I’m fat.

No, really. I’m fat, quite fat. I’m not big boned and I don’t carry it well, so don’t try to placate me; my weight starts with the number “three” and I’m not nine feet tall.

I know that, from my writing, you probably think I’m a tall, leggy blonde. Well, I have to disabuse you of that notion: I am tall and leggy, but I’m very much a brunette. Also, fat.

And now I’ve opened myself to public shaming on the internet, yay!

After thirty-two years, I’m getting pretty tired of being fat. It’s hard to find nice pants or cute bras.  And as it turns out, fat people don’t get a lot of perqs in our society, so it’s not really doing anything for me.

So I’m stopping. As of this morning, Plan: Be Less Fat has been actualized.

Let me be clear: I’m a big proponent of health at any size, and I don’t want to be and will never be a skinny person; it’s not my build, that’s not the goal and it’s not really about the pants. But I’m not healthy, and all this fat is a side effect of that. I guess I should call it Plan: Good Health, but that’s not as catchy.

This isn’t going to turn into a diet blog or anything. For one, I still plan on consuming bacon and cheese and gimlets in moderation; I also don’t think of myself as being on a diet so much as trying to make life-long changes to my eating habits. (Things will of necessity get healthier around here, though.)

Anyway, I just thought the internet might want to know. Here’s to making it to a weight that starts with a “one”!

59 thoughts on “Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

  1. Hey, I’m fat too. I wish you all the luck in the world on meeting that ‘1’ goal. I’m this >< close to striving towards a similar goal. I'm excited to see your new posts.

  2. hey darlin! looking forward to hearing about it! you can do it… my goal is about 50 or so over the next 9-12 months. i came to a similar epiphany – i just wanna dress cute, and i am tired of being this size. :). xxoo

  3. You are awesome. All of us loyal readers will be there every step of the way to cheer you on. I’m on the same path myself so it will be great to read about someone elses’ journey to less-fatness.

  4. Weigh(t) to go! (I’m so punny!)Everything in moderation. A slow and steady pace will always win the race. Live one day at a time. All that crap. We’re pulling for ya! You can do it!

  5. Congrats on your first step. I took the same one 50 or so days ago, and I have not looked back since. The main thing about it is, you need to get some movement in there. I fervently am against the whole “status quo” of balanced diet and crap… I do what works for me. You will need to find that as well. If there is anything that I could do to help, I drop me a line. I will be there!

  6. I dropped about 40 over nine months’or so time. (Of course, I’ve gained 10 of it back, mostly from drinking beer and using way too much cream when I cook.) I emphasized vegetables, cut way back on potatos (my weakness; I love a damn potato, any way you want to cook it), and stayed away from candy and junk food (my other weakness). Regular exercise will help a lot, if it’s nothing but a daily walk around the block or taking the stairs two or three times a day at work instead of the elevator. I did a gym membership because I won’t stay with a program unless it’s costing me money.

    Good luck. You can do it!

  7. I really liked the MyFoodDiary website. It’s a great way to get a handle on portion size and calories in vs. calories out. It also has a recipe builder so you can figure out calorie counts on portions of food that you made yourself (as opposed to packaged foods). It sounds a little dismal the way I’m describing it here, but it is nice to know that you can eat what you want, as long as the portions are the right size.

    Good luck to you!

  8. I love it when people decide to get healthier! And the clothing choices do get better as you shrink, which is a nice motivator sometimes. Good luck!

  9. Wow. What an amazing post — good for you and a brave but useful step to put yourself out there (useful both to you in terms of public accountability and to others who can use the inspiration and support as they deal with their own weight). I’ve lost a decent amount of weight over the past year and I found that calorie counting was super helpful. There’s an iPhone app, I think, or a few websites where you can do it. It’s a lot of work, but it helped me understand what reasonable portion sizes were, easy ways to cut calories, and how to plan ahead if I want to indulge. Finally, the exercise piece… not my favorite, but a necessary component to being healthy at any weight, and has the added bonus of being more powerful than any anti-depressant that comes in a bottle. One last word of advice — I know I was super, super cranky when I first started counting calories (you know… cause I was hungry, because I was used to eating much more). It lasts a few weeks, but then I got used to it. It was a ton of work but it’s so worth it. I’ve never had this much energy (every 5lbs you lose is like putting down a sack of flour you’d been carrying around) or been this happy (seriously, the exercise helps). Good luck — we’re all rooting for you!

