August 9, 2004 at 10:55 pm
There hasn’t been a day in the past 10 years of my life that I have not said to myself “I need to lose weight.” This thought has become as much a part of my mental routine as thinking “I’m sleepy” or “I’m hungry.” Maybe everyone has one of these inner voices that tells them they aren’t good enouch, they aren’t doing anything with their life, that they’ll never achieve anything worthwhile. Mine has spent the last decade telling me I’m a fat ass.
Because I berate myself about my obesity every day, I have completely desensitized myself to it. It’s become normal. The necessity of losing weight today becomes no more or less important than it was yesterday or it will be tomorrow.
I will sometimes reflect on my situation, my 200 pounds of excess, and shamefully wonder “How did I let it go this far?” I’ve become freakishly large and I don’t even remember it happening. I believe it’s because being fat lost all shock value to me. It doesn’t scare me like it scares a skinny girl who’s just put on ten pounds and can’t fit into her favorite jeans anymore. Ten pounds is trivial to me, it’s such a small percentage of my overage. Who would notice if I lost only ten pounds? Being fat becomes normal. It became as much a part of my identity as being the smart one or the girl who was good with computers.
Occasionally I will get a “wake up call,” though not from any front desk. The most recent one was my gall bladder full of crystallized stones. People who have their gall bladders removed are usually in their 40’s. I had just turned 23. In hindsite, it’s obvious that I was having problems even as young as 17, though it took half a decade for anyone to figure out what was wrong.
When I went for my consult the doctor confronted me about my weight like very few people ever do. He tactfully let me know that I was in for more serious problems if I didn’t lose pounds, now. He recommended the weight loss center at their hospital. Strangely, my own personal physician had never mentioned my obesity in check-ups, never hounded me to shed weight.
The conversation made me embarassed about my condition, but it also made me relieved that someone was finally calling me on my shit. The surgeon’s comments briefly shook me out of my reverie and my remarkable ability to ignore an obvious problem.
However, it is best to act on a “wakeup call” immediately. If you don’t get out of bed immediatley you’ll fall back to sleep. I think I made a half-hearted attempt to lose weight, but after my surgery I needed to rest several days. When I was healed I just slacked back to normal again. Back into thinking “You should lose weight,” but never actually doing anything. Back to where being fat was normal.
Resensitizing myself to the urgency and severity of my weight problem is important in keeping myself motivated. If I’m tired and don’t want to walk, I have to remind myself that my body will not tolerate this abuse forever. I have to stop thinking “Damn, I should really lose weight” or “I’ll start dieting tomorrow, really” and instead say “Today I AM going to lose weight.” Tomorrow is today. Very self-helpy and cheesy, but true.