I’m fat. In fact, by the standards used today, I’m morbidly obese. That somewhat scary term simply means that I weigh more than 50 pounds more than my ideal weight. I’m 5’8″ tall, and have a medium build. My target weight should be around 155 pounds to 175 pounds. I currently weigh in at 240 pounds, but when I tell people that they look at me incredulously and ask, “where are you hiding it?”
I’m not hiding it – it’s here. A lot of it is a fairly obvious “beer belly” – a term I hate, by the way, because I don’t drink beer. But the incredulous inquirers do have a point: My pants are only a size larger now than they were when I left the US Army 30+ years ago – at a lean 155.
I’ve talked to my primary care doctor. I’ve talked to the nutritionist he referred me to. I’ve talked to weight management counselors, physical therapists . . . and I’ve read books and articles on macrobiotics, vegitarian eating, portion control, fasting, pacing, juicing . . .
None of it has worked for me. There is one reason why, and it’s the giant pink elephant in the room. It’s terribly obvious to me, but nobody else wants to acknowledge it because it is an automatic barrier to the success of whatever approach they pitch at me. I’m a disabled veteran – I had a bone tumor in my left leg, and that bone has been permanently structurally weakened.
Imagine building a bridge across a half-mile wide river, and the central girder on the left side of the bridge was manufactured wrong and can only stand 10% of the weight it was intended to. What is going to happen to that bridge when rush hour traffic hits it? During the first 3 months after the surgery to treat my tumor, I was hospitalized an additional 10 times for stress fractures related to my not believing the limitations imposed on me. I believe them now.
That’s what’s wrong with my leg now. Instead of being able to stand the stresses of all the normal activity I used to do, I’m now limited to “No pushing, pulling, or lifting over 30 pounds” AND “no walking more than 1 mile per day TOTAL” – that includes trips to the bathroom and the kitchen. Let me tell you, it’s amazing how small one mile is when you carry a pedometer around the house for a few weeks. I have one of those “Cory Everson” resistance cable type home exercise machines, but it seems impossible to do enough repetitions with only 30 pounds of resistance to either burn fat or build muscle.
So, the next time you see someone in the store, or on the beach (which won’t be me, I don’t live anywhere near a beach) who is heavy, don’t automatically think that they are just lazy or don’t care about how they look. Some of us care a LOT – there just isn’t anything we can do. Because we are trying.