  10. Hey there! So great to see all this support coming your way for making dietary changes. Been up and down the scales all my life and I gotta say, Michelle, from the moment I met you I was SO IMPRESSED by the way you inhabit your size with no apologies. So, I support you too, in whatever size you happen to be on any given day of this life you’ve been given. Thank you for your honesty and openness with all this. Right on my friend. Blessings of peace to you!

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  12. Michelle, I applaud your decision. I’ve been slowly but surely adding a few pounds a year for a very long time and recently decided that it was time to take the plunge, but I’ve never publicly made the announcement, primarily out of fear. Fear of failure, fear of humiliating myself in front of my friends, whatever you want to call it. You have inspired me to go ahead and put it out there for the world to hear. Good luck; you can do it.

  13. I wish you the very best of luck and the very best health. Weight loss is neither easy to do nor easy to talk about. I’ve been reading this site for about a year and a half now and enjoy your writing enormously, because you’re smart and funny and profane and opinionated. All of that will still be true regardless of your weight, but I hope the weight loss helps you add more layers of happy to the stack.

    Best of luck to Brian, too. He seems well suited to what I’d guess is a pretty tricky role.

    I’m including a link to the first post from Linda Holmes’s long ago side-blog about significant weight loss. I gather that it can be hard to find good writing on the subject that doesn’t make you want to stab the author in the eye, and I hope this (and its subsequent posts) can be of interest, comfort, or use to you.

  14. Excellent. Healthy is good. I did the same thing last October. I am healthier, happier, more energetic, happier, have more clothing to choose from … and I still eat cheese and bacon. It can be done. Good for you!

  15. Congratulations! I hope that you do post some of your “healthier” recipes, as I am currently working on being a number that starts with 1 myself, and I would love to be able to cook more of the stuff that you posted!

    I’ve been using Sparkpeople to track my eating and exercise for a couple of weeks and I’m really digging it. Everyone there is embarrassingly positive and full of motivational phrases, but it’s useful nonetheless.

    You can check out my SP page, ( and if you join up, you should drop me a line.

  16. I very much look forward to reading about your progress. I have a really hard time keeping motivated to eat healthy/exercise, and I think you’ll be a great inspiration. Best of luck and don’t be afraid to share when the going is tough too (I know you will)!

  17. In the past 2-3 years our eating has gotten much much better. We eat waaaay healthier than your average american in terms of vegetables, etc. My doctor even thinks it might have saved my life. I’m still fat. I’m fat because I still eat too much of the food, and my exercise left for Albuquerque, but never returned. So I’m standing there with ya on this fat thing. Lately I’ve gotten tired of the fat, and I really am planning on doing more exercise. Now I just have to translate that into action.

    But hey, you reminded me this early AM of the Digital Underground (one of my favorite rap groups), and that’s never a bad thing:

    I like to rhyme,
    I like my beats funky,
    I’m spunky. I like my oatmeal lumpy.
    I’m sick wit dis, straight gangsta mack
    but sometimes I get ridiculous
    I’ll eat up all your crackers and your licorice
    hey yo fat girl, c’mere–are ya ticklish?
    Yeah, I called ya fat.
    -from Humpty Dance, by the Digital Underground

  18. brava for coming to the fore! I too, am fat. It comes to be ironic that people love eating my food and talking food, but i inevitably feel that when I talk about food, people are looking at me thinking “Well duh, i couldnt tell that you loved food.”

    i’ve been trying to be better, going the Mark Bittman route. Mostly veg/vegan by day, even by week, then indulge more on weekends, but still within reason. I now try to only have pasta when i have time to make it from scratch, eat dinner by 7pm, try not to drink alcohol during the week. Keeping cheese at bay as much as i can *pain*

    i just have to get off my ass and actually *exercise* bleh…

  19. Good for you Michelle! “Getting heathy” is a waaaay better attitude than merely “losing weight”. I’m looking forward to your recipes and hearing about your progress.
    You can do it!!!

