That's the rhyme my sisters and I used to sing to each other as we dished up a second gigantic helping of ice cream for ourselves. We were kidding of course, none of us even knew what BMI was at the time, but the rhyme was crude and funny and we thought it was fitting.
And no I won't type out the rhyme here. Google it yourself and then don't be mad. I told you so.
But it's always what springs to mind when I can't button a pair of pants, or God forbid, wear a pair of last year's panty hose (somehow that smarts even worse).
"Fatty fatty two by four..."
I'll never forget the day (over twelve years ago now) when I was at a friend's house. She had a little girl, no older than three, and the little girl was adorable. She was running around the house showing me her Halloween costume (there were butterfly wings involved), and then she stopped, pinched her little chicken bone leg and said, "I'm fat."
Her mom was coincidentally on a very visible, loud, and complain-worthy diet at the time. The week before she'd tried on bathing suits with me, her daughter in tow, and stood in the three way mirror, appalled.
"When did I get so fat? I've got to lose some weight."
In fact, I'd said similar things about myself as I tried on two pieces. We said all of these things within earshot of that tiny three year old, who still wore butterfly wings for fun, and who was digesting every word we said.
I've heard similar things in the years since. Small girls. Tiny girls. Young girls. All pinching at skin and saying, "I'm fat."
I made a vow when I found out I was having a daughter that I would never say "I'm fat" in front of her. I would not talk about my weight. I wouldn't bemoan, or pinch my leg fat, or obsess visibly over the cellulite on the back of my legs. OK fine. There's cellulite on the fronts of my legs too but let's not open up THAT wound.
But up until my pregnancy I'd never known what real weight problems were. I'd never really had a good reason to diet, or obsess, or complain.
Six months ago I stepped on the scale and nearly passed out.
It was more than I'd ever weighed in my entire life.
It was more than I'd ever imagined weighing in my entire life.
So I started making changes.
Matt and I changed the way we eat.
I started exercising for an hour, five days a week.
So far I've lost almost 20 pounds.
It's coming off slowly, but surely. I feel better than I have in months.
But none of that is really the point of this post. The point is, I did it all without discussing it. I didn't talk about what I weighed every week. I didn't count my calories out loud at the dinner table. I didn't do any of that because I have a very verbal two year old daughter. I didn't talk about it because I never want her to pinch her little baby leg and say those dreaded words.
Yesterday I went to the gym on my lunch break. I put in my headphones, grabbed my 2.5 pound arm weights, and started walking. Yes. I'm that woman. I'm the woman who power walks with arm weights. There was a cheer leading competition going on in the gym floor below (I walk in a second story indoor track). A group of cheerleaders walked ahead of me on the track, checking out the lay of the land. They were tiny, and bouncy, and had big ribbons in their pony tails.
And yes, I totally mentally made fun of their ribbons but that is neither here or there.
They looked back at me, and turned to each other and giggled. Then they started pretend power walking.
Now, pre-Paxil I might have hurled one of my 2.5 pound arm weights at their heads. Let's face it. They might be young and skinny, but they are no match for a 30-something woman's premenstrual rage.
But luckily, I'm post-Paxil. So I smirked and kept power walking, just to spite them.
They eventually exited by the elevator, and just before they walked (bounced) out of sight, I heard one of them say, "But seriously you guys. I probably need to start working out more. I'm getting fat."
"Fatty fatty two by four..."
It's the rhyme, or a version of the rhyme, that we tell ourselves from a very young age.
I know Jane will probably do the same.
But I take comfort in the fact that I won't teach it to her.
I hope she sees me healthy.
I hope she sees me eating the right foods.
I hope she sees me leading by example.
Because I never want her to hear me utter the words, "I'm fat..."