There’s a reason that I’ve been focusing on the changes that have taken place in my life – I believe they are changes that one can fully expect when they lose the kind of weight I have and am working toward. That means you take any person who is near my height and over 500 pounds, I can point out to you many of the difficulties that he’s going through, difficulties that make his days very long ones, never-ending, it seems. And I can point out the changes that he will experience over time.
These are important; if I could have met someone who had gone through what I had, I would have had a lot more hope!
One of the biggest changes I’ve faced is in the details. That might require a bit of explanation – you see, there’s one thing that really brings someone of morbid obesity down, and that is the details. I don’t mean the details in the meaning of the word “morbid”, I mean the details of the day. Every day you deal with details. You wake up and there are things to do to prepare for your day. You get up, tidy up, get your clothes ready, make the bed, go out of the room and get ready for some breakfast.
You might not even realize you’ve done all this. It’s just your morning routine. Or is it? Did I mentioned visiting the “necessary” and brushing your teeth, among other things? What about getting the kids up? Imagine, for a moment, writing in a notebook, you are making a list over EVERYTHING you do within the first 20 minutes of getting out of bed. How long is that list? If you don’t think it’s that long, give it me to and let me point out a few things you missed. I bet I can double the size of your list.
And there are details at breakfast too! First you have to get the dishes and the silverware. If you get one of these, but forget another, that’s something you’ll have to come back for. If you carry so much weight on your body that most of your activity in the kitchen is done from a chair (sitting), you’ll have to get up every time you forget something. Every time you get up, that’s exercise, and you only have so much energy for exercise. I know that my short-term memory was crap, worse than it is now, so there were many interruptions to fix things I’d forgotten.
Once you’ve made your food and have it ready to eat, you can eat, but there are still details. No one’s going to be pleased if you just dump your dishes in the sink and leave them there, or worse, abandon them on the counter! Let’s not forget the stress you will endure as someone rips you a new one. Someone that really would rather not have to deal with you anyway. And if you live alone, this type of behavior won’t bode well for you. It is not a healthy living situation.
The day of a person going through morbid obesity, who is multiple hundreds of pounds overweight is going to be loaded with details like this. And there will likely be someone, if you live with anyone (likely even if you aren’t), who will be reminding you of all kinds of other things you have to do, not to mention things you forgot to do along your way, things you’ve left out, maybe some laundry that wasn’t completely finished. And it’s always in some other part of the house – traveling. Just wearing yourself out all day long.
If you’ve not been there, then you may not get it. This may sound like incessant whining to you – “Oh, all day long, just never ends, waaaaahhhh!” I don’t know that there’s a good way to imagine what it’s like, either. Could you imagine strapping 300 or 400 pounds worth of sandbags to your body and trying to carry on with your day? That’s the best description I can really give.
But if you’ve been there, or you are there, then I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. And you’ve probably been there, in that place, pulling your hair out, thinking the worst of the people around you because they won’t f-ing leave you alone! Every time you turn around there’s someone bothering you about something else that needs to be done! And now you’ve got to get your ass up and go get that done too! Hell, half of these things aren’t even your problem, YOU’VE got things to do as well, you know!
Then, at the same time as they are wearing you out, they are bitching about what kind of shape you’re in, what a shame it is that you disrespect your body like that, etc… They can go on forever sometimes.
So, my point in dragging all this out? It gets better. These are problems I just don’t deal with anymore. It’s not like at some point I just said “NO!” and quit dealing with it. The details became minor details. It’s not such a chore anymore to do every little thing – every little things isn’t really every little thing anymore. It isn’t a big deal to go up two floors to take care of some problem. It used to be that just the stairs would wipe me out, and I’d need time to rest before I even got around to what I went up there to do.
It also doesn’t hurt that the people I live with have seen the changes I’ve gone through as well. They’ve seen my day improve greatly. From my perspective, it feels like there’s just less to do, but I’m doing the same amount. Things that I used to actually have to think about and do, I don’t have to think about so much anymore. Things that took a lot of effort before take none now! And the people I live with… I don’t know, I guess they see that I wasn’t just a lazy bastard all those years, that I actually COULDN’T do what they expected or tried to expect of me.
That alone feels sort of vindicating.
Now I look forward to doing chores because most of them make for good exercise, and every time I accomplish something, it’s out of the way. If one of the details isn’t good exercise, it’s still not a big deal, that just means it’s easier than most of the chores, and I’ll be done with it sooner.
Now that the details aren’t such a big part of my day, they don’t stress me out as much anymore.
What’s more, I find that I’m more capable of doing things that I need to get done. There was a time that I might be asked to do something and it just WOULD NOT get done. I remember a few years ago I worked out a deal with my folks. I would go through all the potted pine trees they had on the property, weed out the dead ones and plant the living ones.
I got a good amount of the living ones planted. Just going through the dead ones and weeding out the pots took longer than I could have imagined. I took everything back to the back of the property for planting. A year later I found the shovel and a bunch of pots at the rear of the property. I’d apparently given up. I don’t even remember. I’d tried to just put in as much work each day as I could and make the job stretch out, but every day I had to out and deal with that I had to put a lot of energy into it and that took away from what else I could get done throughout the day. And if I wasn’t getting enough done to satisfy those around me, I had to deal with that too. I can’t even imagine how many days I must have pulled up to that spot in the truck, parked, and just sat there looking at the project, not coming up with the energy to get up and do it, dreading the rest of the day to come.
I’m sure there were days like that at the end, I’m sure I wore myself out over it, and each day I’d think “I’ll come back tomorrow and finish it then.” One of those tomorrows, I must have managed to forget about it.
But over the past few summers, I’ve seen growth in what I’m capable of. I’ve seen myself going from the guy that looks helplessly on the tasks he is supposed to perform and cultivate self-loathing, to the person that could actually do a few things before that hopelessness took over, and through gradual improvement, I see myself now. I can still overdo it at this stage of the game. I’ve found myself just sitting there, staring at tasks I have to do, but now I realize, I’m doing too much, need to redefine how I’m going to do it and slow this down. I might even need to consider that this job is too big for me to do alone right now.
I imagine that next summer, I will yet again be amazed at what I’m capable of, and hope that I’ll be reporting you again how much my abilities have improved in just a year… and another hundred pounds, I hope!