Experiencing Life

March 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

Being overweight is hard.  It just is.

It’s not always about wanting to fit into a smaller size or look great in some pair of jeans.

To a great many people in this world, losing weight has almost nothing to do with looks at all.

It has to do with the most basic functions of life.

Being able to walk.   Being able to stand.  Being able to fit.

Those are my top three right there.

 

Being able to stand in one place is hard.

Really hard.

Especially if you are overweight or obese.

The physics of standing in place without moving brings a lot of problematic issues.

Moving was hard for me at over 400 pounds.  It was painful and exhausting.

But standing in one place was actually worse in many ways.

If you aren’t moving, then all your weight is bearing down on you.

All 417 pounds is jamming your feet into the ground and crushing them.

Your ankles and your knees are crying in pain.

Your weight from the stomach shifts forward pulling on your back.

I was pregnant four different times and pregnant women get a lot of sympathy

You have back pain when you’re pregnant because of that extra weight pulling you forward in your stomach

But if that is happening to you because you’re obese—no sympathy there.

You won’t find anyone asking if they can rub your feet or carry your bags for you when you’re obese

If you’re pregnant, you’ll get a lot of sympathy for these issues

But not so if you’re obese.  You might have all the same issues but you surely will get no sympathy for them

But I can assure you I was far LESS miserable pregnant than I was at 417 pounds

My life was infinitely more miserable at 417 pounds than it ever was any of the 4 times I was pregnant.

Yet I garnered much more sympathy from the general public as a pregnant woman.

Overweight and obese individuals deal with all the same  issues a pregnant women does

The back pain

The foot pain

Having your bladder compressed by the extra weight resulting in more frequent trips to the bathroom

The difference is that after 9 months of pregnancy, you get a reprieve

Pregnancy is not infinite and forever

But obesity can be if you don’t find your way out

There is no 9 month time frame for that

 

One of the reasons I wanted to lose weight was to have the ability to go places with my children more easily

The pain I felt in my body was tiring

But the pain I felt in my heart from not being able to take my kids places was far worse

I would try to take them anyway but it was very hard to manage the situation

And often times it was just too much to bear

This past weekend there was a big local event in my area

Cornerstone Church had finished a new building with a Noah’s Ark Theme

The entire inside of the building was constructed to look like the ark

With life size robotic animals

There was a carnival, rides and music

But the line to get inside was the longest I’ve seen in years

I remember going to see “Return of the Jedi” in the movie theatre as a child

I’ll never forget the line

It was wrapped all the way down one side of the mall and around the corner

This line was longer

We walked around two entire buildings before we came to the end of it

This is just one side of the line

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It went much further in either direction and then around the building

We probably stood in this line for at least an hour

STANDING

There is absolutely no way I could have done this even 100 pounds ago

Due to not only to my weight but also due to my weak ankle and arthritis in my knee

One of my ankles is much weaker than the other due to having been sprained numerous times over the years due to my weight

I have arthritis in one knee as well which has often given me problems walking and standing

But this past weekend after having lost 222 pounds, I stood in a line for over an hour

With absolutely NO pain

I did not have to shift my weight from one foot to the other trying to get some relief

I did not have to stand there wincing in pain trying to muster up the courage to go just a few more minutes to see if the line would move

In fact I stood there with my children enjoying the day

Not even caring if the line moved or not!

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It was a beautiful day

We laughed and joked with one another

We enjoyed the music

I even picked my little ones up from time to time carrying them

Just because I CAN

At one point I saw a man who was very large walk near to our place in the line with a folding chair and sit down in it

He had decided to sit on the side of the line in that folding chair further up from where his family was located

As they would move up further in line, he would then pick up his chair and move another several hundred feet and sit down again

I thought to myself “That’s a really smart strategy.”

I mean the man was unable to stand in the line due to his weight most likely

But he was still able to fit in a folding chair at that point

So he found a way that he could come to this event with his family and still handle the situation

When I saw him…..I saw myself

I knew instantly—THAT IS ME

That is me 20 months ago

That is me in some alternate universe where I have not lost weight

And that could be me again if I ever let food control me once more

I feel nothing but sympathy and understanding for someone in that situation

And then a very grateful heart for the miracle I have experienced at now being able to stand without pain

 

Here are some pictures of Noah’s Ark once we made it inside

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On top of standing in line for an hour

There was the crowd

The crowd inside the “Ark”

You can see in the pictures above how many people were crowded into this area

You don’t do crowds when you’re over 417 pounds

You just don’t

But now I can slip in and out of crowds

In and out of spaces

With this surreal ease that I have not experienced in a decade

It often makes me feel as if I’ve gained some super power!

