Monday, April 26, 2010

A new found respect

So, I must admit, at times I can be quite elitist and very non-empathetic. I have at least realized that I'm never very far away from having my point of view totally blown out of the water. Because I grew up where I did, because I always had two parents who loved me, because I was blessed with the ability to coast through school quite easily, because I don't have a lot of natural curiosity, and for a whole host of other reasons, I have come to realize that I don't always have the most sensitive thoughts to those who are different from me. And so, if you like me before this post, please be sure you read through the entire post before you start hating me. I want you to know how I've grown. And I want to have a record for myself so that I don't forget what I've learned.

This post is going to be about being over-weight. And before any of you roll your eyes at me and say "Well you're very pregnant, of course you're overweight!" I know, and I am in no means trying to get sympathy out of this post. But I've been given a good kick in the rear by having to deal with being bigger than my usual self. So, I'll start with some self-deprication and hopefully by the end, we can all follow my craziness and understand what I'm trying to say.

So, I'm currently 37 weeks pregnant. To go along with that, I'm about 50 lbs. over my dream weight, 40 lbs. over my ideal weight, 30 lbs. over my starting weight, and 25 lbs heavier than I have ever been outside of pregnancy (I'm also beating my final weight during my first pregnancy by about 4 lbs. now.) So, needless to say, I've been feeling big. But more than feeling big (because I have the luxury of putting off judgement on myself until after Jacob comes), I am simply heavy and this is where my epiphany came from.

WARNING: This is the part where you may start hating me, please stick with me to the end.
For most of my life, I looked down on people who were overweight. As a very active person throughout my youth, I didn't even think about what I ate or dieting or anything like that. I had Dr. Pepper & chips for lunch almost every day. I had a big, full meal every night when I got home. I ate when I was hungry and even enjoyed eating a lot when I wasn't really hungry. So, it was my understanding that if people would just get up and be active, they wouldn't have weight problems. As I got into college, I became less active, but between walking up hill both ways to class (Pomfret dorms on the U of A campus it actually happens, and yes, sometimes even in the snow), finding cafeteria food about as tasty as well...there really is no comparison, it's just not great, and getting a workout while cheering on the hogs, I realized another way to not be overweight is to just eat less food when you don't exercise as much. These two philosophies served me until I was about 22.5 years old. Then something happened...I got married. And this adventure sent my body for a loop. It turns out that I can cook some decent food (comparatively speaking of course, and we're comparing to the cafeteria). So I gained the first year 15. Ok, it probably wasn't 15 in the first year, but I got there within the first few years. Fortunately, I was diagnosed with a thyroid problem after about a year and a half into our marriage. Which meant I had a scape goat for my inability to lose weight. So my point of view only marginally widened to people are overweight because they either don't exercise, eat too much, or have a glandular problem. Super I know, I'm quite the tolerant person, huh?

But now my eyes are opened. The shear amount of extra weight on my body has broken it down. I am weak. I can't walk very far or very quickly. I can't stand on my feet for very long. My body just rejects the idea of handling this extra weight. My back hurts. My thighs rub together. My arms jiggle. I don't feel like me. And even if I wanted to, I really don't think I would have the will power to get my heavy self off the couch to exercise. It just hurts. And I'm tired. And I don't want to do anything else but sit. As I said, right now, I can blame it on the pregnancy, but I know myself. And myself would be a puddle on the floor in misery despising my overweight self but not having the drive to really do anything about it. And I haven't even mentioned how things are more difficult with the belly. I have always preferred slip on shoes, mainly because you can slip them off (I am from Arkansas you know a lot of people think we don't wear shoes because we don't have them. Truth is we just don't like them.). But now slip-ons are a necessity. I can't bend far enough to tie my shoes. Shaving is an ordeal and a half. And I always have to be aware of my protruding belly. If I'm not careful I'll knock something right off the cabinet.

In addition to the weight, I find myself unable to control my eating sometimes. I crave sweets these days. I've never craved sweets. Sure I would never turn them down, but I generally didn't buy them. Yesterday I bought an 8 pack of fun-size Baby Ruth candy bars, cartoon fruit snacks, and coconut ice cream. And I will eat them this week, I'm sure of it. Even though I know I don't need them.

All that to say, I'm sorry. For the years I spent in oblivion of thinking that losing weight is simple. Just don't eat as much and go out for a walk every now and then. It's so much deeper than that. It's a strain on the body, that can quickly devolve into a strain on the mind.

And I hope that I lose a lot of the weight when Jacob is born. But I know I'll still have a long way to go to get back to my old self. And I've heard that I'm in for another rude awakening as I begin to battle against my age.

So, I hope my little confession here will remind me that it's not realistic to expect too much out of myself when I'm trying to lose the weight. It's not just as simple as eating less and working out more. It takes a lot of dedication and resolve just to approach the weight loss issue. And more importantly, I've got to stoop making assumptions about the way life is for situations I've never been exposed to in the slightest. I'm sorry to anyone who ever felt that I was judging them or felt that I tried to over-simplify their issues, when I didn't have a clue.

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