Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fat Love in Primetime

This entry is entirely about the show Glee. It will contain spoilers through the episode that aired tonight. If you care and you're behind, please catch up and then read this episode.

All right, disclaimer out of the way.

I'm a big proponent of fat acceptance. If you're not familiar with that concept, it ties in with the idea of "health at any size," which implies that a person's health isn't solely determined by the size of their body. Overweight people, especially women, have it rough in our world. We're imperfect - far from it - in the eyes of our society. Because we're not thin, we cannot be beautiful - at least that's what we're taught from a very young age.

That's just a bit of background for you (if you're interested in reading up on fat acceptance, check out the website for NAAFA, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance).

Glee is currently one of the most popular shows on TV. It even got the post-Super Bowl spot, which I think is impressive. Granted, that was probably one of the worst Glee episodes ever, but that's ok. The story line I want to talk about really started last week.

My favorite character on Glee is a guy named Puck. He's a tough-guy, bad-boy type, and very good-looking (even with that stupid mohawk thing). Another character is a girl named Lauren. And she's a Big Girl. She's also tough (she's on the school wrestling team).

Last week, Puck announced that he's got a thing for Lauren. Actually, it was an episode this past fall when Puck said that Lauren "rocked his world." I thought that they would just drop that story line. But it was in the Valentine's Day themed episode when they brought it back.

Members of the glee club were supposed to sing love songs. Puck, in his infinite wisdom, decided to sing Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" to Lauren. I thought it was awesome - as someone who is personally unashamed (most of the time) of her own fat bottom, I find nothing truly offensive about the song. I love that song (along with "Baby Got Back," I think it's one of the best fat anthems out there). But Lauren didn't really take it well. One song about fat girls wasn't enough to win Lauren's heart.

And this is the amazing part - throughout the entire episode, Puck continues to pursue her, and Lauren keeps shooting him down. He's not just after her because she's big - it's because she's "badass." Lauren is a girl who oozes confidence despite how she looks. She's not going to snatch up Puck just because he shows an interest - she isn't going to stoop to that. And I respect her for it.

Though, if Puck were after me, I'd be all over him. Dude is hot. (Don't worry - he may play a teenager on TV, but the actor is in his late 20s).

Anyway, where was I? Right. Puck and Lauren. He actually uttered the phrase "How hot is she?" after she sang her song in tonight's episode.

Hot. A fat girl. On primetime, national television. On one of the most watched shows on TV. We now have a precedent for fat love in primetime.

I love it.

However, I'm worried. I'm afraid they're going to turn it into something... more than just a teenage romance plot line. They're either going to turn it around and make it about Lauren's health, or Puck is going to "wake up" and realize that Lauren isn't conventionally attractive. I doubt they're going to leave it as it is. I just hope they actually get together before they end the story line.

Am I reading too much into this? Maybe this isn't some grand gesture of a trend toward size equality in America. Maybe it's just a TV show.

Either way, I'm enjoying it. I like seeing the hot guy chase the fat girl. Hopefully the rest of the world will follow suit.

EDIT: This doesn't mean that I'm going to give up on the whole weight-loss thing. I have my own reasons for that, and I'm still determined to do it. It's still going well.

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Fire

Most of you who read this little blog are either Twitter followers of mine, or you're my friend on Facebook. If you've seen any of my posts on either site for the past few Mondays, you'll notice that I've been losing a bit of weight.

I feel fantastic.

I started on January 24. That morning, I weighed mumble-hundred and mumblety-5 pounds. (Come on, I'm a lady. I'm not giving out those numbers. Maybe eventually, but I'm not that comfortable right now with the whole world knowing that number.)

Now, this morning, I discovered that the number had reduced by 13. Well, at first it was about 35 pounds less than a few weeks ago, but that was a fluke - a corner of the scale was on the rug in my room, skewing the output. When the scale was solidly on the bare hardwood floor, it was that mumbly number up there minus 13.

13 pounds!

I'm noticing it, too, in my clothing. My jeans are almost too baggy. My work pants are looser. My shoes are even fitting better.

How have I done it? I've lost weight before. I've been a Weight Watcher twice in my life - the first time I lost over 40 pounds, which came back and brought friends. The second time I only lost about 25 pounds and hit a plateau, which I hovered around for well over a year. Then I quit and started putting on the weight again.

I know how Weight Watchers works. I know what needs to be done to lose weight. It's a basic formula - calories in, calories out, right?

But those of you who have struggled with weight issues know that it's never that simple. On paper, sure. It's a piece of cake when you just think about it. But the problem is that your head always gets in the way. That pesky brain has a hard time wrapping its little grey matter around the concept: eating less crap and moving more = weight loss.

Well, that's not entirely it. My brain gets it. I think it must be my subconscious. My will. I know what it takes, but to actually do it? That's been nearly impossible in my life.

I know that I've barely started this adventure this time around. Maybe I'll hit another plateau. But I'm trying not to think that way.

You see, I've realized that it's all about the way I think. I'm entering this adventure with an entirely different mentality about how I'm going to lose the weight. I keep thinking about how much I want it. And I've tried hoping and wishing and praying. When it comes to something like major weight loss, that sort of thing just doesn't cut it. It requires action - both physically and mentally. Even emotional action.

