Somebody’s Fat Grandma

Learning to be healthy. My body is welcome to lose weight if it wants to.

Selected 3FC posts May 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lovebirdsflying @ 4:52 am

Post title: “It’s my metabolism.”

The OP (opening post) is mine. This has generated a whirlwind of responses, and made for interesting discussion.

My grandchildren’s father is one of those people who can eat like there is no tomorrow and not gain an ounce. He is so thin that people have accused him of being a meth or crack addict, yet I’ve seen him eat stacks and stacks of pancakes, dripping with butter and syrup. According to my daughter, this is the way he eats all the time. He says it’s his metabolism and that he has always been like that. His older three children are the same way. We don’t know yet about my daughter’s year-and-a-half old son, or baby upcoming, if they are going to inherit that fast metabolism, or my family’s slow one.

What I want to know is this: When people are prone to be so thin, no matter what they do, and they say “it’s my metabolism” nobody questions it.

But when someone prone to obesity, who can gain weight reading a cookbook and has a hard time losing it despite excruciating work, says the same thing, they are told they are making excuses. Why?

Now, I’m not going to say we should just lean back and claim “it’s my metabolism” while eating badly and failing to exercise, but I want to know why the metabolism plea is so much more believable coming from someone who is thin as a whip, than it is coming from someone who is inclined to be fat?

Among other things, it was correctly pointed out that if “nobody questioned it” then he wouldn’t hear comments about being a drug addict, would he? Others who are naturally very thin, particularly women, are accused of being anorexic. So, skinny people do get rude remarks too. While we hear, “Put down the Big Mac and take a walk for once,” they might get, “For Heaven’s sake, eat something, my dear, you need some meat on your bones.”

The discussion led to my further observation:

I think the ones saying that the higher-metabolism people are more active are right too, but the point I am making is that they seem to have more energy in the first place. My grandchildren’s father hardly ever slows down, and his three older children, not biologically related to me or my daughter, are just plain hyper. However, none of them are making a conscious decision to get exercise. They don’t follow any program. Besides obviously not caring what they eat or how much, they also don’t think to themselves, “OK, I need some exercise, so I’m going to do this specific action for this amount of time.” They simply have a lot of energy. While I have to watch everything that goes in my mouth, and deliberately set aside times to move my body in ways I carefully plan, this man and his children aren’t even thinking about it.

Regardless of any physical factors, I think it’s the “having to think about it” as opposed to “it comes naturally” that makes the most difference.

Post title: Sewing NSV

The OP is mine. For the curious, NSV means “non-scale victory” and refers to seeing evidence of lost weight or improved health, other than the reading on a scale.

For several weeks, I haven’t been well enough to go the clubhouse I’ve mentioned is normally part of my daily routine. So I hadn’t been near a scale, since I usually weigh myself there. I have no idea if I’ve lost any poundage. But I can still report a major NSV that involves sewing.

I had been in the middle of making myself a black velvet skirt. I cut it almost three months ago, carefully fitting myself, but then found I couldn’t see well enough to sew it. I needed new glasses, and it took a while to complete the process of getting them. I took the skirt back up today, started sewing on it, and when fitting, I quickly discovered that now I’m going to have to widen the seam allowances and take it in! For those of you who don’t sew, that means make it smaller! The measurements I took three months ago are no longer accurate. And in the “right” direction too. I’m so happy.

I had taken to sewing new clothes myself because it’s cheaper than buying them new and already made. Next time I’m going to think twice before buying shiny black velvet, however, since even with the new glasses I’m still having trouble seeing. Darker colors tend to be more difficult when you have vision problems.

When I get it finished, I’ll ask hubby to take a picture of me wearing the skirt. OK?

I am tickled pink to follow this up with:

I just finished the skirt. Just now.

Tried it on, and discovered that after I had taken it in by probably 2 or 3 inches….

It’s still too loose on me!

I’m all stitched out for tonight. But at this point it’s only a matter of tightening the elastic in the waistband. As long as the waist fits snugly, it’s ok for the hips to be a bit roomy. It’ll only take a few minutes to do that.

Which leads me back to that “it’s my metabolism” thread where I admitted:

What’s really funny is that I started out on my weight loss journey to prove my point. I knew that if I were caught eating sugary, fattening junk, even once, I would be giving someone room to say, “Now you see? You’re fat because you eat like that.” No way was I going to allow that. I kept it up in order to prove that it really is beyond my control, that I cannot lose weight even when I am careful to eat right and exercise.

