It’s official: I’m fat. I stopped denying it when the button popped off a pair of shorts, leaving me with only two pairs that still fit. It became a problem when, 15 minutes before a first meeting with a new client, I stood and the button on my pants popped off. I had to safety pin it to my belt. I am, unquestionably, what my kids call me: a big fat chubby.
I ride my bike and my thighs pattycake my belly. Shave my beard and lose my chin. Take my shirt off and lose my waistband. If this keeps up my stomach will eclipse my netherregions into furry shadow, a total eclipse of my part.
Women of a certain mentality call this a “dickie-do”, when your belly hangs out farther than your dickie-do.
My license still lists my weight at 155. I was 21. That was almost 30 goddamn pounds ago. And I’m still trying to fit into the same sizes. Denial runs thick. Actually, it rose over the swollen sandbags of fat until I had to buy a pair of jeans one size higher, from 32 to 33, for the first and—what I promised to be—last time in my adult life.
Like baldness and the disappearance of that Costco-sized bag of chips, fat doesn’t happen instantaneously; it’s a slow and gradual disgust. There’s the picture you see of yourself, a candid shot where you’re having fun and uninhibited, the rare ones that capture the true undeniable you in all your fat youness, and you have to stop because you feel the 1o years of neglect slapping your neck fat like a gizzard, pushing at your waistband like rising dough. Like catching your reflection in a storefront window and smoothing down your shirt only to find those aren’t wrinkles they are rolls.
Big. Fat. Chubby.
In the old comparatively impoverished days, one would look at a fat man with envy, because fat meant wealth and means. Fat comes with a sense of entitlement, as if it has been earned, a privilege to eat the world, a self-indulgent luxury.
My newfound me was amusing at first, like a gross party trick. But I’ve gained 20 pounds since I turned 30, since I got married, had kids, and limited the frequency of being an irresponsible goofball. I’ve stopped bartending and having late nights, when food is inconsequential. I have a routine now more in line with the typical mealtimes of the day, have cereal with the kids, and munchkins too, lunch, dinner, but the worst part is the end of the day, that two hour window when the kids are in bed and my metime includes stuffing my face full of pretzels and chips to stay awake.
I’m not obese: but I could lose a couple, ten, twenty. I’m still active, I work out once or twice a week, yet incrementally, late at night, I fatten. It’s work to stay fit. It’s more work to be fat. Even my mild expansion has saddled me with added ecological, economic, and health costs. From tying my shoes to stuffing myself into clothes, the fat makes things harder. If this keeps up, I’m going to have to go clothes shopping, which I loathe more than being fat.
I have a bet with my dad to lose 7% of bodyweight by his 70th birthday in October. I plan on winning. Counting calories. Corking my gaping maw. In the meantime I have to learn how to sew buttons.