Being fatter than Homer Simpson
Growing up through the 90's meant growing up with the Simpsons. I still remember watching it for the first time on BBC One, not long after the Muppets, and quoting it over and over. One of my favourite episodes that always sticks in my mind is King Size Homer, where he tries to weigh over 300 pounds in order to claim disability and work from home. He manages it, ended up gaining 76 pounds to weigh 315 pounds, and becomes a true whale of a man.
To think that someone would purposefully let himself go so far. How it looked physically painful and repulsive. It was ridiculous.
On 10th January 2021, I weighed 315 pounds.
As I talked about last week, I've always been an eater, and taking a drug that is used to help the chronically underweight get an appetite again didn't exactly help. But that's an explanation, not an excuse. I ate, and I ate, and I ate. And I enjoyed it.
My favourites always change. Sometimes savoury, other times sweet. There was a good while where I was hooked on Tesco's bramley apple turnovers filled with cream. Always just a one off, something cheap to stave off the hunger.
Always a lie.
It's not like I don't exercise. While I'm not doing as much exercises compared to when I was prepping for my wedding last year (cardio six days a week, first thing; weights four times), I hit the free weights three times a week, jog or spend half hour on the rowing machine three times a week, walk my dog twice a day, and aim to do two or three short yoga sessions daily1. I love the feeling of a good pump, the satisfied exhaustion after pushing yourself to the absolute limit, with nothing left to give. All of it.
But however much I love exercise, I love food more, and the worse my mental state, the more I need it. It's compulsive, and once it starts, it doesn't stop until I physically can't eat any more and feel even worse than when I started.
I remember once having an overly stressful day. I ended up working my way through a 12 pack of Walkers crisps. It started with just a couple, then just one more, and one more after that. There's a tipping point where it feels like leaving such a small remainder seems pointless. And so I finish, realising what I did. Then, the shame starts.
It's an easy thing to suggest 'Just stop eating so much', but a harder thing to do. It's not just mental, but physical. I feel it; the rumbling in my stomach, the slightly tingle in my body, the weakness, the production of saliva in my mouth increasing in anticipation. The removal of temptation just makes it worse, especially now that a) I have the means to get what I want and b) I have the ability to do so.
Just because something's hard though, doesn't mean it's not doable.
Weighing 315 pounds is incredibly uncomfortable. Long walks leave you sweaty and out of breath, stairs become difficult, knees and back ache constantly, and intimacy, well, I'll leave that there. Finding new clothes that fit is a nightmare (although Jacamo do a great job of catering to the big and large crowd, especially for menswear). Looking in the mirror is just a painful reminder of how far I've let myself go.
As of today, I'm down to 266 pounds, and while I'm still heavier than Homer Simpson's usual weight in the 240 pounds range, it's progress. Slow, steady, gradual progress.
Some days it feels I'll never stop being morbidly obese. I've been overweight for so long it feels like it's fundamental and immutable part of me. But everything is impermanent. Everything changes. Everything ends.
I will be a health(ier) weight, if I continue to put the effort in. And who knows?
I may even end up feeling good about myself.
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I find this particularly helps with the desk job. My legs are constantly feeling stiff on days where I haven't had much chance to walk around. Sean Vigue fitness is the one.↩