Go Figure

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9781416924920: Go Figure

Ryan is not obsessing....

But she does want to lose weight. Ever since she was outted as a "fat girl" at chearleading camp in fifth grade, Ryan's been on a mission to shed more than a few pounds.

Lately she's also on the hunt for a new relationship. Now that her ex- boyfriend is a rock star - currently posing on the cover of Rolling Stone - Ryan seriously needs to move on. They haven't spoken in months, but in the magazine Noah's wearing the bracelet Ryan gave him. She can't wondering what that means...Not that she wants him back or anything.

No, Ryan's plan is to make the most of senior year. After all, she's popular, funny, a talented photographer...she's got a lot going for her. So it's not all about losing weight or gaining a boyfriend. It's about getting what she wants. And it's about time.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Prologue

I was ten years old when i stopped being skinny.

It didn't happen overnight, but it sure felt that way. As if one moment I was thin and happy and perfect, and the next I was getting picked last for kickball, shopping in the plus-size department, and hopping on the scale at Weight Watchers (they have a special program for teens).

I guess the weight crept on slowly, pound after pound, just like it always does. And I guess I had some choice in the matter -- I could have eaten carrot sticks instead of fries, a turkey sandwich in lieu of pizza. (But, really, is life without chocolate and pizza worth living? I think not!)

But the whole thing felt so sudden and, I must say, beyond my control.

It was at cheerleading camp that I was first outted as a fat girl.

Yes, cheerleading camp.

This should tell you that I didn't know my own girth. No self-respecting chubette would ever sign up for three months of herkies, somersaults, and human pyramids. Not to mention butt-cheek-length skirts and weekly weigh-ins. Ah, the weigh-ins. They were the bane of my existence, even before my thighs were packed with cellulite and my butt jiggled when I walked.

But it was not the scale that betrayed me.

It was Sadie (who, for all intents and purposes, might as well have been named Sadist). She was the first person ever to call me fat.

Sadie was a bubbly twenty-three-year-old who went to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville on a cheerleading scholarship. After failing to land a cheering job with any of the pro teams, Sadie moved to Atlanta and began teaching preteen gymnastics and cheering.

My mother signed me up for Sadie's day camp the summer before my sixth-grade year. Things were pretty bad in our family back then, and my mom was looking for a way to cheer me up (pun intended).

My brother, Mark, had been diagnosed with leukemia a few months earlier, and my whole family had more or less stopped functioning. I spent a lot of time by myself that year, eating Cheetos for dinner, watching TV to help me fall asleep, while my mom huddled next to Mark's bed at the hospital.

It was during that period that I got fat. I'm not blaming my brother's illness; I know it's not his fault. But if I had to draw out a timeline of when my body took a turn for the worse, Mark's cancer would be the point where it started.

The point where it blew up in my face was a Monday afternoon in July. We were practicing round-off back-handsprings when I took a big spill. I stood up, dusted myself off, and hobbled over to Sadie so she could examine my bum ankle.

But she was much more interested in my body as a whole.

"No wonder you fell. At this rate, you're not going to be able to do that move for much longer," Sadie said, pointing a finger at my stomach. "Your last weigh-in showed you at a hundred and twenty-eight pounds," she announced. Out loud. For everyone to hear.

There were audible gasps. We were fifth graders. There were girls on the squad who weighed less than seventy pounds.

"You're gettin' really fat, girlie. Really fat," Sadie said again, just in case anyone had missed it the first time. She squeezed my upper arm with her manicured fingers. "And it's affecting your tumbling in a big way. You'd better start watching what you eat, pronto. You don't want to grow up and look like Carnie Wilson."

I didn't even know who Carnie Wilson was, but when I looked her up on the Internet that night, I was horrified. This was a woman so gargantuan, the doctors had to seal off most of her stomach; so fat, she needed weight-loss surgery just to live.

Was this really where I was headed? Was I really that big? I was suddenly acutely aware of my body in a way I never had been before. I was aware that I didn't measure up.

Instead of getting motivated, I threw in the towel. I stopped caring. No one in my family was around. No one was watching. It just didn't seem to matter. And it was easier to enjoy a piece of chocolate cake right this minute than to eat apples and broccoli every day and night so that a year or two in the future my body would be slimmer. It felt like a lost cause.

Things started going downhill rapidly.

Now that Sadie had called me fat, the other girls started doing it too, and none of the coaches stopped them.

"Fat ass!"

"Whale!"

"Bubble butt!"