Except… I now discover that I have been losing weight.

I will continue with more selected 3FC posts in future entires.


“Can’t you just let go of it?” March 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lovebirdsflying @ 10:34 pm

Um, no. I have a lot of trouble leaving the past in the past.

Someone told me, and I believe it, that with PTSD, the memories are stored in a different part of the brain. So it’s not so much me not letting go of the past, it’s the past not letting go of me. I re-live it. Every little hurtful thing said to me, or every *major* hurtful thing done to me, by a trusted elder. I was raised to “respect” my elders, and this meant they were like that little boy on the Twilight Zone. You’d better NOT think a bad thought about them. Instead, you’d better like and approve of everything they say and do, and keep telling them how good they are.

And now, I have trouble disqualifying what they said, way back when. Since I can remember everything so clearly, what might as well have happened yesterday was maybe 20 or 30 years ago, but the feelings are still fresh. I still remember being fair game for insult humor, especially about my weight, and “if you don’t like it, go on a diet.” What brought that back was that I am now considering weight loss surgery, and I can just hear some family members telling me it’s cheating. I will never win their approval, no matter what I do. This is why I had to move 3,000 miles away from them. If I still lived where they live, I’d still be going through all their crap.

But the memories have followed.


Fat and stupid: A connection? March 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lovebirdsflying @ 8:11 pm

Another 3FC poster started a thread a couple of weeks ago, telling about how she tends to get less respect because of her size. People treat her, she says, as if she is 5 years old.

I hadn’t connected it with being fat before, but I get that treatment too.

With the recent passing of my aunt, she has of course been in my thoughts a lot, and today my thoughts led me to the personality traits she and I have in common. One of those is a tendency to be hypersensitive about having our intelligence questioned.

Barbie was what used to be called “mentally retarded.” Nowadays she would be called “special” or “developmentally delayed,” and the street definition of “retarded” is far different from anything that would have described Barbie. She was quick to speak up when she thought someone was being overly helpful. If anything in this world thoroughly angered her, it was to be treated as if she was helpless. Try to do something for her that she could jolly well do for herself, and she’d let you know in no uncertain terms. “I’ll take care of my own damn self!” Tell her something she already knew, and you could expect to hear, “I know that. I’m not stupid.” And no, she certainly wasn’t!

And now, come to think of it, I find the same hypersensitivity about intelligence in myself. My IQ is above average. I have been accused of being conceited, wrapped up in myself, or “grandiose” for merely saying that. Is it the idea of an intelligent fat woman that doesn’t compute?

In therapy I’ve been told about something called “the impostor syndrome.” A successful woman fears that one day people are going to see through the mask and find out that she is secretly a failure. A beautiful woman feels ugly; a smart one feels dumb. I’ve been called a “know-it-all” more than once, and in some instances I can see why people would say that. It’s because I often feel the need to prove I am intelligent. To them it appears as if I’m rubbing it in, while to me it feels that if I don’t prove otherwise, I’m going to be presumed stupid.

But face it; it’s not like I haven’t had reason to feel that. I realize that merely telling me something I already know is not an insult. People can be very intelligent, and yet have things they don’t know. Nobody knows everything. But what burns my biscuits is when I’m told some elementary fact that anyone with the sense God gave a turkey would know. For instance, when I was working as a cashier in a grocery store, I had a customer purchase a mylar helium balloon, which she weighted down with a candy bar. I rang up both items and set them aside to complete the transaction. At that point a co-worker ran toward me in horror, yelling urgently that I’d better not let go of that balloon. She backed off when she saw that the balloon was weighted down, but honestly! Ask any normally functioning four-year-old what will happen to a helium balloon if it isn’t attached to something, and I’m sure you’ll get a correct answer. She really thought I, a grown woman, didn’t know any better?

Some people might reassure me that my co-worker totally overreacted, and that she was the one who came off looking stupid in that situation. If this were the only time such a thing has ever happened to me, I might be able to believe that.


Back to my aunt Barbie again. When I was a teenager living with my grandmother, we would often visit relatives in rural Kentucky. Some of these relatives were more distant than others, and I didn’t know them well. Physically, Barbie and I had body build and hair color in common; not much else. I wore glasses, for one thing, and she didn’t, and our hairstyles were different lengths. Was a mere loose resemblance the reason so many of our distant relatives thought I was her? Repeatedly? Even after being corrected? Or was it something else?

