Tag Archives: fat

Chubby – Part 1


She remembers the first time she ever pulled her t-shirt down to cover her stomach…a new outfit, baby blue leggings, matching t-shirt with tiny pink flowers, she was pleased, had twirled to show off the shiny newness to her mother, her baby brother……but later…..at the park………..aware of a new feeling that she had no words for, she looked down in dismay at the rounded swell of her belly and tugged harder and harder to cover herself up and later still, trew the top into the far corner of her wardrobe and pulled out the hand me down hoody, passed on from a far older cousin.

She remembers her first book of calories – a free gift with Jackie or My Guy or Blue Jeans, carefully unpeeled from the front cover, trying not to tear Davids’ perfect smile. The book lived in her school bag, consulted daily, within 6 weeks, she had memorised the calorie value of everything she ate, might eat, could conceivably ever come into contact with. The book outlasted David and Bryan and even Donny.

She remembers the aching of her budding breasts, pads of fat on already padded flesh. She tried to disguise them from classmates, pulled her vest this way and that, learnt to hunch her shoulders, be the last to unpeel her sensible airtex top, undress under other clothes and prayed for a miracle, an over night sea change, back to what she used to be.

She remembers the agonies of saturday mornings, Bust Stop and Snob and Top Shop, she the designated holder of coats, grabber of hangars and all the while hoping against hope that she would find something, anything to fit, so that she too could walk along the high street, swinging the coveted new clothes bag, ready to dissect their purchases in the Wimpy bar, burgers eaten with a knife and fork, trying hard not to finish the food on other girls’ plates.

She remembers the phase “puppy fat”, forever confused in her mind with the Osmonds’ song

“This is not some puppy fat lalalalal”

Her mothers’ casual tone betrayed by tightened lips, a poorly held together sigh when she, starving, always starving, reached for another biscuit, another slice of bread.

She remembers another song

“Hey fatty boom, boom”.

The rough boys at the bus stop, the ones from the estate, the ones who went to the new comprehensive would sing it as she, easy to spot, green gaberdine, brown school bag, waited for the bus that went the other way.

She became expert at hiding in the shelter of the co-op, eyes peeled for the bus, ready for a split second dash across the road.

It didn’t always work – sometimes she got it wrong, missed the bus and then of course, it was far, far worse.

She remembers her mothers’ purse, blue leather, gold metal clasp, which had to be teased apart to avoid a tell-tale click. Then, hand in, grab loose change and jump away as if the purse itself was red-hot. Money hidden in her pencil-case or later still ,the special purse, the curse purse.

And after school, the walk down Bond Street, into the sweet shop.

Aztec bars

Star Bars

Spangles

White and brown jazzies

Pineapple chunks and acid drops.

Bags and wrappers jammed into her school mac pockets, hand, dip, reach, mouth and repeat and repeat and repeat.

Then rubbish dumped in the bin not near their house.

She remembers the family wedding. Her outfit, bought 8 weeks before, smocked top, blue Oxford bags and hessian heeled red wedge sandals….but somehow everything outgrown before the date and the loaned dress, mohair, pea green, a- line. The only thing her 30-year-old cousin had that fitted her and her mother fussing round, pulling the fabric, bright, brittle smile, the offer of a scarf to jazz it up and the overheard/half heard/half denied comment

“Perhaps big pants would help – flatten everything out”

She remembers starting to smoke – leaning against the chain link fence at the back of the tennis courts, she and Claire Allen, whose parents had got divorced and who had to eat 2 Sunday lunches every week.

Claire said that cigarettes killed your appetite, killed it stone dead and so she smoked and coughed and wheezed and walking home, afterwards, wondered if she felt  a little lighter, a little thinner.

She remembers school dinners, so easy in the junior school, dinner ladies who saw her hunger, relished in her appetite, happy to dish up seconds, even thirds, if no-one was looking. But now, in big school, it’s a different landscape, another country.

Girls who eat only yogurt, the rebel who has declared herself a vegetarian, the others, already thin, became masters of the re-arranged plate and she took to eating on her own, hands shielding her food, head down, load and leave.

She remembers the Christmas discos – her girls school bussed out into the Norfolk countryside to provide the female interest at a well-known boys school and how when the coach pulled in and the fuggy comfort of Charlie and Tramp and bubble gum lip gloss were swooped for the cold night air and the boys stood either side of the doors and when she and Claire – 2 dinners Claire – stepped down to a chorus of oinks and piggy noises and she knew they were trapped there until the coach came back and fumbled in her bag, fingers discovering Sobranie Cocktails and sugar mice.


