It’s beginning to look a lot like less public humiliation

I love Christmas. Always have. In no particular order, here are the reasons I love Christmas: Fairy lights. Mince pies. Tinsel. Christmas trees. Christmas ham. Wrapping paper. Roast potatoes. Getting presents. Giving presents. Sausage meat stuffing. Bread sauce. Christmas pudding with sugary whipped cream. Mariah Carey. Wham. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. My Christmas Wish by Britney Spears. Songs with bells in the background. We Need a Little Christmas. Selection boxes. Home Alone. Driving Home for Christmas. Excited children. The ESB ad. The Penney’s ad. The Cornflakes ad. Holidays are coming. Warmth, fireplaces, silliness. Glittery baubles. Lametta. Christmas ham sandwiches. Being surprised by presents. I just love Christmas. And I really do wish it could be Christmas every day.

This Christmas will be different. I still can’t really eat, so my Christmas dinner will be very different. I’m thinking I’ll have one bite of ham, half a roast potato and two bites of stuffing. With some bread sauce if possible.

I don’t want a selection box. But I might at some stage attempt a bite of pudding. Maybe. I’m not sure I want that either. A mince pie would make my chest explode. Anything too bready irritates my new tummy more than anything else.

To be honest, that’s absolutely fine. I’m fine with not eating very much. When you don’t really experience hunger, it doesn’t feel like deprivation.

My family are still bananas, so I’m really not sure how that’s going to go. But I’ll still love Christmas, no matter how things with my family go.

I’ll also find it less humiliating. Posing for photos won’t be as bad, though I still hate how big I am.

I won’t feel as guilty on my flight for ruining the flight experience of the passenger beside me because so much of my flesh is spilling into their space. Don’t get my wrong. My elbow will still be in the space of the person next to me and the tray table won’t fold down flat in front of me and I’ll still need to ask for a seat belt extension and therefore be banned from sitting in a row with an emergency exit on it. So being fat is still humiliating. It’s just not quite as humiliating now as it was before.

Today I went for my Christmas haircut. The giant bib that the barber puts around you when they’re cutting your hair actually fit around my neck! For the first time in years. Little victories like that make going outside easier. I can walk into the barber’s with a little more bounce in my stride.

And yesterday, when I was on the Tube, I slipped my fingers between me and the armrest and they fit!

The world isn’t designed for people who are 21 stone 11 (305 pounds/138 kg) (my current weight). But it’s designed even worse for people who are 28 stone 9 (401 pounds/183 kg) (my highest weight). The world should change. But I am delighted I’m changing. Every day has thrills for me now and seven days of family drama can’t kill that!

Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy the mince pies on my behalf!

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More more more

My hormones are ALL OVER THE PLACE. I keep getting randomly emotional – both in a good and a bad way. I get the urge to cry way more than usual in a day. But I also get the urge to run around telling everyone how happy I am. I constantly want to hug people and I’m not sure why. I find myself in the unfamiliar state of not craving alone time as much as I normally do. I actually want to be around people. I also find myself wanting to scream more than I normally do.

My body is changing around me and that’s my best explanation for what’s causing this rollercoaster of FEELINGS. My body is disappearing. I am disappearing. And of course it has an impact on my emotions. Good and bad. The story that fat people are taught by society is that our fat selves aren’t real, that the real, “good” self is hiding under the fat, waiting to emerge. And here I am, Thin Connor, getting born, killing the fake(?), less worthy(?) Fat Connor in the process and it’s beautiful and it’s all I ever wanted and I’m living the dream and it’s terrifying and I’m afraid and I want to get off.

My weightloss was slower this week, but that was only to be expected after so much strong weightloss in the last few weeks. This week I lost two pounds. My new weight is 22 stone 1 pound (309 pounds/140 kg). My total lost to date is six stone one pound (85 pounds/38.5 kg).