My grandmother couldn’t understand why it bugged me. “Why, I would think it should be an HONOR to be compared to someone like Barbara! You see, she’s an angel here on Earth, and when she dies, she’s going to go right to Heaven.” Of course, all of that is true, but I don’t think that’s what my relatives had in mind when they called me Barbara, and thought I was her. Combine this with my own peers who would come right out and TELL me they considered me retarded, and I have always wondered, exactly what was it about me that made my relatives think so too?

And I wonder now, am I a bad person for still wondering about that?

Hubby’s phone call on his lunch hour interrupted my typing, and I had a brief conversation with him about this blog entry so far. I brought up to him that he often tells me what I already know, and he acknowledged that he knows I get annoyed by it. I believe him when he says, “I didn’t know you already knew that.” But, as I pointed out, so many times it’s something he also told me yesterday, and last week, and several times before that, so how could he not know I already knew it? In that case, he said, it would be because he had forgotten he told me. He doesn’t think I can’t retain information, and that he has to tell me again. It’s him being forgetful, not me being stupid. I understand.

Again, if this were the only demon I faced, it would be easy. But how many times have I heard…

  • If you were REALLY smart, you’d know….
  • If you’re so smart, how come you can’t figure out….
  • Yeah, you’re book smart, but you don’t have any common sense.
  • Sure you get good grades, but (take your choice) you’re ugly–you’re fat–your clothes are out of style–you don’t like the right kind of music–you’re not athletic enough–your teeth need straightening–you can’t dance–you said something stupid, and those are the things that really matter.
  • Whatever my strengths were, they were considered beans next to whatever my weaknesses were.

    And it’s hard erasing over four and a half decades of that stuff.


    Why won’t I let myself succeed? March 8, 2010

    Filed under: Uncategorized — lovebirdsflying @ 8:14 pm

    There are many things I can blame this binge on.

    I am under stress. An aunt just died, and since my grandmother raised me for a good part of my childhood, this aunt was more like a sister to me than an aunt. Not only was she a mere 15 when I was born, but she was special-needs (what we used to call “retarded,” but slang use of that term has taken it out of favor) and never left home. When I was in high school, and living at my grandmother’s house, my aunt was a fixture. A major part of the family.

    In fact, I remember how she used to sabotage my weight loss attempts back then. She would get very angry and complain when I didn’t outright overeat at family functions. I joined Weight Watchers that year, put my diet plan up on the refrigerator for easy reference, and she took it down and hid it. It turned out that she was, she confessed, doing it on purpose. She feared that I would lose weight and get a boyfriend, and I’d bring him home, and he’d laugh at her. Of course, I couldn’t stay mad at her after hearing that. I promptly assured her that any boyfriend of mine who laughed at her would not remain my boyfriend! (In fact, as I worded it, he’d be lucky to remain a boy.) This seemed to satisfy her, and she is the only one in my life who ever *admitted* to sabotaging me on purpose. Although I’m sure she’s not the only one who DID sabotage me on purpose.

    Is my husband doing that? I could venture to say so. I am ill today with an inner ear infection, and I basically can’t leave the house. My balance is so bad that I stagger around like I’m drunk. So I woke up today to a pizza he ordered, along with a dessert pizza that I find irresistable. I was able to regulate how much I ate of the ordinary pizza, but that streusel…. !!! I am ashamed to say (but must say it, because I am being rigorously honest) that I polished off every slice. When I casually mentioned today that I’m not sure low-carb is working for me, my daughter laughed. “Of course it’s not, Mom.” She pointed to the pizza. “Look at all this *support.*” Hubby then made it a point to say we don’t eat like that every day.

    But I still couldn’t control myself. My aunt may have sabotaged me once in my life, but God rest her soul, she’s not with us any more. My husband may have brought it home, but he didn’t make me eat it. Staying home sick might have added to the boredom-eating factor, but it’s no excuse. And yes I’m grieving, but people don’t have to fall back into their addictions for that reason.

    Alcoholics fall off the wagon because they are alcoholics, not for any other reason, and I binged because I am a food addict, not for any other reason.

    Tomorrow is another day.

    And if low-carb isn’t working, then I’ll find something that does. I may not lose weight, but I’ll find a way of eating that will control my blood sugar and make me healthy at whatever size my body wants to be.


    “No fat chicks.”