Hunger 9- the fat woman’s lament


She is hungry, constantly hungry, engulfed with appetite.
Nothing satisfies her, even as she fills her mouth, she is searching out the next spoonful, the next plate full, the next meal.
Even when she sleeps, she dreams of food, a line of plates stretching as far as the eye can see on snowy white sheets.
The plates are heaped with food, fruits and breads and cakes tumbling to the floor.
In her dreams, she sees herself fall upon freshly baked bread, can taste it’s warm doughy mass against her teeth and lips, her fingers pull at grilled meat, become greasy, shiny with warm fat, pale cooked blood.
She licks them, sighs in pleasure and wakes herself up, pillow damp with licking or chewing or salivating, she cannot tell which.
In supermarkets she peers into other people’s baskets, other people’s lives, remains unconvinced that they are satisfied with their low fat yogurts, their pitta breads,their one lonely chocolate flapjack, half hidden under a bag of salad leaves.

Her hunger rules her, in quiet meetings she cannot believe that the others cannot hear her stomach growl and complain, she makes excuses, flees to the nearest bathroom, storeroom, quiet corner and placates it with bags of smarties, packets of wine gums, loose biscuits crumbling to dust at the bottom of her handbag.

When she eats with others, colleagues, friends, family, she is forced to sit, actually sit on her hands to stop herself reaching out, reaching over and across people to grab at left over food, barely touched plates, ignored side dishes.
Friends who know her well simply pass over their plates when they have finished.
Then watch as she eats one, two, three meals, but it’s never enough, never, ever enough.

Sometimes at night, when she lies, warm, drowsy, body scented from the expensive oils she drops into her bath, hands resting on her rounded, almost full tummy, she wishes she could hold onto this feeling, this peace forever, but she knows, knows full well, that in three, four hours, she will wake, ravenous and will pad on soft night time feet into the kitchen and stand at the open fridge door, hands squishing cheese, soft, cheap bread into an approximation of a sandwich.

The cat will wind around her legs, eyes on the look out for dropped crumbs of cheese, bread, a litany of miaows to tell her that he too is starving and she will reach down and share the final bite of her late night snack with him.

She is big, of course she is big, but with a joyous glamour that means that men stare at her, at her breasts, her full behind, when she walks down the street and other women suddenly feel all angles, too small for their place in the world when they stand next to her.

No-body knows about the hunger that drives her on, the emptiness, the longing for enough.

The hunger has its compensations, she is a baker of cakes, a sharer of sweets, the go to girl when pre-menstural pangs strike her lean, controlled friends.

The many men in her life find that she is the source of un-acknowledged, never aired fantasies in which they imagine themselves buried, enveloped in soft giving flesh, feeding their own hungers, their own needs, mouths full, busy, stuffed.

Her world is full of people who want to feed her,who unknowingly worship at the alter of her hunger, market traders who throw extra aubergines, their shiny flesh almost as seductive as her own, waiters who bring her extra portions, sly slices of pudding, tiny coloured glasses of sweet liqueurs, other people’s parents, who despairing of their own daughters’ bird like appetites, turn cheerfully to her, heap her plate, fathers’ using the excuse of serving another dish of trifle to pat her arm, the curve of her shoulder.

Sometimes, she wonders what it would take to fill her, wonders if her body would actually explode before she reached that moment of satedness, wonders if she would, could actually die of happiness at that moment.

And then one day, quite out of the blue, something magical, something wonderful happens.

It is Thursday, grocery shopping day and she is standing, overwhelmed by the beauty of the piled, pyramided perfection of the soft fruit display in Waitrose.
She stretches out a finger, the nail currently painted a deep purple, perfect counter point to the orange of the tiny clementines, strokes their rough skin and sighs with pleasure.

She hasn’t really noticed the man, standing quietly, perhaps deep in thought as he stares at the wine purple grapes.

And suddenly,he leans towards her and with no warning, pops a grape into her mouth, she is so surprised that she bites down, feels the grape explode with juice and skin and sweetness in her mouth and then she has swallowed it and the pleasure is such that her eyes close, just for a second, but when she re-opens them, he is gone, a bunch of tissue wrapped grapes placed carefully in her basket.

She stands for a moment, the after taste of sweetness in her mouth,her throat and then she understands, that for the first time in memory, that she is not hungry, not hungry at all.

Slowly, thoughtfully, she heads towards the checkouts, but stops to leave her basket, abandoned in the ready meals isle.

She heads out, into the darkness, suddenly knowing exactly what she has been hungering for.

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Hunger 4


Head hidden in the fridge, she dips her finger into the jar, takes a second to appreciate the deep ruby colour of the plum conserve and then the finger is in her mouth, sweetness explodes on her tongue and she sighs with pleasure.

She feels, rather than hears, her mothers’ intake a breath, a sharp shhh and then she dips her finger in again, plum skin catches on her finger nail and she worries at it with her teeth and only then, finger still in her mouth, does she turn and face her mother.

She is sitting at the kitchen table.
The table she spent a whole week sanding, oiling and painting with farrow & ball paints – mouse back, the colour is called, part of the shabby chic range. She took an entire day to painstakingly age the brand new painted surface and it is where she sits each morning and eats her breakfast.

For as long as the girl can remember, her mother has kept to the same breakfast ritual.
2 cigarettes, a cup of black, sugarless coffee and an apple, cut into 4 equal slices.

As a child, the girl would sit at the table and beg her mother her mother to slice her an apple too and they would sit in companionable silence, crunching on their fruit.

But now, now that food is their battleground, the girl prefers to free range around the kitchen, easier access to the cupboards and fridge, more opportunity to force her mother to register exactly what she is putting into her mouth.

She stubs out her second cigarette, stands up, smooths out an invisible crease on her dress and the daughter knows that she is also checking the feel of hip bones under fabric.

The daughter is still in pajamas, she loves the feel of fuzzy fabric against her soft flesh, she would wear them all day if she could, the elastic waist bands are forgiving, ensure that there is no opportunity to monitor weight gain or loss.

The breakfast time ballet continues, now the mother steps towards the fridge and the girl steps away, moves nearer the breadboard, focused on the slices of bread she will cut into doorsteps and smother in the remainder of the plum conserve.

The mother reaches into the fridge, picks up a small plastic container, into which, she has, as she does every night, sliced tomatoes, cucumber and baby leaves.

There is a pause and then she pulls out the second little box and places it on the granite work surface.
The girl knows that it too will contain a small naked salad and knows that it is designed to be her lunch.

And then in a flurry of keys and gym bag and over-sized tote, her mother is gone and the girl is left in the kitchen.

She sighs, picks up the plate on which 3 slices of bread and jam lean untidily and she sits, finally, at the table and bites into the first piece.
The bread, doughy, sweet, comforting, fills her mouth with pleasure.


Hunger 3


She’s doing the maths in her head, being careful to round down, not up.

Small banana, say 50 calories, coffee, well, that’s nothing really, rice and salad, can’t be more than 200 calories, so that leaves 300 calories for her evening meal.

Gym after work, 20 minutes on the cross trainer, that must be at least 500 calories, power walk and then 20 lengths, gotta be over 1,00 calories in total.

So, that gives her 1,300 calories for the rest of the day or, she does the sum again, if she can keep this up until Friday, that would be 3,000 spare calories….she pauses for a minute, checks the calorie counting app on her phone, is 3,00 calories enough for a pepperoni pizza, she can taste the warm cheese, feel the heat of the box as she carries it from the front door to the kitchen.

It’s ok, she will be good, no garlic bread, no cookie dough ice cream and besides, she’s 3,000 calories ahead and she will definitely go to the gym on Sunday morning.

So, 300 calories for tonight, inside her head, she reviews the contents of her fridge.
Tomatoes – good
Cucumber – good
Low cal, fat free dressing – very good
Lettuce – good

Let’s say 100 calories for a salad, another 50 for a banana, that leaves 150 even before she gets to the gym, so she can have a 2 fingered KitKat with her afternoon coffee and stil be ahead.

She smiles to herself, if she can keep to this, this time she will definitely loose weight, more counting, this time she has to use her fingers to help.
If she sheds 2lbs this week and really, she can probably call it 3 lbs, especially with all this gym going, thats definitely , completely going to happen.
3lbs this week, let’s say 12lbs over the month, that’s nearly a stone, so she shrugs to herself, let’s call it a stone, by October she will be 4 stone lighter, she will be slim.

She closes her eyes for a moment, the better to visualise this new slim self and smiles.

More counting, so, if she’s a size 18 now, each stone lost should mean at least a dress size down, lets see she thinks

One stone – size 16
Two stone – size 14
Three stone – size 12
Four stone, and she can hardly say it, does the counting again in her head, just to make sure.
In October, she will be a size 10, it will all be worth it.

3.30 pm – time for a break, time for a KitKat, she hopes that the vending machine has the small ones, but then she shrugs, it’s all ok, she’s 1,000 calories ahead, it won’t matter if she gets a bigger one and besides she’s starving.

As she walks through the office, she wonders why she left school thinking she was bad at maths, she seems to spend her whole life counting.