Fat and Happy.
I spent a lot of years convincing myself that I was different than the typical morbidly obese person. Making passionate arguments that I was the exception to all the rules of why being so overweight was a bad thing. If I could convince myself of these convictions then I could surely make others believe that being fat and happy would trump the reality of what was really happening to me.
I was a genius at litigating my case, with passionate fury I would preach the gospel of my own delusions. In my mind I was “healthy” because I didn’t have high blood pressure or cholesterol no signs of diabetes or heart problems, and the enormity of my daily caloric intake made up of unhealthy, out of control portions had NOTHING to do with my weight according to my own self diagnosis. I was a tall, big boned, genetic, (must be something wrong with my thyroid) walking, talking miracle. Strong and fierce waddling powerful through the world and if people did not like me because of my weight well fuck them, because they are shallow and I would not want them in my life anyway became my mantra. If I am unabashedly honest, I have become the “shallow” one. The people close to me, the ones I spend most of my time with these days, the people I choose to surround myself with are not those who have a toxic relationship with food or a love affair with being sedentary. It sounds so awful to write, but it is the truth.
So young and naive I wholeheartedly bought into my own carefully scripted infomercials of endless sarcastic babble. It was self preservation, I had nothing else because inside I was miserable. I did not believe there was hope for being any different than what I had become, and what I had become was a sad prisoner of my own existence. There is no doubt at 600+ pounds I was in a free fall, death being the probable outcome waiting for me at the bottom of that descent. To be totally honest 500lbs didn’t feel much different than 600lbs, then when I reached 400lbs I became “comfortable” or so I told myself, and for many years lived at that weight feeling like I had somehow “won” the battle of the bulge. Still unable to see the destruction I was doing to my body I was STILL a proud card carrying member to the church of “I am a fit and healthy obese person”, I was my own biggest fan.
Maybe it comes with age, or knowledge and accepting the truth without any excuses but I am not happy being fat. Currently weighing 292lbs, I am still “fat” and I am still medically considered obese. I could tell you that I am “healthy” because at my last physical I exceeded the optimal levels for blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and on and on. I work out regularly, I run a bit, I practice yoga, I eat very little sugar, red meat or fried foods and avoid processed, chemically laden crap. These days I am a lot healthier than I have ever been, but I am in no way fit and because of my weight I am still doing damage to my body. I push forward, I move ahead, and I accept all myself for who I am in the moment it’s really all we can do, but I am also wide-eyed to the reality of what is and what I wish for. Nothing can change through the eyes of smoke screened trickery.
There was an article I recently read written by a woman who was well over 300lbs who changed her life, lost over half her body weight and worked hard at becoming fit and healthy and a fitness instructor. The piece she wrote was about the things she missed being obese and that perspective is a bit of a unique one, and that is her experience and her journey but it’s not like she is gaining her weight back so clearly the things she misses are not worth going backward for. I think some could misinterpret the article and use it to preach the gospel of complacency to avoid the harsh reality that being obese is in no way healthy. The strength of your legs from carrying around an excessive amount of weight is not being fit it’s destructive and the damage it causes is devastating. I am all to aware of the damage I have done to my 42 year old body, the scars remain for a lifetime, as I was reminded of in the past few weeks.
About 5 years ago I tore my meniscus, I did not have surgery but physical therapy and meds helped it to heal but I was told the knee would always be at a risk to be re-injured, especially carrying around so much extra weight ( I was probably 420lbs at the time). My knees and back have felt better than they ever have in recent months, I had been training hard for the half marathon coming up in May, I was up to walking about 8 miles and one Sunday a few weeks ago I decided to try to run a bit of it. My knee had enough and something went wrong, I tried to rest it, went to see my doctor and when ice and anti-inflammatory meds did not help I had to back out of the Knoxville race that was this past weekend. I have an appointment to see another doctor next week and talk about the reality of being able to do the Flying Pig half in May.
Now lots of people have knee problems, lots of skinny, totally fit people have knee problems but to think that way is kind of avoiding my reality, so even with my “strong” legs that I used to think were so invincible, the years of carrying so much weight have come back to haunt me. Of course I had a giant meltdown about it all, but some very wise people have made me realize that to push forward and risk blowing out my knee is not worth it for one race, so if the news is that I can’t run the half, then I will do what I need to do in order to try again next year cause I am a lot of things but a quitter is not on that list. More about that when I have news from the doc.
“I demolish my bridges behind me…then there is no choice but to move forward”
― Fridtjof Nansen
My writing has been a bit non-existent lately but my life is in full gear, work is insane as opera season is about to be in full swing, and I have a dear friends wedding I am in coming up in under two weeks! I ordered my dress 2 sizes smaller than when I was measured in November so we will see what happens at my final fitting, and looking forward to sharing that experience with you! I am hopeful and moving right along with one wonky knee, come hell or high water. A big thank you to the folks that sent me notes saying they were missing the blog posts. I am going to try my best to post more often, thank you for the nudge!