiber per serving, no red meat, hardly any chicken, some fish, etc. And I lost eighty pounds. I was feeling really good. I remember one time I stood up to get out of my car at the shopping center, but my jeans didn’t stand up. They stayed where they were and I had to hold them up I’d lost so much so fast.
I joined Overeaters Anonymous and that was a bit of a help, maybe mostly because it kept my attention focussed on what I was doing. I remember feeling so self-involved (in a good way) – I lived, breathed and ate weight-loss, abstinence and low-fat. When I went to my mum and dad’s for dinner, I brought my own food (vegetable casserole, brown rice). I realize now I was eating very well – mainly beans and vegetables, fruits, whole grains, little meat, high-fiber. I did develop a taste for brown rice, but I still only ‘somewhat’ like eggplants, despite eating rather a lot of them.
So what happened? Well, I missed a gym session. Nothing happened. Another one. Nothing happened. And honestly after those two misses, well, it was all up in smoke.
Soon after, I met my wonderful husband. More on that to come.