On Being Fat and Running

Abandoning fear and insecurity for a life stocked with steaks, plums, and beer


| September-October 2010



Being Fat and Running Image

Travis Lampe / www.travislampe.com

I have recently begun running.  

The change comes after a series of quiet revelations that led me to the conclusion that I did not want to be the guy wanly occupying a coffin in a borrowed kilt after a heart attack at age 53.  

The first of my revelations came, as so many of my spiritual moments do, while I was watching The Simpsons. At my heaviest, I realized, I was the same weight as Homer’s lightest. In America, this is apparently “funny fat.” Despite internal objections that cartoons don’t wear their weight the same as I do, the coincidence was a personal blow. I had weathered the fat jokes from friends, family, and foes, but it was Fox TV that caused me to squeeze into a new mental mold. 

A second revelation came at my local thrift store, when I discovered there was not a single shirt in the mammoth mall of secondhand-sweatshop clothing that could fit me. I left the store dejected, feet dragging along the sidewalk, careful not to scuff my jeans for fear they might need to be replaced.  

The final revelation came on an airplane. While it might be true that coach seats are shrinking, my size reality hit me: With the seat before me tilted back, the table tray did not fit comfortably in front of me. Since then, I have resigned myself to knocks from airline service carts as I hang over in the aisle, trying not to oppress my neighbor.  

My weight is no longer temporary or cute. At one time, it was “Give Brenton the last steak—he’s a big boy.” Now, people offer me dandelion salad and sideways glances. My metabolism is simply not as vibrant as it once was. I used to be able to lose 10 pounds while I slept. I could eat what I wanted, play what sports I wanted, and there was always energy and room for more. One of the results of growing up, however, is aging, and the joys and pains and migrating muscle mass that inevitably come. 

kate
10/29/2010 9:56:02 PM

This article was delightful to read :) Running definitely is really good exercise and yet it sucks so bad when you first start. It can be really discouraging, especially when the muscle doesn't tone and the fat doesn't fall off as fast as you expected. Keep at it though ^^ i think it's all in the attitude. You're about as far from defeated as i've ever seen anyone so you've definitely got this, and who cares what other people think. You're making progress on your own terms.


arthurdee
10/8/2010 10:08:56 PM

2X? Hey there, slim. Thirteen months ago I was wearing 3X and growing. Then I decided I'd like to live a bit longer. Started dieting, started walking. I'm in my mid-sixties, so I'm not going to start with the running. Anyway, the first time on a one-mile walking trail at the park, I near died. Sweated, made several rest stops. When I got back home I had to take a nap. Now, I do three miles, about six days a week. Still make a couple of brief rest stops for some stiffness in one hip due to an injury many years ago. And because I just want to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. I've lost 95 pounds so far. Naturally, I'm going for 100. Hey, I'm that close. I'm down to XL, probably could do L. Over the weekend a niece I hadn't seen in a while said I look 10 years younger. It's nice.


occum
10/8/2010 8:58:54 AM

I find when I run my beer spills out of the can so I just walk fast.