Weighty Matters

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Lightness of Being

on February 23, 2012

I don’t know that anyone who is overweight truly doesn’t always have that knowledge and awareness of their extra pounds in their head.  I sure couldn’t ever not think of it.  I often felt like my weight proceeded me into the room and, when I blew past merely large into super obesity, it was always my first consideration.  Whenever I faced a new task or wanted to try a particular activity, I first measured it in my head against my body size.  Would I be able to do it?  What if I couldn’t?  How should I handle it?  There were several years in the 1990s when I was always a nervous wreck about going anywhere that might require me to go through a turnstile, so sure was I that I might get stuck.

These considerations were always accompanied by stress, shame and humiliation.  If I thought this way then surely everybody around me also thought the same things when they saw me.  I don’t actually know if they did, but I had to assume so.  Every once in awhile someone would voice a comment, often as if I couldn’t hear.  To my knowledge there is no such thing as obesity-induced deafness, folks, so please keep that in mind.  We hear and, true or not, it hurts.

Since making the decision to have the weight loss surgery and then actually going through the procedure, I have noticed an incredible shift in my thinking.   I’m losing the “I won’t be able to”, the “I don’t think I should try that” and the “Oh my God, what if the worst happens?” thoughts.  Simple truth is that nothing is getting in the way of my continuous weight loss.  If I can’t physically do something now, at some point in the future, I most certainly WILL.  No more pipe dreams or impossible wishes.

Along with the thoughts, the shame and humiliation are also rapidly fading from my life.

The other day I was on a team from work that was out on our boats.  Specifically, I had to board one boat that was loaded with stuff and pick my way around to a seat.  This was my first week back at work full time and I realized quickly that I don’t have 100% of my strength back, nor my sea legs.  I felt clumsy and unsure of my footing and my team mates were quick to offer a strong hand to help shore up my balance and get me to a safe perch.

The same thing happened when we were out on the water and I had to transfer to another boat.  Without any big deal being made, help was there and I was successful.

In the past, I would have been mortified that I needed this help because my excess weight made me less graceful and sure.  The negative feelings would have burned in my gut like the worst possible heartburn times 20.

Instead, each time I could smile, accept the help and proceed with the task.  I knew in my heart and my mind that it’s not always going to be this way.  The more weight that I lose, the stronger I’ll get and the more balanced I’ll be.  My confidence will also increase after getting pretty beaten down in the last year.  I also remembered that thinner people sometimes need a hand or a balance check — not just overweight folks.   If any of the other folks on the team had needed a hand, any of us would have offered it without hesitation.

We who are overweight, carry more than the extra physical pounds.  We carry a heavy burden on our spirit, often without realizing how much it weighs us down.  It’s a joyful thing to shed that weight too.  Talk about lightness of being!

6 responses to “Lightness of Being

  1. londonmabel says:

    What’s your job?? This is all very mysterious and interesting.

  2. lunarmom says:

    Mary, you mentioned OA a few posts back, I’m just now catching up (blame that damn husband of mine and his days off), but that jumped out at me. Obviously it’s something I should look into further.

    I’ve had a messed up concept of me and food for as long as I can remember. Joining you in this journey has been very helpful. And it’s reminded me that addictions and obsessions, no matter what the focus, CAN be addressed, without being replaced with yet another additction or obsession. Thank you. Again.

    You are so blessed to have that opportunity, being on the water, surrounded by Team-mates who care. The post, and its title, made me smile. Such a beautiful and postive message today.

    • Mary Stella says:

      Julie, I’m sorry for the delay in response. I can honestly say that going to Overeaters Anonymous (OA) was a lifechanger for me and the first time that I truly looked at how I used food as a compulsive behavior or addiction.

      It is based on the 12 Steps of AA. You can find lots of information on line but if you can find meetings in your area, I encourage you to visit a Beginners Meeting and see if the program’s for you.

      Good luck!

  3. Mary Stella says:

    You’re right, Marti, because I never thought of you as a klutz — not when I always saw you gracefully ride horses.

    I carried myself a lot more gracefully when we were younger. In recent years at my highest weight with a weaker knee I no longer felt the same ease of movement.

    It will get better. In fact, it already is!

    Judie, thanks for the karma reminder!

  4. Judie says:

    Thanks for sharing. I think that everyone needs help from time to time. I need help to balance (i’m naturally clumbsy no matter my weight), to get something off a high shelf (aka short stuff ;), to make it down the stairs (when my knee had issues). I don’t mind being there for others and I appreciate it when they are there for me.

    I am glad that you could smile and accept the help; and besides it’s good karma for the helpers. You are just being nice that way. 😉

  5. marti91257@comcast.net says:

    This made me smile…. 🙂
    Between my irrational fear of boats/water and my inherent clumsiness, I would have probably ended up either in the water or doing a face plant in the bottom of the boat… I always considered you to be among the most graceful of my friends… Strange how our perceptions of ourselves vs other’s perception of us rarely line up!

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