My Story (originally posted in 2006, so will be updated when I get the chance)
I had come to the realization that people will be whatever size nature intends and that diets don’t work (unless you really want to gain lots of weight). Over the last 20 some odd years I have probably lost and gained hundreds of pounds. I tried a lot of diets from plain counting calories and forbidden foods to 330 calorie a day liquid diets. The only thing that happened was I became obsessed with food and I kept gaining all the weight I lost back and it brought its relatives.
A number of years ago I finally decided that I was going to try and make peace with my body and food. I threw the diets out the window. I started leaving my car at home and riding my bike to work, I began to add healthier food into my meals and stop forbidding any food. I found that when I allowed myself to have the “forbidden” food when I wanted, I stopped obsessing about it and began to develop better eating habits. My weight eventually stabilized, tho at 100 lbs more than where I had started dieting when I was younger. But my blood pressure was low, I had low cholesterol, I biked everywhere and was very fit.
Now Moscow is a fairly decent sized town, but trying to find clothes that fit and that were not made out of polyester and were a reasonable price was tricky. I stopped shopping at one major department store when they moved the women’s clothing clear to the other side of the store next to luggage and started stocking only polyester fright clothes. I felt like they not longer wanted my business. I began making a lot of my own clothes and getting picky about what I was buying at the stores. If I bought a jacket, it was going to have to go with several different outfits. While growing up I tended to dress according to the current style. In the 70’s it was bell bottoms and folk style dresses. In the 80’s it was jeans and blouses. Now I dress as I please. I love bright colors (fusha and purple are my current favorites) and won’t wear dark colors just because they are “slimming”.
I discovered the newsgroups alt.support.big-folks and soc.support.fat-acceptance on the usenet. Here I found others who were going through life as large persons. I found others who grew up hearing that “you have such a pretty face, if only….”, not just from family, but from strangers on the street. I began lurking on these newsgroups, reading what other people wrote.
When I finally got web access I discovered more information. There were online versions of magazines for large people, there were sites that had clothes for large people, there were organizations for large people. WOW! Suddenly I didn’t feel so out of place. I started to explore. As I explored I became more and more at peace with being a large person.
In June of 1996, I went in for a full physical at the doctors. When I finally stopped dieting and obsessing about food, my weight stabilized at 250 lbs. I stayed this weight for several years despite all the bicycling and eating better. But sometime in 1995 I started losing weight without even trying. At first I thought is was because my body had decided on a naturally lower weight and was adjusting. Of course, people started noticing and congratulating me on how I was doing. When they asked how I was doing it I replied “nothing, I just stopped dieting”. Of course when I was finally diagnosed with Graves’ Disease and explained that was the reason for the weight loss, people would act strange and change the subject.
Now, dealing with this weight loss was really strange. Here I was, happily married to a man who found me sexy at 250lbs, finally comfortable with my weight and body and I was losing about a pound a day because my body was out of whack. By the time I went into the doctor, I was down to 200lbs and still losing. I have to be honest and say I didn’t mind being down to 200lb, which I hadn’t seen in a number of years, but what was happening to my body was scarey. I began treatment for the Grave’s and the weight loss stopped. During the time I was dealing with undiagnosed Grave’s, my eating habits had changed slightly, I couldn’t eat as much as I used to. I would eat 1/2 a hamburger and be full. I could cook a nice dinner, but when it came to sitting down and eating, I wasn’t hungry anymore. Even after starting the medication, my appetite was screwed up. But my body reacted to the Grave’s like it did with diets. It saw the previous overactive metabolism as famine and when the drugs slowed things down, any bite of food was feast. Within 6 months of starting the meds, I gained back the 50 lbs I had lost (tho they did not go back to the same places).
Because I had previously been comfortable at 250lbs, gaining it back didn’t bother me as much as it would other people, even tho the 50lbs invited a few of its friends to come live with them. I don’t know how many friends, as I packed the scale away a year ago and plan on using it as a target for a .357 six gun and using it as the centerpiece of an artwork called “Freedom from Tyranny”. What I am uncomfortable with is the Grave’s has made it difficult to keep in shape. Moderate exercise has been enough to put me on the couch for several hours while I waited for the muscle weakness and the tremors to go away. Bicycling has been out of the question and trying to do anything in the heat is murder. I hope to slowly start getting into better shape, starting with walking down to the end of the lane and back with my neighbor (it is a long lane). Eventually I plan on getting back on my bike and exploring the county lanes out where I live. I plan on getting back to being fat and fit.