Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Importance of Reflection

I'm starting to realize that sometimes the best way to move forward is to look back.  Once you see how far you are from where you started, turning back is not an option.

Hence today's post.

So I'm a huge fan of the Biggest Loser show.  When I weighed 285 pounds I longed to be a contestant, and I started watching it during season 8.  My dad DVR'd a bunch of episodes for me for when I would come to town for work. We don't have cable at our house (gasp) and haven't for about 6 years, so I watch it on usually a week after the episodes air.  I try not to pay attention to the talk in the media about the results in the meantime so I can be surprised but I never get to see the winner unfold without having heard who won. :)

It's not your average reality tv show.  Sure, there are prizes, and there is some immaturity here and there, but for the most part, everyone on there has a vested interest in changing their blueprint and man do they work hard.  I dig that.  And I have so been there.

Tonight I watched what I think was last week's episode - though it may have been this week's and hulu is just putting them out there sooner - not sure.  Anyway, I was moved to tears several times.  Not just because of their plights but because of the comparison to my own.

When I first started watching that show I could have been a contestant.

Today, it would be harder to qualify since I only have around 40 pounds left to lose. I used to weigh more than most of the female contestants.  Now I weigh less than all of them (for now - I'd better get cracking cuz they are gonna catch up!). 

I can so empathize with the contestants and how it feels to be morbidly obese.  Some of them have longer roads ahead of them than I had...but they have so much determination.  This is going to be some season.

I noticed during the first weigh in that all the contestants were sweating...just from standing there waiting to weigh in.  I so remember that.  Sweat pouring down my back while I was in line at the grocery store, or pumping gas, or walking between buildings at work and we aren't talking about the middle of July. 

This winter I'm the coldest I've ever felt.  Sort of miss some of that padding.  For about 5 seconds. Then I remember that I'd rather be cold and feel as alive as I do today, than be warm and dying.

Oh and the strange anatomical anomalies you face when you become morbidly obese.  I remember the day I discovered the "hump."  It was a sad day.  I visited my doctor with a severe cold and ear infection in January of 2009.  She was examining me and said, "look at what you've done to yourself."  She pointed out the stretch marks on my arms and the fatty hump lodged on the back of my neck, top of my back.  I asked her what it was.  "The fat is running out of places to deposit.  So it has created a hump here."  She poked it.  I couldn't really be upset with her.  She was completely telling me the truth.  So there I was, 29 years old, morbidly obese with a hump on my back. I didn't wear my hair in a ponytail for a long time. (which is tough in Florida) I was immediately mortified and embarrassed.

Then there was the last flight I had on an airplane in 2009.  The connection flights are often smaller airplanes.  Smaller airplanes means smaller seatbelts.  There was an obese woman a few rows ahead of me who asked for a "seatbelt extender."  This is an extra piece of seatbelt you fasten to yours so that you can actually buckle your seatbelt.  I was mortified.  I could not, no way buckle the seatbelt.  So I hid it under my shirt and prayed we didn't crash.

Life or death, folks.

Pretty sure I could buckle that seatbelt today.  13 inches off your waist and 13 inches off your hips will do that...

My hands are thinner.  My feet are thinner (some shoes are too big now).  The fatty hump on the back of my neck is a distant, albeit horrifying memory.

Can you understand why this moves me to tears?

Are you reading it and saying, "I want that to be me!"  It totally can be.

I had a friend in my office today pondering over my "before" picture and she said she couldn't get over how that was really me in those pictures.  She said it isn't just your body that's changed, you look like a completely different person.  She told me, you have huge brown eyes and in those before pictures, you just don't see them.  I'm finally seeing me again.  And so are you.

It's like carving something out of stone.  I started out as a big hunk of morbidly obese stone and I am slowly sculpting my way to what my body shape will be.

My posts have all been pretty focused so far this year so I was due for a pondering, random post.  I think it shows the importance of reflection.  Taking time to see where you have been and all you have accomplished.  Reminding yourself even when you are having a kind of blah week how far you have come and that the journey will keep on going.

I've lived the pain that those contestants felt before joining the cast of the Biggest Loser.  I think that is why I can help.  And why I feel so compelled to as I sit here with tears in my eyes.

Let me know if I can help you. OK?  ok.


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