When we had made our way through the building

We came out on the other side and went straight to the carnival with all the rides

My kids all looked at me and said “Are you sure, Mom??”

Because they know that in the past ONE event or activity was enough to wipe me out for the entire day

Already having stood in an hour long line and made our way through crowds was far and above anything I could have tolerated in the past

But I assured the children I was able to forge on and handle more!!

It’s simply amazing once you can get out of this prison cell our body has become and reach forward into life

Grabbing it with both hands and squeezing every drop out of it that we can!

Noah’s Ark is in many ways a story of redemption

A fresh start

And that is what our life has been in many ways

Starting over

A fresh start

A life unencumbered by the past

Where we unzip ourselves from this body that holds us back and run forward into the new day!

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Lee Ann March 20, 2013 at 11:35 am

Wow the Ark is beautiful and I am sure the pictures dont do it justice (they never do!). That would be something very cool to see.
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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh March 20, 2013 at 11:41 am

Wow, that was worth standing in line for and so glad you were able to do so with no issue! I’m also so glad to hear you still have empathy for people who are in your old shoes. Far too often people who lose weight, especially large amounts of it suddenly feel superior to others, forget where they came from and judge and say things to others they way they were spoken to or judged at their highest weight. I can only pray that karma bites them firmly in the butt. I’ve seen a few people regain a lot of weight and am glad to some extent because if you didn’t learn the empathy lesson the first time then the universe is going to make sure you learn it the next time!
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Lady Amanda March 20, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Awesome! Loved the pics. Glad you guys had such a great day!

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Rhonda P March 20, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I am so inspired by your journey. You have summed up so eloquently EXACTLY what it is like to be obese and function in this world. Especially when you have kids. People who don’t have this issue have no idea and can not understand what it is like. I have spent so many years on the sidelines of my children’s lives because I could not participate in events with them. Unfortunately, I look back with shame on the events that I declined FOR them because I knew I could not manage at my weight. Deciding to lose weight was for me, but my family and friends are enjoying the benefits. THANK you for posting this

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jennxaz March 20, 2013 at 1:03 pm

wow the ark pictures are cool!

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Marc March 20, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Great post! It gives insight into the struggles of obese. Thanks for sharing.
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Crystal @ Serving Joyfully March 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Oh, holly! I don’t weight 400+ pounds, but I’m at an unhealthy weight (I weigh just a bit more than you do now, but I’ve found that a certain weight on the way UP, is worse than that same weight on the way DOWN…if that makes any sense)…I weigh more than I did on the day I gave birth to either child. And, most of my weight is disproportionately on my stomach. I literally look like I’m about 6 months pregnant. I get asked All.the.time about being pregnant. To the point that on my worst days, the anxiety of that keeps me inside, hidden. It’s terrible. And, while I don’t know about 400 lbs, I do know about back pain from that extra stomach weight, and bad knees and ankles even from my weight now. Along with not being able to do things. I remember when I used to sit down and pull my knees up to my chest. I can’t do that anymore 🙁 I can’t pull my legs up to put on socks or shoes, which used to be such a simple task… I’m still praying for the resolve and motivation to get back on track.
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Caron March 20, 2013 at 5:55 pm

What a great idea and they did such a good job on it. I’m glad you were able to go and enjoy the day. 🙂
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Lori March 20, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Good for you for recognizing how far you’ve come.

That looks like a great exhibit.
Lori

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Pam March 20, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Oh Holly, I’d forgotten the horror of lines! Standing in lines UGHH! Like you say, moving in a morbidly obese body is tough, but standing still? Impossible! I remember people stopping in the hall at work and wanting me to stand there and talk to them. Our old University building was lined with solid wooden benches and even if it was a a short distance from where the person who wanted to talk was standing, I would make my way over to the bench and plop down. They would usually walk over towards me. Thank goodness for those solid wooden benches!
I hadn’t thought of it this way, but when you called it a miracle that we found our way out of those bodies, I realized what an appropriate word that is for what we did with our lives. I think God had a plan in mind for me–He knew what my husband was going to be going through–a recent advanced cancer diagnosis, and knew I needed to be strong physically and mentally to handle it, so He helped me stay strong and work hard to take the weight off. I will be forever grateful for His help in achieving this miracle.
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Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking March 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Oh what a great outing! Looks like you all had a wonderful day!

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Jo March 23, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Kids are a great motivator.

I’ve 2 young energetic boys and I needed to get into shape just to keep up with them. That also involved giving up the cigarettes. The best thing I have ever done and don’t think I would have done that without them.

Its great to see you enjoying time with your kids. Please treasure these moments because they grow up very quickly.

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JoAnn April 10, 2013 at 11:07 pm

I think you are now one on my new heroes!

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