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Friday, September 23, 2011

SL Letter of the Day: The Big Ask

Posted by Dan Savage on Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 10:29 AM

I'm a mess, and I don't ever feel as if love will find me. (I'm a guy, by the way, and hopefully anonymous).

I'm grossly overweight. I'm 6'7" and round in shape. I cannot lose weight, I haven't lost weight since I started putting it on as a stressed teenager during the business end of my school years, and I don't feel as if I ever will. I had thyroid imbalance tests last year and they came back negative—the reason I'm fat is apparently, well, because I'm fat. I've dieted and pushed for a better lifestyle, and always given up. I lose, get into a dark headspace over it, and wind up in my current position of total apathy. I KNOW I'm eating myself into an early grave.

I am convinced that I have a medical problem, but the better-placed experts tell me I haven't. I've got a older sister who loves me as much as I love her—she's my entire world—and I knowingly continue with the lifestyle I have (a LOT of video gaming, and a LOT of junk food) even knowing that it likely means I won't grow old with her. Me dropping dead from a frankly disgusting lifestyle would destroy her.

This has destroyed my confidence, and I have developed what I believe to be agoraphobia. I get stared at a lot when I'm out—I do have a day job—and all-too-regularly get abuse shouted at me from passing cars and by groups of kids because my proportions are just that cartoon-like. I hate myself, and I truly feel that if it wasn't for my sister, I'd have found a way out of it all by now. I look in a mirror and don't see the intelligent, good-natured guy that I used to see, I see a flabby parody, my personality overwhelmed by my physical repulsiveness. I see someone that I know nobody will ever love, because of the pure fact that you need a little physical attraction to someone for a spark to kick off, and I realise now that I will never achieve that with someone who isn't totally desperate or not manipulating me for their own gains.

Why am I complaining instead of doing something about it? Because I've tried to lose weight for years now, and I feel I've become too big for any sort of improvement to show. I have admitted defeat in a battle I'm having not against time like most are, but against myself and my own horrible addiction to being lazy and greedy.

Please Help Me

My response after the jump...

·······················

There may not be anything wrong with your thyroid, PHM, but there's very clearly something wrong.

Go back to your doctor—or better yet: go see a different doctor—and discuss the possibility of weight loss surgery. Most people who undergo weight loss surgery aren't struggling with wonky thyroids, PHM, but with psychological dependencies on food that they're not strong enough to break on their own. The surgery is risky and you would need to read up on all the dangers and side effects before making a decision, of course, but the surgery has worked for friends of mine. I also think you should start seeing a shrink. Not because your brain is any wonkier than your thyroid, PHM, but because you're going to need more assistance and support to climb out of the hole you're in than I can possibly provide for you in my column.

On the love-and-romance front: You don't have to achieve physical perfection before you can seek or find love. There are plenty of happily partnered larger folks out there. And there are people out there—men and women, gay and straight—who are genuinely attracted to larger guys. But it's impossible to have a successful relationship with someone who is so consumed by self-loathing that he dismisses in advance any expression of interest as evidence of desperation or manipulation on the other person's part.

Finally, PHM, I'm sorry that you're in so much pain. And I'm rooting for you.

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