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I’ve Always Been Sensitive About My Weight

I’ve always hated being fat.

Yes, I love myself. I went through so many years of self-loathing, and now, despite all my issues, I love myself unconditionally. How can anyone else love you if you don’t love yourself?

But I don’t like being fat.

I don’t like the way I feel; I hate the way I look. From a purely aesthetic point of view, I prefer a slim figure – as many people do. Don’t call me shallow, I know I should accept everyone no matter their weight, and I do, but if we are talking about preferences, I prefer to be thin.

I’ve been fat since the antidepressants pushed me into overweight territory in my later 30s, and I have hated every minute of it.

But, I lived with it for a number of reasons. Laziness; because it’s easier to stay fat than make lasting change. Years of prescriptions and my love to food make me resistant to losing weight, as do my thyroid issues and my diabetes.

But those are excuses, and if I wanted to do something about it, I would have long ago. But like everything else, I have to hit bottom before I do anything about it.

I finally hit bottom.

This is an essay I wrote on Medium back on October 11, 2019, and it was called “Are You Overly Sensitive About Your Weight?” It just speaks to how I felt all those years walking around a fat man, and how despite how I felt, I still was too lazy to make any lasting change.

Take note that this was 3 years before my heart attack, and I knew that if I kept up my lifestyle I would have problems. I still didn’t do anything about it and almost died. It just goes to show that I always have to hit bottom before I look up and see the light.

October 11, 2019

I wedged myself out of the car, huffing a little from the exertion it took to push myself to my feet. It shouldn’t take this much effort, but I had two things working against me: my weight and neuropathy. I never had this much trouble walking when I was thinner, and it only makes me want to lose pounds quicker.

As I was limping to the front door of my in-law’s house, a few little boys were running around the street, and I could see they were looking at me and laughing. I heard one say “Daddy.” As I grabbed the gate to pull it open I heard something else. They were chanting, “baboy, baboy, baboy,” which in Hiligaynon, means pig.

I wanted to say something brilliant like “I may be fat, but you’re stupid, and I can go on a diet,” but they were little kids, and they wouldn’t have understood anyway. Besides, it wouldn’t look good for the big foreigner to be insulting the neighborhood moppets.

I’m sure I blushed red, but I didn’t ask anyone about it because I was terribly upset, and I didn’t trust my voice. My daughter heard them as well, but she didn’t look embarrassed. She held my hand and told me she loved my fat, but the damage was done, and my mood turned ugly.

This situation doesn’t happen all the time, but I feel since I gained this weight that people are looking at me. I know when my wife and I walk the mall, they wonder why this big, fat white man is holding the hand of a young, petite Filipina. The more I think about it though, we do look a little mismatched, so I can’t blame them.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when they judge — if that’s what they are truly doing and it’s not just in my mind.

Except for the few years after I moved to the Philippines and lost 160 pounds, the past two decades have seen me heavy and bulky around the middle. I’m nowhere near the 360 lbs. I was when I first moved countries, but I still don’t feel comfortable with myself physically, and I don’t like the way I look.

I know I don’t have it as bad as others, but I never make myself feel guilty about my feelings because having a mental illness taught me that even though others have it worse than me, I shouldn’t try to invalidate my thoughts and think my feelings are less important than other people.

I don’t like what I see when I look in the mirror. I’m hard on myself — I’ll admit it. My wife never complains — my daughter isn’t embarrassed by me — it’s all my feelings. I know I would feel better if I was 30 or 40 pounds lighter.

I know I’ll never be a fitness model. Even when I was in great shape I still didn’t have what others would consider a nice body. My arms and legs are too skinny, and my middle is too wide for me to be traditionally attractive.

But, as much as I have all that working against me and I don’t like the way I look with these extra pounds, I do love most everything about myself — more so than any other time in my life. I have confidence. But, you would never see me strut or show off.

The more concerning part of this is since I’ve gained weight and the neuropathy has been flaring up relentlessly, I’ve been uncomfortable moving around and doing things that used to be normal for me. Standing for a long time is difficult, and walking long distances makes me want a soft chair with a footstool.

I know I need to lose weight.

I expanded this time in response to my wife, Flora gaining weight during her pregnancy. I’ve also been eating much more during the times when my psychotic episodes are at bay. Food is one thing that always makes me happy. I enjoy mealtime. I also stress-eat, and when anxiety strikes, the first thing I reach for is a cold Coca-Cola.

I tried fasting a few years ago, and it was so difficult because I truly LOVE food. It’s not just sugar either — I love every kind of food that is available to my chubby little fingers. My mother-in-law knows this and will admonish me if I don’t eat enough food. She always thinks I need to eat more.

My wife, who loves me at any size, even noticed I’ve gained weight and told me I should drop a few pounds. She doesn’t care how I look, but she worries about my heart, blood pressure, and potential type-2 diabetes.

I know I need to lose weight.

I still drink Coke, but it’s the zero-sugar version. I haven’t cut back drastically on what I eat, but I have cut back. I’ve stopped dropping by 7-Eleven every time I drive by. Those Snickers bars and bags of chips add up on the waistline.

I’ve planned long walks around my subdivision, but the few times I’ve had the motivation, my neuropathy kept me in a chair. I know the exercise will help everything, but I’ve yet to get enough gumption to push myself out the door.

I’ve not stepped on a scale. I figure I’ll know when I’ve reached a comfortable weight, and I don’t want to make this a numbers game, both in terms of weight and calories.

I’m on the right track, but something needs to light a fire under my ass. I know when I’ve undertaken any major changes, I had completely convinced myself I needed to make the change. Maybe I don’t want it enough yet? Maybe I need to hit bottom before I’ll do something to help myself.

I hope not, because I hate living on the bottom.

Are you sensitive about your weight? Do you want and need to lose a few pounds but find yourself hesitating to do the things that need doing for you to change?

The closest I’ve ever come to being a self-help guru is when I devised a simple method for being successful at anything. I know this is a perfect situation to use this method, so here it is:

  1. Decide, once and for all, that you want or need your life to change.
  2. Take a simple plan.
  3. Take immediate action and put in the work. You can’t be lazy.
  4. Improve a little each day.

I’m currently chugging along on the first step, but I know I can use this framework to get started and finish strong.

Where are you on the journey to lose weight? Do you think this simple method can help you?

January 13, 2024

It’s sad that I almost had to lose my life to finally do something.

I still have the neuropathy issues, and gout (or arthritis, I’m not sure which) has made it so I can’t walk much anymore. I’ve had to sit out my morning walks the last week because of the pain in my feet and ankles.

But I am dropping weight. Eating plant-based and slightly restricting my calories has helped greatly. Also not eating oil or sugar has gone a long way to helping me lose pounds.

I am finally on the path. It’s not even so much about getting that as it is about getting healthy. I want to live, but a thin body is a nice result.

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