    Filed under: Uncategorized — lovebirdsflying @ 1:23 pm

    I polled a small audience online. Nothing scientific about it, just doing “Yahoo Answers.” I first asked if people would consider dating an obese person. Answers ranged from “Ewww, gross, no!” to “I would think an obese person would smell bad.” I do wonder why people make that assumpiton. Just because someone has a large body doesn’t mean they don’t take a shower. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

    Then I wondered if they and I were defining “obese” in a different way. I meant only, “in the obese range on a BMI chart.” Apparently they meant, “grossly misshapen.” That is, what many today would consider super-morbidly obese. When I re-phrased the question to say simply “overweight,” people were much more accepting, although the majority of men still took the “no fat chicks” stand. The reason one man gave was that overweight women have emotional issues, and their size shows how out of control they are. Too bad I didn’t get more answers from *women* on whether or not they would date an overweight *man.* It seems society cares more about a woman’s body size than a man’s.

    Only one of my responders was what can be considered a total jerk. When I then expanded (no pun intended) the question to include people in other categories, such as different race, different religion, in a wheelchair, etc., only “religion” didn’t make a difference to that man. (I would venture to guess he has none.) As for the physical disability, he wrote, “If she’s in a wheelchair how would we do it so no.” As if that’s the only thing women exist for. I’m not really considering his opinion as anything valid; just pointing him out to show that some of those people who say “no fat chicks” really are jerks.

    There are people who say it isn’t shallow; it’s merely evolutionary. That men are visual, while women are tactile. Men are first attracted by what they see, and then by the personality. Finally it becomes love. I don’t know. This more than suggests that if a woman doesn’t look exactly right by society’s standards, she will never find love, because she will never break through the initial physical attractiveness barrier. From what I’m reading, this is the experience of some women. But it hasn’t been mine. I’ve been married more times than I care to admit. Let me say that THIS marriage, the one I’m IN, is the one that counts for me, because THIS marriage is to a mentally healthy man who is in it for the long haul and married me knowing it’s a lifetime commitment. But even though it’s gone wrong before, I have found love, even being an overweight woman. How did I get past the “initial physical attraction” that people think is so important on the way to love? Could it be that some men DO find a larger body attractive? Could it be that the larger body doesn’t matter as much as some think?

    From a 3FC post I made:

    I’ve always been fat, and I’ve never had trouble finding a relationship. Keeping them has been an issue, but I do have a healthy marriage now, and I think this one will stick. We’ve hit (and worked through) a rough patch recently, but my psychiatrist tells me that’s a good thing. It tests how strong we are.

    Society seems to think that no man wants the fat chick, *just because* she is fat. I don’t think that’s it. Looking back now, even in high school there were boys interested in me. It’s just that I had so little confidence in myself that I assumed any boy who was attracted to me must have a screw loose somewhere, and instead of giving them a chance I pined away for the cute jocks who only dated cheerleaders.

    I once met a woman who was morbidly obese and married to a blind man. From the way she carried herself, the facial expression she wore, etc., it was patently obvious that somewhere in her mind was the thought, “You see? Only a blind man would want to marry me.” The marriage didn’t last, and it darned sure didn’t have anything to do with what she looked like!

    As for attraction and how it can’t be helped, I don’t quite buy it. A physically cute guy will turn my head, but it takes a lot more than looks to really get me interested. I’d rather have a bulldog-ugly man who treats me well, than a hottie who treats me like dirt, and I’d like to think that any man with an ounce of sense would feel the same way about women.


    Marking today February 22, 2010

    Filed under: Uncategorized — lovebirdsflying @ 9:53 pm

    I’ve been attending online Overeaters Anonymous meetings, and today I found my way to a face-to-face group.  While I do appreciate the online meetings, I’d rather get out and meet my sisters (and occasional brothers) in recovery.

    Some other time I’ll go into the 12-step aspect, and food addiction, and how it’s just as real as any other addiction.  Right now I need to go to bed, so I can get up and get out again tomorrow.  I’ll just sum up by saying I think my life is finally beginning to start.  As a recovering alcoholic I marked my first day of sobriety, April 4, 2008.  As a former smoker, I marked May 14, 2007 as my first smoke-free day.

    Today is February 22, 2010, and I’ve made it through one full day abstinent from overeating.

    With God (working as Jesus Christ, as I am a Christian) as my Higher Power, may there be many more days, one day at a time.


    This very long 3FC post says it all. January 22, 2010

    Filed under: Uncategorized — lovebirdsflying @ 3:27 am

    This is what I wanted to blog about, and since I posted it already, I don’t want to plod through the whole story twice, so I copied and pasted.

    Post follows.