In my first week, I lost 3 pounds. In all my previous weight loss attempts, I lost much more than that in the first week. But that's not a big deal - because this time feels different. I know it's different.

After that first week, I really wanted to go to Caribou Coffee and get a white chocolate mocha. But then I told myself: I didn't lose 3 pounds by drinking mochas. I was drinking tea. So instead of getting the mocha - even though I was convinced that I really wanted it - I got a cup of tea.

I wanted a bacon cheeseburger and fries for lunch. But I told myself: I didn't lose those 3 pounds by eating burgers and fries. So I went to Subway and got a chicken sandwich with no mayo and lots of veggies.

I went to a Super Bowl party that week, and I was surrounded by fantastic-looking food. I didn't completely deny myself, but I also told myself: I didn't lose 3 pounds by gorging myself on snack foods and chocolate covered pretzel rods. So I ate enough food to sample the things that looked good, and I limited myself to one chocolate covered pretzel rod.

And you know what? The next morning when I weighed myself, I was down another 6 pounds, for a grand total of 9 pounds.

NINE POUNDS. That's something. Granted, on a person as large as me, it's barely a dent in this ample frame, but it's still noteworthy - especially to someone like me who has struggled with this for my entire life.

You see, I really like food. I REALLY like food. But it's nothing that I can't control with the power of my mind. I love things like french fries. So you know what? I eat french fries on Friday nights when I go to the bar with my buddies. One night a week, it's not going to hurt me to eat fries. In the last 3 weeks, I've eaten quite a few Friday night fries. And I'm still losing weight.

But you know what else I like? Shrimp. And shrimp isn't that bad. In fact, tonight for dinner I'm going to make a salad with shrimp and toss it with a light balsamic vinaigrette. It will be great.

This morning when I stepped on the scale, I was down another 4 pounds, bringing the grand total to 13.

It feels really good. I love the way this feels, and I love all the encouragement and kudos I'm getting from my friends, family, and coworkers.

It's all in my head. I want this, I know what I need to do, and I know what I need to stop doing. I'm moving more, and I'm eating fewer fried foods and sweets (in general - I haven't cut them out completely), and I'm drinking less diet soda and more tea and water.

I can't wait to step on the scale next week.

I can't believe I just wrote that. "I can't wait to step on the scale next week." That must mean I'm doing something right.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Single in America

I've got a lot of blog posts simmering on the back burner right now. Tonight's topic: Valentine's Day. Have to go for this one while the time is right.

I'm single. Most of you knew that, but for any potential new readers out there, that's my current status. Single. Not married. Never been married. Never had a relationship for more than 4 months. Nothing that can be described as anything other than "casual."

Normally, my single status doesn't bug me. I date every once in a while. That's fine. It's fun, I enjoy it. But I also have a strong support system of family and friends. They keep me sane.

A friend and I were emailing today about marriage. She's not married, either, but she is in a solid, committed relationship and has been since college. They like where they are, and they feel no need to be married. That's fine. I get it. I think it would be weird if they got married - it's just who they are.

But the conversation got me thinking. I'm 30 years old. Single. Never been married.

And, somehow, these two simple facts - age 30 and never married - made me feel inadequate. No, it's more than that. I feel like I have somehow failed in life because I'm not married. I look at the important people in my life, and I realize that a large percentage of them are now, or have been, married. My mom and dad are both remarried after their divorce (which is an impressive feat for my lesbian mother). My grandmother on my dad's side has been married forever, and my grandmother on my mom's side has been twice widowed, now on her third husband. The majority of my family, in fact (with the exception of a couple siblings and some cousins), is married, or at least has been married at some point in their lives. Even my best friend has been married.

So what's wrong with me? Why haven't I been married? Nobody has even been in a position to ask me to marry him. And, somehow, this is my problem.

It's our society. Our culture dictates that there is a certain order to things in life. You grow up. You go to college (or you don't). You graduate, and you get a job. You meet a nice boy or a nice girl. You fall in love, and maybe even move in together. You get married, you buy a house, you pop out babies, then you watch those babies go through the same thing. The cycle continues until you die.

Have you ever noticed how incredibly difficult it is to be single in America?

Everything we do is designed for couples or families. Tables at restaurants have a minimum of two chairs. Tickets for events are commonly sold in pairs (and if you win them on the radio or something, it's ALWAYS a pair). Traveling? Try paying cab fare without having a partner to share the cost. Living by yourself is difficult, too, as everything in our culture is designed for a double income. Without roommates, paying for all the costs of living is astronomical. I can't afford to live by myself, even though it's what I really want to be doing right now. As it is, I can't afford a car because the expense of that on top of everything else is too great. I don't have a family plan for my phone because I don't have a family. I think the only thing where it benefits me to be single is my health insurance.

Being single is expensive.

And, of course, there are things like Valentine's Day. Yes, it's the day where all the advertisements tell you that it's the day to be with your special someone, to tell them how much you love them - hey, maybe it's a good time to buy her a ring and get married. Because that's what you're supposed to do.

It's things like this that just perpetuate the concept that marriage is a natural part of life, and that it's expected of everyone. And if you don't get married, you're going to end up being the crazy cat lady.

So, in honor of that, I leave you with a loving picture of my valentine this year: