Watching the weight come back
It didn’t take long until whatever tolerance I’d built up to overeating gave way. Everything that had seemed okay for such a long time, suddenly wasn’t. The weight gain started out slowly, but quickly increased to a steady clip over the next weeks and months. It wasn’t long until I needed to dig out the few fat clothes that I’d kept. After I grew out of those clothes, I went back to the Big-N-Tall store. Six months later, I was once again ordering from the plus-size sections of specialty websites with such edifying names as Chubstr.
I stopped riding my bike because I was embarrassed not to be able to fit into my cycling clothes anymore, nor could I bear the image of a great big fat guy balanced precariously on those two narrow wheels. I stopped running and walking because my knees had started to give me grief again. After an epic Nova Scotia winter with several flash freezes and floods, I developed bursitis in both elbows as a result of pick-axe overuse. Then plantar fasciitis appeared in both of my heels; a painful condition exacerbated by excess body weight, which also makes it difficult to stand or walk for long periods (let alone exercise).
By that point, I took the path of least resistance, which was abject self-pity. Every time I passed a mirror or squeezed myself into our dining-room chairs with the narrow armrests, I was reminded of just how badly I’d failed. Less than two years earlier, I had been a minor hero in my social circle for all the weight that I had lost, and now I was embarrassed to see anybody outside of my family because of how fat I looked. Without meaning to, and without any apparent willful effort, I let myself slide deeply into a shame spiral.
I thought I’d come by this honestly, however. There was no end to the bad memories I could dredge up about why I needed to eat this way. I could always think of a justification for why I was so unhappy and why my life was out of control. But eventually, it became obvious to me that something was wrong with me over which I truly had no willful control. I finally started to research topics related to food addiction and to eating disorders, and then I made some surprising discoveries.