Harry Potter and a Bowl of Ravioli

I’ve been thinking a lot about the holidays lately.  Likely because as of November 1, Christmas explodes everywhere, but it’s not actually Christmas that I’ve been thinking about.  It’s New Year’s.  Wondering what 2015 is going to bring, and looking forward to continuing on my weight-loss journey.  But, it order to get through into 2015 first we have to get through the whole Christmas Season, and then which tends to be either the best or worst night of the year for most people, New Year’s Eve.  And what happens on New Year’s Eve besides the classic kiss at midnight, and the ultimate tragedy of spilling at least one drink down your cleavage?  The making of the New Year’s resolutions.  Now, I don’t know who the genius was that invented New Year’s resolutions, but I’d like to punch them in the face. As far as I’m concerned, all they are is an excuse to set un-reachable goals for ourselves, and then feel bad when we fail 2 weeks into the New Year.  We all know this, and yet we all still make the vows.  We wait for the clock to strike midnight, cry out “Happy New Year!” and solemnly swear to give up sugar, or start going to bed earlier, or we wait until the next morning and vow to never drink again.  For the last ten years of my life, I have been making the same New Year’s resolution: get my ass in shape.  It’s the same story every year.  I go to the store a few days before New Year’s Eve and buy cute new workout clothes, and brand new shoes.  As soon as the gyms re-open from their New Year’s Day break, I’d show up like clockwork every day for like a month.  I’m sure some of the people that work there wait for me to show up every year in January and then take bets as to how long it’ll be before I go missing.  How long it’ll be before I have stopped one day on my way home at the grocery store, bought a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream and eaten the whole damn thing. How long it’ll be before my new workout pants become my new fat pants that I put on after a large meal or on days that I feel particularly bloated.

Previous to this year, I always found it difficult to go to the gym and actually enjoy it.  I was never one of those people that could get into the rhythm of it.  Even now, that I’ve officially made it passed the “Oh, f*%$ this” line and have been going on a regular basis, I don’t know that I would say I truly enjoy it.  There is an amazing comic that has since passed away named John Pinette who summed it up perfectly. He said in one of his DVD specials “I see so many people at the gym and they’re thinking healthy.  They’re thinking ‘I think I’m going to do some free weights…’ or ‘I hope there’s a Pilates class…’ And here I am thinking ‘If I get through this I’m going to go home and ravioli and a nap… come on, John, ravioli and a nap, ravioli and a nap…”  Making a big life change is hard.  And when you’re so used to your life being one way, jump starting it in another direction is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.  But, here I was, at the beginning of another year.  And, like I had done for the last 10 years, when the clock struck midnight I made a solemn vow that this was my year.  This was the year of change- the year that I would honestly and truly make a difference.  I had decided a few days before that I was going to try swimming this year.  I have ankle and knee issues, and I had been told that swimming, while being a great form of cardio, was very easy on your joints.  So, before I went to bed on New Year’s Day, I pulled out my new bathing suit and was ready to head to the pool the next day to start my brand new life change.  It was bound to be at least better than hot yoga. When i tried that I started hallucinating about 20 minutes in that I was smelling a roasted ham and then realize it was coming from my thighs.

Fast forward about 3 weeks into January 2014.  For once in my life, I was actually doing pretty well.  I was swimming on a regular basis and I was starting to lose some weight.  Seeing as I had chosen a gym where no one knew me, I hadn’t seen any betting happening, and I was even starting to get to know the people that worked there.  I was starting to feel that I was well on my way to a healthier life style, smaller and better me.  I was even making healthier choices in the kitchen.  Whereas I used to choose sandwiches and pasta for lunch, I was starting to make salads and take the time to cut up vegetables.  Gone were the days where I would declare I was too lazy to make a lunch and instead buy a foot-long sub for lunch.  I was really and truly starting to feel better about myself.