I’m constantly reminded of the changes in my body. Here’s what’s new this week:

  • When I’m sitting at my desk at work, I look down and my lanyard is hanging lower.
  • I no longer need to grab the headboard to lever myself from a lying position to a sitting up position in bed.
  • I have found three jumpers that I haven’t worn in about five years that now fit me again.
  • For the first time since winter 2013, I can button up/zip up a jacket and actually protect myself from the weather from all angles.
  • I no longer need to undress to pee. I can successfully use a urinal again.

This is all good. I’m doing a Very Good Thing.

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Dainty feet

My weightloss has sped up. I’ve gone from 3 or 4 pounds a week to 5 or 6 pounds a week. I’m now 22 stone 3 pounds and I’m one pound shy of having lost six stone. In two months.

I’m now lighter than I was when I started this blog 7 and a half years ago. In fact, I’m 10 pounds lighter than I was then. Little did I think when I started this weightloss blog that I’d still be writing it in 2018 having gained almost six stone and lost it again and be on the brink of finally losing enough to actually be a healthy weight within the next year.

And the weightloss is finally beginning to show. Like, it was always showing, but it’s really, really showing now. On Thursday, I met a woman who I’d only ever once before met, back in August. We have absolutely no relationship and yet she noticed. That’s the kind of weight I’ve lost.

I’ve lost so much weight now, that I’ve gone down a shoe size. That’s right. Even my feet have lost weight. I’m turning into a delicate Tinkerbell-like creature with dainty feet.

(I mean, I’m still morbidly obese, but I’m getting there.)

I bought new shoes for my new feet. While I was there I bought my first ever Christmas jumper. In M&S. Like a normal person would. I’m still not small enough to buy trousers in high street shops, but I’m not that far off it. I can definitely buy shirts and jumpers in normal shops again. And it was a joyous shopping trip. Being able to try on shoes without getting breathless and trying on Christmas jumpers that actually fit me made me very emotional.

I’ve found my appetite has decreased even more recently and so I’m eating even less than I was three weeks ago (I didn’t think that was possible) and so I’m resorting to having things like orange juice to up my calories so I don’t end up malnourished. (Imagine that being something that Connor O’Donoghue had to worry about – not getting enough calories. Oh Brave New World…)

Speaking of orange juice, it serves another purpose. Keeping me hydrated. I’m not doing a good job of this at all. I have always been bad at it. I don’t particularly like water and I don’t drink tea or coffee and before my operation I was entirely dependent on having two to four bottles of Coke Zero a day to keep me hydrated and caffeinated. I’ve finally got that out of my life and I don’t want to go back but somehow I’ve got to start getting liquids in. I’m drinking way too little. It doesn’t help that I have to sip because my new tiny stomach makes gulping hard and I’ve been having a worrying symptom.

Warning: OK. If you don’t want to read some TMI/NSFWish information, this is the point where you can stop reading the post. Rest assured I’m happy and almost certainly healthy and stop reading here. You have been warned.

Three times recently, for two or three days at a time, I’ve been pissing blood. It’s been gross but not particularly painful. I hoped and prayed it had nothing to do with my surgery. I have a feeling that lots of people think the surgery was a bad decision (though everyone has been very supportive), even though I feel as if it’s in the top five things I’ve ever done, and they’re just waiting for it to turn out to have been a mistake.

Anyway, I went to see a GP on Friday morning. Ladies and gentlemen, he was a very young and very handsome GP. Very handsome.

I told him about my symptoms and my operation. He said he couldn’t see how they’d be connected and that was a big relief. The operation was still a good idea. Phew!

He gave me a tube and sent me to pee a sample out for him. Of course I couldn’t. I only ever pee twice a day and I always get pee-shy when doctors ask for a sample.

It’s probably an infection of some sort that is reoccurring partly because I’m not well enough hydrated to flush it out. He sent me home with two tubes to fill with pee and I have to go for blood tests too. If I can’t manage to pee and bring in the samples immediately, then I’m to put my pee in my fridge. Gross.

