getting caught

I did a wash, the other day, all my pants. I was late, getting ready to get out of the house, and I was scrambling to find something to wear. Okay: my skinny-cut pants, a sweater. Good enough. The sweater fits fine, and I yank the pants on. They are tight around my thighs, and around my hips, and around my waist. I struggle to button them, and zip them, and I look down, and my stomach is pooching out, a big, awful-looking gut hanging out. I’ve got a muffin top, and I can’t breathe, and this is every time I started gaining weight, in my adult life, that awful moment when my pants stopped fitting and there was no lying to myself any more, that I was getting fatter and I did not want to, more uncomfortable, less happy with my body. My pants didn’t fit.

I struggled out of them, found a skirt that is usually a bit loose on me. It felt snug and uncomfortable and I hated it. I pulled out a dress I used to love, soft cotton and stretchy, three sizes too big for me now, and I put my shoes on and ran out the door. I got in E’s car, and he started to tease me about running late, and then I burst into tears. He was worried, and apologized and I told him no. No, that’s not it. What is it? he wanted to know. What’s wrong? I burst into sobs. “I’m fat!” I said, wiping my cheeks with the flat of my hands. “Oh my god, I’m fat,” I said. “I’m getting fatter, I don’t want to be fat.”



This was such a horribly, uncomfortably familiar feeling, a feeling I
have had my whole life, when I knew I was doing things wrong–eating
junk, eating poorly, not exercising, not drinking enough water, not taking
care of myself. That feeling you get when you have been barreling
ahead, devil-may-care, convinced that it will never catch up to you,
and suddenly, sickeningly, it does one morning, when you’re late to
work, standing in your closet, crying because nothing fits and feeling
enormous, feeling like you’ve been caught out, feeling like a failure.

You know, I have this urge to tie myself in knots apologizing for having the
audacity to feel this way, to say I know, I know, this is stupid and
ridiculous. I know I am not fat, not in the ballpark. But this is the
truth: no matter what size you are, it well and truly sucks when your
pants don’t fit. At every size, it sucks when you gain weight, if you
don’t want to. It sucks. I don’t want to apologize for telling you
that  I don’t want to gain the weight back. I don’t want to gain the
weight back. I don’t. I have spent a year and a half getting here, and
it was hard, and now I am scared of the slippery slope–that I will gain
a little, and then a lot, and then I will gain every single pound back
and be returned right to the starting line, that place where I was
getting sick and sicker and I couldn’t walk and I was unhealthily fat,
unhealthily unhappy.

Here’s the absolute, unvarnished truth: it is so easier to be thin than
to be fat in this fucked up world. It is so much less a struggle. So
much less painful. So much easier. And now that I have been thin, I
don’t want to be fat again.

It happens–people screw up and gain weight back after this surgery, all
the time. It is not a permanent cure, and I have not only not been a
perfectly compliant patient, but I have been absolutely awful, eating
terribly, exercising not at all. It was bound to catch up to me. It was
my fault, my pants not fitting, and I was being punished for it, and I
was well and thoroughly screwed, because obviously, I was helpless to
stop it. I felt helpless, sitting there in that car, sobbing. Like I
had fucked up, again, this time spectacularly, and that it was the
stupidest decision I had ever made, spending all this money and time
when it wasn’t really worth it, and I would never be happy anyway, and
what is wrong with me?

But isn’t there a bounce-back, E said? Aren’t you supposed to drop to a
low weight, and then gain a little back to a permanent weight? Yes, I
said, wiping my eyes. Maybe that’s it. And you said you have your
period. I do, I said. I told you that. Maybe it’s water weight, he
said. I gain a lot of water weight, I said. That’s true. You’re not
fat, he said. You could stand to gain some weight, he said. You’re too
skinny. I don’t want to, I said. I don’t want to.

  16 comments for “getting caught

  1. anon
    April 4, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    I am so very aware of just how you feel; don’t even toy with the idea of apologizing for these feelings. This fear, this horrible fear that we’re always on the verge, it sucks. I assume it goes away for some. It didn’t for me, I’m sorry to say. But more days are good than bad, and there are enough other things for me to freak out about in my life that it’s usually not at the very tip-top of my list.
    Deep breath, drink some water, take your vitamins, eat some protein. It’ll be ok.

  2. Maureen Brown
    April 4, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    I know this is a rough place to be but I want to thank you for detailing so honestly what this process has been like for you. You write beautifully.

  3. Linda
    April 4, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    I don’t blame you, and you are not a bad person to have these fears. I have them, too. Lots of people do. But calm down, and think about what you can do to deal with it now, in a positive, non-panicky way. It will, in fact, be o.k.

  4. SP
    April 5, 2008 at 12:50 am

    This is okay. If they are just too tight, this is not panicking territory yet. This is a really, really good time to pull back and take care of yourself, is what it is. Eat really well and exercise in ways you enjoy — your weight is artificially high due to unusual habits, and it comes back off when you go back to your old habits. Promise.

  5. Renee'
    April 5, 2008 at 9:49 am

    I’m de-lurking this morning because I have to respond to this particular blog…OMG! You have so channeled ME on the whole “I’m gaining back the weight that I’ve lost and I’m such a failure because of it “feeling. I haven’t had gastric surgery and I’ve only lost about 35 pds in my weightloss but that being said it’s no less real to me. For me it’s the whole “I’m out of control” feeling that I have when I get to the tight pants and too snug tops and Lord, help us! the dreaded muffin top! Gaaah!! You sound like you have a supportive boyfriend ,and that’s priceless, as well as your friends and readers of your blog…I think you’re just hitting a rough patch and it will work itself out. Might for me too.