    Hi chickies!

    I’m having a great week so far. I go to a clubhouse designed for people like me with mental health problems, for the purpose of rehabbing me to go back to work. One thing I’ve always had a problem with is consistency, and this more than anything is what interferes with my ability to work. Getting up and just doing it. Depression messes with my sleep, and if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep, I can barely function in the morning.

    Hubby doesn’t quite understand this. He is (thank God) blissfully unencumbered by mental illness, despite having grown up as an abused child. All he’s got is a bit of social anxiety. Driving a bus for a living and going to church on Sunday is about all the intermingling with people that he can stand; he is so not a party person, although he can deal with small gatherings if it’s people he knows well. There is also a touch of PTSD that comes out in the form of occasional nightmares, and he has had almost no contact with his father since turning 18.

    He knows I am also an abuse survivor, and he does understand my own diagnosis of PTSD. But as for the depression, he doesn’t get it. I also have the biochemical imbalance that goes along with diagnosed mental illness. He doesn’t. He can cope. I can’t, without professional help and medication.

    So at my last therapy session, my hubby and I came up with a deal. I will try to get up and get going even if I’ve had a bad night, and he will not minimize my successes by saying, for example, “You only went to the clubhouse once last week.” Instead he’ll say, “Hey, good for you. You went to the clubhouse once last week. Let’s try for twice this week.”

    And so far this week:

    On Monday the clubhouse was closed for MLK. On Tuesday I had a *very* bad night and couldn’t sleep, but I would have missed the clubhouse anyway due to my therapy appointment where we made this deal. It had been scheduled for 11:30, but I was unable to wake up sufficiently to go. I kept falling back asleep and *dreaming* that I was getting ready. I roused myself enough to call the therapist, fortunately found that he had a 2:00 opening, and napped until it was time to get ready for that. Then I made it there. Which pleased hubby, therapist, and me.

    On Wednesday I still hadn’t had good sleep, but I went to the clubhouse. Then to my group therapy session. Then out with my husband and daughter, impromptu, since he works second shift. It so happened that I arrived downtown to go to the Y at just the time hubby was starting his lunch hour, and that my daughter had happened to get off from college and was riding his bus on the way home, and that the Y isn’t far from the bus transit center or the litte diner where we met– a string of convenience, but it was very much fun. After dinner, to the Y.

    Hubby’s bus brought me home around 10:00, when I enjoyed a good hot bath and went to bed somewhere around midnight, after hubby had come home. But I woke up around 4:00 and could not get back to sleep. I have to get up at 6:30 to get to the clubhouse by 9:00 anyway; that’s the way buses run.

    So, on 4 hours of sleep over the last 48, I made it to the clubhouse on Thursday. It’s open until 5:00, but I was planning to leave at 3:00 (when the actual workday ends) and go to the Y again. Nothing doing. At 2:00 my body hit the brakes. Staff knew I was on a sleep deficit, and nothing at the clubhouse is mandatory, so they had no problem with me going home and going right to bed.

    Which brings me to why I am on the computer at 3:15 in the morning. A couple of hours ago I woke up hungry, not having eaten since lunch, and decided I’d make lunch for tomorrow at the same time. I’m just waiting for the beef to cool so I can cube it and it won’t melt the mozzarella. A few cherry tomatoes, some celery slices, some turnip cubes, and some mixed nuts, and I’ve got a healthy low-carb lunch.

    The coffee pot is pre-set, my gym bag is packed, and my clothes for tomorrow are laid out. As soon as my lunch is prepared, I’m going back to bed until 6:30. Clubhouse and the Y tomorrow. Then hubby and I both have the weekend off.

    That will make three days I went to the clubhouse this week. Hubby says he’s proud of me.


    One incredible day January 21, 2010

    Filed under: Uncategorized — lovebirdsflying @ 6:19 am

    I knew I was headed for a binge. Yesterday I had one, of sorts, but it turned out to be necessary, a piece of a puzzle that came together brilliantly for me.

    I am disabled and currently attend a program that will ease me back into the workforce. I have many positive things to say about this program. It is not like others I have attended, where the members sit around playing Bunco or Spades all day, with little actual therapy or rehabilitation going on. This one puts you to work. I am actively improving my job skills, and becoming used to getting up and going somewhere every day. I have even been offered a temporary paying job, which seems to be right up my alley, and I have eagerly accepted.

