How did you get so fat?

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2003, 392+ pounds. Size 28 stock dress – altered up a size or two. I was giving myself 3 shots a day and taking 7 other drugs. (Lantus, Byetta, Metformin, Lisinopril, Lovostatin, etc…)

Legitimate question. Rude and hurtful, but honest.

I weighed 392 pounds at my heaviest. I’m 5’7.

How did I get that fat?

The 5-second answer is embarrassingly simple. I ate too much and I hated to sweat.

The layered, nuanced answer requires you to peek inside my flawed thinking. And yes, I am nervous about opening this particular set of doors, thank you for asking. But it’s time to be honest.

Here is the how I got to be 392 pounds before I chose to do anything about it:

  1. Β I had a life-long, seriously screwed up relationship with food. It controlled me. I thought about food from the time I woke up, to the time I went to bed. I was addicted to food and the comfort it gave. I would make or change plans based on food. My happiest moments growing up are centered around food. You can’t not eat. You have to have SOME kind of relationship with food. Food owned me.
  2. I had given up hope and was flirting non-stop with apathy. I knew I weighed a ridiculous amount. I had been overweight my entire life. Diets had failed me. Why bother? I was just destined to be fat. If society was hung up on looks — screw ’em. I knew I was a good person, the packaging should not matter
  3. T2 diabetes could easily be managed with drugs. I didn’t need to do the work. And how serious was it really? Plenty of people lived long lives with T2. Giving myself shots? There were worse things.
  4. To reverse this train wreck would take serious work. I knew it would be unbearably hard work. Work you could never, ever stop doing.
  5. I had failed every single ‘diet’ I had ever tried. Every. Single. One. Fen-phen. Nutrisystems. Weight Watchers. Alli. Medi-fast. South Beach. Atkins. Jenny Craig. Cabbage soup. You name it… I tried and failed at it.
  6. I was hiding. Wait.. What? Those who know anything about me know that I am an unabashed extrovert. I am a genuinely happy person and in most cases – a totally open book. I also happen to have severe self-confidence issues about my body. Staying fat kept me well protected from dealing with unwanted attention. I have always been uncertain and nervous around men. Being fat kept me padded from comments or attention and was the perfect solution. I was not the pretty friend, I was the funny, kind friend who was the trustworthy side-kick. I could be happy and work hard and be confident about everything else in my life and yet successfully hide from the world in plain sight as a fat woman.

Ouch.

Getting to be grossly overweight is like the analogy of how to boil a frog. If you boiled a pot of water and then threw a frog in, it would immediately hop back out to safety. BUT if you took the same frog and placed him in a cold pot of water and turned up the heat gradually… You would wind up with perfectly boiled frogs’ legs. They don’t realize what’s happening. They don’t feel a need to jump to safety. They accept each passing moment as their new reality. It eventually kills them.

You get to be 392 pounds because you very slowly adapt and change to your increasing bulk. It never alarms you in the day to day. You just wake up one day and realize you weigh 392 pounds.Β  And it’s killing you.

It has taken years and miles of running and some blessedly patient friends with good listening skills to help me understand exactly how best to begin to answer this tough question…

*Work in progress. Stay tuned.*

23 thoughts on “How did you get so fat?

    1. Thank you! I made excuses for years. Embraced hope as a strategy (Hoping the weight would magically disappear…). And FINALLY decided to do something about it when excuses and hope were not working. Hardest, best work of my life. THANK YOU for reading and commenting. I appreciate it!

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  1. I can feel your truth and authentic self shine through in all you write! Thanks for sharing your journey, wisdom, and love with the world…you are making a difference! ❀

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  2. Betsy, Very inspiring blog. Thanks for sharing. We all start at the same spot….relationship with food and exercise. You had the next ingredient needed to succeed, doing it for yourself. All of your wonderful friends that kept you company along the way are a testimony to your dedication. Looking forward to more of your story as you go.

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    1. Jean! Thank you! And moving forward with this blog readers will get to learn a whole lot more about the incredible human beings I have the privilege of calling friends. I wouldn’t have a success story to share without them… Doing it for yourself is TOTALLY different than having to do it BY yourself. πŸ™‚

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  3. So glad to see you blogging! I can hear your voice as I read and I’m just so gosh darn PROUD OF YOU!!! (Hope that’s not too silly!) xoxo

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    1. I’m proud of you! Watching you LOVE being a momma to those two adorable little boys is something I have commented on before. I’m proud of you. But thank you for being proud of me. :)Thanks for reading and commenting. And you know… You don’t have to pretend to hear my voice… I’m right down the road. πŸ™‚

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  4. Besty- I met you for the first time 20 years ago ( yikes!) when I went to work as an intern for National 4-H. You were so happy to meet someone else from California and so was I! Though we didn’t interact much I always remembered how kind you were. Some years later when you started to work in Oregon and I caught up with you again, that was what I remembered the most about you. Today when I see your posts or I hear your name I think about what an amazing inspiration you are and what you have accomplished! It is truly AWESOME! You are an inspiration to many and to me! Keep it up, you do ROCK!!!

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    1. Tricia, wow… I remember that DC experience in the exact same way. Overjoyed at having another Californian in the house. πŸ™‚ Thank you for the kind words and the encouragement. I sincerely appreciate it… This has been quite the journey. And I’m just barely getting started. πŸ™‚

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  5. You are helping others gain confidence and inner strength to fight their battles by sharing yours.
    Thank you for including both ups AND downs — so often we only see other people’s ups, and focus on our downs. But it is helpful to learn from and remember both.
    You are the best. Keep on making the best better. πŸ˜‰

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    1. HA! You have the 4-H pledge zipping through my head. πŸ™‚ Thank you Todd. I appreciate the generous words and encouragement. And I swore when I started this thing that I would be HONEST about what it had taken so that I could help others who have a ton of weight to lose/diabetes to conquer. Thanks Todd!

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  6. You are helping others gain confidence and inner strength to fight their battles by sharing yours.
    Thank you for including both ups AND downs — so often we only see other people’s ups, and focus on our downs. But it is helpful to learn from and remember both.
    You are the best. Keep on making the best better. πŸ˜‰

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  7. You’re an inspiration in so many ways, Betsy! Thank you for deciding to share your story. I’m pretty sure that *everyone* can benefit from your message. No matter if a person is of healthy weight or needs to lose 10 pounds or 150 … the fact is that the only way any of us can get stronger and healthier is by taking small steps and seeking big strides (literally and figuratively). You go girl!!!

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  8. Reblogged this on all bets are off… and commented:

    I was asked this exact question several times this weekend. Hanging out with 2,000 high school students means some honest, blunt questions. πŸ™‚

    It’s been over a year since I wrote this blog, I thought it might be time to share it again. Enjoy!

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