Talking About Bacon.

Nathan picked up a box of the precooked Oscar Meyer bacon that had been strategically placed near the egg display of our local supermarket.

“Mama!  Do you want bacon?” he shouted.

“No, not today, but thanks for asking,” I replied as I opened cartons to check for broken eggs.

“But you love bacon!”

And now everyone in the tri-state area knows that the fat girl loves bacon.

This is how my mind works.  I feel like the first thing anyone sees when they look at me is a fat girl.  I hate meeting new people or seeing people who knew me when I was thin because I’m sure they are astounded by just how disgustingly large I am.

I realize that my reaction is extreme.  On an intellectual level, I see the difference between someone who needs to lose 19 pounds to hit the top of her healthy weight range (me) and someone who needs to lose, say, 100 pounds to hit that same mark.  I don’t judge someone who has further to go on her weight loss journey than I do.  In fact, I encourage, I cheer on, I “you can do it!” with the best of them.

But my inner monologue goes nothing like that.  I look in the mirror and realize that even though my skinny jeans fit again, they are still a size 12.  And at less than 5 feet tall, that’s just too big.  I don’t just have muffin top, I have a whole bakery.  Without clothes on, I’m far more critical.  My arms look like giant sausages.  I have cankles.  My thighs, my ass, all of it is a revolting mess.

This morning I hit a milestone of sorts.  I have lost 9 pounds since January 3rd and I now have less than 30 to lose to hit my goal.  Initially, I was excited by the “less than 30” part, but  then I realized it’s still “almost 30” which really isn’t anything to celebrate.

I have become obsessed with my weight and I know this is possibly even more unhealthy than being overweight in the first place.  I am counting my calories and measuring all of my food.  I don’t set out to have ridiculously low days, but last night when even after dinner I still had 900 calories in my bank of 1200 for the day, I was happy.  Surely I could scarf down an entire pizza if one showed up in front of me, but I’m actually not that hungry.  That’s probably not a good thing.

I know my recent weight loss has happened too quickly.  I know I’m not eating enough.  Yesterday was unusual.  I usually get closer to my calorie goal.  I don’t hit it, though, and while I’m always happy at the end of the day to see how little food I was able to survive on, I know that the other extreme on the spectrum of food consumption isn’t any better for me.

I think about food and my size all day long.  I wish I could lose weight and be healthy in a healthy way.  I don’t want my son to mimic my unhealthy behaviors.  I don’t want him to eat junk and be overweight, but I don’t want him to obsess and think he needs to control every morsel that he ingests, either.


Nathan was standing there, holding the bacon out to me.  I know he thought he was doing something good by helping to shop and by selecting something he knew I liked.  I didn’t want to discourage his sweetness or plant seeds of self-image issues into his six-year-old mind.

“I do enjoy bacon, but it should be a once in a while treat.  There are healthier choices we can make.  Put it back, please, and come on.  Let’s finish up here.”

I placed the eggs in the cart and ushered him along to pick out some yogurt.

Linking up with the wonderful Yeah Write crew.  Read the other entries and return Thursday to vote for 5 favorites.

44 Responses to “Talking About Bacon.”

  1. Dana says:

    You are correct about your self-image being more unhealthy than your actual self, but no matter how many times I tell you you’re beautiful, you need to see it through your own eyes. And trust me, your eating habits are far healthier than mine. My way to lose weight is to have wine instead of dinner, rather than with dinner.

    Heart you!!

    • You are very sweet, thank you. You knew me when I was thinner, right before I got pregnant, when I was running 4 days every week. That’s the me I want to be though and you saw me change from that into… this. I keep thinking about that day we went to Chipotle at BlogHer. You couldn’t finish your bowl. I devoured mine and was still hungry. That’s the difference.

  2. I have struggled just like this since college. I probably lost and gained the same twenty pounds six times in seven years. And even though I swore I would never do it, last December I joined weight watchers to try and get rid of them for good. And now I try to stick to intuitive eating and healthy habits and exercise, but I think that even though I am determined to keep it all off this time for good, it is going to be hard for the rest of my life.

    • That’s the part that gets me – the rest of my life. I hope that it becomes easier for both of us. I’ve struggled since college too and I was doing well until I got pregnant. When I started dieting, I was the weight I was when I delivered my son. And the 9 pounds I lost? The same 9 pounds I lost in the fall and then regained. Hopefully this was the last time.

  3. Awww. For the record, I did not see you as a fat person when I met you in person. All I saw was someone who is just as wonderful in “real life” as on the internet. Hugs!