    Where does the binge fit in? Well, I’d been having little mini-binges. Eating something like a coffee-mug full of ice cream, or a couple of miniature Reese’s cups, then stopping before I plunge in over my head with it. Yesterday at the clubhouse, the cook had underestimated the number of people who would be eating lunch, and lunch was quite meager. Afterward, donuts were set out.

    I was hungry. And donuts are a strong weakness, if you’ll pardon the oxymoron. I had three of them. Naughty naughty, especially since I am diabetic. Yet I am thankful I was able to stop at the three, since they were sitting there so unattended and lonely-looking…..

    Later I went to the gym and worked out a bit harder than usual. Thank you, Linda Ronstadt! I hadn’t tried doing exercise to my own CD collection before. I’d just passively listened to the gym’s overhead music, which is not bad but not my style. Yesterday I did the headphones thing. I found Linda Ronstadt’s greatest hits to be a perfect backdrop. The rhythms of her songs set just the right pace for me, and the way the songs are arranged on the CD turned out to be perfectly coordinated. The slower songs come later, coinciding with cooldown and bridging from cardio into strength training. And oh, that cardio! I probably doubled what I had done the previous session, when I had nothing going on in my mind but pedal, pedal, pedal. Listening to great songs while I’m doing it makes it so much more fun, and so much easier to keep doing.

    Today I’m a teeny bit sore in places I didn’t even know I had places. But I also feel wonderful, and more motivated to keep this up. The soreness tells me I’ve hit on some previously neglected areas, and is helping me know what I need to do next time I exercise. I don’t have a rigid routine. I listen to my body and do what it wants to do. My body lets me know when I’m doing right, and when I’ve had enough.

    The scale also gave me good news. I’d been out of commission the last couple of months, recuperating from a sprained hip. During that time, there had been binges. I’d already lost some weight, and had come down from a high of 283 to the 270 I divulged in a previous post. I’m certain some of those 13 pounds came back on while I was on the sidelines.

    However many pounds came back on, they left again, and they took 5 of their friends with them. This brings my weight loss total to one dress size and 18 pounds. I keep trying to remind myself I am doing this for reasons other than weight loss. To control my diabetes. To help me gain strength and energy. To increase endorphins in my brain and minimize depression. Weight loss is only a side effect, not the primary goal. But when I *see* the weight loss actually happening, it’s wonderful! It inspires me to keep on going.

    Now, here’s the deal about that donut binge. I checked my blood sugar after that workout. To my amazement, it was in the low 150’s. I can spike up to over 300 after a slip like that, yet here I was showing an excellent reading. I realized that if I had not exercised so hard, my sugar might have been much higher. Yet if I had not eaten the donuts, I might have experienced a dangerous drop after that workout.

    Today I plan to bring a lunch with me. I’m not going to set myself up for another binge by being hungry.

    I feel, at 45 years old, that I am finally beginning to come to life! Thank you God, for creating this journey for me to experience. It’s been a bumpy and frightening ride at times, but You are showing me some tremendous sights as I ride along.


    Feeling fat at any size January 19, 2010

    Filed under: Uncategorized — lovebirdsflying @ 6:00 am

    When I was 8 years old, stood 4’6″ tall, had begun puberty with visibly dark and thick hair under my arms, was beginning to wear a bra, and weighed 70 pounds, I looked in the mirror and thought I was fat. I wasn’t. In fact, I was at a higher percentile for my height than I was for my weight. According to’s percentile calculator for childhood growth:

    At 8 years and 6 months:

    your child is 70 pounds, and that is
    at the 78th percentile for weight.

    your child is 54 inches, and that is
    at the 85th percentile for height.

    When I was 11 years old, stood nearly my adult height, was menstruating, wore a C-cup, had the appearance of a grown woman, and weighed 125 pounds, I looked in the mirror and thought I was fat. I wasn’t. Again with the percentile calculator:

    At 11 years 3 months:

    your child is 125 pounds, and that is
    at the 95th percentile for weight.

    your child is 63 inches, and that is
    at the 97th percentile for height.

    Still at a higher percentile for height than weight, and although closing the gap, I was perfectly proportional. I weighed what I should have weighed.

    As a freshman in high school, things began to change for me. I now believe I dieted myself into a weight problem, since starvation mode will cause a body to grab onto every calorie it can get, and pile it up for the next famine. I had already begun my starve-and-binge cycles. Although I qualified, I was embarrassed to eat breakfast or lunch at school because we were on a free lunch program. This is not my family’s fault; it’s the school’s. You see, they had separate lines for collecting your tickets in the morning. Free lunch went to one booth to get their tickets, reduced went to a second, and full-price went to a third. We all ate the same meals, but how much we paid for it was advertised for all the world to see.

