I may not be a doctor, but I’m an expert at being fat.

I went to a doctor today, one specializing in weight management. It was a referral and I think this will be one of the most difficult posts I’ll ever write so I might as well jump right in.

At the start of the year, I figured I’m not getting any younger and should establish a primary care physician for the first time in my adult life. That chick was cool and I’m glad I did the research to find the perfect PCP for me. From that appointment, I received a couple of referrals for additional avenues I wanted to go down; reproductive medicine and weight management. We’re focusing on the latter here.

Prior to today’s appointment it may help anyone bothering reading to know the thousand-foot-view of my history. I’ve been overweight in some capacity most of my life. It wasn’t a post-high school/freshmen-15 type of weight gain. Nicknames like “Oreo Fat” started circulating circa 1997 aka the 1st grade. Kids are great, aren’t they?

I grew up in a world full of blonde Barbie dolls and mom’s to match. Not only was it a severe character flaw to be red-headed and freckle-faced, but it was even worse to be fat.

Time passed, bully’s (even though I hate that term. Little assholes is a better one but I digress) came and went. While I didn’t think so in the moment, I did thin out at certain periods of time growing up; 6th grade rings a bell for some reason. I think that’s when I hit my peak height, 5’8″.

Even though my past self at age 16, for example would be considered normal size now, it wasn’t then. The societal image of beauty was defined as rail thin bones; think Paris Hilton and Mischa Barton on the red carpet. Anything other than that in my small northern Minnesotan town (or otherwise) was deemed unacceptable.


The first time I was put on a diet was the summer after 5th grade. I stayed a good chunk of the summer, if I remember correctly, at my aunt’s house a few hours away. She was a Weight Watchers leader at the time and drilled WW into my 11 year old little skull the same as if I was a 35 year old woman. Diet #1: Age ELEVEN.

It worked, obviously. I lost weight that summer. I was a thinner version of myself come fall when school started. More self-confident? No. Happier? No. More friends? No. But I had collarbones.

The rotating door of diets began so young that it scares me to think I’ve been conditioned to be mindful of everything I put in my mouth and what I look like for decades. I’m only 31 for fuck’s sake. And since then, I’ve tried all the things. WW, Jenny Craig, juice cleanses, intermittent fasting, exercise, pills, starvation. You name it, your girl has tried it. And they all work, for about 30 pounds of trying, give or take.

I sometimes think people see me and think I’m lazy or don’t believe me when I say I’ve been trying [insert diet or routine here] for awhile now. I might not look it but I do know what I need to do. It’s more math than it is science to me, I get it. And while I’m fat, I’m not blind. I can see the “oh really” and “you poor thing” sparkle in your eyes.


The really awesome thing about a blip of culture today is the #BoPo aka body positivity movement taking off. For the first time in the history of my life, I see people all over the internet flaunting what their mama’s gave ’em. I see women (and men) of all sizes not giving a damn F what society thinks. Living, dressing, acting, however they please in the bodies they were blessed with, take it or leave it. And I’m here for it! I LOVE seeing people unapologetically embrace who they are, how they are, and what they are. I want to know whatever magical fairy dust they found to garnish that kind of confidence! Seriously, please share.

However, while any improvement is leaps and bounds beyond what I had growing up, some of it stings worse than the ghosts of past and present.

I do genuinely believe people of all body types go through bouts of insecurities. The #BoPo movement sometimes, like 40% of the time, is so full of shit though. I said it. So often, it’s just another filter to pretend behind. Showing a before and after photo of you sitting in two different poses proves that your biggest fear on earth is to be fat. Well, try actually being fat.

  • Pose 1: You’re slouching, your bikini bottom is cutting into your hips, your hair is a mess, and you’re making a gross face. You look sluggish and tired, obviously.
  • Pose 2: You’re sitting straight, sucking in, and positioning your body at some perfect angle and the sun hits your jawline like it’s a diamond. You hiked up your bottoms to accentuate your curves, plumped up your boobs, let your hair down and threw your head back laughing. You look hot AF. No shit.

