Tag Archives: Obesity

Failingly Compassionate

You know those people who are just unfailingly compassionate? I’m talking about people like Mother Theresa and … well … Mother Theresa. I’m just like her except that I don’t have that “un” part.

I’ve been kicked in the teeth quite a few times – more times than many people I know, but fewer times than other people. Still, you’d think that having experienced some of the things that I have, I’d be a compassionate person – and I am….most of the time. At least I think it’s most of the time. Maybe I’m compassionate only some of the time. In any case, I’m not a nice person all of the time.

I try very hard to give people the benefit of the doubt or to try to see things from their perspective. I can’t always do it. When I fail, I try to keep my nasty little judgemental remarks inside my head; but, sometimes I fail at that, too.

justice-gavel-color-hiAnd I’m about to fail again right now.

If you haven’t heard yet, a 350-pound British woman is blaming the government for her obesity.  She lives in government housing (at no cost to herself) and receives welfare to support herself and her two young children. In spite of the fact that her benefits are worth an estimated $62,000 per year, gyms and healthful food options are just too expensive, she says.

Now, there are a million different ways to attack this woman’s argument and I’ve read most of them. But, the issue I have no compassion for here and elsewhere is the culture of victimhood.  I’ve been an unmarried mother. I’ve been obese (although not 350 pounds). And I’ve been poor. And, guess what? All of those things were in some way the result of my own choices. So, they were my fault (if that’s the word we want to use) and no one else’s. (Okay, so maybe not Hurricane Katrina, but most of the rest of the stuff was the result of choices I made.)

I am utterly sick to death of “it’s not my fault” or “I didn’t mean to.”

Actions have consequences. Period. They always have and they always will.

If I punch a policeman in the nose, I will be arrested. If I don’t meet the requirements of my  job, I will be fired. If I have unprotected sex, I will eventually get pregnant. And, if I fill my cabinet with Pop Tarts and the like, I will become (or stay) obese. If I stay obese, I will develop diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. My body will hurt.

And until I accept responsibility for my current condition, I cannot change it.

As I told you yesterday, to deal with my fatigue and the food temptations that came along with it, I had to put on my Big Goddess Panties and suck it up. And we all have to do that if we are going to effect any kind of change in our own lives. (Men, you can pull up your Aquaman Underoos. If you choose Big Goddess Panties, I really don’t want to know about it. Mmmmk?)

I got into most of my fixes under my own power and I can bloody well get out of them that way, too. I’m not unfailingly compassionate and I’m not powerless either.

How Could I Not Have Known?

My son recently celebrated his 21st birthday. All week long on Facebook, I posted photos of him growing up, although I refrained from posting any that might embarrass him. Oh! Like that adorable one when he….. well. He is going to choose my nursing home; so, I’ll just keep all that to myself.  In looking through photos and deciding what to post, I revisited our trip to Chicago in 2010. The one I posted at the top of the page is one of my favorites. My dad and my son go221509_10150159896253197_6369362_oofing with the dinosaur sculpture outside the Field Museum. My two best guys! I also ran across a few of me with my dad standing in front of Lake Michigan. Oh, my.

Yep, the one on the right there. That’s the one that really caught my attention. My waist’s circumference was greater than my shoulders’.  (The word “circumference” should be used in describing planetary bodies, not human ones. When that’s the best word to describe a waist, there’s a problem.) Those pants I was wearing there were actually a little bit too big; so, I thought they were flattering. Not so much. But you want to know something? I didn’t truly know that I was that big.

How is that even possible? Well, it’s the frog in the pot.

You know that analogy: you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water and he’ll jump out. But, if you put him in a pot of cool water, then set it to boil, he’ll stay in it until he’s cooked. I got cooked.

I wasn’t a thin woman who woke up obese one morning; it wasn’t some adipose tissue / Kafka thing. I was heavy as a child, not really super chubby, but dense. So, the word “heavy” was used a lot. I thought that meant fat. So, I thought I was fat even before I was. The first diet I remember being on was in second grade. All my life, I didn’t lose weight as much as misplace it for awhile. I surely found every pound again – with friends! Somewhere in all that yo-yoing, my mental picture of my physical self got stuck at about a size 14. I was a solid size 20 in this photo.  I had no idea how big I was.

And that is still a challenge.

I’m now a size 6 (or 8 or 10, depending on the garment and the maker) and I still don’t know what I size I am. But I’m not so worried about it anymore. As you know, when I started the whole juicing thing, it was to lose those last 10 pesky pounds. I can honestly tell you that it’s not about that anymore. It’s about getting wholesome food into my body. More than ever, it is about being healthy.

That much I do know.

 

Putting My Back Into It

I have either had or believed I had a weight problem most of my life.  I have lost weight and found it all again; but, most of the time, I’ve just wished I could lose weight or (at least) said that I wanted to.  I haven’t REALLY done much about it other than to lose and gain the same ten pounds about a hundred times.  If there were a Frequent Loser instead of a Biggest Loser, I’d be the Grand Champion!  Several people have asked me what made this difference this time.  What made me stick with it?  What made it work?

I would soooo love to give you some fantastic formula. (Oh, who am I kidding? I’d love to SELL you some fantastic formula!) But I just don’t have one.  The truth is – I don’t know.

Maybe it was realizing that I am approaching menopause when weight loss will be more difficult.  Maybe it was realizing that the health risks associated with obesity weren’t just risks anymore, but were becoming real and showing up in my blood pressure. Maybe it was wanting to meet my grandchildren someday. Maybe it was losing those first 20 pounds so quickly.  Maybe it was some combination.  I don’t know.

Chain GangAs a senior in college, I spoke with a professor when I was thinking about attending law school. “Doty, ” he said, “you’ll fail.  And when you do, you’ll be devastated. You’ll fail not because you’re not smart enough, but because you don’t want it enough.”

He was right.  It wasn’t important enough for me to put my back into it.  I didn’t want it enough to give it everything I had.  I would have failed.  If I had wanted it badly enough, his words wouldn’t have stopped me – but they did.

Maybe, the answer for why the lifestyle change worked this time is just that simple.  Maybe I didn’t want it enough before.

Maybe this time, I wanted comfort, health, and possible grandchildren more than I wanted Phish Food.  Maybe this time I believed it was the worth the effort to save my own life.

Maybe this time, I valued myself enough to put my back into it.