    I apologize to members of the world’s varied races for what I am about to say, but it was a different time and place, a different culture, and I’d been programmed to feel it: What caused most of my embarrassment was the fact that I was the only white student in the free lunch line.

    This applies to only one of the several schools I went to during my education, but it did happen, and at other schools there were other reasons I was too timid to eat. I was harassed and bullied in the lunch room. I was mooed, barked, or oinked at. I heard shouts of “Whale on the beach!” I heard one joke too many about not letting me go ahead of them in the lunch line, or there would be no food left. So, for one reason or other, I stopped eating entirely at school.

    Then I’d make up for it at home by eating seconds and thirds at supper, and snacking all the way to bedtime. My percentile chart as a sophomore:

    At 15 years and 6 months:

    your child is 180 pounds, and that is
    at the 96th percentile for weight.

    your child is 65 inches, and that is
    at the 66th percentile for height.

    And as a senior:

    At 17 years and 6 months:

    your child is 208 pounds, and that is
    at greater than the 97th percentile for weight.

    your child is 66 inches, and that is
    at the 76th percentile for height.

    Greater than 97th percentile. That’s the highest it goes. Now I’m off the charts. And so it continued. When I weighed in at the hospital and saw that 163 I was so happy about, I was now at the 89th percentile for weight, and the 75th percentile for height. Yes, this works out fatter than average, but I was pregnant.

    Today, according to the percentile charts at, my weight figures out to be at the 115th percentile if that were possible, while my height is still squarely at the 75th. Yes, clearly I am obese.

    But the point I’m making is that I always saw myself as a big fat blob, long before I was actually overweight. Not only is this true, but everyone I came into contact with seemed to agree. If it was someone my age, they’d bluntly and rudely remind me somehow that I’m fat. If it was an adult, I got mixed messages. “Of course you’re not fat, dear, but do you really want to eat that cookie?”

    It seems I need to rely on statistics and charts, rather than what I see in the mirror. I’m re-thinking my goal weight. Instead of the 160 I originally aimed at, since it was my lightest adult weight, the percentile charts show that to be at the 75th percentile in both height and weight — and thus, proportional — would mean standing 5’6″ and weighing 180. I can hear people hollering that this is still overweight, but I’m only going by percentile here. I don’t care about supermodels being 5’10” and weighing 115. I don’t want to be a supermodel. I don’t want to look like one, and I don’t want to eat like one. While I acknowledge that I do need to lose weight, I fault society and the media for creating an unrealistic image of feminine beauty, and — well — witness the movie “The Devil Wears Prada,” where they kept calling a size 6 “fat.” I’ve seen the likes of Jessica Simpson and Raven Symone mocked, simply for having the body of a grown woman. In both cases, no way in hell, heaven, or earth would I call them “fat.”

    I’ll have to look up who said it, but it has been wisely and correctly pointed out that our ideal is a biological impossibility: the body of a 12-year-old boy, with big breasts.

    Let’s imagine all the flowers got together and decided that only roses were beautiful. What would the sunflowers do? Assuming they had the physiological ability, they’d begin starving, cutting, and mutilating themselves in an attempt to look like roses. And what would they look like? Beautiful roses? Nope. Just sickly, unnatural sunflowers. Let’s further imagine that the flowers decided the bigger the pistil, the more beautiful the flower. It still has to be a rose, but it has to have a pistil like that of an Easter lily. Not possible for a rose. So now, in their natural state, not even roses are “beautiful.” They gotta get pistil implants. And the sunflowers are still starving and warping themselves.

    Don’t we appreciate every type of flower for its unique beauty? If there were only one type of flower in the world, all the same size, shape, and color, how boring would that be? We recognize that easily.  Can’t we apply the same logic to human beings? Do we really need to be all the same size, shape, and color, in order to be considered beautiful? I don’t think so.

    I may revamp my long-term goal and make it 180 instead of 160. I don’t know. But I know this: I refuse to accept any longer the notion that “fat” and “ugly” are synonyms.


    Start at the beginning January 7, 2010

    Filed under: Uncategorized — lovebirdsflying @ 2:54 pm

    I was born after 32 weeks, prematurely, but I weighed 4 lbs. 11 oz. at birth. That’s already almost a pound more than average, for that gestation! Had I gone full term, I would have probably weighed close to 9 pounds, vs. 7 1/2 for the average baby.

