Getting Fat In LA

Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com"> Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com
Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

So I moved to LA and got sort of fat.

This was not the plan. I had imagined LA to be the place where I went on daily hikes, drank cold-pressed juices and told strangers named Moonshadow that I was in a “really healthy place” but instead, I gained ten, fifteen, maybe twenty pounds. I don’t know the exact amount because I haven’t looked at a scale but I don’t need to. None of my clothes fit and I look pregnant 24/7. That’s all the proof Mama needs.

I gained weight the same way everyone does: By eating more junk food and never exercising. To be fair, I never exercised when I lived in New York but I took for granted all of the walking you do in the city. I could eat a bagel for breakfast and drink three cocktails at night and still work it off by walking forty blocks the next afternoon. The same isn’t true in LA. Nobody walks here. Not only because the city is so spread out but because LA is so ugly that no one should ever have to really to look at it unless you’re in a car and it’s whizzing past you like a smudged watercolor.

A month after I moved to LA, I got a job writing for one of my favorite television shows, which was surreal and spectacular. The way a writer’s room works is that you sit down for twelve hours a day, only moving to go to the bathroom or take a phone call. The kitchen is stocked with cookies and chips, the kind of shit you used to eat when you were younger and your body was a garbage disposal for food.

Cookies were constantly getting delivered to the office for no reason. Sometimes my boss would make elaborate desserts at home and bring them in to share. It was amazing slash my worst fucking nightmare. I ate everything that was offered to me and then I went back for seconds. Within a month, I noticed that my belly was expanding but I was just like, “LOL. What’s that? Bye!”

At home, I started drinking a lot of wine. Not in a dark alcoholic way, just in an “I’m new to LA so how does this work?” way. In New York, I’d only drink when I was out at the bars because, well, nothing worthwhile ever happened in your apartment but Los Angelenos are different. They’re all all about getting wasted low-key on your couch while watching TV with ten of your closest friends. So I adapted. Every Monday night, I’d drink a bottle of Kim Krawford Savvy Blanc and watch my favorite Bravo programs. Maybe I’d order a pizza. The next day I’d wake up and feel like someone ripped out the intestines in my stomach and then rearranged them like it was a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. I felt terrible. Worse, I felt completely unfuckable.

I’ve only kissed three boys since I moved to LA. One was a hot psycho who crashed my housewarming party and gave me River Phoenix vibes, one was some sad dude on Grindr, and the other was my masseuse at a high-end spa. (I did not ask for it. It just happened. I find it odd that I can’t get a date but at a spa, a man is willing to LOSE HIS JOB to hook up with me.) 90% of the reason why I’ve been mostly celibate is because I don’t want anyone to see me naked. I’ve never gained weight this quickly before. The best way to describe it is that it feels like I’m a foreigner in my own body.

People talk a lot about their bodies here. It’s big news whenever someone tries out a new diet or has a new exercise plan. When I started gaining weight, I wanted to keep it private, partly because I was embarrassed but also because it’s not interesting. Why would I ever talk to someone about my weight gain? What can they really do to help? I ate my way into this mess. I can (not) eat my way out.

Of course, as I try to change things, I feel more open discussing it. This past weekend I looked at myself naked in the mirror and decided I had enough. Well, that’s not totally true. I was frustrated and then I went to my grandmother’s house and she asked me, “Is your face swollen?”

“Uh, no, Grandma. It’s not.”

“Oh. Then you must be gaining weight.”

After hearing that, I wanted to steal my grandmother’s car and crash it into an In N Out burger. Later that night, when I got home, my friend messaged me on Facebook.

“OMG, I’ve had sex with four people this week!”

“What? That is so unlike you. How?”

“I cut out drinking for a month and lost ten pounds. Now I feel like a babe and I guess people agree?”

This was the last sign I needed to get my shit together. Before, I had felt powerless over my weight gain. Like it was something I was watching while disconnected from my body. But after talking to my friend, I realized, “No, fuckface. You can actually change the way you look.”

So that’s what I’m doing. I’m not drinking for a month. I’m following a diet that is so easy to follow and manageable. Four days in, I already feel better about myself. Better than I ever did after drinking a bottle of wine and eating a pizza. Well, sort of. I really want this to work though because the thought of spending the rest of my life worrying about my body makes me ill. TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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