You think you’re telling your followers that it all has to do with an angle. You’re not fat, you’re just posing wrong. The thing is, girlfriend, you weren’t fat to begin with. You can pose the shit out of me and I’d never look like that.

Now, this is just one example of many where thin or average size people want to insert themselves into a movement meant to build people up, not tear them down even further. But by pointing out this example, I’m the asshole. I’m the one body-shaming. It’s so far from that though.

I recognize that thinner people can have body dysmorphia just as severely as someone who is fat. Mid-size bodies can feel groggy and bloated just as much as any other body type. Super duper thin or super duper tall people can have a hard time shopping for clothes. People of all shapes and ethnicities can have stretch marks.

But if you’ve never legitimately struggled with weight, it’s simply not even in the same ballpark; it never has been and it never will be. I just wish there was some sort of universal definitive distinction between being skinny-fat and the actuality of being fat-fat.


This brings me to today: referral day. I’d waited nearly 3 months for this referral appointment. In the meantime, I started (kinda) working with a trainer. She provided me with an exercise a week and I committed to working out 2-3 times per week on my own. I’ve stuck to that and found consistency which is pretty damn awesome and worth a pat on the back if I do say so myself.

She also started to work with me on some healthy eating habits. That’s been going okay-ish. I’d say my weeks are 75% successful. But I struggle with binge-eating on the weekends because I end up making up for being so “good” during the week by overindulging on Saturday. How fucked up is that?

I’ve lost a little weight since then, nothing noticeable or really worth celebrating but I am feeling good with the lifestyle choices I’d been making on my own in preparation for today. I was really looking forward to sitting down with a professional to talk about everything. My history, my issues, my binging, my sleep habits, my progress, all the things. Right?

Wrong.

Before we dove into anything, she suggested surgery as the only route for me to lead a thinner life and I backed that train way the fuck up because #cuewaterworks.

Surgery is not new information to me but it’s a non-starter. I won’t get into the nitty gritty today but it’s a “no for me, dog” for a multitude of reasons. Not only is it in my file but I told the nurse less than 5 minutes prior that I’m not currently considering it. I want to have a healthy and constructive conversation about my health, about ALL my options; not the one you are going to pressure me into. I want to discuss sustainable ways to survive, I want to be mindful of the choices I make. I do not want a “fix” without resolving the underlying issues. I shouldn’t have to explain that to a medical professional. But I did.

To top it off, I have no desire to “be thin” and she’d learn to know that had she bothered asking what my health-related goals are. Just because I’m in a weight-management clinic does not confirm that I have the desire to look like a Hollywood actress. And how much more of a confirmation of how unrealistic and disgusting my body is than by a doctor suggesting gastric bypass before even asking what I’m doing right now to better my health?

Sure, I do want to lose weight but not because I have an ideal figure in mind. I want to be healthy, live a healthy life. I don’t want my weight or health to limit me in any capacity or adventure that life has to offer. I want to carry babies safely; I want to love the body I have been blessed with, regardless of the number on the scale. Surgery alone simply will not do that, medical degree or not.

What this doctor failed to understand is that it took me YEARS to even convince myself to seek and ask for a referral to be professionally evaluated. Between tears, I tried to explain how embarrassing it is to have to deal with this. Have to think about it every day. How painful it is to compare myself to every other woman walking this earth.

Her response: If you had high blood pressure, you wouldn’t be embarassed.

You’re fucking right, I wouldn’t be. Because high blood pressure is not mocked and taunted in the hallways between class. High blood pressure isn’t a make or break to being asked out on a date. High blood pressure isn’t the reason you hate what you see in the mirror. High blood pressure cannot, in any world, be compared to being fat in the modern age.

Not only did it take me years to get myself to the doctor, but she doctor-splained to me about how fat people are fat. It’s all science.

Bullshit on all of that, respectively.

I may not be a doctor, but I’m an expert at being fat. And you cannot tell me that the mental aspect to the “chronic disease” I suffer from is not relevant or valid. Yes, it is science. But it’s also math. It’s also psychology. It’s awareness. It’s so much more than being predisposed.