    I was my mother’s first, and she was very young and didn’t know better. She fed me until I fell asleep or threw up. It didn’t occur to her that I might be crying because my tummy was too full. She figured if I was crying, it meant I was hungry, so she kept feeding me. By the time I was 5 months old, I was eating two full Junior size baby food jars every meal. I’ve seen pictures of myself then. I looked like a little Buddha.

    I don’t remember weight or size being an issue in early childhood.  I was raised on the typical “eat everything on your plate” philosophy, where the “everything” included such things as the fat and the skin.  Now I look back and wonder why, although I do specifically remember my father protesting at the fat left on the plate, “Hey, that’s the best part!”  And yes, he’d make me eat it.  But I was not a fat kindergartener, nor a fat first- or second-grader.  This above all is a mystery to me.  If I was a fat baby, a fat pubescent, and a fat adult, how did I miss being a fat child?

    Puberty came early, and my body began changing.  It was in third grade that I began to hear the word “fat” applied to me.  The other school kids said it.  My name (changed as an adult) was Robin, which to them would become “Robin, Robin, big fat blobbin.”  One of the most mortifying moments of that year came when school health records were updated.  Heights and weights had to be taken.  A scale was rolled into the classroom, and it was done aloud in the presence of the entire class.  One boy commented, when it was my turn, “I’ll bet Robin weighs a thousand pounds.”  I didn’t, of course.  I weighed 70, the heaviest in the class.  I was also the tallest, biggest boned, and most physically developed, but that didn’t matter.  Everybody else’s weight started with a 5 or a 6.  It followed, then, that I was “fat.”

    The adults would assure me I wasn’t fat, but at the same time, they began to criticize my eating habits.  Growth spurts and puberty are always accompanied by huge appetites, and I was no exception.  I no longer had to be told to finish my meals.  Now I wanted seconds, even more.  “You ate four biscuits?”  my step-father teased me.  “That’s two pounds you’ve gained, girl!”  Although I didn’t have enough people-skills yet to know not to take him literally, my third-grade education gave me the ability to do the math:  “Wow, that means every time I eat a biscuit, I gain half a pound!”

    Yet, I realize now, I still wasn’t “fat.”  I was merely “heavy.”  Of a naturally stocky build, and maturing early, I stood significantly taller than any other child, boy or girl, in my grade.  I was already wearing a bra and growing underarm hair.  It should follow logically that I would be heavier.  By the time I was 11, I stood within three inches of my full adult height, wore a 36C bra, and was menstruating.  I weighed 125 pounds, much to my horror.  This is exactly what I should have weighed.  But my sixth grade classmates, who stood considerably shorter and still had children’s bodies, were only too willing to help me feel fat.  So were the well-meaning adults who now began to give me diet advice.

    I wasn’t clinically overweight until I started high school, and at my graduation I had gone to slightly over 200 pounds.  Shortly afterward, I lost a significant amount doing what many would not recommend today.  I ate no breakfast, had maybe a tuna sandwich for lunch, and supper alternated between a hamburger patty (no bread) or a fried leg-and-thigh quarter, with a lettuce-and-tomato salad.  I hadn’t been weighing myself, but the following summer I found myself in the hospital.  I was three months pregnant and had a fallopian tube infection.  I was weighed upon admission and was tickled pink to see 163 on the scale.  The winter coat I had worn in high school took me all the way through the nine months of pregnancy.

    Now, this is when I really began to get “fat.”  I gained 40 pounds with that pregnancy, which took me back to my graduation weight and explains why the high school coat fit so well.  But when Elizabeth was born, I did not lose the weight I had gained.  Nor did I lose the next 40 pounds I gained, having Tiffany.  With Jessica I gained nothing, but still didn’t lose any weight after she was born.

    I am now a grandmother, and gradual creeping up in weight has brought me to my present 270.  I’ve lost weight before, but I always seem to stall at the 240 mark, which is exactly where I ended up after my first two children were born.  Some would say that 240, then, is my “natural” weight.  Is it really?  Well, if it is, I still have some weight to lose to get down there.

    As of now, I set my first goal at 230, just to see if I can pass that plateau.  My long-term goal is that 160 range I was so tickled to see when I was pregnant with Elizabeth.  It is the lowest I’ve ever weighed in my adult life.  I’d love to be there again, even though the first time I saw that weight, as a freshman in high school, I certainly felt “fat” then.  But that’s another post.