Letters of Mass Construction

Fat or Not?

When I look in the mirror I fight with my brain. Each and every time. My brain screams you will always be fat. My eyes rebel against the thought. The truth is I am as thin as I have ever been in the last twenty years. I know this to be true because I gave away a suit this week that I have had since college and I could still wear it.

I have struggled with my body image my whole life. It drives me crazy. I was very heavy for a good portion of my childhood and yet there were times I wasn’t. When I turned 18 I put on a huge amount of weight and then took it all off before I exited college (I didn’t start college for real until I was 21).

I steadily put on weight after I got married but nothing crazy. That was until I crushed my back. An injury that haunts me to this day. I went through a three-year period where I packed on pounds and got as heavy as I have ever been. Then through the help of some great physical therapists (who helped me exercise with the injured back) I lost 75 pounds. Then I hurt myself again and gained 35 of the 75 pounds back.

This last November I decided enough and took those 35 pounds right back off. I am now back to my college weight and yet I still feel like I am fat. I want off the yo-yo bus. I want off of the bad self-image train. It’s getting a little ridiculous.

I have accomplished some amazing things these last few months. I have run several half-marathons. I had a month where I ran 170 miles. This summer I have run in 4 different states and seven different cities. I am about to add another state and a few more cities but I seem incapable of letting go of the fat me.

It’s a weird feeling to have because I also feel like a runner. I know part of my worry is my back. I haven’t run these last three days because my back has been bad. However, unlike in the past I worked out on the elliptical for an hour each of those days. I feel good. I want to continue to feel good. I want to live as long as I possibly can. I am married to my best friend. I have to take care of myself for her.

And yet the mirror frakking hates me. I think it may always hate me. I will now endeavor to find a way to not give a fuck. I know I can do it. I turned myself into someone who writes novels. Someone who exercises every day. Someone who wants to run a marathon and thinks he might actually be able to do it. I will find away. In the meantime, I am going on a cruise. I will run everyday. I will walk the stairs and, yes, I will eat food (lots of food as long as I am running). I will enjoy Alaska and I will try to not worry about the damn mirrors.

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2 Responses to “Fat or Not?”

  1. Missy Q. says:

    We started together in November on this journey. I couldn’t be more proud to know you right now. We have both come a long way from where we were 8 months ago. And believe me, I know the thought process you are having.

    We are our own worst enemy, as they say. I hope it comes with time that we are fully happy. Until then, just keep at it, and make sure you don’t have to ever actually be fat again. <3

  2. Carl says:


    Remember, you’re not fighting the mirror…you’re fighting yourself. It’s one of those blasted internalized scripts. The way I learned to fight them includes:

    1) awareness – which you clearly have. You know it’s there, and it’s wrong.
    1a) learning what launches those dialogs is important, too.
    2) develop a counter-affirmation. To this day, I have daily affirmations that I recite to myself. I don’t say them out loud, but found that effective when I first started on this quest.

    I love the Pogo line “We have met the enemy and he is us”.

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