Why do you think so many people who have elected to get surgery have gained the weight back? (More power to you if you did and kudo’s, this is not a diss on the choice. I know many people personally that have gone this route.) Because the underlying issue was NOT addressed. The emotional aspect, the trauma, the reason why you eat or binge or throw up.. It was not addressed.

And it needs to be.

I need it to be.

Maybe I sought guidance in the wrong avenue. I was under the impression that this was going to be a comprehensive consultation keeping in mind that holistic lifestyle change approaches were preferred and medical intervention was a last resort. I was wrong and that’s on me for assuming.

The resolution to today’s appointment was a prescription to two medications; a hunger suppressant and a craving suppressant. I think it was her way of meeting me in the middle. I don’t doubt that this medication could help with the hunger and cravings but it’s not tackling what’s going on at the root and I struggle with the lack of empathy I experienced today.

“Here, take these pills. You’ll lose weight. And we’ll talk about surgery again next time.”

“Cool, thanks.”

I hope I can look back at this a year from now with a big “FU” to the gal who told me today that the only way to a thin life is by cutting my stomach in half, literally. I hope that someone who actually can relate to some of this finds this and doesn’t feel as alone. Because even with all the really awesome body acceptance stuff going on, I still find it incredibly difficult to sort through and actually find women that “get it.”


Four final notes:

  • The last thing I want to do is offend anyone who is or has ever tried to contribute to the #BoPo movement by sharing their experiences. I believe in woman building woman up and know that insecurities, trauma, and self-loathing comes in all shapes and sizes. Your thoughts and feelings are just as valid and relevant as my responses to examples I provided are.
  • While they are sometimes difficult to find, there are some really badass woman on Insta that I follow and genuinely love. I encourage you to look ’em up (and plz share in the comments who else we need to know about!): @brenzaart, @sassyconfetti, @tessholliday, @thefatsextherapist, @swipefat, @lizzobeeating, @ashleygraham, @niccinunez, @visiontwins (guys not gals but still great).
  • Loving thyself is a lifelong journey. This post isn’t a cry for help or even a pity party. However, I don’t have a single person in my everyday life that can specifically relate to the issues I have run into with fatphobia and fat-shaming. From a childhood of mean girls to finding clothes that fit the fashionista you are; from the realization that men either like what they see but are embarrassed of you in public to not being attracted to us all together. I hope this reaches at least one person that can be like: PREACH GIRL.
  • Lastly, I know the doctor I saw today was “just doing her job” but quite frankly it was done without tact, consideration, or proper evaluation for my circumstances. Fat people have been treated unfairly and had problems minimalized in both society and in medical offices for decades. It’s getting old.

Anyway, thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

The Yearly Cliché.

A couple years ago, I wrote about not making New Years Resolutions but instead making smaller goals each month to try and stay on track. It worked for awhile just like every other variation of a resolution does. But somewhere along the way, it quietly vanished.

This year, I’m going to revert to the more cliché version of a set of resolutions. Some I’ll succeed at and some I won’t. Most of these are very realistic. Some are a stretch but with the proper guidance, I know I can succeed. To make up for a really crappy couple of years (2011-2012) I want to do a little traveling. Of course, I want to travel the world but in order to succeed at fulfilling my New Years Resolutions, I’m going to be a bit more realistic.