One night in late January I was sitting at home.  At the time I still lived with my grandma, grandpa, dad, and younger brother. Now, I come by my loud and obnoxious personality honestly, so as you can imagine, it was sometimes a little bit too much to handle when we were all home.  I was sitting in the living room doing nothing on my computer surrounded by my brother, who was tearing about the house looking for a text book, my dad, yelling in the kitchen that someone stole his favorite Tupperware container, and my grandparents, who were watching TV way too loud, because neither one of them can hear all that well.  I was full of nervous energy, and despite the fact that it was almost 8:30, I decided to go swimming.  The pool was open until 10:00, and I knew that if I didn’t do something, I was going to eat something, so I got my gear together, loaded into my car, and drove to the pool.

The beautiful thing about going to the pool an hour before it closes, is that there is next to no one there.  And the pool that I had joined was not very big, so it was nice to have the whole thing to yourself.  To avoid naming the gym, for argument’s sake lets call it the “ZNDB”.  Generally this only happened when you’re there late at night or in the middle of the afternoon right after aqua-sizes when all the large old men in Speedos vacate the water and head to the sauna to talk about the things that their wives don’t let them talk about at home.  I swam for 45 glorious minutes in the sweet silence.  Lost in my own thoughts.  Finally kicking the “ravioli and a nap” mentality and thinking about things that were coming up in the year ahead and why I was doing what I was doing.  I was very much looking forward to feeling better about myself and my self image as the year began.  Once I was completely swum out, I climbed out of the pool, grabbed my towel, and headed into the change room.

The change rooms at the “Z” are set up like any other.  You walk from the pool into the shower area, and then continue on into the locker room.  There are shelves in the shower area, and the shelves have hooks on them, so that you could leave towels and shampoo and soap there while you’re swimming so you don’t have to go back into the change room dripping wet get your stuff after you come out of the water.  There are even signs everywhere that say “Please Dry Off Before Entering the Locker Area”.  Which I totally get and respect, but there is not a lot of room in the shower area, and drying off out of the spray zone usually results in an exhibition like display of boob and thigh right outside the door to the locker area.  I used to be all self-conscious in the change room showers when I was naked- trying to hide the fact that I was fat from the rest of the women that were in there.  This year though, I came to the realization that when you’re as big as me, it’s hard to hide anywhere, never mind when you’re naked in a big empty room.  That brings “Elephant in the room” jokes to whole other level.  I have had little kids come up to me and stare while shouting, in a voice that echoed as only voices inside change rooms can echo, “YOU HAVE BIG BOOBIES!”  Some things are just not worth caring about.

I opened the door to the change room and walked into the shower area.  I took of my bathing suit and hung it up on a hook while reaching up to grab my shampoo and soap bag.  It took me a few moments to realize that there was nothing there.  I looked at the empty shelf and thought really hard.  I was sure I remembered bringing it into the shower before I went into the pool, but I started second guessing myself.  I have been to the pool quite a few times in the last few weeks, and all of the outings were starting to mesh into one large, healthy experience.  So, having already taken my bathing suit off, I grabbed my towel, half-assedly dried off, and attempted to wrap it around me to head to my locker.

Now, before I go any further, let me tell you a little bit about towels.  Skinny people, take note.  You all take towel coverage for granted.  When you’re fat, it is next to IMPOSSIBLE to find a towel on an everyday basis that will completely go around your body.  It’s like trying to wrap a present with the last piece of wrapping paper on the tube.  You pull it off the role and you hope and you pray that it’ll cover the box you have to wrap.  And then it doesn’t.  It’s always about 2 inches too short to go around the box.  And you start to pull on the wrapping paper in all different ways trying to make it fit at 6 different angles until the corner of your box rips a hole in the paper and you briefly consider using newspaper to wrap the present, but it’s for your mother-in-law, and you don’t want her to think you’re too cheap to buy wrapping paper, so you mutter a swear and go and find a new role.  I’ve never punctured a hole in a towel with my hip or my boob, as they’re too round to be considered “corners”, but I did rip one once, trying to pull it around my waist. Now, you have to make some choices when you’re fat and trying to cover up with a towel.  Are you going to cover the boobs? Or the ass?  Never both.  It’s like when you’re shimmying down an aisle at a concert and you have to decide if you’re going to put your crotch or your ass in people’s faces as you awkwardly move passed them.  When it comes to towels, I usually cover up my front half.  When you’re walking into a room, that’s generally what people see first, so, to me, it seems logical.  This time, however, and because it’s easier to manage when walking, I wrapped the towel around my back because I figured the locker room was going to be empty anyways, as I hadn’t seen a soul but the life-guard since I got there.

