How do you feel? Appreciating the little things, 140lbs and counting

“How do you feel after losing the weight?”  That’s a question I get asked on a daily basis, the truth is I don’t feel very different much of the time or maybe it’s that the change has been gradual enough that I don’t notice any specific changes.  Although I do feel like I have more energy I would say the biggest changes are probably a culmination of little things, things average sized people take for granted.  This may come off as a “list of things Tony has broken” but without being overly dramatic this is really what I notice on a day to day basis.

I can sit on folding chairs that I wouldn’t dream of trying to sit on before and although breaking a folder chair or two has been the source of comic relief in my family it makes it very hard when going to weddings or other events where they don’t have full sized chairs.  I had resorted to bringing my own folding chair to most occasions and as you can imagine that’s both a hassle and embarrassing.  There were several weddings and functions where I just stood off to the side instead of risking a chair explosion during an inopportune time.

I no longer need to request a table, or a seat without arms, when dining out at restaurants.  Again this may seem like a little thing but not being able to sit in a booth with a fixed table or in a chair with arms can be incredibly limiting for seating.  Either you get the embarrassment of not being able to fit in a booth, having to ask your hostess to move you, or you have to watch them hunt frantically for the one or two chairs in the venue without arms.  Although we dine out much less often it’s such a relief to not have to worry about special seating arrangements.

That bring’s me to breaking furniture, more specifically toilet seats.  The most embarrassing moment of my life was when I visited my in-laws for the first time and I broke their toilet seat.  There really isn’t a great way to tell someone you just met that not only are you moving their daughter across the country (this in itself is a whole other story) but you’re such a fat-ass you broke their toilet seat.  Couple this with cracking a toilet seat or two at work, a customer’s couch while on an appointment, a few car seats, our own living room couch and chair (twice), and countless desk chairs I knew something had to give.  I’m still leary of lighter weight furniture but it hasn’t been a chronic issue since I began this journey.  (I probably spent about $3,000 and several weeks of construction on my bathroom over 10 years from damage to the tub and tiles from my weight – Thanks Dad for your help and understanding)

Weight limits, for those of you of slighter build you likely don’t face these problems very often but once you hit the 500+ mark you are basically over the weight limit of everything.  I couldn’t even do the stress test at my cardiologists facility because their equipment was only rated to 450lbs.  Most “heavy duty” scales don’t clear 500lbs either, so many of the offices I did my pre-op work at couldn’t even accurately weigh me. Furniture is usually only rated to 250lbs per person, beds included, and if you have ever tried to buy “heavy duty” furniture, exercise equipment or even something seemingly as simple as a bicycle you understand its astronomically more expensive.  Imagine joining a weight loss program and not being able to use any of the equipment, yeah I’ve been there.

This also reared its ugly head when going to events like football and baseball games, the movie theater or anywhere with stadium seating.  I actually had to google seating sizes for different venues to see if they had seats that would fit me and after a while I just gave up going altogether to avoid the embarrassment of not being able to fit in the seats and having to stand the entire time.  As much as I hated it I often had to ask for handicap seating or rooms if they were available, I didn’t feel handicapped and I didn’t want to be “that guy”.  In college this was an issue during lectures, I had to sit in the end seats (they were handicapped seating) to sit comfortably.  When we went on a cruise we had to request a handicap room so I could comfortably shower without having to leave the door to the bathroom open.  I couldn’t dream of flying someplace without buying two seats or flying first class so we drove everywhere, 16+ hours each way to Florida for a long weekend, or I skipped the trip and flew my wife and kid down without me.  (fyi 99% of all motorcycles, airplanes, canoes and boats are not “Tony Sized”, not even cruise ships)

Cars were another pain point, either the seat belts didn’t, my legs were crammed into the dash, or the steering wheels didn’t adjust enough and they were jammed into my legs, groin, or gut.  Climbing in and out of our econo work van was nearly impossible since the seat did not adjust back and the steering wheel was locked in place.  I basically had to squash and meld my self around the steering wheel every time I hopped in and out.  I would come home with bruises on my stomach from cramming my way into spaces or having objects poke my gut while working.  Long trips would generally lead to days of leg and foot pain if I drove or sat in the front and often times it was easier to sit in the back seat so I didn’t run into issues with center consoles or dashboards.  I once was actually pulled over for not wearing a seat belt and when I sheepishly demonstrated that I couldn’t buckle the belt I was berated on the side of the road about either losing weight or getting a seat belt extender, yeah that went about as awkwardly as you would expect.

So I guess you could say that’s how I notice or feel a difference since the surgery.  Although I still struggle with seeing the weight loss in the mirror, as many of us do and which is a topic for another day, I do notice and appreciate all these small changes which help tremendously with not only my anxiety but my overall quality of life.  If you have your own stories or small triumphs please comment and share below, I would love to hear them.

I would also like to thank my incredibly thoughtful friends throughout the years who made sure I had a “Tony Chair”.  Whether they bought special heavy duty folding chairs, considered passenger leg room in their new cars a bit more, bought heavier duty furniture, or set aside a special chair for me at their wedding I greatly appreciated it all.

