Although I will no doubt, at some point this week, look back on my highlights of the year and in many ways it was an amazing year (any year that we and the ones we love experience good health, is, I suppose a good one), I firstly wanted to reflect on something else; on something maybe a little different from many of the other end of year blogs and on something that might just reveal (maybe a little too revealing) a few things about me, that might just resonate with a few of you and hopefully, if anyone recognises similar “things”, might make you take action now.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, I’ve accumulated some extra baggage these past few weeks and I’m determined not to let a slip derail me. So it got me thinking.
What are the things I don’t miss? What are the things that the old Stephen hated and what are things that I never ever want to see, feel or experience again? What are the Bad Things about being not just obese, but morbidly obese?
This year, I intend on experiencing many new things but first let’s look at some of the old things I that I’ve thankfully put behind me. They’re not in any order other than when I think of them (this blog maybe isn’t as polished as most, as I just write what I’m thinking).
- Candida- I’m nothing, if not honest and apologies to those that I’m possibly about to disgust, but I believe in warts and all. This is one weight related complaint that I’m happy to be rid of. The smell, the rash and the moisture that it caused under the folds of my skin weren’t the most attractive and were one of many things that made me constantly self aware.
- Plantar Fasciitis- Every morning, makng those first few steps was agonising. I would struggle to make it to the toilet and on many occassion had to reach out to the wall for support.
- Sitting Down to do the Toilet– Well it does lead on from the previous. The folds of my belly (ies) made the traditional means of urinating impossible and I had to sit down, taking extra care to direct my stream. This is maybe a little too honest, but I more than once had accidents caused by the fat around my mid section.
- Intimacy– Not only was it physically difficult to make love, with a sore back, poor stamina and breathlessness, but my obesity severely affected my ability to attain and maintain an erection (hell, I’m even surprising myself with the openness of this revelation, but then again, it’s basic science). I was also never comfortable being naked. I thought that my form would disgust my wife, just as it disgusted myself. Even now, I’m still not 100% comfortable with how I look naked, but then, who does? Even cuddles were impractical as I could never hold someone close or hold them tight.
- Self Loathing– Despite telling others I was fine, despite puting a smile on for the camera and despite being the first to self depricate, I hated what I had become. I often felt hopeless and useless. I hated myself for being unable to change; for being unable to restrict my eating and for being unable to control my cravings.
- Cravings– One biscuit, sweet or chunk of chocolate was never and will never be enough for me. In the bad old days, I’d eat some junk only to go hunting for more….lots more! And I was like a bloodhound. I could locate the stashes of sweets that my wife felt compelled to hide from me. And once those stashes were exhausted I would then eat the stuff that initially I had ignored for tastier items. I was like a shark, frenzied by blood. I make no bones about using the animal references as my behaviour was that of a wild animal. Be it leptins or plain greed, I was never satisfied and once made myself sick so that I could eat more. Now, that’s what I call an eating disorder!
- My Mum’s Tears– This one is maybe cheating, as she has only recently revealed this to me. But my mum used to cry herself to sleep worrying about my weight; worrying about how her son was likely to enter an early grave and how she would have to bury him. Just knowng, that I’ve taken just one weight (pardon the pun) off my mum’s shoulders is ammunition enough to keep me rightous.
- My Own Tears– I’m not afraid to admit it. I cried. Maybe it was the increased estrogen in my moobs ( I’d like to say that I’m well shot of these too, but still got a bit to go), or the fact that I’m a sensitive guy, but I was never blind to my obesity and would regulary share a tear when I was…
- Feeling that Everyone was Laughing at Me– Some argue that obesity is becoming socially acceptable…not in my world. Everytime I struggled to get on and off the bus ( I used to stand at the front, regardless of whether there were seats); everytime I entered a clothes shop and looked in desperation for size xxxxl jeans and shirts (soon all I wore was baggy, loose fitting sweat pants and jerseys…..not ironic, just really sad); everytime my belt snapped or trousers ripped with the pressure; everytime I had to explain my job role was a “Lean Practitioner” (like Six Sigma); everytime I took off my winter jacket, only to realise that I had soaked my shirt in perspiration: everytime kids said; “Mummy, look at that fat man” and everytime I ordered a Diet Coke and two Quarterpounders I worried that people were just about to burst out laughing. And sometimes my fears were warranted, Because, laugh they did.
- Isolation– Ok, this one was partly self imposed but it was still mainly (I’m still quite shy) weight related. I didn’t go out. I didn’t attend work parties. I stopped playing badminton and football. I didn’t want to be seen in public and eventually I didn’t even attend my my parents in law’s Sunday dinner. I’m still not exactly a social butterfly, but I’m no longer housebound.
- Fatism-People are Fattist. FACT. And let’s ne honest, can we blame them? How stupid must I have been not to recognise and act on my obesity? How greedy must I have been to get so large and how lazy must have I been? Everytime I applied for a job, only to see someone less talented get selected; everytime I made a valid point in a meeting or everytime I saw somone looking at me disdainfully I felt judged on how I looked rather than who I was. Even now, it pains me to see how fat people are portrayed and treated. But, at least now, I’m not victim to it.
I could go on and might some day revisit this list (with maybe some more light hearted “things”) but this has been quite emotionally draining and as cathartic as it’s been, it’s all a bit dark. Prior to this blog my earlier writing was lighter, funnier and easier to read. Let me know what you think and in 2013 I might try to make you smile a bit more.