So, half-wrapped in my towel, which I should note was a Harry Potter beach towel (hey, I like Harry Potter), I opened the door to the locker room.  Now, picture this if you will.  The locker room is a large, square room.  There are lockers on all 4 walls, and a long row of lockers up the middle.  In one corner was the door I had just walked through.  Diagonally across the room was the door to go out into the rest of the building, and in the other 2 corners were bathroom stalls.  After I came into the room I turned left and headed to the far wall of lockers where I had left my stuff.  I went to put the key into the locker I had thought I used and realized that I couldn’t because it already had a key in it.  I stepped back.  I looked at the whole row.  Every single locker had a key in it.  I stood there for a moment, staring and not really believing what I was seeing.  I was beginning to think I was losing my mind.  My shampoo was missing.  My soap was missing.  And now my locker was missing?  What the hell was going on?  As I started wondering if I was even actually at the pool at all, I heard a cough come from the bathroom stall to my left, followed by the flush of a toilet.  I jumped about a foot in the air.  Apparently I was not the only late night traveller at the pool.  It was still sinking in that I wasn’t alone when the door to the stall opened.

Oh. My. Good. God.

Standing in the doorway of the bathroom stall was one of the very large, old sauna Speedo men from afternoon aqua-sizes.  Except he wasn’t wearing his Speedo.  In fact, he wasn’t wearing anything at all except some very unfortunate yellow flip-flops, and a look of sheer shock.  We stared at each other for what was the longest ten seconds of my life. These thoughts went through my head:

1) I’m dreaming.

2) Don’t look down.

3) Keep eye contact.

4) Oh my God, you’re looking down.

5) Wow, that’s really not in proportion to the rest of him.  That’s kinda sad.

6) Oh my God, stop it.

7) Why is he in the women’s change room?

8) Wait…

9) I’m in the wrong change room!!!!!!

10) I am half wrapped in a Harry Potter towel, currently completely flashing this man.

And as I was coming to full realization that I was basically also completely naked, he laughed and broke the shocked silence.

“I appreciate the gesture, honey, but I usually take my girls out for coffee first.”

“Oh my God, I’m so sorry!!!” I gasped, and I turned, and half-ran, half-waddled, half-still wet, and half-covered in a Harry Potter beach towel, out of the locker room, through the shower area, grabbed my bathing suit, and flew open the door that lead back to the pool.  Realizing that I was now flashing the lifeguard, I swore loudly, because I needed to draw more attention to myself, and pulled the towel around so that it was covering my front.  I side stepped the ten feet through the pool to the women’s change room door so I would at least leave the visual of my ass up to the lifeguard’s imagination and opened it.  As the door gloriously closed behind me, and I embraced the sanctuary of the correct shower room, I looked up and saw my shampoo and soap hanging out on the shelf, exactly where I left them.  Following a horrified shower, I dried off as fast as I could, entered the locker room to find the rest of my stuff hanging out exactly where I had left it, and, after carefully scanning the hallway outside of the locker room, a ran like hell for my car.  Not even stopping when the nice lady that sat at the front desk said to me, “Are you ok?  You look like you saw a ghost!”

When I got home I flopped down onto my bed thinking that this was a sign.  Or at least divine intervention.  New Year’s resolutions are just simply not meant to be kept.  And if we somehow do start showing signs of being able to keep them, the universe will intervene before we screw up the Earth’s equilibrium and all hell breaks loose.  Which, as far as I was concerned, did break loose.  In the form of a sadly small old man penis.  Just my luck to have missed the intervention and gone straight to the aftermath.