They'd squeal and make oink-oink noises when I ran down the mat in tumbling practice.

"Look at that piggy go!"

"Jiggle all the way!"

"I'm surprised she doesn't bust through the floorboards."

I quit soon after that.

Seven years -- and more than seventy pounds -- later, here I am.

Fat.

Really, and truly, fat.

I turned to photography after I left cheerleading behind. It was a natural fit for me. I like capturing life. And as long as I'm the one taking the pictures, I don't have to be in them. I don't like being in them.

My shrink would tell you I have intimacy issues.

I see Dr. Paige on Mondays. For a long time I thought this was her last name, but it's actually not. Her last name is Norris, but she insists on being called Dr. Paige. I guess she's trying to be sleek and hip, like Dr. Phil or something.

Dr. Paige is a psychologist and a psychiatrist. This is quite a unique achievement. She has a PhD and an MD. Which means she can both talk me into a stupor and ply me with pills.

It was my pediatrician, Dr. Gibbons, who first noticed I seemed stressed and anxious.

"Ryan's showing signs of depression," he told my mom, while I sat there, squirming around in his office chair. I hate when people discuss me like I'm not there. I also hate Dr. Gibbons's chairs, which are about as roomy and comfortable as your standard airplane seat. (I guess that's what I get for going to a pediatrician at sixteen.) "She's not sleeping, she's having trouble concentrating on her work, and she feels hopeless sometimes, like her life will never come together," he said. "Oh, and her eating's very disordered."

Great. There it was again. It seemed I couldn't go five minutes without my weight cropping up in the conversation.

"I think Ryan could really benefit from medication, cognitive therapy, or both." He suggested Zoloft, and my mother balked.

"Ryan's only sixteen! How can she need Zoloft at sixteen?"

"Depression is not an age-specific condition," Dr. Gibbons said. "It affects the young and the old. And it's quite common in adolescent girls." He recited some disturbing statistics about teenagers and mental health. Ten minutes later my mother was on the phone, booking an appointment for me with Dr. Paige.

"She's very good," Dr. Gibbons said, writing out a prescription for 50 mgs of Zoloft. As an afterthought, he gave me Klonopin, which is a smooth little antianxiety med. It's nice stuff. I could probably make a pretty penny selling it at school if I wanted to. But I don't. I'd rather take them. "I think you'll find Dr. Paige's treatment beneficial."

I didn't.

"Give it some time," Mom said.

It's been six months, and I still find the sessions grating.

Dr. Paige is young and perky and full of opinions. She didn't like the fact that Dr. Gibbons gave me Zoloft and Klonopin, though she agreed to keep me on them for the time being. She's a big fan of talk therapy, and her method of treatment involves role-playing games ("I'll be your mother, and you practice saying all the things you've been holding back") and homework assignments. She has a tear-off notepad that says Freudian Slips on the top and has her name stamped underneath that. Each week she writes down a goal for me to complete over the next seven days.

Sometimes they're silly: Eat an ice-cream sundae in public! Sometimes they're tedious: Draw an emotional timeline, showing how your weight has changed in relation to your feelings. But they usually involve food, my body, or some combination of the two.

I know how pathetic this probably sounds, but, rest assured, this is not a sad story. Oh, there are dark parts in it, to be sure.

But it's like my mother likes to say: It's always darkest before the dawn. I've never been a fan of that phrase. It's cheesy, clichéd. And I'm not much of an optimist, even on my best days. I'm cynical. Easily depressed. And I always think I have the world figured out. (A lot of the time it seems like I do.)

But every once in a while the world throws me a curveball, the kind of hit you never see coming.

I guess this was one of those things; he was one of those things.

Because I never could have seen him -- never could have seen any of this -- coming.

Copyright © 2007 by Johanna Edwards

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Ryan is not obsessing. But she does want to lose weight. Ever since she was outted as a fat girl at chearleading camp in fifth grade, Ryan s been on a mission to shed more than a few pounds. Lately she s also on the hunt for a new relationship. Now that her ex- boyfriend is a rock star - currently posing on the cover of Rolling Stone - Ryan seriously needs to move on. They haven t spoken in months, but in the magazine Noah s wearing the bracelet Ryan gave him. She can t wondering what that means.Not that she wants him back or anything. No, Ryan s plan is to make the most of senior year. After all, she s popular, funny, a talented photographer.she s got a lot going for her. So it s not all about losing weight or gaining a boyfriend. It s about getting what she wants. And it s about time. Bookseller Inventory # BZV9781416924920

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