I’ve been wanting to make a record of my weight loss journey for a while now.
We had a discussion about deprivation during a recent Weight Watchers meeting that struck a chord with me as something to get me started on as an introduction to my blog on this topic. These are my thoughts on things that I’m glad to be getting back and other things that I’m glad to be getting rid of as my weight comes down. In other words, by trading in healthy eating choices in place of unhealthy ones, I’m also trading freedom and enjoyment of life with momentary indulgences.
Things I’m glad to be getting rid of:
- Shopping for clothes in the big and tall section – It’s nearly impossible to buy clothes that fit and look decent off the rack. Nearly everything in the big and tall departments assumes that because you wear pants with a 52″ waist that you must be 6’5″ tall. For someone who’s 5’11” with a 52″ waist, finding jeans that fit is a nightmare. I hated shopping for pants. Shirts! Why in the world is nearly every shirt in the big and tall section plaid. If you want a shirt that fits, you have to pick one off of probably two racks, nearly all of which are a terrible color pattern and look terrible. It’s so nice to be able to shop for clothes from the standard size racks.
- Not fitting into any thing – It really sucks to not fit comfortably into a seat on an airplane. You can’t ride a lot of roller coasters because the safety bar doesn’t fit over your bulk. Unless you have a big car, sitting in the front seat of a compact car feels really cramped if there’s another adult in the other front seat. Sitting in a movie theatre seat was uncomfortable no matter what, especially if the theatre was crowded, making it necessary to sit next to a stranger. Lastly, it was a relief for me this summer when we went to Wet ‘n Wild that I had gotten under their maximum weight limit for riding their slides.
- Health nuisances – I was almost always dealing with constant joint problems. My knees, lower back, and ankles were constantly bothering me. Other than my knee, which is wrecked from previous injury and surgery, my other joint problems have mostly gone away as the weight has come off. Also, the abuse I was putting my digestive system through by eating so much fast food and junk was causing me a lot of digestive problems. I’ll spare the yucky details, but this was really the thing that was the last straw to push me into a dedication towards a weight loss program.
Things that I’m pleased to be getting back:
- Recreational activities – There are a lot of recreational activities that really had been closed off for me in a practical sense because of my excessive weight. Scuba diving wasn’t an option because the equipment and wetsuits didn’t fit and finding those that did were prohibitively expensive. Being as big as I was made using a float tube for fishing impractical. First of all, getting waders that fit without spending a boatload of money for custom-made ones was impossible. Then, at over 300lbs, you’re too heavy to sit high enough in the water in a float tube to stay dry unless you buy the biggest most expensive float tubes. I have a 14′ aluminum fishing boat, and I was nearly half the weight recommended for all the contents of the boat, motor, people, gear, and all. It really wasn’t safe to take more than myself and my gear out on the boat. It also really bothered me to see the capacity labels on new boats that indicate they’re recommended for 4 people, except that my weight was almost half of the total recommended weight for those 4 people. I really like playing basketball and softball, but at over 300lbs, your fitness level and joints just can’t sustain those activities to a meaningful level. Finally, it’s really difficult to have enjoyable sex when you’re that big for several reasons that I’ll leave to you to contemplate.
- Health and Happiness – My confidence in myself has vastly improved as the weight comes off. With all that weight, I was concerned that if it was necessary for me to go out and interview for jobs, I would be at a real disadvantage. I doubt an employer would ever admit to not offering someone an IT job because a person was too overweight, but at the very least my personal appearance as a morbidly obese person wouldn’t inspire confidence in myself or anyone interviewing me. My joints and digestive system have been much less troublesome as I’m changed my diet to be more plant-based and worked to get portions under control. I saw in a documentary called “Forks Over Knives” (I think that’s the one) that E.D. is a canary in the coal mine to indicate cardiovascular disease. While that hadn’t yet become a problem, I can say that my own soldier is a testament to that assertion, and has been much more vital in that area as my health has improved. Just ask Jaryn.
To bring this back to the Weight Watchers meeting discussion about deprivation, that discussion gave me what I need to articulate the trade-offs I was making by practicing eating habits that were not healthy. I could say that I’m now depriving myself of a “Western Bacon Cheeseburger” or a Philly cheese steak sandwich and french fries these days. However, that would only be mentioning half of that equation. By choosing those unhealthy choices over a sustained period of time, I’m depriving myself of so many other things in life that I really enjoy.