Thursday, December 3, 2009

Handicapped

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?

12 comments:

  1. I can sooooo relate to what you said here, especially in terms of meeting people. Before losing the weight a few years ago, I had been overweight to obese for pretty much my entire life. I had been trying to fade into the woodwork for so long, that I had no idea that I really LIKE people. Go figure. I have so many more friends now than I used to, and I'm not afraid to introduce myself to someone new. I *crave* time with people now...and I used to consider myself to be the deepest of introverts. I think I was kidding myself. :-P I pray that you will experience the same kinds of wonderful freedom that I have found in the course of taking care of my body.

    -Terri

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  2. Just wanted to say Bravo! for being so honest. Extra weight can handicap you in so many ways. Can't wait to read about all the amazing things you're able to do as the weight continues to come off :)!

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  3. Wow, that was a courageous post. If I was honest, I could have written the post - almost word for word. It brought tears to my eyes.
    thank you again for your honesty -

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  4. Kris, are you familiar with Lou Tice and the Pacific Institute? He is an amazing man with an amazing message about how to obtain your goals. Whatever your goals may be. I would recommend "Smart Talk for Reaching your Potential" its his book based on his three day seminar. Its really helped me define my goals more clearly and obtain them so much more quickly!
    God Bless you for taking this issue head on the way you are.
    ~Jessica

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  5. Great post! I would have to say that being overweight has handicapped me in a lot of the same ways. Most of all I just don't feel like I have enough energy to do several basic shores around the house at a time. I do one and feel worn out. I also am so self-conscious around other people. I imagine that all they can think about the whole time we are talking is how fat I am and how awful my clothes fit (or don't fit).

    I'm so glad you are doing this blog. You have inspired me to get back on the WW wagon. Keep up the good work!

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  6. I'm not sure it's courage so much as desperation. Ignoring all these feelings hasn't helped anything. I watch Jillian (Biggest Loser) beat admissions, honesty, and revelations out of her contestants each season. This blog -- y'all -- are my Jillian. ;-) If I'm not honest with myself about all this stuff, nothing is ever going to change.

    Plus, if I tell the whole blogosphere, plus my family and friends, I *have* to change. That tends to be my personality, anyway.

    Thank you all for your words of encouragement and support.

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  7. I have around a hundred pounds to loose as well and I have the exact same issues as you listed. I think my biggest one is what you said about your husband. My husband too is tall and skinny and fairly athletic. At least he loves to be active and play games and he is the one who plays with the kids, not me. I do board games and video games but not the running jumping kind of games. And I too am embarressed to meet his friends because I think they are thinking the same thing! I want my husband to be proud of me. we have his Christmas party coming up next week and I am dreading it because I don't think he will be proud to have me on his arm.

    thank you for posting here. I am on board and though the holidays may be a tough time to start(and I surely won't be presentable by next friday)...if it is about balance, moderation and making a lasting change then it can be done any time!

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  8. Wow, to your honesty. That was an amazing post.

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  9. Yeah, chalk me up with the tall, skinny husband. And I have the same thoughts! I think we must look so weird together sometimes!

    Well, I'd have to say my top three handicaps in carrying around my extra weight are the following:

    1. I can't wear the clothes I want to wear. So I end up being boring, but comfortable. But boring isn't really a good thing (i.e., think sweats).

    2. My knees give me problems.

    3. I don't sleep very well because body position plays such a huge (har, har) role.

    I'm 5'3" and am carrying around enough extra weight that it's painful on the system and I just need to get it off!

    Thanks for your posts. Yesterday I cheated and then I thought of your blog and your goal and felt so guilty that I'm REmotivated...which is just the thing I need to be today!

    So thanks!

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  10. how much do you weigh now?

    I HAVE to go in the handicap stalls...or have to stradle the toilet to open the door...but I am currently pregnant. I am really excited and motivated to lose the weight though. TRULY.

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  11. @ Carrie -- Don't feel guilty! And, don't feel like you "cheated." I love that Michelle (Biggest Loser Season 6 Winner) says in Simple Swaps. My paraphrased version: Don't let a bad day become a bad week, a bad month, a bad year. Just get back on track the next day.

    This journey, to me, isn't a "diet" that's going to end when I get to the weight I want to be. It's a lifestyle change. There's no way I'm going to sit here now and say that I'll exercise, full out, six days a week, every week for the rest of my life, or that I'll never eat another doughnut or Big Mac. My goal is to eat healthy and exercise consistently the *majority* of the time and not sweat the times when I make a conscious decision to do otherwise for a day or a meal.

    @ Michelle -- Nice try. ;-) I'll tell you how much I've got to lose and I'll tell my my weight when I get to my goal, but I'm still not transparent enough to even tell my husband my current weight. No way am I telling it on a public blog. Sorry. :-)

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  12. I have been saving this post in my Reader to reply to. I do the same thing but never saw it as a handicap - until now. Thank you for sharing so much on your blog. It's really keeping it in the forefront for me & I need that.

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