My life has been filled with bizarre comments about my body. At this point, I laugh at most of them… usually over chocolate cake and followed by a good cry. To paint the picture nicely, one comment came from my boss telling me a contestant on the Biggest Loser could pass for my twin…it was the first episode of the season – clearly not the skinnier version of said twin. A pedicure technician loudly praising me for being so squishy, then thrusting her leg in the air and knocking on her calf saying “look how rock hard I am..and you’re are just so squishy.” At the time, I wanted to assume she was impressed because I had just lost 65 pounds and because she seemed excited to say it directly to me. There’s been times when I have asked where the elevator is, and the stairs were suggested. A waiter once compassionately told me he had brought lite ranch dressing (not by my request), then followed up with a wink. On two separate occasions a minivan full of teenagers and a table full of adults in their 50’s openly discussed how big and gross I was, (like the size of my butt determines how well I hear.) The most heart wrenching times are when it’s in front of my kids. My kids don’t need to feel the shame of me from other people, especially grown adults.
I’ve always been a taller “dense” girl. Even in my slimmer days, people were always shocked at how high my scale numbers were. At 170 pounds I could wear sizes 6-10, even if that sounded like the fat lady in the circus level of weight for a woman. While I appreciate the BMI scale and suggested weight ranges based on gender and height, I took them with a grain of salt. Sure, I didn’t love my body, but I wasn’t grotesque in my opinion.
That was until I went for the results of a physical recently. My blood was filled with fatty triglycerides. My heart had spontaneous irregular rhythms. And my vitamin D count was so low, they didn’t have a number for it. I sat in the parking lot after my appointment on Mayo Clinic’s website feverishly searching for deeper answers, one thing kept popping up. Obesity. Which was another thing from my physical, I am morbidly obese.
I’ve always felt fat, as pretty much all of do. But even at my largest weight now, I don’t feel like the stereotypical morbidly obese person. Richard Simmons has not knocked on my door for an intervention. Geraldo, nor Dr Phil, has had to cut my wall off to rescue me. I don’t have diabetes, high blood pressure or need a motorized scooter to go to the zoo. So I thought as a fat girl, I was doing pretty good. Sure I felt blah and my joints hurt, but I have 3 kids and closer to 40 than 20.
That day scared me. That day, the results felt different. I’m not the P.H.A.T girl coasting by any more. My addiction to food for comfort, my addiction to not being bound by self control and hard work, my addiction to ignoring what I really need to know – it’s all caught up to me. I cried. Not enough tears to help me lose a pound, but I cried. It didn’t fully hit me until my oldest daughter came home that it sunk in. If I don’t get this under control, who would have been here to greet her? Am I setting up my kids to find me from a heart attack before they are in double digit ages? Right there as I stared out my backdoor (in of all places, the proverbial crack den of my house, the kitchen) crying, I decided I will not let morbid obesity take me from my family.
It’s not going to be fun, this I know. But I’ve made the choice to ask for help from people better at this than myself. I’m ready for this journey.