Guest Post: Coming Out and Getting Healthy

I have another guest post for you guys!

This post is really close to my heart and it’s one that my friend Mac and I have been going back and forth about for a while. I normally only give guest posts a once-over and/ or a couple of editing suggestions, but this one mattered so much to me that I wanted Mac to perfect it.

The thing is, Mac has a wonderful writing style. He’s full of snark, very funny, and very honest. And I love that — but I also had to make the post not only grandma-friendly (hi, Grandma!) but also KWH-friendly. Mac has a way with words that shocks, so there were some things I had to ask him to edit. So, in all fairness, I want you to know that I did some editing of this post myself.

I tell you all of this because I really encourage you to go check his blog out, and specifically the first post he gave me over a month ago, which I asked him to try again. I just want to make sure you’re warned. I also ask that if you think that you might be easily triggered in any kind of eating disorder sort of way, you have a good sense of what you can handle and check it out with that in mind. That being said, he’s hilarious, I love his blog, and I want you to check it out. But, you know, do that after you read his post here. 🙂

When you’re in the closet for 21 years of your life, you have a lot of time to eat. Like, lots of time. And there are a lot of good cakes out there.

When I was younger, from about seven to fourteen, I was super athletic. During those years of my life I participated in all sorts of activities, from recreational baseball leagues to competitive gymnastics. I even won the Best in State All Around gold medal for my age group in Washington.

Yeah, I was pretty hard core. And I looked good in my leotard. Real good.

But then, as life went on, I quit gymnastics and stopped playing baseball. While all my friends, who were pudgy children, got healthier, leaner, and grew into their bodies, I reverted. I stopped exercising, stopped eating healthily, and all-around stopped caring about my physique.

Why? At the time I honestly wouldn’t have been able to give you an answer, but that’s the great thing about 20/20 hindsight.

It was also around this time (7th-8th grade) that my friends started having boyfriends and girlfriends. My first girlfriend was in 7th grade. I’ve always been small and younger-looking for my age, so lots of people mistook her for my babysitter, which was probably the most awkward thing ever. But as soon as my friends and I started dating, I started schlubbin’ it up. And from 7th grade until I graduated from college, I’d be an unhealthy, binge-drinking slob. (Okay, granted, I didn’t start drinking until high school, but you get the idea.)

But, once again, why? Short answer: GAY!!!! (dun dun dun!!)

Inside my Pillsbury Dough Boy of a body (in my stature, coloring, and actual doughy quality), I was quite the homosexual. But for some reason I decided I didn’t want anyone to know that, so I sat quietly in my closet and ate pizza, cakes, and French fries. Pretty much, if it was deep fried and/or covered in frosting, it was usually in my face.

Hey, here’s a tangent: a lot people ask me when I knew I was gay. Truth is, I have no idea when it was. No light bulb went off. No gay switch was flipped. I probably realized I was gay the same way you realized you were straight. Through puberty.

But what was I saying? Oh yeah. I was a hot, slobby mess. Here’s proof!

I wish I could say this was a Halloween party, and that I went as a Ninja Turtle.

Death by mozzarella sticks.

Oh, man. My now-out self is ashamed of my closeted past. What as I thinking?? I was never gonna get any action looking like that.

Aha! We’re onto something here. I don’t know if this goes for a lot of closet cases, but for me, looking like an Oompa Loompa’s ugly step-cousin was actually a defense mechanism, both psychologically and physically. It kept the ladies far, far away so I wouldn’t have to have those awkward physical encounters with them (some like to refer to it as “sexual intercourse” or “coitus” or “doing the nasty”). It also made me look and act more like a “dude.” Extrapolating the sloppy, gross college boy stereotype fed my denial about the whole situation, as did pretending to not like pop music or skinny jeans.

(Just to be perfectly clear: it was never my friends or family that were reinforcing the idea that heterosexuality was the correct sexual identity. It’s our culture in general: from homosexuality not being taught in sex ed. classes to not having many gay role models on television to using the word “gay” and “fag” as derogatory terms. In fact, there was no reason for me to hide it from anyone. For the most part, I was hiding it from myself.)

Then, sophomore year of college, I had my first man kiss. That was pretty much when the denial stage ended. Obviously this was something that I couldn’t avoid forever. I experimented some more, went off to Italy to study abroad, learned a lot about myself, then came back to live with college friend (whom I give a lot of credit for this next part) and her family for the summer in order to complete an internship. It was then that it hit me: I needed to come out, for frick sakes!

As I started coming out, I naturally started losing weight, as if I was taking off a disguise. I’d been playing dress up for twenty-one years, and I was finally taking the costume off piece by piece. It wasn’t simply saying the words out loud, but actually embracing the fact that I was gay rather than trying to hide it that helped me lose weight. I started making conscious decisions about what I ate, I started exercising, and I even started listening to pop music!

Happiness does play a huge factor in weight struggles and body issues. The happier I got, the healthier I became.

That makes it sound easy. I did do a lot of sweating. Lets speed this up with some bullets:

  • I graduated a semester early (the semester I came out) and moved away. This was an important time for me because I left my college friends behind for a few months and focused on getting my life on track.
  • I started exercising every day. Went on runs, danced in my room, push ups, sit ups, resistance training… you name it. Anything I could do that was free, I probably did it.
  • I stopped. Eating. Shit.
  • I stopped. Drinking. Shit.
  • I went to bed at reasonable times. I’m not sure how much sleep directly affects weight loss, but it definitely gave me a lot more energy during the day to get off the couch. Also, I didn’t have cable or internet. Physical activity was my only option.

All those things helped me lose weight. Another big motivation behind my transformation was dating! Before I used my body to scare people away, but now I wanted to attract people. I started an OKCupid online profile and used it as motivation to keep up my healthy regimen. I needed a hot profile pic! (Not one of those skanky half-naked ones, but at least one where I didn’t look like Chuckie Finster from Rugrats if he’d grown up to be a homeless drunk.)

And there you have it. Now, two years later, I’m happier and healthier than ever. I hit the gym almost every day (sometimes twice!), I keep a close eye on what I eat, I manage to imbibe only on the weekends (mostly… oh and holidays!), and I generally care about my appearance and emotional wellbeing.

I’ve got twenty-one years of me time that I have to catch up on.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Guest Post: Coming Out and Getting Healthy

  1. Mac

    Yay! Thanks for letting me do a guest post. Now it’s your turn! 🙂

  2. Fantastic guest post. Love your coming out story Mac and since I love non grandma appropriate writing I’m totes going to read the unedited version. Mozel tov on the weight loss!

  3. Mark

    wait… so it’s unhealthy to pass out with mozzarella sticks hanging of your mouth? Uh oh…. Kaitlin…. help me.

  4. Great post! I have a sibling that recently came out and it is helpful to understand his habits of the last 22 years as part of a defense mechanism.

  5. I love how you wrote about how as you came out, you started taking off the costume piece by piece. So glad you were able to embrace who you are. I’m still working on that.

    Totally LOLed at the Chuckie Finster reference.

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