  20. God, weight is such a personal thing, but so public – so I’m really…why does proud sound so condescending? That’s not how I mean it, but that’s the word that comes closest to describing how I feel – when someone decides to lose weight publicly like this. But weight loss is so freaking loaded with meaning and drama and stuff – it’s weird for me – I feel like on the one hand, trying to lose weight feels like a sell out (as a woman of color, I feel like I’m allowed to weigh more than the average white girl, in terms of societal expectations anyway) but then again, dude, I’m not healthy. My knees are a mess because my thighs are so big. My Achilles heel? Beer. Sweet wonderful beer. If I could have my way, I’d die and come back as Ben Franklin because dude knew what was UP. Either way – I am NOT A SHILL but I bit the bullet and joined weight watchers – I’d been trying to lose weight for a while, but it turned out I wasn’t eating enough. Which blew my mind. It’s not for everyone, but it seems to be working for me this time. So I think, that’s my only advice – you’d (might? maybe?) be surprised by how much you have to eat to lose weight, because I sure as hell was. Sometimes, eating is like work, and I love to eat, so I guess I love my job right now.

  21. As much as I have loved and drooled over your food blogs, I usually couldn’t replicate, because I too am a fattie.
    Two things though, which I’m sure you know.
    Olive oil.
    Essential fatty acids. Both are good for you, and as for the EFA’s, I sing their praises as helping with depression also.
    I know all of us fatties will be waiting for fabulous healthy low calorie smackdowns! Good luck, you have more people behind you than you know, girl!

  22. hi everyone, thanks for all the words of support! i was a little nervous posting this, so i really, really appreciate it – it means a lot to me. i wish i had the time right now to respond to each one of you instead of posting a generic “thank you!” but that’ll have to do for now.

    thank you!

  23. Like Liz, I’m a Spark People fan, too. AND I am a swearing cynic who rolled my eyes a lot at all the motivational crap. But you know what? The base concept worked for me and my somewhat OCD personality. I lost 50 lbs over a year or so, and I’ve managed to keep it off in the last year and a half.

    My two points of advice: look for support systems and remember that it won’t happen quickly. Did you gain the weight overnight? Nope. And you won’t lose it overnight, so don’t get discouraged. My best friend and I did it together, and it makes a hell of a difference to not feel alone.(My profile is linked here:

  24. rock. on. i just hit a big weight-loss goal this morning and it’s the best feeling in the world. Find what works for you, and makes you feel good and proud, and the pounds will melt off.

    i swear by big, filling breakfasts–lots of protein and whole grains. Keeps me full so i eat lunch later, then i’m not staaarving when i get home from work so i don’t over eat (not that i don’t still have half a block of cheese for dinner from time to time).

    i also swear by my spin instructor who is a REAL person and not a workout-crazed waif. her encouragement is the best motivation there is.

    congrats on taking this step! can’t wait to hear about your journey.

  25. LOL I feel ya, Sister! Been struggling my entire life. Quite literally since the day they popped me out of my tiny Korean mom’s body, I was overweight. I really don’t know how she carried me 9 months (I was a 10 lb-er!!). Oh, and believe me I have no misunderstanding that I too am FAT! I also know exactly why I get bigger and bigger. It really hasn’t been until recently as well that I really thought about it and why exactly I need to change. I have a friend who had gastric about 6 months ago. Yes, she looks fantastic and has shed down to 170-something (from about 275+ lbs). But here’s the sad part…She went to culinary school, so she knows how to cook! She can no longer enjoy any of it though. She doesn’t cook because she can’t even eat it. She eats something the size of an egg and she’s done. Too greasy has a bad effect on her. She’s lost that part of joy in life because of her surgery. Don’t get me wrong she did it for the bigger picture and she’s happy she did because she and her partner have a 21-month-old beautiful girl she can now run after. Her partner has lost weight as well and keeps dropping the lbs..she was nowhere near my her size but she had a realization moment as well.
    But I thought about it long and hard and know there’s no way in hell I can get that type of surgery done. And believe you me, the doctor has mentioned it. I love to cook too much and sharing it with friends and family is the best for me! I don’t know what I’d do if I lost that will and love to do that. Plus, I can’t give up my beautiful spicy, Korean food. I can’t give up my Southern roots and down-home cooking…What I can do, I CAN portion control and get my fat ass off my bed and exercise (which I think people would be surprised I actually enjoy doing..just not in public) It’s hard to hear statistics about fat people and know you’re in that group…
    I think it’s great you have decided to open up to us, your readers. Because you never know, you might be the spark that helps someone else decide to make a forever change in their life! Good luck to you, and remember you always have us if you need an ear…or cookies, just kidding!

