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My world had shrunk before I got to 400 lbs. I didn’t realize it, but it had.
When I was 330 lbs, I started working at a warehouse. I was walking up and down racks of merchandise, slapping a label on it and throwing it onto a conveyor belt. I had to do this at a pace I really shouldn’t have been able to, but I managed to pull it off. I also got down to about 300 lbs.
After I transitioned to web development, I gained about 25 lbs a year for the next 4 years. I went from somebody who would do the laundry, take out the trash and do the dishes, to somebody who just…didn’t.
The laundry room was downstairs. When I was properly mobile, this wasn’t an issue. At 400 lbs, it was a Herculean task. This applied to the trash as well.
I had the money at the time to be able to pay people to clean our apt (was married at the time) and deal with trash, so I did. Laundry happened sometimes, but we had about 6 garbage bags of just *my* dirty clothes to pack up when we moved (my ex had a similar amount).
I also had two business trips during this time: one to Las Vegas, one to San Francisco.
I drove to Las Vegas, because I was afraid I would have to pay more for a plane ticket (due to fatness). 10 hours of driving to avoid potential embarrassment, only to find out that The Strip requires quite a bit of walking.
I spent 3 days unable to do what I needed to do because of my weight.
- I could barely stand for more than a couple of minutes at the trade show I was presenting at.
- I couldn’t walk between hotels because just getting to the front was too long of a walk (we stayed at The Mirage)
- I couldn’t keep up with my bosses or coworkers.
- I focused on food pretty much the whole time.
A month later, I was in SF. It is a hill-ridden nightmare for the obese. I think I pulled a muscle walking up a hill at one point. I had to park half a mile away from where I was staying, which was an almost unimaginable distance to have to walk to my car.
I’ll say that again: half a mile was an almost unimaginable distance. This is about a 10 minute walk at your average walking speed.
Two different scenarios, two different events, the same outcome: I was unable to do what I needed to do because moving hurt and I was constantly out of breath.
This is what obesity does, though: it wittles your ability to participate in life down to a toothpick. You’re living, but you’re barely alive.
Not everybody gets to where I was, but that doesn’t mean their world hasn’t shrank. It comes in small spurts: foot pain gradually increases, movement starts requiring you to breathe a little more, energy slowly lessens. You become obese because it is gradual. If you suddenly become an immobile, painful lump of a person, you’d go to the doctor.
Wanna know a not-so-secret secret? Your friends don’t invite you to some things because you’re obese. Your family is doing the same. This isn’t because they’re assholes or mean, but because they’ve gotten to the point that they’ve written you off for anything that might require physical activity. They may not have even done this consciously; you’ve just stopped occurring to them as somebody they should invite to things. This translates into you missing out on things you might’ve been able to do, too.
Your world needs to grow and expand for you to succeed in this life. You need to be able to take advantage of every opportunity when it presents itself. Being obese is setting yourself back in almost every area.
The solution: lose the extra weight.
You will feel better. You will have more fulfilling friendships. You will have better relationships.
Losing weight will not fix your character flaws; it certainly didn’t fix mine. What it did do for me, though, is allow me to focus on myself and my issues, instead of on food and pain.
You can succeed. You aren’t the first, and you won’t be the last, but you will be the most important one in your life to succeed. It is perfectly OK to feel self-important sometimes. When it comes to your health, you’re the most important person on the planet.