  • Create a realistic 5-Year plan. I’m 25. I’m not married, have no children, nor do I own a house. I want to do all of those things in the next 5 years. I’d like Channing and I to sit down sometime soon and prioritize our needs and wants both as a couple and on the professional front – to create a plan and stick to it. I also plan on making a personal 5-year plan that will lay out my personal interests and hobbies which may or may not include writing a book, Pinteresting my way into home shows, and traveling to England, Paris, and Ireland.
  • Lose 50 pounds. Since June, I’ve lost about 33 pounds. It’s been a little rocky and I’ve gotten off track since moving to Bemidji but I’m determined to continue my progress. 50 pounds is very realistic if I use the tools I’ve been given. Ideally, I want to push myself to double that number in the year 20-15. I know 100 pounds does seem unrealistic but given how much I actually need to lose in order to become healthy, it’s a blip on the radar screen.
  • Travel around the area. This is a long one..Because I first need to lose a substantial amount of weight before I feel comfortable purchasing ONE seat in airfare (rather than 2); I decided that I’m going to travel via car this year. Traveling further than I can drive will be one of my many rewards after losing more weight. I want to travel to all the border states/countries of Minnesota. I’ve listed a few specific places. Some I’ve been to, some I haven’t: Duluth, Gooseberry Falls, Grand Marais, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Superior, Brainerd, Red Wing, Wisconsin Dells, and Sioux Falls just to name a few. I’d also like to go somewhere in ND other than Fargo or Grand Forks, stop at a few other places in SD, and venture to Iowa. Where in Iowa? I have no idea. Included in the Minnesotan borders is Canada. I don’t know where specifically but I’ll head that way too! I’d also like to visit as many waterfalls, caves, and state parks as possible. I want to be on the water, sail, and visit lighthouses. I love to explore.
  • Don’t Pass Up Good Events. This is something I’ve done a lot. Sadly, I’ve had a handful of oppertunities over the last few years to go and do something but I either used a bad day, Channing’s mood, or money as an excuse not to do something or go somewhere. A few things on my bucket list this year given that they are within driving distance and things aren’t sold out would include: Seeing Taylor Swift in either Fargo or St. Paul, Bo Burhnham if he ever gets his ass to tour around here, and a Vikings football and Twins baseball game. I don’t really like either of those sports to any kind of extreme but I think a professional sports team would be interesting to see live and because my boyfriend likes sports, we both win. I should also probably make a point of going to the MN State Fair this year too since I’ve never been.
  • Buy A Passport. I believe I need one these days in order to even go to Canada so it’s a must-get for this year. If I’m not mistaken, they are good for 10 years too so that should get me set for my European venture in a couple years.

There you go! I have quite a few more resolutions which primarily fall in the first resolution so I won’t bore you with them quite yet. I’d love to hear about your New Years Resolutions! The realistic ones and the far-fetched ideas. What are you going to do to make this year one to remember? Also, if you have any fun or must-see places that you’ve been to in the region, let me know. Word of mouth experiences are the best places to visit.

Cheers to 20-15!!

Willpower.

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I’ve recently tapped into my willpower energy and let me tell you; it’s damn difficult. Up until I became serious about losing the weight that I’ve accumulated over the last 24 or so years – I didn’t really view willpower as something that anyone could actually obtain. It’s not easy, that’s for sure..but it’s possible.

I’m still learning and I’m only in the beginning stages of making progress on my weight-loss journey but I wanted to summarize a conversation I had today about deprivation. Anyone will tell you not to deprive yourself and you shouldn’t I guess. But in my case, it almost feels like I need to in order to make real progress. So in reply to a gal noting that I should have a piece of cake that she made for a potluck today I said:

“I didn’t deprive myself for the last 24 years. I ate whatever, whenever I wanted. So I think it’s okay to deprive myself for one day with potluck food…”

And it’s true. This weight-loss journey that I’m trying to accomplish isn’t an easy feat and it shouldn’t be treated with food rewards. You wouldn’t tell an alcoholic in the process of sobriety to have “just one drink, it won’t hurt” would you?

That’s another thing I’ve recently accepted. Addiction. Even though I’ve heard it my entire life, I never really associated eating with addiction. And it’s one of the worst kinds too. You have to eat in order to survive. It’s everywhere.

There is no comparison but for a simple example…you can quit smoking. Get a prescription, use the patch, nicotine gum, ect. You don’t need it to survive. It seems much more practical to kick just about any addiction other than food. But maybe I’m just being biased because I’m dealing with my own addiction.

I’ll forever be addicted to food no matter what I’ll do. I know for a fact, that I’ll indulge at times. Hopefully it won’t be as often as my current once a week motto or in other words “free day.” I’m not quite to that step of willpower yet.