  26. we’re behind you! (or, actually, above you)

    If there’s anything we can do to help, let us know. J used to be a personal trainer so if you want help with exercise form or strategy, he might be able to talk to you about it.

    Also have a wii fit you can borrow if you want to try it. I hate it, but it works for some people!

  27. you go, girl! right there with you in trying to lose some weight — it’s never fun but it seems to be a universal struggle (keeping a healthy balance, that is). i’m a huge fan of the Weight Watchers online plan (worked for me when I lost about 35 pounds 3 or 4 years ago, all of which I gained back in a stunning tour-de-force of eating in the 6 months after my wedding) — oh, and you might want to try subscribing to the Nutrition Action Healthletter — it really is about health, not calories, so is a great reinforcement every month. Here’s the website:

    Good luck! You can do it. Big hugs to you!

  28. Good for you. Just please please please don’t fall for the “eat less fat, less calories” thing. It’s wrong and it doesn’t work. Cut sugar and wheat completely and watch the pounds fall off. I swear.

  29. You’re awesome, Michelle. The thing about your blog is that no one would know because no one cares what you look like; we come back because you’re hilarious! Or at least that’s why I do. However, we do care that you’re healthy so you’ll keep writing. ;) Here are my words of encouragement: My mom weighed around 300 pounds and lost around half that just by changing her diet and exercising (walking mostly). She’s kept it off for ten years…and she still eats cheese! I wish you the best and lots of success!

  30. Good luck – and kudos to you for putting it out there.

    Remember not to beat yourself up for the bad days – but hold onto how the good days feel.

    And when in doubt – ask yourself how “future you” will feel about your choices… :P

  31. Good luck! Putting it out there to everyone is probably a pretty good motivator and so brave of you!

    We’ll all still be hear reading and loving your voice, whether you’re adding cream or figuring out how to work the recipe without it!

  32. You just went up like 100 cool points in my book… in your blog you seem like this totally confident, self assured person – which automatically makes me think 5’10”, 125lbs, and legs to her earlobes. I love you even more for having that kind of confidence and not being “perfect”!

    Weight wise – I’m about where you are. I’m excited to hear about the things you try and what works for you and what doesn’t. I know you’ll come up w/ some great recipes!

  33. I,too, am fat. And I’m sick of the not being healthy thing too – I have old lady aches for god’s sake! No more! You are so brave to put it out there and I will be brave with you and say it too. So, in Smackdown spirit, let’s kick the crap out of fat!

  34. I am freaking fat too! 194 and life sucks, super talented yet no perks either for anyone fat knows they are ignored if your a female. I lvoe this site more and more, you should be on tv. love you tons, keep it up. Healthy shit is good too.

  35. Michelle, just a little follow-up to my comment yesterday. Although I don’t have as large an audience as you (just my friends on Facebook), but you inspired me. I decided to take the plunge and announce my intentions to my friends. it won’t magically make 70 pounds of fat melt away, but it’ll damn sure make it harder to backslide! So, if you don;t mind too much, I’ll be joining you on this little journey.

  36. So, erm, if you discover any major secrets to losing weight while LOVING food and blogging about it, I hope you share. Hell, if you want to start a club (you know, fatty [no more] foodies, except without calling ourself foodies) let me know. :D

  37. Last year, my doctor said to me, “You’re fat, but you’re funny, which helps distract from it. You carry it pretty well.”


    I’ve been working on it. It’s a slow road. YOU CAN DO IT. And still eat totally amazing food. (And I do NOT mean that in a “diet food is so delicious” kind of bullshit way. I mean that I still eat the same food, just less often and in less-than-massive portions.)

  38. You are inspirational! My weight, BP, LDL, and blood sugar all need to be down! And my self esteem needs to be re-elevated; I’m tired of refusing social invitations because I am fat. Mind if I tag along on the journey?

  39. Michelle, no personal experience from this corner, but lots of support & good vibes for you. We can probably all use the healthy entries, and you will no doubt make them awesome enough to get us to make them (much as we would probably all prefer to just chew on some bacon).

    Good luck!!