Laying on my bed, my stomach began growling.  As it always did after a workout.  Any normal person would have lost their appetite after going through the ordeal that I had to go through at the pool that night.  But I am not a normal person.  I am a fat chick.  I have nerves of steel, and a stomach with a voice that must be heard.  I am also a stress eater, and what I had just gone through was sure as shit stressful.  I hoisted myself off of my bed and headed to kitchen to accept the sign that I had been given and eat away my New Year’s resolution.  With a bowl of ravioli.

Disclaimer: Following this experience i actually continued swimming.  Not religiously, but I kick-started again in June and have been NOW going religiously since.  But believe you me, I triple check the change room door before I go in.

Modern Art

Alright, hands up.  How many of you have ever looked at a chair and thought to yourself “There is no way this ass is fitting in that chair?”  This used to happen to me all the time when I was at my heaviest.  My family would be on our way to a BBQ or a picnic or something and the whole way there in the car I’d be thinking about seating.  “What kind of lawn chairs are they going to have?”  “Maybe it’ll be a picnic table and I won’t have to worry about it…” “Oh shit, then am I going to sit on the table and capsize it when I sit down?”  My gramma has a great story that she always tells me every time we go somewhere with a picnic table.

                “Now, be careful when you sit at a picnic table, for God’s sake.  I remember a time we were at Uncle Bob and Auntie Gail’s and I got up really fast from a picnic table and the weight on the other side of it made whoever was sitting there (it changes every time she tells the story) go ass-over-tea kettle into the flower bed behind them.”

                Yes, when you’re a fat chick, the art of sitting isn’t always an art.  Well, I shouldn’t say that.  Sometimes the mess you end up with after the chair breaks kinda looks like modern art, but it’s never anything you’d pay for to decorate your home.  Which is too bad, because I could be a rich woman right now.  I remember one time when I still lived at home, I got up from the dining room table to get seconds and when I came back and sat down, the chair completely shattered underneath me.  (That awkward moment when you’re torn between not eating what’s on your plate because you just broke the chair, and eating what’s on your plate because you’re a shame-eater.) 

                The most embarrassing furniture-breaking experience that I have ever had happened in the summer of 2013 when I was in Cuba with my friend, Grace.  Now, first of all, when I came home from Cuba, I had perma-bruise on my outer-thigh. The chairs there are very small, and they all have arms.  Arms on chairs when you’re anything more than a size 24 (I was wearing size 28 jeans at this point) from the waist down are the enemy.  And I’m not talking the “avoid them on the playground at school because the make ‘Your mom…’ jokes and tell you that you smell funny” enemy.  I’m talking the “England has declared war on Germany” kind of enemy. (Too soon?  Too soon.) Anyways, my chair experience in Cuba always went something like this:

Step 1: Enter restaurant with plans to eat all of the everything because you’re on vacation, dammit. 

Step 2: Walk up to table and see what you’re expected to sit in.  Start to hear the horror movie violin theme playing in your head.

Step 3: Try to gracefully sit down normally.

Step 4: Have hips hit the arms of the chair and refuse to go any further.

Step 5: Suck in everything you possibly have on your body and squeeze uncomfortably into the chair.

Step 6: Breathe and let everything hang out, and start an hour of the sides of the chair cutting into your thighs.

Step 7: Realize you’re too far from the table to eat comfortably and try to subtly scoot forward without drawing attention to yourself or tipping over, but fail because you can’t get out of the chair with minimal effort to move properly. 

Step 8: Debate staying where you are and only drinking water for your meal and the rest of your life.

Step 9: Decide you’re hungry and get up with the chair stuck to your ass and walk forward hunched over to be able to eat properly.

Step 10: Following the meal, peel yourself from the chair by pushing down on the arms and prying yourself out which is difficult for the obvious “large ass” reason, but also because Cuba in August is hella-hot and not only have you swelled in the humidity, but your swass is making you stick to the chair.

