I am beginning the year, this beautiful New Year filled with possibilities at a body weight of 380 pounds.
I am two, count them, two reasonably sized guys. Three small ones. I am a crowd, enough for a party, or at the very least an interesting game of monopoly.
This is not the heaviest I have ever been. No my good reader, I once topped out at nearly 500 pounds but that was long ago and for a very different reason. So at one point, I was a girls’ volleyball team.
But now, here, today, I am 47 years old, I will be 48 in July and I am 380 pounds, which by almost anybody’s statistics means that my time on this planet is extremely limited.
I can tell you all sorts of things that on their surface makes it not as bad as it seems. For instance, my usual blood pressure is 110 over 70. I am very active for a fat guy. I am capable of fending for myself, taking care of my family, I can escape the house in case of a fire and if the fight doesn’t go on too long, I can beat your ass in rather brutal fashion.
I can touch my toes, I just can’t see them if I am standing upright.
I am not subject to depression eating or stress eating, not even of boredom eating, but I eat bad things, things that are incomplete nutritionally and I do not move around nearly enough, which in combination has led me to being here, writing to you from a very large, slightly bowed computer chair, telling you how I feel.
I hurt. Emotionally and physically I hurt. Each day, I begin the day trying to get my body, which has seen its share (and possibly someone else’s) share of trauma to work correctly. I often tell Gypsy early in the morning that my body feels like it has been assembled by a group of drunk dyslexic kids with poorly written instructions.
My feet hurt. All the time. I do not currently have good walking shoes as money has been an issue recently, but standing for long periods of time hurts them because of the weight I am carrying.
I have a couple of pounds of steel in my left leg, the reminder of a car accident that nearly took me out for the long dark ride. My leg aches, I mean throbbing, toothache kind of aches at the end of a long day. I don’t complain, I have done this to myself.
My lower back hurts, it hurts when I sit, it hurts when I stand or walk, it was not built to carry this burden.
In general, I ache more than I thrive and that too is shortening my life.
I cannot climb a set of stairs without feeling exhausted at the top of them and I balk at some activities because I feel incapable and I cannot fit in the rides at most amusement parks.
I cannot find nice clothes on a budget. I do not even own a suit. A man should own a suit, especially when you are burying your friends, and in 2016, I buried a lot of friends.
You should not have to feel self-conscious at your friend’s funeral because you can’t wear a proper suit.
I do not feel attractive.
I have some nice features.
I am charming.
I am an amazing storyteller.
I am funny.
I see magic in the everyday.
I can be very uplifting and supportive to others.
And, I am learning to be kind, tolerant and compassionate.
I am also a phenomenal cook, which in its own way is a big part of the problem.
But I feel wretched, I feel hideous and I feel like a slob most of the time and feel ashamed to be seen in beautiful places on the arm of my beautiful Lady because I feel like she deserves better.
The arguments will come, loudly from those who love me, they will say that I am fine, just the way I am, but they know and I know that I am not fine and if I do not do something about this in the immediate future that it is not going to matter for very much longer.
A year ago, even a few months ago, I would have NEVER allowed you to see this picture, none of you, that is how important that I think this is and how desperate I am to change my life!
Fat guys, unless they’re Santa Claus don’t live very long.
Gypsy and I are both overweight and both sick to death of it and over Christmas, without planning to, she dropped a challenge in my lap. But it wasn’t just my lap, it went out to her brother, her son and I. She said, “What if we set a challenge to all lose 50 pounds next year.”
It was very quiet at the table for a second, maybe five, then one after another we all began to nod. Just that quickly it was settled and it has grown to include her sister and one of her cousins.
Now her sister isn’t looking to lose 50 pounds, but to tone up and feel more fit, but the rest of us have committed to this and we have established a text message group to support each other.
This may be the greatest physical challenge that I have ever faced. I once learned to walk again after spending two years in a wheelchair. I have earned four black belts. I have climbed mountains, swum rivers and camped rough in a variety of locations, but I was younger, I was more sure of myself, I was better off financially and I thought myself immortal.
That is why this is so damned important.
I am a great one for talking about living in the moment and being mindful, but I do not blame you for not completely taking my message to heart if I cannot even take care of my one true possession, my body.
But that will be changing.
“How?” you ask.
We as a family will be eating better. The teenager will balk, but he knows he needs this too and I will get him involved in creating the menu.
As of yesterday I gave up one of my most long standing traditions, sugar in my tea. I had already given up (for the most part) drinking soda, so this is the next logical step.
We will be eating a lot more veggies, no more processed or instant foods. Pasta will be an occasional thing and breads will be kept to a minimum, at least for Gypsy and I.
The exercise thing leads to some more serious challenge. Because of the pain in my leg and feet, large amounts of walking will be difficult for a while and the two things that my doctor recommends biking and swimming are both a financial outlay that aren’t feasible at the moment.
Normal bicycles are not built to handle my bulk and so a specialty bike is required and specialty is an old Latin word that means (expensive). But I will be keeping my eyes open for possibilities and hopefully sometime in the new year finances will turn around and we can overcome these hurdles sooner rather than later.
Are you in the same situation?
Are you dying from nothing? From doing nothing?
What will it take? What kind of a scare will it take? Dizzy spells, constant pain, hospitalization, a heart attack, or a stroke?
Are you complacent about how the world will thrive if you die early? How about your families, your friends and your lovers? If you think that it won’t make that much of a difference in their lives, then let me tell you from first-hand experience, I have attended the funerals, I have watched the faces of the survivors, I have heard them crying and many of them, still are.
Come with us. Make a change. I can’t live this way anymore, neither can Gypsy, and you know, neither can you…
Take care of yourself… Please!