This blog post is to educate you a little about what it’s like to be ridiculously fat, and how life seems to change when you’re….less ridiculously fat.
I decided to write this because I’ve noticed a lot over the last month that lots of people are looking me in the eye and smiling. It’s off-putting for me. To most of you, this might sound strange. I want you to picture going out, anywhere, and imagine that at all given times, no one makes eye contact with you. This doesn’t count your one-on-one meetings with your boss at work, I’m talking about going out shoe shopping, grocery shopping, going to the gym. Imagine a life where no one makes eye contact with you.
How does one flirt across a bar? Say hi to people? Welcome new people into your life?
I want you to know that for many of us, when we hit a certain number on the scale, that as large and as impossible as we are to miss, we become invisible to the eyes of the public. Over many years, this isolates you. I strongly feel like many people I work with in the IT field are on the spectrum somewhere for autism – but to augment that, I want you to have a healthy dose of being isolated for decades.
The last month, I’m noticed more and more people making eye contact with me. No, not in the “I want to seduce you” kinda sorta thing, but just people being friendly. It’s odd. It’s strange. It’s something I haven’t had in many, many years and I’m stuck essentially with the head-nod acknowledgement and an awkward smile.
That’s the start of my “new life”.
Now, I’m hovering just over 300 these days, maybe by 10-12 pounds. My top weight last summer hit 372. You see this 300 number and it’s a magical number of disgust. A number as popular as the Mendoza line in baseball. I get it. However, short of NFL linemen, I would suggest for my age/height/weight that I might be one of the fittest around in this condition. Not a title I wish to hold forever, but an attestation of my commitment to fitness and healthy living, despite carrying weight.
Some other things I need to let you in on….
- Yard work. I have mostly avoided yard work by hiring people to cut the grass, living in houses with no lawns, and owning a condo where there was no yard. The other day it was 92 degrees here and I cut the grass. After I was done playing around in the yard for 40 minutes in the hot sun, I noticed a bit of sweat on my leg. I sort of chuckled to myself that it was only at that moment I realized it was 92 degrees, that the heat didn’t phase me in any way, shape, or form. I am drinking a LOT of water these days, and you’d think this would have me a sweaty mess. Quite the opposite. I had zero problems with the heat. This might be the first time as an adult in 90 degree temperatures that I actually enjoyed being outdoors. It was relatively high humidity as well, it was just something that didn’t bother me.
- Belts and pants. What’s interesting about the last 8-9 months of healthy living is while the weight loss has been tremendous, my body shape has been improved better than I can remember. Let me explain something. As a heavier guy, you tend to hoard clothing of many sizes. You have your “normal” clothes that you wear every day, and then your “skinny clothing” of the weight you wanted to get back to (as a start). My “skinny clothing” are for my weight around 295. I held this weight for about 4 years…not going up or down more than a pound in those 4 years, despite what I was eating. Extreme stress in my life is what caused the spiraling out of control from this weight, despite not really changing my food that much. Anyhow, I’m about 15-17 pounds on any given day now heavier than what I weighed in my “skinny clothing”, but everything I own in that realm falls off of me. Literally. My belts tightened to the last hole, pants on…I can wiggle it all right off. But I’m 15-17 pounds heavier than I was when those clothing fit “normal”. Essentially, I have put on a LOT of muscle and water over the last 8-9 months, but I have taken off a LOTTTTT of fat. This has now had me having to punch holes in my belts and wearing my tightest jeans now are like wearing a giant burlap sack with a rope loosely tied around your waist to keep it up. With summer arriving fast here, I’m going to only get a few pair of shorts for the summer and reload with smaller clothing in the fall.
- Exercise!! Now that it’s hot out here, I can’t wait to get out and walk the dog, ride my bike, etc. I have my first softball game in 4 years on Monday. Last time I played in this league, I was 50 pounds heavier and every game I felt like I hurt something. Now I’m looking forward to being able to move around a lot better!! I feel like this summer might prove to melt some weight off of me with all of the activity planned!
- Shoes. This might sound silly, but you have no concept of how hard it is to even tie your shoes at 372 pounds. It’s a production. Now, it’s a breeze because I removed a refrigerator from my stomach area and bending down is simple, as is bringing my leg up to put my shoe on.
- Events/travel. Let me also explain, when you hit a certain size/weight, you also avoid doing anything “out and about”. For example, I went to a minor league baseball game a few years ago and barely fit in the seat. I felt embarrassed. For myself, for people with me. Humiliation at its finest. So you stop scheduling these sorts of things. You don’t want to fly anywhere because you realize the dread in someone’s eyes when you have to sit next to them, then the damn seat belt won’t fit…and they keep making seats smaller and smaller, so now you are wedged into something for 2-5 hours and you might be cutting off circulation. So I’m looking forward to actually doing some things this fall!
Overall, I just feel like I got my life back. And I’m about a third to the way to my goal weight. Let the good times roll!!