Please don't make me truffle shuffle.

Friends. They're great, aren't they? Whenever you've got a problem, they're (usually) going to help you, because that's what friends are for.

Remember those 80s movies where a young group of friends would go on an adventure? Those were great fun. You've got classics like Stand By Me and The Goonies which showed everyone that friends were fantastic. And to rub it in, you had token characters that fit obvious stereotypes.

"That's only in fiction," you say. "Nobody seriously expects this."

I was (and still sort of am) that token fat guy.

Whenever I'd go around with my group of friends, self-deprecation or fat jokes were expected of me, as if some arbitrary quota loomed over my head, demanding to be filled before I'd be recognized as a human being.

I'd go through it; they're my friends, right? I've got thick skin (and with how overweight I was, thick flab! Wait, that's self-deprecation... old habits die hard?) and though I could tolerate it, it got old after a point.

The same jokes. Day after day. Hanging out with friends had become an exercise of tedium. We'd do our routine and then we'd be able to actually do other things.

I'm sad to say that I miss these jokes. As the pounds shed throughout the year, some friends grew uncomfortable around me. 

Using my weight as a source of jokes was something which bonded them to me, the fact they couldn't target my weight because I wasn't the biggest among them anymore led to them having no idea how to interact with me.

It's like finding out a terrible secret about someone and feeling awkward around them, the difference being that my "secret" was eating less. Without the token fat guy in the group, they moved the fat jokes onto my other friend who weighs more than I do now, though his skin isn't nearly as thick and it hurt the entire group dynamic.

I'm not condemning my friends; they were living with an expectation that I had set. If I hadn't tolerated it, if I hadn't been self-deprecating, perhaps they'd have broken away from the idea that everyone must abide by 1980 pre-teen token characters.

We're all human beings and people change, you can't expect to make a puzzle with pieces that constantly change shape (quite literally in my case!)

 Ah, the 1980s. Those times were totally tubular, weren't they? Let's leave the 1980s where they belong,  in the 1980s .

Ah, the 1980s. Those times were totally tubular, weren't they? Let's leave the 1980s where they belong, in the 1980s.

For those who'd like references to stereotypical "fat kid" stereotypes, I'd recommend the following movies: The Goonies, a classic which helped propagate the belief that every "fat kid" must truffle shuffle. Heavy Weights, a movie built entirely from the premise that everyone is the "fat kid". Finally, I'd recommend The Monster Squad which has a character who's simply known as "fat kid".


DAVID MAURICE

Former connoisseur of inexpensive alcohol and part time procrastinator, now full-time procrastinator with some gaming and education on the side. Professional Writing Student of Algonquin College.

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Fat is thicker than water.

Life was supposed to be easy now that we've finally changed for the better. That’s what you’d expect to happen, based on prior interactions with my family members who’d always condemned my obesity.

Throughout my first year of dieting, I’d sometimes sit alone in my room and laugh at the thought of showing up to a family reunion, seeing their faces and hearing what they’d say. By that point, I had lost over 100 pounds; enough to make a noticeable difference.

Reality is much harsher than I imagined.

disapproving family

Walking into their house after being gone a year for college got mixed reactions. Some were pleased that I had lost so much weight, and complimented me. Others claimed that I had simply replaced one set of self-destructive eating habits with another.

These people were insatiable. I’d claim my diet was healthy, they’d doubt my claim. I’d show them the test results from my physical, they’d claim the doctor was wrong. I’d show signs of a common cold and they’d claim that I was dying of starvation. Instead of family telling me to put down the fork, they’d bring me additional plates and tell me to pick it back up.

Despite having done this for myself because of my father, these people were getting to me. I didn't have any issue with ignoring their criticism while I was obese. It didn't matter back then. What changed? What made me bite my tongue throughout these interactions?

My "supportive" family members. That’s what changed.

Those supportive of my diet are the same few who supported me before the diet, though they now felt that because I had lost weight, they were allowed to retroactively insult my former weight.

Many who claimed there was no issue changed their tune and said they saw me as a lost cause. They said they were sad that I was going to die in my mid-twenties of a heart attack, that I was my father’s legacy, and other similar claims.

Excuse me? Having thoughts at the back of your mind is perfectly fine. My semi-paranoid self assumes everyone is heavily judgmental, and to have it confirmed was no surprise, but having changed doesn't mean that I want you to retroactively tear me to pieces. Despite having lost more than one person’s worth of weight, I’m the same person, and that still hurts.

You can’t choose family, though. Whether or not they’re judgmental, they’re bound by blood.

That's why I've still got my friends, they'd stick through thick and thin, right?

This week, I'll be linking various articles on the subject which I found interesting reads, hopefully they'll entertain you or provide some insight: Weight Loss: 7 Ways to Get Your Family's SupportAre Your Relationships Making You Fat?,  Is Your Family Hampering Your Weight Loss?.


DAVID MAURICE

Former connoisseur of inexpensive alcohol and part time procrastinator, now full-time procrastinator with some gaming and education on the side. Professional Writing Student of Algonquin College.

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Every journey has a beginning.

Had you approached me and claimed that social interactions with everyone I knew would change if I’d do something as simple as lose weight, I’d chuckle condescendingly—because let’s be honest, I’m a bit of an asshole—and regard you with utmost skepticism.

Unfortunately, you would have been right. I've learned first-hand the experiences of drastic weight loss, and how it influenced those around me. Now I’d be one of the few who’d be regarded with skepticism. What should've been simply a change of caloric intake has led to total upheaval, straining friendships like they were going through a colander.

Welcome, dear readers, to An Expanding World, A Shrinking Me. While I’d like to jump right into the meat and potatoes, the relationship between my friends and family is crucial to what’s to come.

shadow

Family always called me a “big” kid. It was the justification for my obesity, as it was simply in my genes. While they would sometimes be worried regarding my health, I’d dismiss them as the ignorant ones and continue my self-destructive lifestyle.

Having family speak to me about my obesity had become chatter as they’d repeat their claims in order to change everything about me. They didn't realize that any long-standing change needed to come from me.

One visit to my grandparents led me to go through my deceased father’s belongings. Within were records he had listened to in his youth, and ancient baseball cards stained and crippled by time. It wasn't supposed to lead to any epiphany. It was to be a simple bonding experience.

One box in particular hit me. Pictures and medals filled the box, accomplishments of weight-lifting or athletics that would've made anyone jealous. But disease had eaten this once-proud man and brought him to his knees.

Gazing down at my gut, it dawned on me that I wasn't simply a failure of a human being, I was a failure of a son. While I’d always known my father as a decrepit man who while I was young, this revelation showed me that he was probably ashamed of the path I treaded.

This sudden self-hate promoted my search for improvement, my desire to become a man who my father wouldn't be ashamed of and would gladly call his son. Perhaps he wouldn't have been ashamed, but it didn't matter. Whereas before I was content with my form, it was no longer acceptable.

For continued reading, this week I'll recommend these articles I read immediately after starting on my new path: Beginner's Health and Fitness Guide, A Beginner's Guide To Losing Body Fat!, The Beginner's Guide To Diet, Nutrition & Healthy Eating.


DAVID MAURICE

Former connoisseur of inexpensive alcohol and part time procrastinator, now full-time procrastinator with some gaming and education on the side. Professional Writing Student of Algonquin College.

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