fat: one

I wear a sweater constantly now, regardless of weather. Why, they cry, why are you wearing a sweater - it’s 80 degrees out. It’s because my body is a topological nightmare, I do not say. I say instead that it’s quite cool in this sweater and that it was cold in Oakland when I woke up and I was tricked into wearing this contraption.

My jeans have holes in them - not the ones you put your legs through but the ones caused by friction between the thighs (chub rub, as it is known in the community). It’s scary to buy new ones because then I’d have to confront what my waist size has become.

I don’t know, actually, if I was ever thin. Not since the age of 7 anyway. There was a point in time, after I moved to San Francisco, that I was described as skinny. But the next day, a coworker called me fat and I didn’t know what to believe.

Now, though, the conclusion is unambiguous. I’m 5’9” and I weight about 190 lbs. My BMI is 28.1 which is classified as (merely) overweight by the National Institute of Health. The weighing scale at home says that I’m about 27% body fat but the fancier weighing scale at the gym that has little thumb electrodes says I’m at 40%.

I don’t think it’s wrong to be fat. An enlightened Sanju wouldn’t take the bus everyday because too many people would see his fat ass walking to the train station. An enlightened Sanju would go see his family an hour down south in spite of the fact that his Aunt said a groom shouldn’t look the way he does. Enlightened Sanju wouldn’t plan his vacations far into the future in the hopes that he’d lose weight before that date came and then cancel vacation plans because nothing had changed.

It’s been tried before, of course. Scroll down the photos in my phone long enough and you’ll see several sulky, scowly photos of me in boxers at the start of a new diet and exercise routine. These photos repeat every couple of months bookending photos of miscellaneous cheeses. The hope is what’s addictive.

There’s the reading of weight loss journeys, scouring the post for clues on habits and diets. What’s the calorie limit for the day? What’s the diet like? How long will it take? How many times will I fail?

The problem with that approach is that all you read are success stories. An all those success stories tend to be summarized in a 5 minute video or a 500 word post. It’s not that it was easy for them - it’s that you trick yourself into thinking the results come as quick. So with this post, and the rest of them, I’m hoping to do something different. I’m hoping to document the long journey and various ways in which I will fail.

The project is to document the effort over the next 23 weeks. 23 because that’s when I have to give a speech as best man at a friend’s wedding. It’s also 23 because I tried to start exactly a week ago and failed to stick to the plan barely an hour in. For the fat person, an inauspicious start means waiting until the next perfect date. In the meantime you can eat all the calories you want.

The rules for weight loss - and for the next few weeks - are simple. Stick to a calorie count. Avoid simple or processed carbs - this means avoiding rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, most grains. Eat protein and plants. Exercise for at least an hour a day and be active for two hours a day. Minimize the snacking.

(I’m going to be starting a separate blog for this, but until that gets going I’ll post updates here.)