    Oh, and don’t read my post this week. It’s about skinny jean sizes. I don’t want to upset you!

    • Your post… you were killing me!! Thank you for saying you don’t see me that way. My thumbnail is from the neck up and I’m 9 pounds lighter in that picture than I was when I met you. I feel like I’m tricking people with that picture. I know people probably don’t think that, but you know, I’m crazy and all.

  4. I so hear you Michelle! And I laughed so hard at “I have a whole bakery,” so thanks for making my day with that. I count all my calories too, on My Fitness Pal, and I’m so happy at the end of the day when I’m under my limit. Unreasonably happy. Of course the flip side is that I’m unreasonably bummed when I’m over. . .

    • Glad I could make you laugh! I use My Fitness Pal and it yells at me every day that I’m eating too little. But what I look at is the “in 5 weeks you’d weigh” and I ignore the rest. That number is always so tempting!

  5. I feel like this inner-monologue is never ending. My husband uses My Fitness Pal too. I always explain to him, I will always hate my body. It will never stop. Ugh to be a man.

    • I remember when I was 20 pounds lighter than I am now, I still was happier with my body, but I kept thinking I had more to go. Then I got pregnant and that was the end of that. It’s been a struggle ever since. I want to get back to that place where I can focus on what my body can do rather than what it looks like or the weight. I wish I didn’t care, but I do.

  6. I can totally relate to letting food and calories and all that shit impact your whole day. I have noticed that when I am usually in an inexplicable bad mood it is often because I ate something that I felt like I “shouldn’t” have eaten or ate more than I felt like I “should” have. How sick is that? How sick is it to let what I eat determine my mood? Anyway, I think there are many of us (regardless of weight and diet goals) that can relate to what you are going through. Hang in there, girl. You are awesome.

    • Thanks for your kind words. Yes, if the scale doesn’t go down the way I want it to, I look at every bite I eat with contempt until it does. I don’t want to be that way, but I don’t know how to turn it off. I hope we can both learn to be kinder to ourselves.

  7. Bee says:

    I feel the exact same way. I completely avoid people who knew me when I was skinny because I’m positive that the first thing they’ll think is, “Wow! She really put on the weight!” On the other hand, part of me is glad I gained it all back because I no longer have to worry about that. It’s a vicious cycle.

    • My husband and I joked that we should just commit to being huge, then we can just eat and not worry and say to hell with the whole thing. But I know that’s not what I really want, that’s just the pizza craving talking! It is a vicious cycle.

  8. Azara says:

    Me too. That’s all I can say. I’m so fed up with myself that I’ve just reverted to my university eating habits…or rather the lack of them. It’s completely dysfuctional and I don’t care, because it’s working.

    I’m thankful my daughter isn’t old enough to know what I’m doing.

    • For a long time I stress-ate. Enormous amounts of food so that I didn’t feel like shit. But in trying to stop that, I’ve created a monster and now I’m not eating because of stress. And since it’s working so well for me, I don’t feel as much like I need to stop. Even though I know it’s SO unhealthy. Sigh. I’m fed up with me too.

  9. i know the struggle in the head is worse the struggle with the fridge. I am so sad by this essay because i understand and sympathize with what you’re doing. i get wanting to be thinner. i get being unhealthy to do. I get your angst over the whole business. I really do wish you’d at least give yourself 1200 calories a day and chose the foods that will keep you nutritionally balanced. but of course, it’s all easy to say. i just hope you do… good luck.

    • I do try to get closer to 1200. I feel like I either average 1000 or 2500. I need to learn to be at the right place. I didn’t mean to be so low that day. I kept going to eat something and then a crisis would come up at work and I then I didn’t eat. Then it was too late and I didn’t want to binge to make up the calories. I really will try to not make that a habit.

  10. christie says:

    Ah my sweet sister. I hear you on this and struggle with this too. I have always been surprised that being at a healty weight hasn’t cured my woes in this area. I still get obsessed and try to lose more. I have a bona fide eating disorder and it sort of sucks. Like a lot. I love that you wrote about this so beautifully. It’s one of my favorites of yours. I feel less alone.

    • I’m sorry this resonated with you so much. I keep saying that when I get to where I want to be I won’t obsess, but there’s a part of me that knows that’s total bullshit.

      Thanks for your kind words.

  11. IASoupMama says:

    I’m right there with you, only with 60 pounds to hit the top of my healthy weight range. And a hubby who just dropped 50 by only breathing, I swear.

