Forty In Four By Forty

This Thursday is June 30th. In four months I’ll be forty years old. I’m forty pounds overweight.

I’ve always been tubby- or rather, I’ve always felt that way. I remember being seven and a neighbour kid’s mother telling me I was getting thick around the middle and I’d better be careful or I’d be a fat for the rest of my life. Those may not have been her exact words, but that’s what I heard. It didn’t help that her kid was skinny as a sheet of paper, so I had that to compare myself to, as well.

Looking back, I wasn’t fat. But one’s idea of oneself is more powerful than one’s reality. And so the trajectory was set.  That experience fueled my problematic notion that if I’m not immediately good at something then it’s better to invent reasons not to do it. An example: I say, when faced with a hamburger and judgemental company, “I’d rather be tubby than fret about what I can eat.” This because I’m not immediately good at exercising. This served me perfectly until I went for a physical and the doctor described me thusly: “Obese.”

Uh… yikes.

That was a year ago, and I have I done more or less fuck-all about it. And that’s a problem.

Compounding the issue is: I’m an actor. I have around 70 film and television credits, with theatre and commercial roles on top of that. But lately my weight is limiting me. As actors age, they move through different categories. When I was 30 I was ‘goofy fat friend.’ When I was 35 I was ‘threatening and/or goofy fat delivery guy.’ And as I approach 40 I’m pretty much ‘fat serial killer’, for which there is not as much demand. As a fat fellow, I’ll go one of two ways:

1. The jolly fatso route, wherein you remain childlike and approachable. This requires innocence in the eyes which I personally don’t have.

2. The fat serial killer route, wherein you almost never work.

I’m on road number 2, and unless I lose weight, I’ll remain there, and the work will dry up.

It all reached a head for me when my favourite pants burst a zipper.

They were my dress pants. They were the only ones I owned that fit me right. I was prepared to live in denial about my other pants; to pretend that they all fit me fine and that I merely chose my dress pants daily, despite the faint stale stench pants get when you use them for weeks without washing them. I wish there was a drama to the story of the busting zipper, but it goes like this: I was walking and zipper came apart. The stresses placed upon it were simply too great.

So I had to face the reality of my other pants. None fit. I now dread getting dressed.  My pyjamas go on earlier and stay on later. I can see my future: I will soon be that weirdo in his pj’s at the supermarket complaining to the cashiers that they ought to have pockets. How else can I carry a cel phone, a wallet and a bag of groceries?

I am not wealthy enough to be called “eccentric.”

So here’s the plan. Starting Thursday:

-I will attempt various diets/routines/trainers/facilities, 5 days a week.
– I will use a basic diet and exercise program I made up myself.
– I (and you) will revel in my emotional condition as I shed baggage and blubber.

Meantime, I’m eating junk food like it’s going out of style…. Because it is.



About peternew
I'm fat. And it's high time I stop it. I'm an award winning comedy writer, and an actor with 70 film and tv credits and counting. I am currently writing a book of children's poetry, and producing a sketch comedy webseries called "The Legend of Bonefish" which can be seen there on the YouTubes. You can keep up with all this and more by liking my Facebook page. For enquiries contact: Jen Johnston of Red Talent Management, Vancouver

7 Responses to Forty In Four By Forty

  1. I have some bad news for you: I lost 40 pounds and am still in my track pants at all times! My wife is continually saying, “No! Those are in the house pants!” Godspeed and good luck to you, my friend. Take care of yourself.

    • Arianna McGregor says:

      Morgan, are those the pink track pants? Because I approve. Those are certainly outside pants.

  2. Raphael Kepinski says:

    Hey Peter great post; As someone who’s been around gyms for quite a while I’m going to offer some unsolicited advice to make myself feel superior and smart.

    1. Start Slow and have goals; instead of working out 5 days a week start with 2 with the goal of moving up to 3 in 3 weeks and 5 in 3 months.
    2. Have Consistent day a week as an “off” day (eg. Sunday) where you can eat and do whatever the fuck you like.

    There; mission accomplished; I feel superior and smart. Best of luck.

  3. madebymeghan says:

    I am with you Peter… I still need to take of at least another 15lbs (I’ve managed to lose 15 since January 1st) but sitting around attached to the computer all day certainly doesn’t help!! And I refuse to only exist on carrots (what kind of life is that??)

  4. Sam Dulmage says:

    I love you at any size, old friend. But you do seem healthier and happier in your waning phases than your waxing. And “more employed” tends to feed into healthy and happy.

    Oddly, I find that big changes are easier to make than small ones. Like, it’s much easier for me to have no liquor at all, or no coffee, than it is to simply have *less*. I think for me the key has been that setting hard boundaries actually requires less thought; that I can gently disengage from the idea of a drink or a cigarette or a cup of coffee and simply think about something else.

  5. djangman says:

    Running. Get some good shoes and run. Your body will try to convince you that you need to give up – push on. And as far out from reality as Biggest Loser is – when the people can actually start to run – that’s when the weight comes off.

  6. This sounds intense, and about a lot more than just weight. Thank you for sharing; I love the way you write.
    And hey, you still ROCK a toga. (Which also doesn’t have pockets, but hey. As grocery-store-wear goes, I’m hard pressed to come up with anything more appropriate to wear when hitting the checkstand at 3AM with a six-pack of Vaseline and a spatula.)

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