I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite but I hope to have a little control over my future children’s lives as far as health goes. Due to my weight I’ve limited myself more and more in so many things that I’d love to do out of fear of embarrassment and I don’t want anyone to have to go through that. I’m not going to deprive them of food but I pray that I can teach them healthy eating habits early on and not expose them to fast food for as long as motherly possible.

If I overcome this lifelong journey, I want to spread awareness. I used to think it was stupid – seeing obesity commercials on TV, the radio, in newspaper ads, but it’s not. I hope I have enough willpower to become a survivor.

The Truth Comes Out.

Obviously not every, but most of the photos in this blog are ones that I’ve taken. However, most of them haven’t yet been edited as I have postponed doing so for years. When choosing pictures to attach in each post; I quickly realized that I haven’t taken many pictures over the last 18 or so months. I think it’s a mix between being down right lazy and having no confidence to be a motivated person.

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I know what you’re thinking..what does motivation and taking a couple of pictures have to do with anything? I could go in circles about this for days but the gist of it is as follows: I’ve always been out of control when it comes to my physical appearance. I take that back; I’ve always cared about what I look like and have tried my best to look my best when going out but to be quite honest, over the last..two years probably; I haven’t put much work into myself and that is so far from wrong it’s ridiculous.

I don’t love myself. I’ve lost all self respect for myself. I don’t “dress up” anymore and when I do, I know that I don’t do it to the standard that I have set myself to in the past. I’ve never been high maintenance or gone to extremes when it comes to my appearance but I did used to give a shit. I used to get dolled up whenever I saw Channing and even before him; I’d always look my best. I’d buy myself new clothes almost every paycheck. I’d splurge on a pair of new shoes or buy gobs of lotion at Bath and Body. But I don’t do stuff like that anymore. I don’t straighten my hair, I never put eye makeup on anymore. I don’t even remember the last time that I actually went shopping for new clothes or shoes or hair products other than when I absolutely had to. It’s because I’ve “let myself go.” It almost makes me cringe to have to admit that at age 24 but it probably needed to be said. I’m not intentionally avoiding the obvious but if you have seen me recently you can see that I’ve gained a substantial amount of weight in a short time. I’m sure it has to do with the stress that I’ve put myself in front of over the last few years and becoming comfortable in my relationship but regardless it is irresponsible and definitely ludicrous.

I’ve always been overweight it’s not something new. Everyone that has eyes can see it. But where I am now is absolutely absurd and I take full blame for it. When I was younger; I’d be able to at least maintain where I was at for long periods of time. I was the same pants size in high school from 10th grade through college but after that it was just a downward (slow) spiral. However, since mid-2012 it’s gotten out of control and quite frankly, I need help.

This has clearly veered off of the subject that I started with but in short my weight and the stress that initiated the gain is why I have sheltered myself. I have ditched my brother in going to concerts because I didn’t want to be that fat sweaty freak in the mosh pit. I’ve bailed on catching up with old friends because I’m not only embarrassed of myself but I’m embarrassed for them to have to be seen in public with me. I don’t go to certain restaurants because they only have booths. I’ve skipped family reunions and weddings because I didn’t want to be the hippopotamus cousin. I even stay quiet and don’t interact with my boyfriends family, niece, and nephew as much as I’d like to because I’m afraid that I’ll look like a fool or get hot and sweaty in front of them.

I don’t go swimming. I don’t go to amusement parks. I don’t hang out with friends. I don’t make new friends. I don’t go on adventures or to concerts. I don’t do spur of the moment. I don’t dance like no one is watching. I don’t do anything and it’s not because I don’t want to; it’s because I’m afraid of what people will think which really is a bunch of bullshit. It shouldn’t matter what people think but it does.

I’ve limited the enjoyment in my life because I’m addicted to food and can’t hold a spirt of motivation or determination for more than 7 minutes. I’ve never actually admitted this to anyone in anyway except to my mom because sadly, we share the same issue. I’m hoping that in being honest with myself and to the public that this will help me to overcome hurdles that I practically refuse to jump over. One day I’ll get the balls to post a before picture, but today is not the day.

I have every tool that I need to become a happy and healthy individual but all I need is a push, a real get the fuck going push. Will you push me?