    Let’s try not to listen to that inner nasty chick, OK? I’ll try if you do…

  12. Jared Karol says:

    Thanks for this honest post. It resonated w/ me a lot, not just about weight loss, but about how we obsess over the decisions we have to make in our lives. I think it’s part of the human condition.

    • There’s definitely a lot of obsessing going on over here. I feel like that’s a big part of my personality (and a big part of my general problems in life) that I can’t just do something and let it be, I have to let it take over ever ounce of my thinking. I don’t know how rational people live. I really don’t.

  13. It’s a struggle we all face, be it in our heads and/or on our plates. Congrats to you on your loss so far. Even though so much of it is self-image, but making it about being healthy sometimes makes more sense. Congrats for trying to explain that to your kiddo–make it about health not just weight.

    And…turkey bacon really can be yummy. Once you get used to it.

    • I’ve had turkey bacon and vegetarian bacon. It’s not bad! I really like the greasy part, which is what’s missing from the healthy alternatives and why I like them less. I wish I could recondition myself to not like greasy foods!

      I really want my son to be healthy, not think his mother was crazy. There’s a fine line…

  14. Gia says:

    Aww I’m sorry. I feel like a lot of people are going through crap like that this time of year…

    • I wish I could say that it was just this time of year. It just so happens that I have an event to go to this weekend that I wanted to look better for. Otherwise I’m not sure I’d have started dieting so intensely.

  15. I think your response was exactly perfect. Yes I like bacon, but it should be a once in a while treat.

  16. Stephanie says:

    This makes me sad. I can relate, and it makes me sad.

  17. You had 900 calories left???? I do fitness pal like its my job and I can rarely even stay at 1250!!! I’m jealous of your discipline!!!!!

    • I use my fitness pal too. I don’t know that it was discipline so much as I only had low calorie stuff with me to eat and then didn’t have time at work to eat most of it. The app actually really helps me to control my portions because when I want to eat seconds I look and see where that leaves me and then usually don’t. My portion control is what was out of whack, my choices generally were not horrific.

  18. TriGirl says:

    Please don’t make it a habit to eat so little. You will get sick (it sounds like you know this of course). I loved your response to your son at the end.

  19. Ginny Marie says:

    I think of myself as the fat girl, too, especially since I am bigger than my sisters and my friends! I wish I were as successful as you are in the diet game.

    • I am one of the biggest in our group. And everyone is trying to be healthier, which is great, but I was still gaining. Just reinforced my position as the fat one. I know that’s not good thinking, but it’s honest. My friends are all super supportive though, so that helps.

  20. Kathleen says:

    First, I applaud you for your nine-pound loss, Michelle. That is just awesome.

    Second, I get the body image thing. I really do. But I don’t want to see you make yourself sick by depriving your body of nutrition. No amount of weight loss is worth that.

    Keep yourself healthy, girl. You are worth it. Hugs!

  21. Gina says:

    Hey! Nine pounds is nine pounds no matter how you weigh it and that is fantastic!!! Please be easy on yourself from a body image standpoint and I know that’s easy for me to say a thousand miles. You are making the effort and that is important. Every day is a new day. The retired personal trainer in me hope you are incorporating exercise as well. I’m glad you know that not eating your allotted 1200, or at least coming close, isn’t good for your body either. We’d hate it if it thought it was going into starvation mode then it becomes tougher. Stay healthy and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Big hug!

    • I haven’t been exercising much, mostly because I haven’t had the time, but the plan is to get that in there any day it’s possible. I can usually squeeze in 10-15 minutes. I know it’s not much, or enough, but it’s better than nothing. Working up to regular full workouts soon, I hope. Thanks for the supportive comment!

  22. You described how I feel a lot of days. I have twenty pounds to lose. I lost that much a couple of years ago on the South Beach Diet and then gained it all back. I try to remind myself how good it felt to be able to wear everything in the closet and not have my thighs rub together when I walk, but those damn Wendy’s hamburgers keep calling me back. It’s a struggle. You can do it! Job well done with the weight you’ve lost. It’s so hard dealing with body image now with all the media images floating around of impossibly thin female frames. Know that there are many of us out here who feel as you do.

    • I’ve lost and regained the same weight over and over (well 5-10 pounds of it anyway). I’m hoping this time it’s for good. I remember feeling better about myself, but it was so long ago.

      It is hard to not go back to the eating habits that we loved. It is SUCH a struggle.

      Be strong, I’ll try too :)

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