Body to Baby: A Lifetime of Struggle, A Blessing and Now a Curse

For as long as I could remember I was always “chubby”. ‘Oooh my gosh! Look at those chubby cheeks!!’ Is what my mom says was a huge draw for people when I was a baby. When I was older I got into sports but before a softball game my mom would make me a grilled cheese for breakfast, this lasted well into my teenage years. “Balanced Breakfast” was never in my vocabulary except when it was taught in Health class. In one ear and out the other though.

My weight problem would haunt me throughout my childhood. I was into sports but exercise could only do so much. Then I became a teenager. A teenager with too much angst and a mother who wasn’t so much helpful on the emotional end. ‘You’re fat/that doesn’t fit right’ etc., was said to me almost daily, to where I could have become bulimic but instead I hid in large clothes, ate when I was sad and used my “bright personality” as a crutch.

Like any overweight kid there came a barrage of “mean girls” and idiot boys who also liked to point out that I was fat. By the time I got into high school I turned the whole thing into a self-deprecating joke. ‘Oh am I fat? I didn’t realize that, THANK YOU for the memo.” One time I can remember I was helping out as a backstage person for a play our school was putting on. Because I was, and still am, helpful I was putting makeup on for a guy who was part of the cast. Apparently the guys girlfriend, or the girls in the cast, didn’t care for my friendliness and I received a letter written in black eyeliner (black eyeliner I had purchased for the cast to use). The letter basically said that I was a fat cow and I should kill myself. That was one of the lowest points of my high school experience.

I graduated and moved on into being an adult. Adult stressors kicked in, work, college, boyfriends, and I just didn’t pay attention to what I ate, and then there was booze. While I didn’t drink myself into a stupor or anything when I worked the graveyard shift in my early twenties nothing was open except for bars, diners and fast food establishments. I never thought anything of it. I dated on and off and none of my “significant others” thought it was their place to tell me that I probably shouldn’t eat five tacos and wash it down with a beer on Taco Tuesday. I just kept on keeping on all along still using my personality to get me by when mentally I was still that high school nobody that wanted love and acceptance.

I tried so many times to do the gym thing, but when you don’t know what you’re doing and you cannot afford personal trainers or the classes, $10 dollars a month got me nowhere. I tried Slim Fast, Jenny Craig, and TrimSpa, you name it I probably tried it and got sick cause of it. My turning point regarding my weight loss was actually my Dad. While I learned to tune out the negative conversations from my Mom it was my Dad who made a passing comment to me while I was visiting that turned my world upside down.

“You’re getting kind of fat no?”

That was it, my dad thought I was fat…not cute chubby, but fat. It sent me into full on panic mode, I weighed myself when I got home. 290….two-hundred and ninety pounds. I cried and tried to figure out how that could even be. I gave up and gave in. I needed help.

I started my bariatric journey in January of 2013 and had my surgery in July. I remember in group therapy we had to choose one thing we would do in a year we never thought we could. I chose running a Tough Mudder. After I was cleared to work out and was able to actually eat something more than just broth and cottage cheese, I hit the ground running…hard. I signed up for Crossfit and broke myself mentally and physically. I followed my nutritionist guidelines and never stepped on a scale because I knew if I focused on the pounds lost I wouldn’t see the muscles gained. I ran my first mudder, the Dirty Girl, in June of 2014. Over the next two years I would sprinkle in two more mudders, two inflatables when finally a chipped bone in my left foot landed me in physical therapy the summer of 2016. By the time I was benched I went from 290 to 155, a size 22 to a size 8, I could squat press 200lbs. I was determined to get healed and back into the fray.

Then November came. I was still in physical therapy because I’m an idiot who couldn’t sit still and made a few things (besides my foot) worse. I was coming home from a camping trip and realized I was “late” honestly, I thought because I was camping in below freezing temperatures for 2 nights straight I froze my insides. At that point I had been married to my husband for only 6 months and I was a half a pack a day smoker, surely I couldn’t be. I was. We were over the moon excited, until I started gaining that baby weight.

I was a hormonal crying mess my first trimester, partly because of my body rebalancing for growing a tiny human and partly because to me everything that I worked hard for crashed down like a house of cards. I tried to watch what I ate but physically didn’t have it in me to work out any more than walking to and from my car to work and up and down the garage stairs. Oddly enough what I usually ate (or forgot to eat) before I was pregnant wasn’t enough, I had to think of not only myself now, so I ate more, which made me feel worse. It’s kind of hard to accept that “it’s for the baby” when in group therapy “weight was my enemy.” So I went from 165 to 215, needless to say I wasn’t happy about it but wasn’t able to do much to prevent it.

On July 18, 2017 I gave birth to my handsome little man. I am a Mom and it’s exciting and exhausting.

But now…what about me? Last time I weighed myself I was 195, good but I have 30 pounds to go to get back to a weight and a pants size I am happy with. But getting back to Crossfit is not in my cards, sleeping isn’t in my cards either and yet I keep ebb and flowing through my days, my work outs are lifting my son and the walk to and from my car. I’m still not eating great but eating less.

I have to go back to being accountable for my actions, I have to start pushing past the pain and making time for myself. But, how do we do that? How do moms of infants make time to work out? You can straighten out the “eat right ship” again, but man it’s hard when you have had chicken nachos at 2am because the “baby” wanted them.

So I guess my journey starts anew.

Submitted by Jenn M., with light editing by permission.

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