To Change A Lightbulb

There is this running joke between my sister and I. Whenever we’re too lazy or tired to do something, we whine, "I can’t. I’m too fat!"

This joke came from our lovely mother, who one day asked my sister to change a lightbulb for her.

"Do it your bloody self!" snapped my sister.

"I can’t, I’m too fat!" was her pathetic reply.

It’s become Mum’s trademark phrase. Every time she wanted us to shift some furniture or make her a cup of tea, and we told her to bugger off and do it herself, she’d pull the "I’m too fat!" stunt. So now my sister and I say it when we’re fighting over who should do the dishes or who should nip round to the shop for some milk. "I caaaan’t. I’m too fat!"

Seriously though, I can think of a bazillion things I didn’t do because I was too fat. Or rather, things I held myself back from doing because I was too fat. I even did this when I wasn’t bloody fat at all.

I grew up with the belief that I was always fat. Consequently, I avoided all sorts of things because of my supposed lardiness. I took drama classes as a kid, but wouldn’t audition for any major roles because I was certain they wouldn’t have costumes to fit me. I was good at hockey, but when I got to high school I didn’t try out for the team, because I felt I was so disgustingly huge that they’d take one look at me and laugh me off the field.

One time my friend was having a birthday party, kicking off with a swim at the local pool followed by a BBQ at her house. I pulled this elaborate lie by pretending I couldn’t get there on time because my parents had car troubles. Finally I showed up at the pool just as everyone else was getting out of the water. I even had my swimmers on under my clothes, I carried my beach towel, I had them all convinced that I was crushed that I didn’t get to swim with them. All this orchestrated because I was too ashamed to let them see me in my swimming costume.

There was something potentially life-changing that I didn’t do because of my weight. When I was 16 I was selected by my school to go to Japan for a year as an exchange student. At this point I was top of my Japanese class and thoroughly enjoyed learning the language. The exchange would mean a year in Japan, immersing myself in local life and culture, and returning to Australia fluent in the language with a whole host of career options opened up for me. The exchange spot was highly competitive, but when I was selected I panicked and bailed. Why? Because I thought I was too fat. The thought of being a fatass whale amongst tiny Japanese people was utterly terrifying. I was convinced noone would like me or consider me worthy of being there.

Fast forward a few years til I am at university, where my body had finally caught up with my perception of my body. I’d spent so long loathing myself that I’d started to eat eat eat and finally I WAS actually fucking huge. Now I was really holding back because of my weight. In three years of uni I went to bar night only once. I didn’t go see my favourite bands in concert because I was too fat for a mosh pit. I didn’t join the university radio station, even though it had always been my dream to work in radio, because I thought my lardy presence would be sneered at amongst those radio hipsters.

Fast forward to 2000, when my sister says she wants to move overseas in a couple years time, and was I gonna come with her? I gave a weak little laugh in response. "I can’t do that," I said. "I’m too fat."

So many things I did not do because I perceived myself as this worthless butterball. A lot of the things I didn’t do was because I was physically too fat to do them. But most of the damage came from within, that incredibly crippling force of negative thinking and self-loathing.

I have to tell you, I am in tears writing this now. It’s dragged up all these feelings of just loathing myself, feeling so fucking unworthy that I would deprive myself of opportunities and cut myself off from my dreams. It was so incredibly exhausting, being so fat. So exhausting to keep coming up with the lies and excuses why I couldn’t do something or go some place.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get angry about the past, that I never get a case of the "coulda been’s". I coulda been fluent in Japanese. I coulda been on the radio.

But how about this one? I coulda been dead. If I’d kept going the way I was, I could have eaten my way into an early grave. So I guess all you can do is keep looking forward. You can screw up the past but it’s never too late to change your future. Just look at Erin and her triathlons. And I made overseas, didn’t I? A distant dream that I thought I’d never achieve because of fat and fear.

"I’m too fat" is no longer an excuse.

