Being Overweight – Part 1: A Day in My Shoes (or should I say Pants?)

I have spent the evening scanning a slew of family photos and came across a few of me when I was younger…back in the 1970s.  I was much thinner then and was in good shape athletically.  But, the years have not been so nice to me in terms of weight gain and body shape.  I will note some of these issues in Part 2 or 3, which I will post over the next few days.  Below you can see a couple of photos of me from the 1970s and then one from October of last year (a good profile photo to show my size)

David and siblings – 1979

David in Ogaki, Japan 1977

David in Illinois – October 2012

I consider myself pretty active for a guy my size.  But, I do deal with issues.  For those reading this that don’t get to experience what it is like being overweight, fat, obese or whatever else you want to call it, here are a few things….

First I will deal with the “humor” part…that is my coping mechanism…

I am PHAT…Pretty, Handsome and Tall (not FAT)

When I need to squeeze into a chair or a car or something I will typically say “No problem…fat is pliable.”

When grandkidz or little ones say something about me being fat, I typically note that I have a “big heart” and need more room for it.

I may also jokingly say to people that I still I have my “winter coat” on…

Of course, then there is the name of this blog…”Sorry About Your Weight” — always was my play on words when at a fast food restaurant drive thru and they say “Sorry about your wait.”

But, being big like this is not fun.

  • I always know when I am being stared at.  People have a tendency to judge overweight people as fat and lazy and out of control…  I am none of those!!
  • Flying in an airplane is not fun.  I have been approached by airline staff on more than one occasion with the hint that I might not fit into the seats.  I ALWAYS tell them that I fly all the time.  But, it is embarrassing to be singled out.
  • Then there are the new full body scanners.  These machines ALWAYS tag me.  In fact, I now joke about them as well….  “Time for my preflight massage.”  Yes, I get patted down at every airport, every time.
  • Speaking of airplanes, the bathrooms on those planes are not conducive for regular sized people, let alone big ones like me.  Boy do I have a couple of real horror stories from international flights I took and HAD to use the restroom.  I will spare you readers the details.
  • Then there are the chairs in conference rooms at hotels.  Twice last year I was sitting in chairs that buckled under my weight.  I try to avoid these chairs, but sometimes I can’t.  Imagine how it feels to be sitting in the front of a room in a chair and then it buckles under you…and everybody is gawking.
  • People always notice you.  I recall a few years back going swimming with my kids in Arizona.  I am a pretty good swimmer, even as a big guy.  And I love diving!!  Well, I climbed up the high dive and when I was up there the whole pool went silent…NO JOKE!!…everyone was in awe that a 350 pound plus guy would even try.  I did a double somersault and a cannonball….made a big splash in and out of the pool!!!
  • Being tall and heavy also has its problems.  I go to the Big and Tall Stores and they are actually “Big or Tall” stores.  I can hardly ever find a pair of pants with a 64 waist and a 32 inseam.  I guess that guys 6’3″ tall are not supposed to be fat too….  Only short guys are fat…  hmmmm
  • Of course, it seems that I am always having to buy pants.  Seems like the crotch ALWAYS rips in pants I get.
  • I now go to get pedicures because it is a challenge to clip my toenails.  Much easier (and actually quite nice) to get that pedicure.
  • Finally, there are the other issues with overweight…bad knees, sciatica, comfortable sleeping positions, getting up from chairs

Ironically, I don’t actually see myself as a fat person.  I am always shocked when I see a photo like the one above.  My screen name Sumoflam almost is indicative of this… I see myself as a flamingo wrapped in a sumo body.  In fact, I saw a funny comic the other day.  So typical…

How men see themselves

Ultimately, I do know I am overweight.  But, what is exactly am I over.  I am not a believer in the BMI Index (see this article for a recent study on fat vs. thin health and the BMI).  I think they are biased.  I am also rethinking this entire 21 Day Kickstart thing.  As I looked more closely, the premise seems that they are focused on weight loss.  Why do they push it at the beginning of the year.  I am NOT doing this for weight loss.  I am working on vegan eating habits because I believe they will help my overall health…my cholesterol, my blood pressure, my hypertension.  Weight loss will be something that comes as a result.  But, I need to focus on a more healthy lifestyle.

A recent study (see link) came to the conclusion that “Healthy lifestyle habits are associated with a significant decrease in mortality regardless of baseline body mass index.”  What is meant by this is eating habits, exercise, etc.

Here, “Healthy Lifestyle Habits” are defined as

  • eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables daily (I have been doing this the last week and will continue)
  • exercising regularly (I don’t do enough of this)
  • consuming alcohol in moderation, and (which I don’t do anyway)
  • not smoking (I never have smoked)

 

Admittedly, I have not had a very healthy lifestyle, especially in terms of activity.  But that is improving.

The vegan meals are helping me feel more energized.  I walked a half mile on Friday and on Saturday.  Knees hurt and sciatica burned, but I did it and I feel better about it.  I look forward to a visit to the gym tomorrow.

My follow up to this — Part 2 — will look at how I got from 1977 thinness to 2012 fatness.  Watch for it soon.

 

 

 

Janice - August 22, 2014 - 19:13

I’m enjoying your site, thank you for sharing your story and for your posts! I lost my Dad to heart disease and reading your post about being overweight was emotional for me. I watched my Dad, who was an athlete when he was young become obese and it was just so sad and awful, it was so limiting for him. I am normal weight but have about another 10lbs I want to lose to feel optimal and I am on McDougall’s program for the past month+ (lost about 10lbs so far). It’s going well and I actually am enjoying it. I wish you and your wife the best with your diet. Your website is great and will help many!

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