He also examined me. Oh my word. I know visiting a doctor isn’t supposed to be sexual, but he was a very handsome doctor and he was touching my penis and asking me lots of questions about it. I gasped as he pulled it slightly to get a proper look. He asked if he was hurting me. I said “No”. I think it’s only good manners to gasp when a handsome man touches your penis. He was amazed, like other doctors before, at the tightness of my foreskin. I’m the tightest he’s seen. (Lol) That could be part of the problem. As with other doctors, he recommends a circumcision. Just you wait for my bris/bar mitzvah! It’ll be the party of the season.

Anyway, I floated in to work that day. It was such a fulfilling visit. It’s so rare to have a doctor actually listen to you. And I was delighted that the operation wasn’t at fault. And having a handsome man touch my penis was wonderful. I think that’s what I want out of a relationship. Penetration is so overrated, but a nice man who listens to you and gently feels your willy is wonderful. Work was really tough on Friday but I floated through it on the afterglow of my imaginary romance with the handsome doctor. Such a lovely visit.

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Project Rewind

I’m obliged to love my surgeon. He changed my life. But I don’t think I like him.

I had my six-week post-op “check-up” with him on Monday. Except he didn’t check anything. He didn’t examine me in any way. I walked in the door of his office and he said “Wow! Look how different you are!” He’s literally only seen me twice before in his life and I didn’t believe he could see a difference. I mean, I was still flattered because telling me I’ve lost weight is literally my favourite compliment (because society), regardless of whether people mean it. But I didn’t believe him so I started our check-up in a cynical mood.

The whole conversation lasted about four minutes. He asked me how much weight I’d lost and then told me what a great decision I’d made. He didn’t look at the surgical scars, but he told me they’d be red now but they’d fade in a few months. He didn’t really look at me at all. He basically talked most of the time about how wonderful the surgery is, like I had to be persuaded of it. L

I told him that it had all been wonderful. I said the only negative has been… And he interrupted me and boomed “all the new clothes you’ll have to buy!” He launched into another self-congratulatory tirade.

I’d wanted to talk to a doctor about the various side effects I’ve been having in terms of going to the loo. I’m sure they’re not unusual, but it would have been nice if he’d shown the slightest bit of concern. He didn’t. After a few minutes of bombast about how wonderful his surgeries are, he ushered me out again. I’ve made an appointment with a GP instead.

He’s not wrong. It has been a great success. This week I lost another seven pounds. So now I weigh 23 stone. (It’s crazy fast. 7 pounds in a week, nearly two months into a diet? That’s TV speed weightloss.)

Last week I wrote about losing the weight of four years, including the weight gained during my adventures and misadventures in Vietnam and Longford. (I’m fairly sure I’m the only person who considers time in Vietnam and in Longford to be roughly equal life experiences.)

This week the rewind project continues. I’m now at the weight I was in my magical first year living in student halls at the age of thirty. That means a number of things.

That was a year I did a lot of exercise. That year I joined the college boxing club. I started going to swimming lessons. I ran 5K and then I ran 8K. So if I’m that same weight again, I have no excuses. I can start exercising again. And it’s definitely true. I can walk up the (slight) hill to my house much more easily than I could a month ago. And I don’t need to spend the whole of Sunday lying in bed to recover from the week of work I’ve just done. Now I can actually do things at the weekend again. I’m getting my life back.

Being the same weight I was for my first year in Hall means I’m also putting the biggest slump in my life behind me. The first year in Hall was so magical and so transformative in many ways, getting to know and trust my Boys, writing two chapters of my PhD, running, and having the courage to come out to my deeply religious family and to go on dates with an actual man. I still see my adult life as pre-2012 and post-2012.

And after that first year, I crashed. I stopped exercising. I began to withdraw into myself again. I went from being emotional in a good way to emotional in a bad way. I gained weight. I had an embarrassing freeze where I didn’t write a single word of my PhD for a year and a half. It was a big slump. And I got over it. But now I’ve pressed rewind. I’ve rid myself of the weight I gained in 2013. I’m optimistic 2012 Connor again (but even better this time!)

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Killing a dragon

Now that I’m “only” twenty three and a half stone, I’m back to my 2014 weight. I’ve got rid of the weight of Vietnam.

