I'm sitting cross-legged on my therapist's couch 4 months after my husband's announcement that he wants a divorce when my therapist informs me that he thinks I should start dating again.
I had told myself and others that I was going to take time off to concentrate on myself for once. Between a husband and three boys, I didn't know who I was anymore. I just wanted to hang out with my girlfriends, drink martinis like a fish, and let the hair grow long on my legs if I wanted. I had even gone so far as to announce to my friends that I was going to take a full year off from any kind of relationship.
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Gonna Fly Now
Cue the Rocky music and then come back and start reading.
My alarm goes off at 6 a.m.. Thank goodness daylight savings time makes it light outside by 5 a.m. or I’d never be able to haul my ass out of bed. Hitting the snooze is oh so tempting. I have to get up though; someone is waiting for me.
I’ve decided the time has finally come for me to lose some weight. I have approximately 80 pounds to lose, and the situation has not been getting any better. It’s time to get back to my “dating weight,” so I have enlisted the help of Zach, a personal trainer at Experience Fitness. He is expecting me to arrive at the gym by 7 a.m..
Oh, fuck! Accountability, and the fact that I hate being late for things are the only things that get me out of bed.
Although I never seem to get to bed before midnight, I roll out of bed on six hours of sleep. I shuffle off to the bathroom to find my eyes and wash my face. I put my contacts in, wrap my hair into a ponytail, and put on my workout clothes.
I wonder out to the kitchen. There is no way I will make it through a workout without breakfast. I’m a bitch without breakfast. My nutritionist told me to eat within one hour of getting out of bed. She wants me to get 21 to 28 grams of protein during breakfast. It’s the one bit of advice that I’ve found easy to follow.
I usually keep a stash of boiled eggs in my fridge, but today I whip up a protein fruit shake. It’s actually tastes decent if I toss in a dash of vanilla extract to cut the nasty taste of the rice protein powder. Vanilla almond milk works too, but it’s sort of high in sugar. I gulp down my shake, take my vitamins, grab my bag, and head to Experience Fitness to meet Zach.
I walk in and, of course, I am the fattest person in the gym. This is what it’s come to. This is how far I have let myself go, but although I talked about losing weight before, I don’t think I was ready before now. There were a lot of emotional issues wrapped up in my weight gain over the last four years. I’ve said this before, but eating and drinking were the things I did to deaden the way I felt about my marriage.
When my husband left, I didn’t think anyone would be attracted to me because of my weight. For a while, I continued to sit home eating and drinking as I had during my marriage. It was easy and comfortable and didn’t require me to change. Of course, my therapist threw a monkey wrench in the whole pity party when he prescribed that I go out and date 100 men. I think I needed to work through my feelings about all of that before I could get to the point where I would walk back into a gym again.
What I’ve come to realize over the past four months is that I don’t have any problem finding men to date. In fact, regardless of my weight, I don’t have any problem finding men that want to go out on second dates. (That wasn’t supposed to be part of the plan.)
In addition to the emotional eating, however, there was also an element of wanting to become invisible involved in my weight gain that I need to address. There are few more effective things a person can do to become invisible in the U.S. than to become obese. It’s weird, but during my first date with the Financial Planner, we ended up talking about Afghanistan and the wearing of the burka. I had stated that if I had to choose between being able to fly and being invisible, I would rather be invisible. Although I’m sure a burka is hot, cumbersome, and restricts one’s peripheral vision, I think the anonymity it would afford might actually be refreshing.
I was not always fat. Throughout most of my life, I was relatively thin. That’s me in 2003 on the right. However, I was never very comfortable with men looking at me on the street. When I was thin, I was afraid that men were only interested in me because of my looks. I didn’t trust their intentions. The other comfortable thing about being overweight is that I feel like men are more interested in me because of my personality or my intelligence than my looks. Whether this is really true or not is irrelevant. What counts is how it feels to be able to walk down the street without attracting attention. Right now, I have 80 pounds of burka fat protecting me. I’m going to be forced to deal with those feelings as the pounds come off, but for right now, I will just acknowledge that I need to learn to fly instead of be invisible.
I’m sure as I go through my weight loss journey other emotions will come up, but for now, I feel ready to take my weight loss goals seriously. Here’s where I’m starting.
I arrive at Experience Fitness, Zach weighs me, and it turns out that I am actually 248 pounds, not 240. Ok, so that means I have 88 pounds to lose. Here’s what I currently look like on the left. Luckily, Zach didn’t take one of those Biggest Loseresque pictures of me in my workout clothes.
I have borderline high blood pressure. Ironically, my cholesterol is good.
I’m on the verge of being asthmatic, which my doctor directly attributes to my weight gain. The problem is bad enough that she prescribed an inhaler for me last year.
I have knee pain and back pain, partially due to my weight gain and partially due to a series of accidents involving a snowboard, a bicycle, and dodgeball. (Don’t ask.) I’ll probably have more stats for you later.
Zach is searching for that pinchy fat thing.