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Success story?

For 40 years, I was fat. No sartorial trickery could hide it. No amount of career or personal success made me forget it. I want to say I learned to be comfortable in my skin, but it's not true. I hated being seen with my shirt off -- which meant no gyms, no swimming pools or beaches. I hated the multiple-angle mirrors of dressing rooms. I even felt self-conscious ordering food at restaurants. Then, two years ago, I moved to New York City -- and within 11 months, I wasn't fat anymore.

[. . .]

Back in the Midwest, where I lived my entire adult life, the most common question was, "How did you do it?" Some people asked with a wink and nod -- you know those vain coastal people and their shortcuts. No, I didn't have surgery, didn't take supplements, didn't hire a trainer or even buy a miracle-cure book.

I walked more, and I ate less.

Part of my diet plan was simple necessity. Back home, I drove a car everywhere I went. I cherry-picked parking spots to get as close to the door as possible, shaving my walk to the minimum. But my normal daily walk in New York City was about three miles, just getting to school, walking to work either in Greenwich Village or Midtown and meeting my friends and wife for dinner.

At the same time, I cut back my eating. (“I always thought I’d be fat,” Michael Humphrey, Salon, 27 June 2011)

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Success story?

Did the psychological troubles that moved your over-eating disappear with the weight loss too? Or have they just been differently channeled, and into a form that very pleasantly draws little attention to their existing?

@Patrick M-H

What psychological problems? Where is that in the article? Please point it out for us.

The author moved from an area where not only did he have to drive everywhere to get around, he was surrounded by overweight people who consistently made bad food choices.

In New York, you have no choice. You walk. Just about everywhere. It's like Toronto or Chicago that way. San Francisco? Same deal. You might as well walk. (Wasn't it Mark Twain who quipped that the women in San Francisco have the best legs in the world?) They're set up as pedestrian cities.

If you're staying in a reasonable (by that I mean a couple of miles) distance from home to get things done, you have no choice but to walk. If you are dumb enough to drive, and IF you're lucky enough to get a parking spot, you're going to end up walking about the same distance anyway. There's no point.

When we moved to Texas from Toronto, I gained 20 pounds. I never changed my eating habits, I just couldn't walk everywhere like I used to. There were no sidewalks, ground level ozone levels were downright dangerous because of all the trucks and even if I ignored all that, we lived at LEAST a 30 minute drive to go to the grocery store.

When we left that suburbopurgatory and moved to Chicago, that weight was gone in about 6 months. It was all about activity level. (Aunt Messy)


The author believes it is all about activity level, and makes it seem as if this is obviously the case, in his losing pounds so readily when he actually had to walk, but his primary previous difficulty wasn't the lack of a firm prompt to exercise but that he gorged himself too much, that he had, as they say, an "unhealthy relationship to food" -- that it likely served as compensense for his previous profound lack of attention during childhood. He went to exercise and good foods -- though maybe in body-hating and certainly body-taming portions: starvation-level -- because he finds opiate nourishment in belonging to this new of-the-moment elect club of puritans, who have in their attainment passed beyond the point of having to look back at any previous inhibiting sin. If this obese-to-thin movement wasn't now the rage, beckoning through the privilege of full loss of disavowed self to join its membership, Michael Humphrey no doubt would, even in walk-to-work New York, be tagging along that extra-package that ice cream bars and whiskey surely gift one with.

I hope Salon doesn't become wholly constituted by people in a hurry to lose all touch with reality. Michael Humphrey isn't fat, but he likely remains the same man: and that's surely his still ongoing problem.

Link: I thought I’d always be fat (Salon)


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