Thursday, July 24, 2008

Waisted: Total Losers

Kathy joined Weight Watchers. Shut up. Because it apparently breaks some weight loss commandment to display even a scintilla of cynicism at meetings, Waisted is where she bitches about eating, not eating, oversharing weight watchers, and probably you.

The thing I like best about my neighborhood is the coffee place, so of course it lost its lease and it's about to close. I went for an obituary of an iced coffee last night and realized that orphanhood is becoming kind of a leitmotif for my stupid life. I've been orphaned by the Tea Lounge and a few weeks ago I was orphaned by Ricardo, my whirling gay dervish Weight Watchers meeting leader.

He moved on to the greener and presumably thinner pastures of cosmetology school and I've missed my usual meeting ever since. Add constant travelling for the past month to the loss of my favorite giggly Brazilian weight loss oracle and the most enthusiasm I've been able to muster for the program is dropping in at lunchtime just to get weighed in. I split immediately after stepping off the scale. Somehow this arrangement still leaves me open to haranguing by a chipper WW employee who insisted on giving me a nametag as I walked out the door "just in case I need it sometime." Just in case. Just in case I really want to associate my name, the tit it's affixed to, and the Weight Watchers brand outside the AA-like secrecy of a meeting.

The thing I loved best about Ricardo was that he made me forget about all the reasons I don't want to lose weight. I read Bust magazine at an impressionable age. I helped circulate a petition to force my high school's administration to let girls wear pants to our graduation ceremony. I cut my own hair. I have never worn foundation in my life. For years I had a pin on the military surplus bag I used as a purse that read "Fuck your Fascist Beauty Standards." The idea that I am now dropping pounds and paying to do it sets off an internal sellout alarm that is difficult to silence, but Ricardo could at least turn the volume down. "Dis is nah abow dieting," he would say, "dis is abow lerneen to eat like a person who doesn't hah to theenk abow wha dey eat. Iss about peace of mine." Or even better: "Joo know how we talk abow portion contro for food? Sometie you got people in your life you gotta portion control. Sometie you gotta say hey, I luh you, but wha else do we have in common besigh pancakes?"

I was able to make my Wednesday meeting this week. Hal, a substitute meeting leader I can only describe as the Bill Frist of Weight Watchers, discussed the following (offered by a blonde girl in flared pants near her goal weight) as an inspirational quote to chew on:

Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.

Hand to god, that is an actual Margaret Cho punchline I am now being asked to use as a mantra. It's perverse. My life is perverse, and my inner fat riot grrrl is lighting fire to my inner bras and kicking my inner Weight Watcher in the teeth with a pair of steel-toe Doc Martens. Number one, everything tastes as good as being thin feels, because thin isn't a taste. It also isn't a feeling, it's a social perception. Futher, how about guacamole? Can we discuss fettucini with pesto sauce here for a second? How about a motherfucking brownie covered in hot fudge and topped with mint chocolate chip ice cream? Being thin doesn't taste like anything, you stupid twats, and food tastes really motherfucking good.

Number two, the dumb asshole who offered the phrase mentioned that she had just gone on vacation at the beach and repeated that sentence to herself every time she passed this candy store that sold salt water taffy and candy apples and and homemade fudge. "I'd think that to myself and eat ten baby carrots and I'd get through it," she said, all proud of herself.

Fucker, I ATE that brownie I described up there last night for dinner, because that is the point of this whole thing. If I had to give up eating candy apples, I would never ever in a billion years have stuck to this program. Day one, meeting one, pamphelet one, the Weight Watchers people tell you that you don't have to avoid food like that. You just need to learn how to eat to accomodate it, and if you don't get that, I'm amazed you can button your own flares without assistance. (Or, really, the intervention of friends who shouldn't let friends wear flares, but that's your shit, not mine.)

Number three, FUCK YOU. Way to take something I was just starting to feel decent about and make me feel like the world's biggest bag of shit. It wasn't just the girl or the phrase that pissed me off. It was the whole meeting. Most of Ricardo's regulars were gone, including the weirdos I used to make fun of. The Quip Rehearser was there but she didn't say a single thing--not one practiced anecdote, not a solitary dumb pun. I didn't know that I'd unwittingly found the anarchist rebel Weight Watchrrrs group, but that's what it was when Ricardo ran it and now all I've got is a bunch of women losing weight for their weddings who don't see the value of eating salt water taffy next to real salt water. Ricardo's people were all a little nuts, and they said "fuck" if necessary, and Ricardo, unlike Hal, never asked you how much weight you'd lost before you were permitted to say your piece.

I've lost my coffee shop and I've lost Ricardo, but the other thing I've lost is 49 pounds since January. Tied directly to that, I've lost the stores I used to shop in (though it was liberating to bid Fat Topic adieu), and most of my old favorite clothes, and a concept of what I actually look like, and, most unnervingly, an identity based on how much I weigh. I've been the fat girl since seventh grade, so what am I if not that? Taking the "fat" part out of "fat girl" leaves me just as unmoored as if I'd taken out the "girl" part. I've still got a lot to lose, and, on the flip side, I've still got a lot to lose. Know what I mean?


Anonymous Wendy Jackson said...

I'm pretty addicted to your "Waisted" blog. The part about identity strikes me as very interesting. My personal experience is that that people really do treat you differently when you lose weight. Is that happening to you?

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. Weight Watchers has worked for me, but I have the same ambivalence.

6:05 PM  

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