[written for Weigh-In Wednesday]

You Can’t Hurry Lard

I finally got reaccquainted with the scale on Sunday – 98.4 kilos (217lb). Well whaddya know, kids? I’ve finally got under 100 kilos. Double figures, baby! It has been 9 years since I was under 100 kilos.

It’s only taken me two and a half years to reach this milestone. Crikey. Way back in the day, I wanted to get under 100 for my sisters birthday. In 2002. So yeah, that kinda didn’t happen. It’s taken me a helluva lot longer but I’ve learned a lot in that time. You know how that song goes… You can’t hurry lard… no you just have to wait…

Seriously though, you just cannot put a time limit on this thing. Fat waits for no man. Etc etc. No matter how long I can sit here doing crazy calculations, figuring out how many kilos per week I would need to lose to weigh X by Y date, it just never works out that way.

These days I am taking it slow. I am sure you’re all thinking, isn’t she there yet? But nooo, I’m not. I’m kinda enjoying my new life here in Scotland, and that happens to involve the occassional drink and the odd chocolate or three. So it’s coming off slower, but it IS coming off.

Another little milestone has passed – I’ve now lost over 60 kilos. I remember my euphoria at hitting 20 kilos gone – that meant I didn’t have to have the Special Super Fat Extra Weight added to the scale at my Weight Watchers weigh-in. I remember my mum taking me out for dinner when I got to 30 kilos gone. It seems like a lifetime ago now.

Some days I get so depressed that I am still very overweight, but I guess I just need to look back and realise I’ve lost an average person now. I used be carrying 60 kilos/10 sacks of potatoes/120 tubs of margarine/240 family blocks of Cadbury’s on my back. And now I’m not. So I will try and remind myself to be proud of this and use it as motivation to keep going and lost another 23 kilos or so.

I really need to post some pictures soon! I hope you’ll be able to notice a difference. Otherwise, I will cry. Mwahaha.

Gymtastic

I’ve been busting to tell you all about the gym I joined. It is the Holy Grail of gyms. This gym is the luscious Godiva chocolate of gyms, whereas my old aussie gym was a half-eaten packet of stale Home Brand jelly beans.

First of all, there’s the lighting. I’m in lurve with the lighting. I’m someone who can’t stand bright lights, I freeze up then whimper like a stunned rabbit. Well, not quite. Anyway, most gyms have flourescent strips glaring down at you, illuminating every lump and bump of your unfortunate bod in the mirrors. But this gym has soft flattering light from the reception, the bathrooms, right through to the main gym floor. Instead of feeling self-conscious in such a large space with all those scary machines, it actually feels calm and utterly relaxing.

Then there’s the classes. The timetable rocks! There’s my old favourites, Body Pump and Combat, as well as stepping and spinning and yoga and kung-fu and pilates and ballet and ab’s classes. Fun fun fun. There’s always something to do, and unlike my old gym, they have classes later in the evening so you don’t have to bust a gut getting there right after work.

There’s some killer instructors too. My favourite does the most gruelling Body Combat known to mankind. He makes you run and run and run and punch and punch and punch. He’ll prowl around the room and sorta stare at you with his hands on his hips and watch us do the moves. He yells at us and tells us to yell when we kick coz it burns more calories. He pushes us hard and the music is loud and I gotta say, there’s something very sexy about it. Hehe.

Less appealing is the instructor my sister and I call Shouty McShout. I don’t mind making wild warrior HIIIIIIIYAH! kind of noises, but she makes us do stuuupid noises, like "hoo ha hoo" or "come and get me!" and all this stupid shit. It’s like Playschool, except very sweaty and even more patronising. It’s gotten so bad that we’re avoiding McShouty’s classes altogether.

Oh, almost forgot! There’s a pool! Wheeeeeee! Stupid me thought I’d have no reason to go swimming in the UK, so I literally binned my costume before I left Oz. So I will gaze longling at the AquaFit classes until I can afford to buy some new ones.

So yes, that’s the gym. Bloody expensive but I just can’t live without it. It’s really become somewhere I can run off to have a relax. It’s amusing to write that, I still remember relaxing with a family block of Cadbury’s.