Vietnam has a lot to offer, but I can’t say I liked my life there. People on the streets so frankly and openly mocked me for my weight that I withdrew. I started to avoid going outside. I started to turn on the lights a bit less, so I wouldn’t have to see myself, like I’ve always done in the worse times of my life.

And even when I moved away from Vietnam, I let that feeling stay. I stayed inside. I moved to a little village in Longford to be able to have the time and headspace to become a famous writer (I didn’t) but also it allowed me to continue to hide. And I did hide. I hid in my house and in my car. I avoided people for over a year.

And through my time in Vietnam and my time in Longford, I shrouded myself in weight. I went from swinging between 23 and 25 stone, to swinging between 26 and 29 stone. And I took comfort in my own immobile company.

And I shook that phase off. I came out of myself again slowly. I did it by doing things that scared me. By walking 708 km of the Camino. By walking out of a job in Dublin. By moving to a youth hostel in London. By letting men into my life.

But at 28 stone, I didn’t feel like scared Vietnamese/Longfordian Connor was gone. I lost weight last year, but couldn’t keep it off. This time is different. That weight is gone.

I’ve slain the Vietnamese dragon and I’m giving myself a body to fit the life I’m building for myself where I’m not afraid of the world.

I doubt myself all the time. I’m aiming to be a healthy weight, so I have another 12 stone to lose. I might not make it (though I hope I will) but I know I won’t ever be 28 stone again. This time is different.

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Every little helps

Today, I tied my shoelaces after I’d already put on my shoes. For the last year, I’ve been tying my laces first, but loosely, and then slipping on my shoes. I just couldn’t reach. Today, I could. And it didn’t even make me pant. Yes, I have to adopt an awkward angle to touch my feet. But I can do it. It was exciting. And it upset me. It’s very hard not to scream at yourself in rage for letting things get to a point that you can’t tie your own shoelaces, like some awful giant baby.

It’s exciting to be living in a changing body. I can once again fit in a seat that has arms on the Victoria Line. I still spill over and invade the space of whoever’s next to me, but I can fit. When I go through the ticket turnstiles at Brixton Station, now I only have to put one hand over my head to fit through, and not both.

My clothes are getting saggy and I’m wearing things I only ever wore once or twice before because they were just too small.

I can pick things up off the floor more easily. I was able to plug in the light on my fish tank yesterday without unbuttoning my trousers.

It’s good.

And life is better when you don’t have to eat. I’ve entered a new realm of quick and efficient pooing. And you have no idea how cheap food is for me now. I made a pan of turkey mince bolognese sauce last Sunday week. Every day, for six days, I had a bit of bolognese as both my lunch and my dinner. By Saturday night, I wasn’t even halfway through the pan and it was starting to go off. One pan of food made 12 meals and if I’d used the freezer, it could have made 30 meals. This week, I made a pan of chicken Thai green curry. I made sure to make less, but it’s still lasted for a good ten meals. I’m literally living on a meal a week. That’s a big change from paying to have four pizzas delivered in a week.

I was crossing the road opposite work today and a man smiled at me. I knew I knew him, but I also knew I didn’t know his name. I racked my brain and then remembered. It’s the man who works at the local Subway. I used to see him so often he used to leave me alone in the restaurant to mind it while he went out. In my new sandwich-free existence, I can’t even remember who he is.

Sometimes I forget that it’s all different now. I picked up a packet of biscuits in Sainsbury’s today, as if I was going to buy it. Then I realised, I literally don’t know what I’d do with a packet of biscuits. I guess I might be able for a bite or two, but the idea of those horrible sharp biscuit crumbs tearing my nice new stapled stomach lining makes me wince. Who is this Connor that doesn’t know what to do with a biscuit? I’ve never met him before.

I’m down another five pounds this week. I can’t believe it’s still coming off so fast. All is good.

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Fat Blokes

Tonight I went to see a show at the Southbank called Fat Blokes. With a name like that, there was no way I couldn’t. It was a show written by and starring one of the many gays I follow on Twitter. (I mainly follow gays on Twitter. They’re much better at it. Straights on Twitter just seem to talk about Brexit and superhero movies.)

