This is a subject relating to weight that I have wanted to talk about for a long time. It’s the shame, depression, uselessness and self hatred that comes along with being over weight. First off, I have always heard how women live with this, but I don’t hear much about men. As a man, I can say we live with it to, or at least I do. Maybe we put on a better show on the outside for not caring, but we care, it’s just more when no one is looking. There feels like a standard that I am just not meeting. I’m single and I get a lot of rejections because of my weight, their friends having to be the one to break down and tell me because the girl doesn’t know how to. If I was in better shape, It wouldn’t be easier to get that date, and even if I am in better shape, I can’t live up to the “perfect guy” that women talk about and rate with their friends. My current goal doesn’t even bring me near what I would have to be to get to that, and even then to get to that weight, there is a good chance that even with perfect muscles that it could take years for my body to adjust and tone, because of the extra skin that its taking to cover me in my heavier state.
You might be thinking right now that I should just talk to my friends. My friends break down into four types right now.
- Those that are not in shape, fat even, and don’t seem to care or plan to do something about it
- Those that are not in shape, fat even, and say they are doing something but what they are doing, which they insist is the only way to lose weight, isn’t working, or qualifies as a quick fix that doesn’t last
- Those that are not in shape and are able to really work out and diet and are way out of my league in working out
- People that are in shape and don’t seem to relate to me at all on this.
Even if I have friends that are struggling in some way, they all seem to be in one of these four categories. Here are the problems with these four. They don’t seem to relate to me. The first two are the worst actually. Type 1 being the worse and lest helpful, these are the friends that hear you are trying to diet and ask you why and offer you a candy bar. They can really just be jerks about it, they have for whatever reason seemed to give up, at least on the outside, and they now push their lifestyle on you when you are making an effort to change yours. The second are people like some of my family members more so than too many friends that I have. While supportive of me doing this all, they insist that I can never eat chocolate again, or that everything must me lite, diet or fat-free or I will fail, that I must do the weight watchers plan because they are the only diet that really ever works, and so on. See, I don’t need all this kind of advice. I am making life changes here and while I am eating healthier, and I do appreciate advice, I am not planning to cut out everything I like and all fat from my life just because I am not eating pizza and walking more each day. I’m changing my diet, not going on a diet, if you understand the difference.
The second two are just as bad but for a different reason. It’s like you’re talking to someone who jogs a 5k on the treadmill every morning about how you were able to walk 1k without your ankles swelling up. You just don’t feel like you are relating on a level that they understand, and then they want to compare, or at least talk about their work out too, and it just makes what I’m doing seem so small. Then comparing diets just seems as bad. Trying to talk to someone who eats healthy and able to control themselves with their eating habits about how you were about to get through a week without a pizza binge, they just don’t relate to it and have nothing to really say to you about it.
Now it might be that I am just seeing it this way, but when you are struggling with this, It does seem like you are alone and that there is little you can do to get outside help. Of course it isn’t all about relating and getting friends to help you, there is two big parts that make it even harder than you can imagine, and oddly the first one makes it hard but motivates you at the same time.
I am talking of course about shame. Really its shame and fear, which kind of go together. I have never been a big eater, I just don’t eat things that are good for me. I can’t tell you how it feels when you are with a group of people and you order something small, or just the salad, or you don’t finish your plate. People look at you with a puzzled look, like why is fatty not eating more, is he embarrassed to eat as much as he wants to in front of us, or is he eating healthy to make him self look better, or even, did he eat so much before getting here so he could order something smaller. It doesn’t matter if any of this is going through anyones mind, it’s going through mine for them. There is a look, any over weight person that has ordered a smaller meal in a group knows that look. Then the real humiliation, being told that I can order anything I want, it’s really no big deal. As if I am not ordering the amount I can eat to save them money or to look better in front of them, and they are giving me the go ahead and insuring me that they don’t mind either way. The fat man can order the menu if he needs to, we understand. While feeling shame and hurt when this happens when I am doing exactly that, it is ten times worse 90% of the time because I am not doing that at all. I just eat less than most expect me to because of my weight, always have.
Shame and fear of it don’t end at the dinner table. Try as part of the workout. Going to a gym is out of the question. I even have free access to a gym at the university I work at. There is no more terrifying thought than walking into a gym where you feel that everyone is looking at you while you work out. You can tell yourself that they aren’t, and everyone else can say that they aren’t, but I know they are. I know they aren’t, but I can’t convince myself of that when I am in the gym. Not only are people looking at me, but they are judging me, because most of the times I’ve been to the gym, I am the biggest guy there, and it doesn’t help working on a university, when even in the staff gym, there are all sorts of students working or training, or so on. This is the main reason I work out mostly by walking or cycling outdoors around where I live. It’s not always a lot better. I walk around this lake and boy are there a lot of people out there walking sometimes. I’m out there in these old stained t-shirts and running pants and feel like the token fat slob they add to comedy movies. Don’t think riding my bike helps any. Do I feel stupid every time I ride that thing. I know that I can’t look as dumb as I feel, but I feel like I am the only one out there doing it the wrong way.
Most of this leads to depression and the feeling of uselessness. Depression not only doesn’t help keep you going and motivated, it makes you lose what little you had to start with. I will sometimes wake up in the morning and just wonder why I try, I’m never going to make it, I’m never going to make my goal, so why not just face it and give up. At least then I could eat what I want and not have to worry so damn much. Why do I need to walk 5 miles, or cycle 10? I haven’t needed to up to this point in life, as long as I can get to my car, isn’t that as far as I really need to be able to get? This depression can kill you, make you not want to get out of bed. I have gotten bad enough that if I do get out of bed, its to lay on the couch. Even considered spending money I didn’t have at one point to buy a tv and streaming box for my bedroom so I wouldn’t have as many reasons to leave it. You are burning no fat, and not being active at all, when you aren’t getting out of bed.
The feeling of uselessness really comes in during depression, as well as to cause it as well. Pretty much, I am limited by what I can do and how much I can do because of my weight, as well as my shape. A lot of times I will just think about things that I can’t do that someone might want me to do and I get depressed and this feeling like I am useless because I can’t do that thing I made up. Last night, after shopping, I made the kids unload the groceries, not because it was one of their chores, but because I was hurting and knew I couldn’t. Then I sat there why they unloaded my car feeling like a worthless prick for putting that on my kids. They had to be unloaded, and I know that I couldn’t do that, and I still feel pretty bad about that. They deserve a father that can pull his own weight at the house, not a father that fills up more space with the dead weight he added to himself.
All of this is actually just small examples of how I feel everyday. I struggle and hurt, both emotionally and physically, to try to change who I am. It is important for me to get this stuff out, and I don’t even feel like there is someone for me to talk to about any of this, so I write in this blog to get it. I use this as my daily motivation, a place to go everyday and share a new subject, or something I am excited to talk about. I guess this is my way of feeling less alone, and if you are reading this, thank you, and if you are feeling this way too, I hope you find your way to feel less alone.