Imagine wrapping a towel around your waist. I imagine you simply take the towel and wrap. I can’t do that. The two ends of a towel don’t meet around my waist, regardless of how big it is. I can only use a towel if I take one corner and then fold the towel along the diagonal to the opposite corner. If I do that, then I can make the towel meet. It leaves a very revealing slit up one of my legs, but that’s OK.
That was true until this morning. As I got ready for my shower this morning, I grabbed my towel and, feeling thinner than usual, I didn’t bother folding it along the diagonal. I just wrapped it around my hips and it fitted me! The two corners met! They didn’t overlap, but that’s OK. It still only works with my belly hanging over the towel and it certainly doesn’t fit around my waist, but a towel fits around my hips. A victory!
The world – its towels, its chairs, its public transport, its clothes, its love stories – is designed for people a different size from me. But I’m beginning to think maybe I’ll fit back into that world again.
I’m afraid too. I weighed myself again this morning. I lost another three pounds this week. I’m down to 24 stone. That’s three and a half stone lost. And the hope is killing me. The hope that maybe this time I’ll actually lose the weight. It’s been the most success I’ve had since 2007 and I keep getting panicky that this won’t last. And I have such a longer road to walk this time. If I lose the same amount of weight I lost in 2007, (six and a half stone) I’ll only get to 21 stone, which would still leave me morbidly obese and around the same weight I was when I started losing weight in 2007. It’s an incredibly long road in front of me.
There is a wonderful sanity in not binge eating. I certainly have more space in my brain now than I did a few months ago. Am I eating healthily? Not really. But that’s not what matters. I’m eating my calories. I haven’t eaten in my flat since the first weekend I moved in. The kitchen was far too dirty and my food kept getting stolen, so I just gave up on it. I haven’t been in the kitchen in over a month. For breakfast I have a greasy sausage roll in Stratford Train Station (349 calories). Sometimes I have a Pret-A-Manger ham, bacon, tomato and cheese croissant instead (328 calories). Sometimes I have both the sausage roll and the croissant. I have lunch at the work canteen and then dinner is usually in Subway. A footlong Subway Big Beef Melt with mayonnaise is 916 calories.
I will start eating healthier when I move (there is drama there, but I still have my fingers crossed that I can make the move next weekend) and have access to a kitchen. Not eating out so much will be cheaper as well as healthier.
I can eat a lot and lose weight when I’m this heavy. It makes me sad to think how much I was eating that I gained 12 stone in the last ten years.
And I spent so much of that time fantasising about being freed from food.
I don’t know how many of you will remember the juicing diet I did in January 2014. I wrote about it here a lot. It was a very important time for me. I lost two stone. After a very embarrassing 18-month freeze, I started working on my PhD again and I started planning for life after Hall and after my PhD again (including my summer of love in Slovenia, my disastrous month stuck in the mountains of Italy and my decision to move to Vietnam). I’m grateful to that juicing diet. It kickstarted a lot in me.
I’ve spoken to two of my thin friends who watched the documentary that inspired my juicing diet (Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead). They both had the same reaction to it. They loved the idea of the juice filling you full of nutrients and dramatically increasing levels of vitamins and health. The documentary plays on the idea of filling yourself full of health. But that’s not what I saw. Or at least it’s not the main thing I saw. I saw the possibility of not eating. Imagine being free from food – Heaven!
The juicing worked very well for me. I found myself able to survive on juice alone. I hated the juice, but it didn’t matter. I was free of food. And I started being stupid. I couldn’t face the juice any more and I just stopped drinking it, but I didn’t start eating. And it felt like another miracle. I could survive without food or juice.
And I’m not the only person who had that experience with juicing. A man I met at Overeaters Anonymous told me exactly the same thing. He started juicing, realised he could survive without food and just stopped consuming anything. And then I heard the story a third time. John Glaude, who runs the “Obese to Beast” YouTube channel did a video about his experience as a morbidly obese man trying juicing and ending up not eating or drinking at all.
Obviously, both me and the other two people I mentioned started eating again, but the lure of starvation and of a life without food is very real.
The next time you see a fat man, don’t say to yourself “he likes his food”. He could very well hate his food and be longing to be free of it.
So my diet isn’t healthy. I don’t eat enough fruit or vegetables. I eat too much processed meat and too many carbohydrates. But I haven’t binged in ten weeks. And I haven’t starved myself in ten weeks either. I’ve been steadily losing weight. I’ve been happy.
But I’ve been around long enough to know that life changes, that some things last and some things don’t and there’s no real way of telling which is which. I’m hopeful. And the hope is filling me with joy and the hope is filling me with dread.
Keep your fingers crossed for Connor, folks.