It was great. It was a dance show of sorts. Five fat gay men in their underwear told stories about being fat and danced around. It was very therapeutic. Midway through the first dance, the star of the show stopped the music and berated the audience for laughing and informed us that the proper response to dancing is a whoop or a cheer or a wolf whistle or a clap. It’s not laughter. It was an electrifying way to start. And it made the rest of the show a hell of a lot sexier.

A lot of the audience were also fat men, but there were quite a few young artsy women and posh elderly couples who just go to the theatre regularly. I wondered what they got out of it. It was funny to be among my tribe, having betrayed them so recently with my surgery. I felt like Judas popping in to an apostles’ reunion, but it didn’t stop me enjoying it and identifying with it.

Some of you readers may remember that at one stage, this show was kind of my dream. When I first arrived in London, I was living in hostels, I was working part-time on zero hours teaching contracts. I had that miraculous feeling of having nothing to lose. I was delirious at discovering the world of chubby chasers. London seemed full of men who got erections when jiggled my moobs. I’d met individual chasers before, but this was different. London seemed abuzz with hordes of Connor-hungry men. I cooked up a plan. I was going to form a troupe of fat male strippers. I blogged about it. I posted about it on websites where fat gay men meet their chasers. But it never materialised. It wasn’t long before I wasn’t free any more. Now I have a massive London rent to pay and a permanent pensionable serious management job. I can’t just drop everything and be a fat stripper. So I watched this show thinking about how I would have done it.

It wasn’t a perfect show, but I loved it. I loved that they paused at the end of each dance and panted. Because that’s what fat people need to do after a dance. I loved that the climax involved just so much wobbling. I loved that they used a song from Beautiful Thing for the romantic dance. I loved that they were angry.

They were angry about being fat children, which is shit. And angry about being fat teenagers, which is shitter. They were angry about going to the doctor with a flu or eczema or a nosebleed and having your problem ignored while they lecture you about weightloss. They were angry about fat people’s bodies being filmed for news clips about obesity with our heads removed. They were angry about being called names and abused on the street.

I was waiting at a bus stop last night and a drunk man called me a “fat cunt”. I don’t usually like getting called names and on previous occasions I might have gone home very upset. It doesn’t happen that often, maybe five or six times a year, but when I’m out and about drunk people and/or children call me names relating to how fat I am. (When I lived in Vietnam, it was multiple times a day.) But when it happened last night, I didn’t get upset. I kind of internally chuckled. That drunk man doesn’t know it, but I’m less fat than I was last week. And next week I’ll be less fat again. And I didn’t feel as vulnerable as I usually do in those circumstances. I actually kind of felt happy when he called me that.

My life is now in a constant state of change. My underpants are all too big for me and keep slipping down and I find I’m constantly adjusting myself in inappropriate situations to keep comfortable.

One of the dances in the show tonight was about fat people who feel brave enough to eat in public. It’s something I’ve despised for a long time. I’ve always felt totally ashamed of myself when I’m seen eating. The last time I moved in with a friend I started a diet based around beans so I wouldn’t have to eat “normally” around her. When I lived in the horrible flat in Homerton and when I lived in hostels and when I lived with my Boys in Hall, I never used the kitchen and never ate with my flatmates. One of the biggest reasons I live alone and I struggle to imagine myself in a relationship is that I hate so so so much the idea of someone always knowing what I’m eating. When I go out for a meal with friends I invariably feel so guilty afterwards that I have to comfort myself by having another (less healthy) meal alone. At work, we have a canteen with free hot lunches for staff, so of course I eat there, but I find it hard and I used to always go out after eating in the canteen so I could be alone and have a second lunch sneakily in Sainsbury’s or Pret. I love love love that now I’m on a controlled diet I no longer have any of those feelings. When I’m on a diet, not only am I happy to be seen eating, I’m also happy to talk about what I’m eating. I’m just so much more comfortable and alive and not afraid of lunch.

I loved the show tonight. I love the idea of glorying in your fat body. But I also love that I’m losing my fat body too.

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