Anyone who has ever been over weight (now or previously) knows all to keenly just how the excess pounds negatively affects their lives. The limits on physical activities, the limits on emotions, etc.
But the other day I began wondering about the effects obesity plays in the lives of those closest to us. Specifically spouses, life partners, children, parents, siblings, friends, hell even pets.
As I was tossing this idea around, I started having a conversation with my husband, Chris, about it. I told him that I know how my weight affects me, how it affects me being the person I want to be. I explained to him that my weight at times hinders me emotionally, often preventing me from being the wife and mother I want to be.
I conveyed to Chris my desire to essentially interview the spouses or life partners and children of current and former over weight individuals. I am hoping to get an insight into their points of view.
To understand how someone so significant to their lives struggles with weight affects or limits them, beyond physical activities. More or less, the emotional aspect of watching a loved one destroy themselves one bite at a time. How does it make them view the world? How do they view their wife, husband, mom, dad, son, daughter, mother or sister?
After laying out the expectations I had for an interviewees, I suggested to Chris that perhaps I could write out a series of questions that he and our oldest daughter could answer.
I could sense the hesitation, but I knew my 9-year-old would be brutally honest. The problem though, is I am not sure she would fully comprehend what it is I am searching for.
After some negotiations, I had to swear that nothing Chris would say could be used to get mad at or fuel a future fight with him, he very reluctantly agreed to give it ago.
I spent some time coming up with well thought out questions, ones I hoped would open up a flow of dialog between us. I am to the point now where I feel like if we know what the issues are and confront them head on, we can begin to correct the situation. Thus, allow the healing to begin.
Anyways, I ease into my barrage of questions. Asking simple ones first, followed by the ones I thought would be received with more in-depth answers.
Chris and I sat there, going over the questions, one at a time for more than an hour.
During that hour I managed to elicit 12 one-word answers and about a half-dozen or so I don’t knows.
Frustrated at my apparent lack of interviewing skills, I announced firmly “We are done here!”.
As I walked away, I hear Chris mumble something under his breath. And in true mom form, I turn quickly and snap “What did you just say?”.
Chris cleared his throat and looking like a whipped puppy whispered “I’m sorry I am emotionally retarded”.
After I spent some time stroking his ego, he quickly returned to his normal, jubilant self.
Yesterday morning we were suppose to go to the YMCA to work out together. Par for the course, I found 1,000,000 + 1 excuses not to go: I didn’t sleep well, I don’t feel good, the baby still has a runny nose…
Instead of taking action, we are apparently still in the planning phase, because we then spent the next 3 hours having a healthy debate on where to eat lunch.
We weighted the pros & cons, healthy vs. unhealthy, sit down vs. fast food, mid-priced vs. frugal.
Eventually we settled on a local Japanese steak house that we adore, or an unhealthy, sit down, mid-priced lunch.
Now, you should understand that Chris has on occasion done a favor for one of the chefs there. So, of course guess who our chef was today…that’s right.
This particular chef is my preferred chef when we go there. Each of the chefs cook essentially that same things, but they season and spice just a little bit differently.
I ordered my normal steak and shrimp. It comes with soup, fried rice and vegetables. Normally I ditch the veggies and go for the extra rice and change my soup to a salad. Today, however, I elected to only change my soup to a salad.
You know, cause it’s about making healthier choices.
I guess this chef felt as if he owed us something, because he gave Chris and I extra everything! Extra steak, extra shrimp, extra chicken (for Chris).
I wanted to be good. Really, I did.
I scarfed about 1/3 of my huge plate down and boxed the rest up for later.
Guilt set in immediately. Why, oh, why could I not have said thanks, but no thanks? Why couldn’t I have portioned out a reasonable sized serving of the rice, veggies, steak and shrimp and then packed the rest in a to go box? Instead I, again as usual, made a glutton of myself.
Guilt. Regret. Guilt.
So it was no surprise when at 6 p.m. last night, I found myself sitting with a monthly pass in hand at a Weight Watchers meeting.
I need help. I need accountability. It is quite clear that Chris and I together are much more dangerous and prone to sabotage.
I arrived at the Weight Watchers meeting a few minutes early to get signed up.
The lady helping me to sign up was very friendly. She was an older lady with older lady pink hair. It kind of threw me off when she exclaimed loudly “I just love all of the vibrant colors in your tattoo!”
I blushed and thanked he quietly as every, single woman in that building filed past me to get a gander. Can’t you just imagine the reactions had they seen the rest of my tattoos?
The old yet tattoo admiring pink haired lady then requested that I step on the scales. HORROR!
It hadn’t been 5 minutes since I had lived through the tattoo exhibit, I wasn’t certain she was going to be able to keep herself from exclaiming or gasping in shock at my weight.
Timidly, I slipped my shoes off and climbed aboard.
Well, the little older tattoo admiring pink haired lady didn’t have to say anything. When I saw 334.4 lbs flash across the LED display, I let out a bit of a whimper. Actually, it sounded more like when you step on a cat’s tail. Again, every eye was on me.
Five pounds. 5 lbs gained since Monday. Yes people, it can really be done. I am living, breathing proof of it. For now at least.
The monthly pass wasn’t a hard up sale at this point.
I enjoyed the meeting. Way more than any of the other meetings I have ever been to. What I found to be most beneficial though, was listening to the other women. Most of them had things to add to the discussion about things they find that work for them.
Once the meeting was over, it was time for a one on one with the leader. Basically the leader gives you the brief ins and outs of the Points Plus program.
The leader started our conversation with a simple question, “What has brought you here tonight?”
I asked “Honestly?”
She looked at me with that just say it, I’ve heard it all before look and says “Of course”, followed by the obligatory smile.
I am thinking. Do I give her the standard to be healthy spill or do I lay it all out there?
I decided to skip all of that and go directly to the reason why I finally decided I wanted to lose weight.
Boldly I stated “Because I want to run the New York City marathon before I turn 40.”
The leader then kind of just stared at me, like she wasn’t sure what to say next.
Finally she smiled widely and with a very sincere warmth said “That is probably the most direct answer I have ever gotten to that question. And, I’ve been a leader for over 8 years now!”
Really? Because up until that moment, I had thought it was actually a very silly notion on my part.
The leader and I chatted about the program and how to get started for the next 30 minutes or so.
I left that Weight Watchers meeting feeling happy that I had decided to go, informed and motivated. I felt as though I can do this.
I can do this.
On my way home, my dear, sweet husband, Chris, calls me. We chit-chatted for a few minutes when he said “How sold are you on this Weight Watchers thing?
Hesitantly, I asked why.
“I want you to go to Whataburger and get me a bacon double cheese burger, no lettuce, whatasized with fries and a Dr. Pepper.
Groan – again, I asked why.
“Because my diet has already been bad today, it won’t hurt.”
Who am I to judge? How many middle of the night trips has Chris made to various fast food restaurants for me?
I tell him that if he really, really wanted me to I would, but I thought we were going to try to do better…
Then Chris yells at me, YELLS “DON’T JUDGE ME! I’M WEAK!”
I’m weak too. Chris said his burger and fries were good. Great in fact.
I elected not to partake in this binge.
That, alone, is a small victory!After proof reading this to Chris, he wanted me to clarify the “favors” he does for the chef. Chris is tutoring the chef from the Japanese steakhouse how to obtain his CDL (commercial drivers license). Then he proceeded to lecture me on why it is bad to portray him as an emotionally retarded, drug dealing binge eater. He is currently feeling guilty about that cheeseburger. **Side note: No drugs were actually sold, bought, used or possessed during the making of this blog.