On Being Fat

Overweight and obesity are such a huge problems for so many people. Eat less, move more. Easy. Yeah right. Yes, there are success stories but they are few and far between. Oprah Winfrey has every resource there is, but she has fought a life long battle. The TV show, The Biggest Loser, they followed up with the contestants and what they found was very discouraging. The contestants had permanently damaged their metabolisms so their bodies were burning significantly fewer calories, and critical hormones were decreased making it impossible to maintain their weight loss without a very restricted diet and constant exercise. The article is HERE. I know people who have had gastric bypass surgery and lap bands, and almost all regained the weight they lost after the surgery and sometimes more.

Last year I resolved to stop obsessing about my weight and ease up a bit on my self imposed restrictions. What I had been doing wasn’t working and I was discouraged and tired of the fight.  I ate pizza and … gasp… pasta! Twice! I didn’t go nuts but I allowed myself a few things on the no no list which was fun, but for which I paid a price. I didn’t weigh myself for most of the year and I was quite unhappy when I finally got back on the scales.

I was always chubby, reaching 150 when I was 12. My mother’s favorite name for me was “you big fat lummux” (what is a lummux anyway??) I started dieting around 12 years old, and I continued off an on until I started having children.  I had four babies and three miscarriages between 27 and 36, and the weight crept up every year. Then I got on Weight Watchers and lost 50 pounds but it was a miserable year. I went to bed hungry every night, my hair fell out, and eventually people were telling me I didn’t look well.

Of course the weight crept back in the following years. I tried Atkins, going to the gym every morning, playing tennis 3-4 times/week, low carb,  you name it I tried it (short of starving) but nothing helped. I was vegetarian since my early 20’s and I don’t know if that had anything to do with anything. Then, I heard about HCG. It worked!! I lost about 90 pounds (and added meat to my diet as recommended). I was so thrilled. I did well afterward until the trip back to FL to help my husband and his mother in their move to Panama. I ate some bread and coffee cake in the airport, and my weight control immediately went out the window never to return. Since then, it seems no matter what I do, it keeps creeping up.

Recently, a friend introduced me to raw food and I found a lot of things I liked. These days, I’m eating mostly raw except maybe some home made turkey sausage or egg for breakfast, and dinner is usually a big salad, a vegetable, and a meat (usually chicken or pork). I don’t eat wheat, sugar, potatoes, pasta, processed food, or anything else I think is not good for me. I’m not hard core nuts or a difficult dinner guest, but I do my best to stick to a very healthy diet. And, you all know how much time I have spent on my bike. You would think I’d be in great shape but the most I can say is I am maintaining, but not losing. I’m sure the many years of dieting have done a lot of damage.

That is my story at the moment. I’m just treading water, not happy, but not unhappy enough to take drastic measures. My (slim and trim takes after her skinny dad) daughter said once – mom, why do you worry about your weight? You are able to do everything you want to do. She is right. I am strong, healthy, and active. My husband likes me. I have a good life. There is general opinion though that if a person is overweight it’s because they are simply lazy and eat too much, and it’s frustrating to be unable to manage something that should be so easy. But on the other hand, if there is a famine I’m likely to survive because my body is very efficient at maintaining with limited resources.

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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28 Responses to On Being Fat

  1. Patrice Ebel says:

    I think this weight obsession is something many of us females battle. Most men just don’t seem to get caught up with this. Can you even imagine a man asking, “Do these pants make my butt look fat?” lol Perhaps it’s all the ads we see with the perfect models who look like they’ve spent the last 6 mo in a diet concentration camp before the photo shoot. And, we think that’s how thin we should look. Whatever it is, your daughter’s advice is sound. You eat healthy and definitely are active
    so you will remain healthy. I still would like to be as thin as I was back in high school, not at all
    realistic, that was 50+ yrs ago. We just need to follow a healthy life style and accept who we are so we can relax and be comfortable in our skin.


    • Yes I agree, we women obsess a lot more but men aren’t immune. Unfortunately women are judged a lot more on their appearance so we worry more. Maybe I need to work on accepting and being comfortable in my skin. Wise thoughts, thank you.


