Friday, January 2, 2015

Don't "Hate On" Fitness Resolutioners


From the age of approximately 12 years old, through my late 20s, I went from being a "skinny kid" to morbidly obese, with my weight topping out at, undoubtedly, around 300lbs. (I never weighed myself at the time, but I was 275 when I finally checked my weight after having gone down 3 pant sizes, so 300lbs. is my estimate.) I was around my highest weight on the right in the photo above.

I began to lose weight in the late 1980s, having come to a point, as a young adult, that I was not having a fulfilling life, principally -- as is the motivation of most younger people -- in my romantic and sexual life. I "slogged" through weight loss, taking over a year to lose what I assume was approximately 35-40lbs., not long after the pant size change, and weigh-in, noted in the previous paragraph of this Blog entry. That demonstrable physical change inspired me to become much more serious about my weight loss.

I went through all of the typical "processes" for losing weight that most do when not undertaking the challenges under medical supervision, or through the surgeries that were available at the time, or, especially, today's weight-loss surgeries and techniques. I "starved" myself on occasion, finally went to a gym at certain points -- too embarrassed previously ever to set foot in a gym -- but, moreover, finally got myself to stop eating as much as I did before, and exercising regularly; principally, getting on the stationary bicycle in my parents/my apartment and pedaling for an hour every day, or every other day. With changed habits regarding eating, and with the constant pedaling and minor gym-going, I dropped around 95-100lbs. by the following year. When I stopped being vigilant about this process after losing so much weight, the weight continued to come off because of my metabolism. At my lowest, I was a strangely misshapen, 142lbs., with skin that snapped back faster than for most because of my then-young age and habits, but not entirely, and with unusually large thighs for someone as thin as I was because, as a small-framed person who formerly carried a lot of weight, I was "pear shaped" -- on my physical structure, the weight had nowhere else to go but the lower portion of my body as my chest, and upper stomach areas couldn't hold it -- and the shape remained after my weight loss, but at a completely different (far smaller) size category. (These latter factors remain the bane of my existence--that I would still have to work exponentially harder on my body to significantly change these two factors, and a bit of surgery would still be required, despite my skin recovery, to near-rid myself of evidence of the now long-ago damage that I did to myself.)

People were stunned by my physical changes and applauded them. Then, I experienced a multi-decade struggle with keeping the weight off, going up and down in my weight, but never, fortunately, exceeding the "180s" in the pounds range. However, for me, a still small person of only around 5'8", weight over the 150s is still very noticeable, and unacceptable in the "social context" in which I live. (I won't elaborate further on this on this Blog.)

However, I did it. I mostly maintained the weight loss for around 25 years. I never went back in the direction of uncontrollable eating, and no physical activity whatsoever, that formerly resulted in my life-altering morbid obesity. Through much, and continued, discrimination in my own social settings -- wherein I may have "given up" long ago because, while the weight loss yielded many, many positive results in my life, including in some of the areas to which I am referring regarding my social existence -- I still struggle to do things to remain, at the very least, not obese (or significantly obese).

Discrimination

I've referred above to discrimination and social pressure. One of the things that I often see from many of my fit friends/acquaintances/social media connections is disgust and disdain when people make New Year's Resolutions to exercise, and to join a gym, but, often, get to the gym and find the same lack of motivation and fear that they experienced before doing this and then "jump ship" a month or two later. This "crowds" the gym, with people that "take too much time" to do whatever they are doing -- use machines, use weights, use facilities -- and are often sloppy, and, moreover, "inconvenient" to "regular," fit, year-round gym-goers.

Let me say that, had I not taken a first step in my wellness in the late 1980s, it is very likely that I would be a very unhealthy person if I were still alive today either completely in, or in some variation of, my prior physical condition. The referenced article from "Rate Your Burn" provides very nice thoughts about this phenomenon. It says to the "members of the club" -- a.k.a. those who have already long been highly motivated to do, or have overcome their prior fears of, physical exercise -- who so often discriminate against those who are attempting, even if ultimately unsuccessfully, to change their health and physical appearance: Please, try to turn your feelings around, and give love and patience to your fellow human being. For a few moments, in your mind, forget the inconvenience to your efficiencies when at the gym, and show some kindness, for we are all fragile and what you have now could, at any moment, be taken away from you.

“Life has meaning only in the struggle. Triumph or defeat is in the hands of the Gods. So let us celebrate the struggle!” ~ Swami Sivananda

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