  40. upstairs guy would be happy to help give you pointers/talk about goals/be nonjudgmental and positive whenever’s clever. u know were i live.

  41. Well, my wife’s weight starts with a 2 and ends with a 76 and she’s been “heavy” (I love all the euphemisms!) all her life.

    Funny thing is, though, she doesn’t eat vats of ice cream or endless pastries — she eats fruits, vegetables and normal stuff — definitely not fast food except for the occasional french fry — made by me.

    And I’m 5/9 and 165 pounds but I’m not exactly an angel — I drink at least six beers a day and love my BLTs.

    But it’s a big problem — she takes about 20 pills a day for various conditions — arthritis, diabetes etc. TWENTY PILLS, I kid you not. It’s debilitating . . . affects every aspect of our lives. But when I met her over the Internet two years ago and by email and phone conversations, we saw how compatible we were (no, no “Your pic gets mine” nonsense) I just told her “I don’t care what you look like. I love you already, sight unseen.”

    And I meant it. And I still do.

    Good luck, sweetie, all I can say is good luck. Wish us luck too.

    And keep right on blogging.


  42. Good for you!

    I had a minor health scare about a year ago. My doctor told me I had a mildly fatty liver. I didn’t drink hardly at all, it was just a result of my weight. I did some research and figured a month at the gym would potentially return things to normal. It did. I didn’t change what I ate so much, although I did try to eat less of it, but I just really upped my activity level: first walking and then running at the gym with some nautilus thrown in. I’ve only lost about 30 pounds since then, but I’ve put on a ton of muscle and every health metric is better. Blood pressure is lowest it’s ever been as an adult (and is a super good number). Cholesterol dropped 40 points in 4 months. Liver numbers are great (back to normal after the first mont). On and on. I still have about 50 pounds i’d like to lose, and this year with more running and biking, I’m hoping to do it.

    I’m totally confident you can turn things around for yourself. It just took that one day of being pissed off and feeling like my health was in jeopardy for me to turn it around, and you just hit your day. Rock on!

    By the way, I always imagined you as a super cute brunette from your posts. I’m glad to see I was right.

    – – Rob

  43. I’ve been lurking for a while – loved the Top Chef live blogs! Couldn’t resist subscribing as I wanted to send all the support in the world on this new journey of yours…

  44. I am fat, too, and not at all tall and leggy, but average height with stumpy little legs. I am also 32, as of 2 days ago and not ready to feel like an old lady.

    I lost a bunch of weight (Post break up depression FTW) a couple of years ago but it has found me, and I think, brought a few friends.

    I have medical condition which makes weight easy to gain and difficult to lose, but fuck it, I did it before and I will again. All of you have inspired me. I’m in!

  45. dude – I love your blog. It almost inspired one of my own but my mom and I never got our act together to buy a domain name and start it up. BEST of Luck in your endeavors to lose weight and get healthy. I’ve been grappling with some shitty depression and decided to join a gym to try and cheer myself up with exercise and endorphins. Hopefully it’ll work for us all!

  46. I want you to feel good and be happy, so if that means losing some weight, go for it, but fair warning that I roll my eyes nearly out of my head when people equate thin to healthy and fat to unhealthy. I know you already said you’re pro-HAES, so I’m not really directing this at you so much as people who will misguidedly fat-hate as a gesture of support.

    Anyway, I hope you have great success at it and feel better and buy some totally cute pants.

  47. i just found your blog today and i’m in love, in a girl-loves-girl-who-blogs-the-funniest-shit-ever kind of way. rock on with plan: be less fat. it’s not easy but i think you have the sanest approach. all the best!

  48. i dont know if this is a compliment to you or not, but its really, really reassuring to me that you are in fact not a perfect little blond. when there’s someone i look up to, as i do your writing, humor and culinary talent, i always assume they could look nothing like me. my weight doesnt start with a 1 either, but i hope it will someday [i just got a huge “YOU’RE GONNA DIE” talk from my psychiatrist… yeah, THAT makes me feel better]. good luck to you.

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  50. ALREADY!!?? How does it feel?? I went and bought the book the first day you posted this but haven’t started yet.. I’m impressed 21 already!!!!

  51. wow! that is amazing considering the food still looks so damned good! good for you! I applaud your progress… and am inspired!

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