Sunday, May 3, 2009

The 69 Pound Haircut

Top photo taken September, 2008 - Bottom Photo Taken May, 2009

If you stick to any diet long enough, you reach a certain point when people start to notice change.

Beyond those who were aware of my progress from the blog and facebook, I started to hear comments at the end of the first month.

They began as a trickle.

Acquaintances would pass me in the hall and do a double take. They noticed something, but they couldn’t quite put their finger on it.

They looked and stared for an extra second or two, and I could tell they were stumped.

Gently they would ask questions like “did you get a haircut?”

It’s interesting how people who casually know you broach the delicate topic of weight.

When dealing with biggies, the small among us really do everything possible to avoid calling attention to one’s girth. Unless you bring up the topic yourself, the conversation is generally considered taboo.

Now it doesn’t make a difference that you are a walking candidate for gastric bypass. Any conversation that involves your looks is literally and figuratively like pointing to the elephant in the room.

But when you have been on the diet teeter totter for your entire life, you come to realize that the haircut question is actually a sincere acknowledgement that people are noticing progress.

Believe me, “did you get a haircut?” is a helluva lot better than the questions you receive when you know you have been a very, very, very bad boy.

The flip side to “the haircut question” is when your friends ask whether you have “lost a few” in some pseudo reverse psychology voodoo mind trick to get you to look at yourself in the mirror.

This very different encounter normally occurs weeks into the binge that will not end when you can barely squeeze into your elastic waistband pants, your buttons are about to burst and you are about to visit the neighborhood Big & Tall because nothing seems to fit.

Yes, in my experience, the larger I would get, the more I would hear the question, “are you losing weight?”

Strange, right?

Make no mistake, I knew these inquiries were really just code for “get a grip, man.” Adults are just too polite to state the obvious. Unlike little children.

Toddlers have no button that helps them edit their etiquette. That’s why little kids are the fat guy’s sworn mortal enemy.

When you are big and you step onto a crowded elevator and see a strange 3-year-old holding mama’s hand, your blood pressure spikes and little beads of sweat start to form on your forehead.

You offer the child your most friendly smile in the hopes that the cute little shit can just hold it together and keep his trap shut for four more floors.

But every now and then you get haunted by junior who looks you dead in the eye and blurts out “mommy, that man is really fat.”

Kids are viciously cruel in the most innocent way.

When you consider what my fat brothers and sisters hear from strange kids and even their co-workers, is it any wonder that when you are living La Vida Gordo you can be very schizophrenic about your appearance.

You can pass a friend in the hall and be thinking “please don’t look at me, I’m feeling large today” while also simultaneously thinking “why haven’t you noticed how much weight I have lost.”

This constant “notice me,” “don’t notice me” can put you thru hell. It’s like you’re dieting with Sybil.

In recent weeks, the changes we have been working towards have become much more apparent to anyone who knows us.

Each member of the family has been showered with affection as friends, school mates, neighbors and colleagues see the remarkable difference in our weight.

Since the last time I blogged two weeks ago, I have dropped another 7 pounds and the grand total is now 69 pounds since January. Amy has lost another 5 pounds and she has now lost 46 pounds. The kids have dropped more than 30 pounds a piece. So at this point, you would have to be the least observant person in the world to miss the changes that have occurred in all of us.

For instance yesterday I took Lucas to get a haircut. The stylist couldn’t believe his eyes. He told me Lucas looks like a completely different person. And he also said that he believed he could see the change in my son’s outlook and confidence. I totally agree.

When we came home, I was treated to a fashion show. While I was out running errands with Lukey, Amy took Hannah to the mall to buy some new clothes.

She said she was in tears as my daughter easily slipped into jeans 4 sizes smaller than when we began this journey in January!

And Amy too receives as much wonderful support and encouragement from her friends as I do from mine.

She said that one of the school administrators was marveling over her miraculous transformation and she asked Amy if it was “OK” to talk about how far she had come.


God, when you work as hard as we have and begin to achieve your dreams, you want to scream it from the rooftops. Or, you just start a blog ☺

Of course each one of us is paralyzed with fear that we will gain our weight back.

But for now we have finally come full circle, haven’t we?

We are well beyond “did you get a haircut?” and we are now at the point where people mean it when they ask us if “we have lost a few.”

 Steve Elzer, 2009
All Rights Reserved


  1. Funny, I get the hair question or the you look different but can't put my finger on what it is... and I have often done a double take of friends who shave a beard, or change their hair color. Last year I had a ruptured colon and lost 20 pounds and so I began to wear clothes that fit me better than I did before. Now when people ask me if I lost weight and that I look different, I tell them that I am dressing better because I'm in a witness protection program... that usually elicits a laugh... There's a theory called the "spotlight" syndrome - where we believe the spotlight is always on us, when in reality, there is never a spotlight on you unless you are on stage. So when you have a gaffe, or look really amazing and you think everyone notices you - don't be surprised at your own Spotlight syndrome - that they don't. Those who do, are really observant or very close to you. Congrats to you and the family. With the new picture - you all look fabulous. - Joyce

  2. New show premieres today at 5pm on Lifetime.
    It's called "Cook Yourself Thin". Tivo it.
    It might add to your arsenal of healthy but delicious eating ideas that is easy to make.

    Keep up the good work, Elzers!