go ask alice

I keep doing the math. I’ve done it on paper, and in my
head, and on a calculator just to make sure, and Google–Google does math, too!
Google, make me a sandwich next–and the answer is always the same, every
single time. 316 minus 208 equals 108. I’ve lost 108 pounds.

One hundred and eight pounds. That is a lot of pounds. That
is a big fish, and a lot of potatoes, and the world’s biggest rubber band ball,
apparently. Which are all excellent ways of making tangible the very real, very
large number of pounds I no longer have hanging off my body. It is also, as it
turns out, an entire Goulash, which is my favorite unit of weight-loss measurement. And it is the
one that hits home the most, because Goulash is a big motherfucking dog. He is
especially big when he is trying to hump your head, but that could just be the
terror talking.

Goulash comes up to my waist, barely fits through his dog
door, takes up an entire futon, could have carried Hannibal over the Pyrenees,
once roamed the earth as the king of the mammals, could maim a whale with one
paw tied behind his back, was the original inspiration for King Kong–he is
gigantically and enormously huge. He is a lot of dog, and I salute my friends
for owning that much dog. When I visited them last weekend and told them how
much I had lost, they were very excited to know that it was a Goulash’s worth.
I looked at Goulash (when he was not humping my head) and tried to wrap my
brain around it. And then he humped my head again, which made it hard to think,
which was for the best, really.

It hasn’t seemed real, so far. I wish I had kept
measurements, taken progress pictures, tried on a piece of clothing that hadn’t
fit me to start and had slowly become magically bigger. I think I was afraid to
measure the weight loss, to quantify it, to start to expect it and then be
horribly disappointed, to jinx it and
be doomed for the whole rest of my whole life.

Most people find themselves on the scale every single day,
watching their weight drop pound by pound–I was terrified to do that. I kept
the scale hidden in the closet, and I had to talk myself into dragging it out
and climbing on, and I would have closed my eyes until the thing beeped if I
hadn’t been so morbidly fascinated by the way the numbers bounce around wildly
for a moment, and then settle into your weight. Beep. It was a relief, every
single time, that it had gone down, despite evidence, concrete evidence in my
clothes and in the mirror and under my hands, that my body was changing so
quickly, too quickly to keep up with.

Now it’s changed a Goulash, in only 6 months, and it doesn’t
seem real. Luckily, Goulash is extremely real, especially when he humps my
head, so I know it is true. I know that I used to have that much extra body on
me, even though I have no idea how it all fit on here, or where it used to go.
I would poke my hips and it felt to me like I was probably hitting bone and
that means that this is just how wide my hips are, okay? Except they are dozens
of inches less wide, and maybe they’ll get even less wide, if there is a God. At
this pace, I won’t have time to take a breath in and out before I find out that
my healthy birthing hips weren’t meant to birth livestock, after all.

So fast, so brilliantly fast, woosh. Most of the time it
scares me, as if I were Alice in
Wonderland, drinking from the little glass bottle and dwindling, woosh, down to

At the same time–and this makes me laugh, because it is so
like me– it’s much too slow. Achingly, painfully, ridiculously slow. 108
pounds! That is wonderful and marvelous, and so much weight! But why isn’t it
116 pounds? Because goddamn it, I haven’t weighed under 200 pounds since I was,
maybe, 16 years old and lying on my very first driver’s license about my
weight, because being over 200 pounds seemed like the most shameful and
embarrassing thing that could ever happen to anyone in their whole life.

Why isn’t it 120 pounds, because I want to shop at H&M,
already? I am just a smidge out of
fitting into their 14s and their 16s, but being even smaller than that, I could
fit into anything of theirs and, oh my God, that is all I want in life, to come
away from that store with something besides a bag or a pair of earrings. And
why do I have to have such tiny goals? Why can’t I just shoot straight for 160
pounds, right smack in the center, bull’s-eye? Because I want this to be over
already. I want to put this part behind me, and get to the good stuff, the
maintaining stuff, the part where I say, "I’m done!" And slap my palms together,
wipe wipe, and go buy a whole new wardrobe and personality and life and become
an entirely different me who is made out of 14K gold, and who craps rainbows.

Why can’t I be happy with 108 pounds? That is more pounds
than I would have ever lost on my own. That is so many pounds off that I can
breathe again, and run and walk up hills and flag down buses and race Guy to
the bathroom and get there first. That is me fitting into old clothes and being
ready, soon, for new clothes. It’s curling up on a chair and realizing I am
comfortable, I fit, I have room, and
maybe even a lap. It is me realizing, really realizing, as if it were humping
my head, that I had gotten so fat that 108 pounds is still not below 200, and that
it’s still a long way to go. I look on the bright side, I look on the dark
side, and I can’t separate the two.

4 Replies to “go ask alice”

  1. Because you’re human.
    I’ve lost 84 lbs. I am 6 lbs. from my goal. Am I thrilled? You bet.
    But yet I keep saying, day-um, WHEN am I going to lose these last six pounds??????
    Because I’m human. (And obviously, you know, a little touched in the head too.)
    LOVE your writing. Keep it up!

  2. Gal, that head-humpin’-hound has addled your thinkin’gland. You’re doing great. You’ve lost, uh, 5 more lbs than I have – at least pre-period – and it does come off in stupidly, maddeningly random amounts.

    6 mos is a hell of a long time.
    6 mos is no time at all.

    I hate it. I so want it all to be over. Especially the nausea. But I want to have time to see where I’m at and figure it all out. The elevator keeps going down.

  3. You had me at “curling up in a chair”. Immediate tears. Good thing I keep tissues on my desk.

    My husband and I had a moment last year when one day, after losing (collectively) 70 pounds, we had curled up on the couch together. We fit comfortably, lying down, and I realized it was crowded before because 70 pounds is like, a whole person…my young niece, for example. No wonder we fit better.

  4. That last line–yeah. That’s more of my life than I’ll ever admit offline. I can’t tell them apart either. Thanks for saying.

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