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I don’t like the way my body looks right now!

February 27, 2013

Every day my father seems genuinely shocked that he can’t fit into size 32 pants anymore. His waist started aggrandizing about a year ago, and he typically walks around with his zipper zipped but his button unbuttoned. I find his weight gain understandable — he can’t remember if he has snacked, let alone if said snacks were healthy. My parents walk the dogs every day and go to the gym three times a week; Mother attends a strength training class and leaves Daddy in the weight area with his friend Jack Bibb, who seems happy to have an exercise partner. On the days that Jack is absent, though, Mother still completes the class and expects Daddy to work out alone. I envision him sitting on a bench in the waiting area and staring out the window on those days.

“I don’t like the way my body looks right now!” Daddy proclaimed one morning after exiting the shower.

Mother attributes Daddy’s widening girth to his now sedentary lifestyle. Daddy once shoveled hot dogs, chocolate, and pimento cheese sandwiches without consequence; prior to his retirement, he spent hours frantically pacing around the carpet mill he managed, easily burning the calories he consumed. But now, Daddy’s daily routine comprises the napping frequency of a cat, snacking, and iPad browsing. Most gym rats couldn’t compensate for such an extreme lack of physical activity. Mother once caught Daddy standing over the trash can eating stale cornbread she had chucked a couple days prior.

Mother is considering putting a lock on the refrigerator to control Daddy’s eating. For some reason discussing refrigerator lock options reminded me of my own struggles with body image, particularly in my teens and early twenties.

One of my most annoying anorexic phases included a 5-year insistence on practicing vegetarianism and for a short spurt, veganism. I reasoned that because beef broth added luxurious richness to a pot of rice, it would make me fat; feta sprinkled on spinach salad became gluttonous; milk with my cereal, totally needless. At one point I carried a tortilla jammed with lettuce to Chili’s, where Timber and I met a former high school teacher for lunch. I refused to order from the menu, as every item probably contained unnecessary fatty ingredients.

“And what will you have?” the waitress inquired.

“Nothing, thank you. I brought my own lettuce.”

My most obnoxious proclamation of veganism occurred at Cracker Barrel in front of my family. I grilled the waitress on whether the collard greens contained bits of ham hock, if the black eyed peas had been simmered in pork bullion, and why the fried apples had to be cooked on the same surface as sausage links.

“Just get the vegetable plate,” Mother begged me. “She’s going through a phase,” she snickered toward the waitress.

“It’s not a phase, Mother. It’s a lifestyle. What about the cucumber salad?” I sighed. “Is it marinated only in oil?”

“It doesn’t matter!” Mother raised her voice.

“Yes it does! It’s my choice!”

“Get. The vegetable plate!!!”

“Shut UP!”

I immediately regretted my words, cowering beneath Daddy’s disciplinary glare.

“Huh!” Mother gasped, splaying her palm across her chest.

“Don’t you EVER talk to yer mother that way again,” Daddy leaned over me. “She’ll take the vegetable plate,” he directed the waitress.

I choked down my collard greens in fearful silence.

For more than 10 years thoughts of how I would adequately punish myself for eating a donut, ignore my howling stomach, or play a soccer game without passing out haunted my mind. I’m happy that more varied topics have permeated my subconscious.

Daddy, however, remains upbeat and content despite his daily announcements that he needs to lose 15 pounds.

“More like 30 by now,” Timber typically corrects him.

A colleague’s mother died of Alzheimer’s disease several years ago. However, she passed away quickly after her diagnosis. Intent on not experiencing the demoralization of the disease, she starved herself to death.

“Well. You don’t have to worry about your dad not eating,” Ryan said when I told him about it.

No matter how much weight Daddy gains or how dissatisfied he becomes with his body, I feel confident he never will resort to anorexia, laxative abuse, or veganism. Daddy’s Birthday is this weekend, and I plan to set up a hot dog buffet in my kitchen. I can think of no more appropriate food to help celebrate.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Timber permalink
    March 5, 2013 7:11 pm

    No, Bobbin! Diabetes doesn’t explain his weight gain. His weight gain has most likely decreased his peripheral sensitivity to insulin and caused him to become diabetic. If he loses weight, the condition has the potential to be reversed. Sheesh.

    Anyway, Daddy doesn’t need to starve himself, but he doesn’t need to be so sedentary either. Hopefully we can find something to keep him a little more occupied. Until then, I’ve instructed Mother not to purchase any bread from now on. You know how Daddy often grabs a few slices to eat as snacks? Well, no more!

  2. March 6, 2013 7:02 am

    You have wholeheartedly assumed a specific role as a commentor on this blog: making me sound like an idiot. Thank you, bitch. ❤

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