When I was a newborn, I developed a double hernia at ten weeks and underwent emergency surgery.
During the delivery my mother received a botched epidural, and the doctor accidentally struck her spine. She was in a coma for four weeks.
During that time I was sent home with my father and two grandmothers. Within a few weeks they had started me on human food (bananas and such), which turned out to not be a great move. Apparently, my nervous system was not fully developed and I cried like crazy. Food shut me up.
My mom recovered, came home, and was appalled at my eating habits. When I was taken to the hospital six weeks later, the doctor told my mother he had never, in his career, seen a fatter baby. I was rushed into surgery, and they took care of the hernia.
After that, from the age of ten weeks to about a year ago, I have never had a problem with my weight. In fact, I was always on the skinny side, despite that I noticed I ate more than the average person of my stature. Also, I could lose weight like crazy.
An example – when I got married, I was at a mere 167 lbs., which, for a 6’2″ man, is pretty damn skinny. Normally I clock in around 190 lbs. but I was pretty stressed and I guess I didn’t eat much that year. My new wife was freaked out, as she said she could see my ribs, but who knows, women are complainers, right? Kidding.
I have watched as some of my friends’ metabolisms have changed over the years, always feeling sad for them. Mine hadn’t changed, and I was able to eat as much as I wanted. I never counted calories, or turned away something I liked. I also exercised quite a bit. To this day, I still bike over 20 miles nearly every day of the week, most of the year.
Well, it’s official. I am now getting fat.
Now, according to many people, I am not “fat.” And I’m not playing a sympathy card, or over-dramaticizing this issue. The fact is that I am simply at my biggest in my life to date. I’m around 220 lbs.
Here’s the kicker – I am absolutely incapable of giving myself a break. In the past 1.5 years I have been laid-off from a job I completely loved. Also, my wife announced she was divorcing me. I’m not complaining, but I hope we can all agree that’s heavy stuff.
And instead of having much self-compassion about these issues, I see them as “excuses” for eating too much.
Example: Today I was on television, in a brief segment on a talk-show. It was my first real media appearance, and something I was extremely happy and excited to do.
But I couldn’t bring myself to turn it on. I was way too afraid of seeing myself as a fat guy (I probably wouldn’t have thought that), or as somebody who said something stupid on air (which I didn’t do).
I’m not depressed about it, but I do have shame, as my increase in weight is something I obviously did to myself. And I judge that as “bad.” I don’t allow myself not to be perfect in certain ways. I can’t get fat. I can’t look stupid. I can’t be not funny. Etcetera.
I’m great at making jokes in this blog – I can do that all day long and people laugh. But I can’t even watch myself on television, or feel good about the body in the mirror after the shower.
I’m not alone, of course, and many people have medical issues that keep them at a weight they don’t prefer. But that’s not my situation. I just eat too much and exercise too little.
I believe the answer to these challenges is to delve into the pain and see what’s there. So, today, instead of making another funny blog post, I wanted to talk about what was really happening inside.
Most of us can all relate to being at our fattest and not being happy about it. If I come off as whining, sorry. I’m clear that my life is actually pretty good.
I’m grateful to everyone that has continued reading this blog. The numbers are increasing, and I’m excited to grow this into whatever shape it takes.
Thank you for allowing me not to be perfect, and not to have to be funny with every sentence. The truth is that’s way too much pressure, and I will let you down eventually. My ex-wife and close friends will tell you that I’m actually a pretty serious guy.
And just to let you know, tomorrow I will go back to what I’m best at – writing about how I’m thinking of replacing all my toilet seats with the totally awesome squishy ones your grandmother has. And no, I’m not kidding.
Note : As of 4:25pm CDT on Sunday, I finally managed to watch the broadcast. And yes, everything went great. A good reminder that my fears are generally based on insecurity rather than fact.
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