                I don’t think I ever managed this gracefully.  And not only were these chairs at the restaurants, and in the computer room, and at the pool-side bar, but they were also in our room.  The only places to sit in our room that didn’t have arms were: 1) the toilet- which I could rant about for hours because not only were there saloon-style doors on the washroom, but they didn’t close all the way… you become a lot closer to someone when you have to shit with the doors open for a week, and 2) our beds.  Our beds in Cuba were 2 single beds, which we pushed together, not for the hanky-panky reason, but for the ease of being able to sit or lay on them to play Rummy or Scrabble.  Which we did a lot of, because the room had AC and you don’t know hot until you go to the Caribbean in August. 

                Anyways, one night after coming in from an a la carte dinner, we came back to our room to cool off and play some games.  So we came into our room and flopped down on our respective beds.  And when my girth hit the bed beneath me you could almost hear it utter “Oh, hell no” in its native Spanish tongue before it gave an almighty snap and broke almost clean in two.  Yup, that’s right.  I broke the bed.  Not only were my thighs black and blue from squeezing into arm chairs, but I broke the bed.  I turned around very slowly and looked at Grace.  Who looked at me.  There were about 10 seconds of horrified silence before she said “…did your bed just break?”  “SHUT UP!!!!” I gasped, as we both started to laugh.  Then I started to panic.  Forgetting momentarily that I was too fat for words, I cried “I’m going to have to pay for it!  Omg, I can’t afford a bed!!!!”  “Calm down,” said Grace, “We’ll just call them and have them bring you another one.”  “Omg, I’m fat!!!” I wailed.  Calmly, Grace took control of the situation and called the front desk, who sent the one night maid over to assess the situation.  She came in and asked if they could bring me a bed the next day because she was alone and without thinking I said “But then I’ll break it more!”  So, about a half hour later she returned with some guys who were carrying a new bed, and replaced my old, broken one for a new one.  Grace was wonderful during all of this, and even tipped the maid for me, as I was too ashamed to do much else but stare at the floor.  I was very careful getting on and off my new bed after that.  Let’s just say that if I had been on my honeymoon, or on a romantic couple’s retreat, it would have been shower sex or nothing after this experience. 

                All the horrific mishaps aside, though, I really did have a great time in Cuba.  I have been blessed thus far in my life to have only had wonderful experiences when I go away somewhere.  I have been to South America, as far west in Canada as you can go and as far east as Montreal, to various parts of the states, and to Cuba.  The one thing, however that all of these trips had in common, is the plane ride.  And the fatter I got, the more I realized that flying is not for the faint-thighed or assed.  My first flying experience where I truly noticed that it was becoming a problem was when I flew to BC in February 2013 to audition for a cruise ship.  Not only was it an excuse to spend some of February in Vancouver, but I also have family in Abbotsford, so I got to visit with my cousins.  Anyways, as I was getting settled in the plane, I noticed two things.  My left thigh forced the arm rest next to me to go up, and the seatbelt stopped about 2 inches short of fitting around my waist.  I flagged down a steward and asked him quietly if I could have a seatbelt extender.  While he went to get one, I sat there thinking that it probably didn’t matter if I had a seatbelt on or not, because if we went down my ass would likely hold me in the seat better than a seatbelt would.  Anyways, as he came back and slipped me the seatbelt extender like it was hard drugs and he was trying not to get caught, I started to feel ashamed.  He clearly thought it was something that I wanted to hide.  I personally think this is ridiculous.  It’s not like I can hide that I’m fat.  Spanx only works to a point.  But there comes a time when you realize certain things just aren’t built for you.  Air plane seats are one of them. 

                Anyways, the ride to BC wasn’t bad.  I was lucky in the fact that both planes I was on didn’t have anyone in the seat beside me.  The ride back though was a different story.  I was in the aisle seat next to a father and son in the middle and window seats.  When I sat down you could almost hear the prayer that they both said to get them through the flight alive.  Once we took off and you were free to move about the cabin, a stewardess approached me and said that the last aisle in the plane was empty if I wanted to move to be more comfortable.  As horrifying as it was, I took her up on it.  But as I was sitting there I started to think about how grateful I was for being moved.  Sometimes being fat has its perks.

