This post is not about pity. It is not about playing the Poor-Me card, nor is it about hoping for validation and praise.
This post is also not about shame or embarrassment, nor is it about courage or bravery.
For that matter, this post is not even really about me. This post is about you.
Here’s some information you might find interesting: As of this past Saturday, I weigh 347 pounds. That’s “three hundred and forty-seven”, for those of you who think I might’ve made a typo and not noticed. Yep. 347. I am a 347-pound woman. That’s where the “no shame, embarrassment, courage, or bravery” bit comes in; some folks would freak out about having their weight plastered across the cyber-universe, but frankly, there’s a certain anonymity here. Some of you know me–like, you know my real name, and where I live, and all that jazz–but if you know me, then you’ve probably already noticed that I’m not a skinny Minnie. For the rest of the world, though, I’m just some random blogger. Some random heavy blogger, now that that little tidbit is out there in the open. I weigh 347 pounds, and that’s just a truth of my universe, in the same way that “I’m a brunette” is a truth of my universe. It is what it is. And what it is, is 347.
Now let’s do a bit of math. Think about your current weight. For the sake of making it simple, let’s say you (played here by John Q Exampleson) weigh 170 pounds. Subtract your weight from my weight; in the case of you/John, the difference is 177 pounds. Got that? Now think about someone who weighs that approximate amount. To make it easy, I’ll pretend that John here has a friend named Mary Q Anotherexample, who also happens to weigh 170 pounds. That’s close enough for government work.
My weight, then, is John’s weight plus Mary’s weight. If you’re playing along at home, it’s your weight plus your friend-who-weighs-the-difference’s weight.
Now: imagine giving your friend a piggyback ride all day, every day. You can never, ever, ever put them down. You must carry them up stairs with you; you must let them sit on your lap, and pick them up every time you want to go refill your water glass; if you ever have to outrun a pack of wild dogs, you must do so with your friend on your back.
That’s my daily life, friends. I have to pick up the weight of two 170-pound people just to get out of bed in the morning.
We live in a split-level house, with the living room eight steps downstairs from the kitchen/bathroom/bedroom level. Yes, it’s exactly eight stairs. I’ve counted, because I cannot see the stairs beneath me (I only know I have feet because of my mirror. I have not actually looked down and seen my feet from above since approximately high school), so it’s good to know where I am on the stairs lest I miss a step and fall and break my neck. If I am in the living room and want to refill my water, I have to carry two 170-pound people up the stairs and back down again. If I do jumping jacks, it’s like a 170-pound person doing jumping jacks with a 170-pound friend strapped to her back. Heck, if I just stand up from the sofa, it’s like bringing a friend along for the ride.
And this is where the “no pity or validation” part comes in, because this post is not about me. This post is about you.
I do not tell you these things so that you can make sympathetic noises or congratulate me for simply having the gusto to wake up and move around during the day. I tell you these things to make one point very, very clear to you: If I can do this, you can totally do this.
Your weight is irrelevant. I don’t know how much you weigh, and unless you choose to share with the class, I’m probably not going to know your weight. That’s fine with me. What I do know is that the vast majority of the people I know are smaller than I am. Most of you weigh less than I do. Your struggles are no less valid as a result; your challenges are no less challenging. There are a million things that can complicate the Getting Healthier goal, and I am not here to downplay any of them.
What I am here to do is to remind you that it’s totally ok to have self-pitying days, when your get-up-and-go has gotten up and gone; it’s ok to have days when you feel like exercising and watching your weight are simply too much to be asked; it’s ok to have days when you’re pretty sure you’re the most pathetic thing that ever crawled out of the primordial sludge and the best bet is just to slink back into bed and hope nobody notices your existence. But on those days when you do find the gusto to get up and do something? Do it big. You can do this. You can totally do this. Do one more rep. Increase the weight you’re lifting by one pound, or five pounds, or ten pounds. Take one more lap around the track or the block or the city.
You can do this.
If I can do this, you can totally do this.
There are two 170-pound people in one 340+-pound body who have absolute faith in you.
You’ve got this.