An Excerpt From The Book
I am a man of girth, overweight. Fat. There, I said it. But what does it mean? Physiologically it means simply that I consume more calories than I burn, nothing more, nothing less.
Genetically it means my body mimics those of my forebears and that the beginning of a diet signals to my brain the beginning of a decade-long drought, loss of crops, planetary starvation and impending death, so my metabolism becomes more efficient and turns a fiddlehead and white vinegar salad into reveries of roast haunch of brontosaurus.
It also means the range of clothing styles available in my size at the local lanky and rotund shop is limited to a pair of equatorial shorts that come down to my ankles with pockets too low to reach that would hold a couple of roast chickens, and perhaps a few billowing Hawaiian shirts the size of a Montreal garage or the topgallant from one of the tall ships. It’s always seemed to me that the clothes of alien cultures from Arabia and Japan would be more comfortable but I am not drawn to the knotted diapers preferred by sumo wrestlers.
In boarding school, where loafers meant never having to tie your shoes, only rarely was I called on to bend over and suffer the humiliation of a burst seam in the nether regions, but I had this licked. I kept a small stapler in my book bag for hasty repairs of a blown seam, fast and effective, at least until the next time I bent over and fired live shrapnel around the room.
I am one of those people for whom simply entering a gym or spa sets off psychic alarms. The idea of repetitive exercise under fluorescent lights surrounded by bulb-tanned men and women in sweat- wicking Lycra invites for me comparison with long overdue dental work.
Today, I have let go of dieting altogether and simply begin each day with some gratitude for the good food I have to eat with a loving family and friends.
I have also begun doing yoga. At first it felt like trying to do origami with a boneless pork roast, but my body is beginning to get used to the sun salutations. I am struggling a bit with the warrior positions and some of the sailor’s knots. My favorite position so far is the “corpse” pose, a resting pose.
I have learned to be grateful for the bounty of fresh local food available and have always taken pleasure in the careful preparation of food.
I love working in the Vermont woods, clearing, thinning, hauling brush, splitting and stacking firewood, and building stone walls. This work is aerobic, strengthening, spiritual and, unlike exercise, has a purpose beyond the self.
It has taken me years to get comfortable with this three-score year old body. The time has come to simply let go of the obsessive relationship with food, enjoy what is good, avoid what is bad, and begin everyday anew.
A Talk About the F-Word, with Bill Schubart
Recently, I was a guest on the podcast Rumble Strip with Erica Heilman where I speak candidly about the pain, fear, embarrassment, and loneliness of being fat for most of my life.
At 75, much of the pain has ebbed and I am left only with a will to share with others who struggle with food and being fat, that one can be fat, be loved, and survive the pain and humiliation.
It can be hard to hear but hopefully will bring a ray of light to others who share my experience.
From the episode: A Talk About the F-Word, with Bill Schubart