  6. Renee'
    April 5, 2008 at 9:49 am

    I’m de-lurking this morning because I have to respond to this particular blog…OMG! You have so channeled ME on the whole “I’m gaining back the weight that I’ve lost and I’m such a failure because of it “feeling. I haven’t had gastric surgery and I’ve only lost about 35 pds in my weightloss but that being said it’s no less real to me. For me it’s the whole “I’m out of control” feeling that I have when I get to the tight pants and too snug tops and Lord, help us! the dreaded muffin top! Gaaah!! You sound like you have a supportive boyfriend ,and that’s priceless, as well as your friends and readers of your blog…I think you’re just hitting a rough patch and it will work itself out. Might for me too.

  7. Renee'
    April 5, 2008 at 9:49 am

    I’m de-lurking this morning because I have to respond to this particular blog…OMG! You have so channeled ME on the whole “I’m gaining back the weight that I’ve lost and I’m such a failure because of it “feeling. I haven’t had gastric surgery and I’ve only lost about 35 pds in my weightloss but that being said it’s no less real to me. For me it’s the whole “I’m out of control” feeling that I have when I get to the tight pants and too snug tops and Lord, help us! the dreaded muffin top! Gaaah!! You sound like you have a supportive boyfriend ,and that’s priceless, as well as your friends and readers of your blog…I think you’re just hitting a rough patch and it will work itself out. Might for me too.

  8. Renee'
    April 5, 2008 at 9:49 am

    I’m de-lurking this morning because I have to respond to this particular blog…OMG! You have so channeled ME on the whole “I’m gaining back the weight that I’ve lost and I’m such a failure because of it “feeling. I haven’t had gastric surgery and I’ve only lost about 35 pds in my weightloss but that being said it’s no less real to me. For me it’s the whole “I’m out of control” feeling that I have when I get to the tight pants and too snug tops and Lord, help us! the dreaded muffin top! Gaaah!! You sound like you have a supportive boyfriend ,and that’s priceless, as well as your friends and readers of your blog…I think you’re just hitting a rough patch and it will work itself out. Might for me too.

  9. Renee'
    April 5, 2008 at 9:49 am

    I’m de-lurking this morning because I have to respond to this particular blog…OMG! You have so channeled ME on the whole “I’m gaining back the weight that I’ve lost and I’m such a failure because of it “feeling. I haven’t had gastric surgery and I’ve only lost about 35 pds in my weightloss but that being said it’s no less real to me. For me it’s the whole “I’m out of control” feeling that I have when I get to the tight pants and too snug tops and Lord, help us! the dreaded muffin top! Gaaah!! You sound like you have a supportive boyfriend ,and that’s priceless, as well as your friends and readers of your blog…I think you’re just hitting a rough patch and it will work itself out. Might for me too.

  10. April 5, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    My husband hides the scale the weeks before and during my period. He knows my cycle and my psychology better than I do and doesn’t want to come home to find me with my head in the oven.

  11. April 5, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Hugs to you, Anne. And big hugs to “E.” He’s a good one. :-)

  12. April 5, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Ok, so here’s the thing: since you had the surgery (the same one I did, by the way) you can be almost like a normal person and eat right for a few days and have the extra weight go away. I know – I had my own fat moment right before Easter and am now having an extra-thin freakout moment. It’s either one or the other, it seems.

    Now, Aunt Flo is a bitch and always has the scale fluctuate wildly on us. Cut back on the sugar & carbs for a few days, eat more protein, drink some hot peppermint tea, and take a walk or two. I was amazed at how easy it is to lose weight now – how I could just “keep on top of it” like all my girlfriends seem to.

    You know, we’ll never *be* normal, but at least, on the outside, we can *pass* for normal.

  13. MM
    April 6, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    This part comes in cycles. Lows and highs with averages in between. I hate it. But, I signed up for it, too.

  14. LaLa
    April 7, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Please, PLEASE stop doing this to yourself. Stop flogging yourself and making yourself feel so awful. You made a mistake and you owned it – half the fix is taken care of!! Now all you have to do is change it. You don’t have to become a food saint overnight or a devout gym go-er. Just remember how you felt sitting in that car the next time you feel the urge to go out of bounds. This might sound kind of corny, but limiting my food intake is a monumental secret daily struggle for me. I friggin’ like to eat! Even when I’m full! Even when I’m disgustingly full. So I try to tell myself – “I already know what it tastes like. It’s not like I can never have it again. I just can’t have it today.” It makes me feel better and more in control. It also helps me feel less deprived.

  15. Lisa
    April 8, 2008 at 5:51 am

    Hi – delurking to say that it’s very typical (that is, it’s the norm) to regain as much as 50% of the weight originally lost the first year after surgery – the only exception is people who get banded. It doesn’t mean the person is “screwing up” or did anything wrong. Even people who are vigilant about their diet and exerise can experience this regain. WL surgeons consider anyone who has kept at least 50% of the weight lost during the first year post-surgery off a “success”.

    Be kind to yourself,

    lisa

  16. April 11, 2008 at 11:11 am

    OMG. so glad I read this today. I am fighting the muffin top/pants don’t fit like you would not believe. AF is over and gone and it’s not water weight for me. Dammit.

    I actually had to dig into the “I’ll never wear these clothes again” bag to find pants that weren’t cutting off my circulation.

    I hate it. Every freaking bit of it. And the worst part is I know it’s my own fault. Gah.

    Hang in there I feel your pain.

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