  2. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t been on a scale for months…it feels good. My clothes speak volumes. One day at a time. Your daughter’s advice/wisdom is good. Thanks for sharing your story, Kris.


  3. jim and nena says:

    Hola Kris,
    Healthy and doing what you want is all that is important. There is only one person in the world you have to please, that is yourself. Nena and I have gained a few pounds since retirement 10 years ago. We get lazy, we don’t walk as much, we do way too much sitting. I picked up 10 pounds and decided that had to go. Since I can’t diet responsibly, I quit lunch and have supper at 3PM. A few weeks later, Nena and I both lost the 10 pounds we didn’t want. Still the same a year later. Nena is OK with only making meals twice a day. Whodathought?

    I remember one trip to Panama where we took my sis and we saw everything there was to be seen in Panama City. We were walking 5+ hours a day and in March temperatures of 90 degrees. Nena and I lost 7 pounds in those 2 weeks but my sis stayed the same weight? Later, she confessed to having a stash of candy in her luggage! LOL


  4. Kris, I admire you for your openness, your honesty, and your resilience. It is hard to put yourself out there in this angry world we live in today. But, you accomplished it with insight and integrity. Thanks for your post. Put yourself first, mi amiga. You are beautiful inside and out.


    • I figure whatever it is that makes us struggle, surely there are others going through a similar fight so why not put it out there. I have been very fortunate that whatever I write has been met with kindness and understanding.


  5. Dear dear Kris
    You will surely touch many people through this post… I’ve been lucky/blessed to be able to exorcise the extra weight by upping my exercise – especially by jogging/walking/jogging/walking – anything to kick my metabolism up a notch.. i also like hard work with a shovel/wheelbarrow, the poor man’s alternative to going to a gym! Drinking lots of guayusa tea over the past year seemed to give an unexpected bonus- I started losing weight, and my metabolism seemed more revved than norm… I had to start eating more because I was getting too thin! I did some research and found that it is indeed connected with weight loss, and it’s a healthy choice!

    When I read your post, the first thing I thought of, however, was this TedTalk.. it took a whie to find it, but it’s one that has stuck with me since I first saw it…. He gives a very humble and sobering talk:

    Thank you for sharing this. You are a dear and very special person!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the TED talk! You are right, it’s excellent. I have heard about insulin resistance and think it’s also a problem with me, though cutting out sugar and refined carbs hasn’t done anything for me. I’m glad there are people like that excellent, caring doctor who are working on the problem that affects so many of us.
      Guayusa tea huh? I’ll have to look that up.
      Thank for taking the time to comment and share the video. I’m glad this is one battle you don’t have to fight.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Kris, and i have ‘height’ on my side. My friends that are not as tall as I struggle more often, as even a few days of ‘vacation’ eating/drinking will add weight fast. I have more time to adjust and alter/offset the penalties, but if I don’t, it kicks in fast as well. I found that cutting back alone did not work. Walking long hours did not work, but just bumping up the walk to short sprints – enough to get the system pumping – was all I needed to up the metabolism.

        The doc’s TedTalk makes me cry every time I watch it, and I wish every person working in the medical fields could see it as well.

        Yes, guayusa is in the ilex family and has been used forEVER by the Indigenous of Ecuador’s Amazon. Higher in caffeine than tea, not quite as much as coffee, it has other ingredients that offset the coffee jitters, so someone like me – highly sensitive to the coffee jitters, can drink the ‘aguita’ without having shaking hands. that’s important if i am painting!

        I make a big pot, sweetened with dried stevia leaves bought at market, and the next day drinik it w/lemon or use it for blended drinks, etc…

        The fresh dried leaves are available here, but you should be able to find it in the better supermarkets in the tea sections.

        Horchata teas iin that section are also nice.. theyre a blend of many dried herbs and flowers, and the aroma of that pot of flowers as is brews is lovely!

        Goodluck finding the guayusa! There are two companies that are exporting it on a larger scale. I’ll try to find that info for you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • People in the medical field… yes. I was lectured as a child and it still pains me to this day. And of course there have been many more since, even a little skinny Panamanian doctor we went to for a certificate of health who obviously never walked in a fat person’s shoes.