                Fast forward to Cuba.  Somehow, on this trip I was fatter than I was when I went to BC.  And getting onto to the plane was again and adventure.  Travelling with Grace, while wonderful and amazing when we reach our destination, is kind of uncomfortable on their airplane itself.  Like I said before, I was a 28 when we went and she was a 22.  We decided to spend some extra money and sit in the “priority seating” at the front of the plane because we thought it would be less of a chance that someone would be sitting next to us.  Not only that, you got free beef jerky (SCORE!), and you only had to walk onto the plane about 3 rows to get to your seat which meant we got to avoid the horrified looks and people diving out of the way and holding their breath until we walked passed them, only to let out sighs of relief that they wouldn’t die of suffocation when we sat down.  It worked on the way to Toronto.  But on the way to Cuba, the last person to get on the plane was a lady about our size.  And she was in our row.  Talk about sardines. 

                On the way home on the plane to Toronto, Grace played the sympathy card and got us moved to the emergency aisle that had only 2 seats free of charge, and we lucked out on the way to Winnipeg in that there was no one sitting next to us so we got to spread out. 

                When I got home from Cuba, I jump started my way to a healthier life style.  The bed breaking fiasco mixed with the feeling that I had a personal violinist with me every time I got on an airplane playing the classic horror movie chords made me realize that I needed to make some changes.  I started eating better, and started swimming.  The next time I got on a plane was on Boxing Day of 2013.  My boyfriend, Brandon was bringing me home to meet his parents.  I fretted for a week and a half about having to use a seatbelt extender on the airplane with Brandon there.  I know I shouldn’t care.  I knew he wouldn’t say anything.  But it still bothered me.  I remembered seeing one on a lay-over in the Calgary airport once to buy, so when we got to the airport I feigned needing to buy tampons and ducked into a store to buy an extender.  Which they didn’t have.  Great. After breaking a sweat running around to different stores in the terminal, I accepted my fate as they called boarding for our flight, of a brief moment of embarrassment and followed Brandon on board.  I sat down carefully.  To my joy, I slipped into the seat easier than I had when I went to Cuba 4 months earlier.  Not quite a like a fully-lubricated slip-in, but I didn’t need a shoe-horn either.  “Maybe,” I thought, “just, maybe, I won’t need the extender.”  I stretched out my seat-belt and sucked it in.  As Brandon was putting his carry-on above him, with a great deal of strength and without breathing, I did up my seat-belt.  SUCCESS!  I had done it!  I had lost enough weight that I was no longer going to look like I was being slipped drugs by the steward when I got on an airplane! Granted, it was done up underneath my gut, and the steward that came around looked like he was fighting with himself as to whether he should ask me about it or just pretend he could see if was done up when he walked by, but it was done up.   

                When I started to breathe again the arm rest next to be did start to go up slightly.  After Brandon sat down and buckled in, I put on my best flirtatious face and lifted it up.  Sitting next to Brandon on an airplane is a lot more comfortable than sitting next to someone close to my size, as he’s quite a bit smaller. Moving the arm-rest may have come across as romantic, but in reality it was a move to let my ass breathe more than a need to cuddle. 

                I’m hoping that as I continue to lose weight, it keeps getting easier.  It’ll be a nice relief to get on a plane without seeing prayer and horror on people’s faces as walk by them.  It’ll also be nice to sit down without having to worry about breaking something or getting stuck.  I can think of much nicer accessories to walk around with other than a chair stuck to my ass.  But hey, maybe I’ll start a trend.  Or start selling modern art.   

Getting Started

Welcome to my Blog.  I decided to start this blog because writing helps me deal with my feelings, and losing weight is a trying process.  To date I have lost 66 pounds from my heaviest weight.  Please don’t get discouraged with me if I don’t share this number right away.  Once I get to a place where I am comfortable doing so, I promise I will.  As for now, please sit back, relax, and enjoy some stories of things that have happened to me because I was over-weight, and things that have been happening as I continue on this weight loss journey.

Cheers!