I had an epiphany several weeks ago. At the time, it wasn't enough to get me started on the road to better health and fitness, but it was one of many events that combined to get me serious about weight loss again. So, what brought about this big epiphany?
I went to the public restroom at a store somewhere.
Amazing, huh? Well, that's not really all there was to it. See, I realized that I've started using the handicapped stalls when I go to public restrooms. Because they're bigger.
I'm 5' tall and relatively small-boned. My ideal weight range is around 115-130 pounds. If I was in my ideal weight range, there is no way I'd need to use a handicapped stall in order to have enough room to get in and out of the stall and move around while in there.
My weight has handicapped me. In more ways than one.
It was a revelation to think of it that way. It's not only that my weight has inconvenienced me in many ways -- I've allowed it to disable me. I began to realize some of the ways that I've let my weight handicap me:
I don't do things with my kids -- not very active stuff anyway. Their dad takes them to ride bikes. It's a big deal for me to stand and toss a softball with them -- not so much movement involved in standing and tossing a ball. Their dad handles the active games of dodge ball in the basement, too. I'm sure there's much, much more, but because I've been overweight and sedentary for so long, I don't even realize a lot of what I'm missing.
I don't go to the mall. I hate the mall. I used to love going and my oldest is now at the perfect age to enjoy shopping trips with Mom. She loves going to the mall. What's changed for me? Fat people don't go to the mall. Yeah, I know they do, but not in my mind. I don't go to the mall because I feel like everyone is looking at me and being shocked by how overweight I am. Yes, I know they probably aren't, but I still feel that way. Plus, aside from stores like Lane Bryant and the plus size departments of the big department stores, malls don't sell clothes for fat people.
I don't play sports. I was never especially athletic as a kid, but I enjoy softball and volleyball. I would love to play on a co-ed softball team or play volleyball with a church league...but I don't. Who wants to see an obese woman running bases? Plus, I'm sure I wouldn't really have the energy for those things anyway.
I don't like meeting people. This is especially true of people that my husband works with. He's a tall, fit man who goes to the gym several times a week and plays basketball, baseball, racketball, golf...he's game for most any sport. I always feel like people who meet me for the first time are thinking, "Wow! I wouldn't have pictured him being married to her." And, they probably are because I think that about couples that I meet a lot of times (not necessarily as negative as I think it about myself, just that the spouse doesn't look like I've pictured. I'm not usually as rude to other people as I am to myself).
Those are just a few of the big things. There are many other ways that my weight holds me back physically or mentally. I don't like having unnecessary attention on me because of my weight. I've never been real big on being the center of attention, but I'm honest enough to admit that a lot of that these days stems not from being shy, but from being ashamed.
I've come to realize that most people who are physically handicapped have no choice in the matter. There's nothing they can do to not be handicapped...but I can. It will take a lot of work, a lot of discipline, and a conscious change in behavior -- breaking old, bad habits and creating new, better ones -- but I can do it. I can break the chains that I have let my weight become.
In what ways has being overweight handicapped you?