Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Things I don't understand #61...

...How both those pictures could possibly be me.

Yeah, this. Throughout the life of this here blog, I've tried to stay away from this particular topic, for whatever reason. But after numerous requests from various sources(and the fact that topics sometimes are hard to come by) I decided to relent. Many of you know this story, as you lived it with me, but just in case...

Both pictures are indeed of me. The first from about 8-10 years ago (I really don't remember) and second is much more recent. So yeah, I was a fatty. Bordering on morbidly obese (High Five, Wendy's!). About 7 years ago(maybe 8?), my roommate at the time (Eric) wanted to join a health club, but he didn't want to go check it out by himself. So I agreed to go with him. Next thing I know, I'm also a member of a health club. I think the high fees combined with the fact that earlier that year I had been told by a doctor it'd be a good idea to drop a few, ensured that I would actually use the membership.

Use it I did, pretty much 6 days a week, at least. I'll spare you the stories of peeing blood, realizing the red stuff on my towel was coming from my shirt which was actually blood coming from me, and the like; but suffice it to say I did not do it half-heartedly. Now despite the fact that I was at the club 6-7 days a week, sometimes for up to 2 hours, I never grew to like it. Even though I run several times a week, I have never experienced "runner's high". And never have I looked forward to working out. The one thing I did like? The results. That I actually knew the efficacy of what I was doing helped a lot. So over the course of about a year and a half to 2 years, I went from (this is fairly embarrassing) about 320 lbs. to a low of 191. I now sit at a smidge over 200. Of course, the years since have seen me yo-yo a little. But as much as I don't know how I let it get that bad, I know I will never let it happen again.

A couple of random observations from a guy who used to be really fat. One, after losing weight, you get treated better. I still remember one of the first times I was in a department store after a precipitous loss in weight. I had never been asked if I needed help that many times in my life. I actually looked around for hidden cameras, thinking it must be some sort of joke. It wasn't, that's how the non-fat(or I guess I should say less fat, because I'm still pretty big) are treated. Also, you've never seen disappointment until you've had to tell a person the bad news that the way to loose weight is to eat less and exercise more. Seriously, once someone finds out or just gets up the gumption to ask how you did it, they look at you like you're the Wizard of Oz (pre-curtain-pulling) because you've obviously been let in on one of the great secrets of the universe. But when they find out the uncomplicated yet difficult truth, they look like you just notified them of Santa's questionable existence. I now have a pat answer for when I get such a question. I warn said person they probably won't like it, and then I tell them, "I got off my fat butt, and stopped stuffing my fat face." Although, the more you're off your butt, the more face-stuffing you can still enjoy, but you know what I mean.

Oh, and I should also warn you, since I once was fat I retain my license to make fun of fat people. I can freely roll my eyes when I hear excuses that include phrases like "poor metabolism" and "big boned". Sure there's some truth to them, but in the end, the thing on the opposite end of the fork from the food is you--a sentient, free-willed being. Oddly enough, I used to think I was big boned. Until I did the wrist test, and realized I wasn't big boned...I was fat. Finally, one last story of post-fatdom. Not being able to walk around a family reunion anonymously; or the time I ran into a guy I grew up with, and he just blew me off because he had no idea who that guy was who knew his name. No, this occurred at the aforementioned health club.

At this point(year 3 as a club member), I had lost all the weight I was going to lose and was in maintenance mode. Well, as anyone who's ever been a member of a health club knows, you get to where you recognize the regulars, whether you're an introvert like me and do everything possible not to talk to them or not, you still find yourself exchanging numerous knowing nods. Well, on this day, one or the other regulars--a 50-ish guy in really good shape--who I had never shared a single word with approaches me at the water fountain and what resulted is the following exchange:
Not me: Hey, doing ok?
Me: Yeah, good. How are you.
Not me: Fine. So you've lost quite a bit of weight haven't you?
Me: Yeah, you could say that.
Not me: Yeah, you're a bit of a rock star around here. Everybody's amazed how well you've done. How much did you lose?
Me: Well, actually it was about 100 pounds, maybe a little more.
Not me: Man! That's great! Yeah, you were a bit of a porker, but now you look great!
Me: (smile creeps across my face as I realize that the truth just leaked out) Yeah, I guess I was a porker.
Not me: Well good job man. I just wanted to let you know people noticed your hard work.
Me: Thanks. (Still wearing somewhat quizzical smile)

That was the first and last time I ever talked to him. And now you know the famous "Porker story".

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