          • Si, even though I am tall and basically lean, I returned from the coast a bit ‘well fed.’ My neighbor, who is my age exclaimed, ‘Lisa! Gordita!’ and she started laughing….

            We’ve been reared in a culture where ‘gordita’ is not something to boast about…

            Please pour me another guayusa!


      • http://runa.org/guayusa/ this was what i think was the original company, and i like its no-nonsense one-color (green on natural) packaging.

        an article from nat. geographic:

        and this is a new one for me. wow, drink more guayusa!

        if i drink too much in the morning w/o food, i feel a bit sick… sort of like if i swallow a multi-vitamin w/o food..


  6. Alan Marshall says:

    Kris kudos to you for writing such a “ballsy” personal story. You go girl…!


    • Thank you! It’s not all that ballsy though, really. I helps me to write, and what I write is met with such kindness and understanding. We all have our battles and I figure whatever I’m up against, there are many others also fighting so it helps all of us to put it out there.


  7. Pingback: The World is Full of Good People | The Panama Adventure

  8. ME BE in Panama says:

    Amiga, I can empathize only to the extent of being in the exact opposite shoes of contempt from others. After my liquid year I was 30 pounds lighter than you now know me as. Needless to say you can just imagine the comments along with their “helpful solutions” of a problem they had no understanding of. That was when my eyes opened to the realization that I can never know what is occurring in another’s journey. Namasté, Mariah


    • Wow, bet you were very thin. My first husband was also skin and bones thin and couldn’t gain weight no matter what he did. No, you can never know what’s going on with another, sometimes not even with people you know well. A Buddhist thing – don’t give help unless it is requested. Offer love and support instead. I like that a lot.


  9. Sunni Morris says:


    I think it’s wonderful that you would share this personal story too. I know there are many people who face weight issues, so I’m sure this will help others. Fortunately I don’t have that problem now, but I did back in the 80’s. I brisked walked off 35 pounds in 3 months. I also made a commitment to eat way less. I’ve never gained that weight back. Yes I was hungry at first because I had to get used to something totally different. Today I only eat two meals a day. Breakfast is a protein shake and oatmeal with raisins and fresh fruit. I skip lunch and dinner is usually a big green salad with lots of fresh veggies. Sometimes I add a piece of chicken just so I can get some protein.

    If I’m feeling hungry at lunch I’ll have rice cakes with peanut butter and a few grapes. But I really limit this. I use two pound weights to exercise daily in the morning and walk as much as I can. The weight seems to stay away if I’m sensible about food and stay active physically. I also stay away from sugar and sweets.

    But your daughter also has some good advice. And if you’re happy and healthy that’s the most important thing, although I believe we all still need to be conscious of what we’re eating and make adjustments if the weight creeps up because the older we get the harder it is to lose. And the heavier we are the more problems we’re likely to have as we get older.

    I enjoy your blog a lot. I hope 2017 is a great year.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. camilojqm says:

    An Oatmeal Breakfast with raisins and some fresh fruit. Skip Lunch and have a Healthy Salad at night seems like a wonderful diet ! What does a Protein Shake consist of ?????


    • Sunni Morris says:


      A protein shake is from a plant based protein powder along with mixed berries, water and ice and is whipped up in a blender. The product is from Orgain and can be ordered over the internet. The protein power comes in chocolate or vanilla with greens (spinach, kale and broccoli). It’s filling and delicious. It’s soy and dairy free and organic. The container is a large one and contains a scoop. We use one scoop per blender for a smoothie. You can out in the fruit of your choice. It doesn’t have to be berries. It could be mangoes or peaches or apples or whatever you like. This keeps you full. My husband lost 30 pounds doing this and 2 pants sizes. Of course this was over a few months time.

      I hope I’ve helped you.



        Thank you Sunni – It sounds wonderful. I will try it ,and hope it works as well. Camilo


  11. Thanks for sharing! I know even after the gastric bypass I struggle every single day with my weight. It is the hardest thing I have to do every day…make that decision to make good decisions.


    • I’m interested to hear more about your journey too, and hope you will write more blog posts.
      You would think after surgery and “the cure” it wouldn’t still be a constant struggle. But after watching friends go through it and then regain all the weight, I understand that it is. Best of luck in your continuing success, and thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂


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