Monday, January 26, 2009

What I Missed

Seven years ago, when I was fat but not SO fat, I was dating a really nice guy. He was the "jock" type... athletic, nice build, handsome, a little younger than I was. He was a really sweet guy and we dated for a year or so. When Christmastime rolled around, he asked me what I wanted. "Oh, I like scented candles," I said, "and books. Books about local geology." I guess he didn't take me too seriously though, because he came up with a completely different gift for me.

On Christmas Day, he handed me a card. I opened it, and to my utmost horror, it was a gift certificate to a posh local day spa. "You can get anything you want on this list!" he said happily, handing me a list of services offered. I scanned the list, feigning delight while my stomach dropped to my feet. A nude mud rub? A hot stone massage? How about being rubbed down with scrubbing salts in an exfoliating shower? Oh my goodness. Did he have any idea what he was expecting me to do? I smiled. "Thank you, it's so sweet..." I said, as he joyfully told me how much I deserved it and how I could use a break to de-stress. And he was right! But I couldn't do it. That gift certificate sat in my bedroom closet unused "until I lose weight" (until it expired). When I found it a year later, it almost made me cry. I missed out on something really lovely. Why? Because I weighed 240 pounds and was not about to take off any portion of my clothing in a spa. I didn't want to feel self conscious, and I didn't want the skinny rub-down chicks laughing at me behind my back. So I never went.

A year later, I was losing weight. I was down ten pounds when I saw an ad for a marathon to raise money for cancer research. My mother had recently died of cancer and I wanted to walk in her honor. I'd always wanted to do a marathon, and this one was perfect because I didn't have to run. I could walk it if I wanted to. I knew enough people to get pledges, and the best part: it was in Ireland! I've always wanted to go to Ireland; my ancestors came from there and it's a dream of mine to go "back" someday and see the old family farm. This was the chance of a lifetime for me! I looked at the dates... I had several months to train and lose more weight. I paid the fee, signed up, and started making big plans!

I cannot even express how thrilled I was to be doing this. It was a dream come true. But just a month into my "training" (walking daily), I realized I was not losing weight; I was regaining. I was struggling with emotional eating since my mother's death. Another month went by and I was getting distraught that I was still "so fat." Instead of focusing on my fitness level, I got sidetracked by my weight, and I gave up. I told my friends who were going to sponsor me that I had a knee injury (which was partly true... my knee troubles were just beginning... but I probably could have worked through it at that point). I cancelled my plans. I forfeited my entrance fee. And I went back to eating crap and being sedentary and got to be 278 pounds in short order.

Those are just two examples of things that I have missed out on because of my weight. My obesity has gotten in the way of so much living, from playing with my children to seeing old friends. I didn't go to my class reunion because I was so fat. I didn't take martial arts with my oldest son when he was a little boy because I was so fat. When my youngest son started riding horses, I was thrilled to be around them. I've always loved horses, and rode when I was a child. Just brushing them and leading them around was wonderful for me. And when the owner said, "want to take a ride, too?" offering me a horse, I declined because I was too fat.

I am tired of missing out on life because of FAT. And while there are some things you really can't do when you're morbidly obese, like fit on some roller coasters or jog 10 miles, the saddest fact of all is this: I was not too fat for any of those things!

I could've gone to that spa, if only I'd had enough confidence.
I could've walked that marathon, if only I'd focused on fitness.
I could've gone to my class reunions and taken martial arts with my son and even could've ridden that big horse, if only I hadn't let my size dictate my life.

I won't let embarrassment stand in my way anymore, and I won't stay so fat that I miss out on the pleasures of life. I'll never be able to walk a marathon now, unless they have one for limpers or I get artificial knees. I missed the boat on that one. I'll never get to take martial arts with my boy, because he is all grown up now and not interested in that anymore. I can't get back the chances I missed. But I *can* start letting old friends back into my life; if they're true friends, the extra 100 pounds is not going to change their love for me. I *can* take martial arts with my daughter when she is older, if I stay focused on my fitness. If someone offers me the reins of a horse, I'm taking them and going for a ride, and if I am ever lucky enough to get a spa certificate again, I'm going. I would go right now, flab and all. Because life won't wait.

Part of the answer to not missing anymore of life is losing weight so that I am not limited by my size, but an even bigger part is kicking the fat girl out of my head so I can enjoy life freely. She is halfway out the door. I'm ready to live. I am living.

44 comments:

Princess Dieter said...

My husband always asks me if I want to go to a spa and get some nice tranquil time and pampering. I always say no. It would not be tranquil for me. It would be excruciating. I live near an area of very wealthy, very skinny high-maintenance women. Lots of models live round here, too. They go to the spas. and I know, no matter how much I talk myself into just enjoying it, I woudln't. I would be totally self-conscious. Not just about the flab and fat, but about the acne and acanthosis and stretch marks and my not so great teeth and the eczema scars. I'm so very imperfect, that all the well-meaning "higher thoughts" wouldn't let me enjoy it.

I really wish i could rise above my insecurities and fears, but on this issue, no.

Now, if there was a spa that catered only to fat women nearby, I'd go. :)

the Princess

moonduster said...

Yay! I love this post! If I had the money, I'd send you a gift certificate for a day spa right now!

Vickie said...

really good post!

Hanlie said...

I cancelled my wedding and eloped because I was so fat!

Nice post! I'd never pass up on a spa voucher though...

Fat Lazy Guy said...

So, so true. This past weekend was one of those things where I didn't let my fat get in the way, and I went swimming, and I enjoyed it so much.

new*me said...

I think we can all relate to this Lyn. I avoided a lot of people/situations for the same reason. Swimming with my kids is a big one for me. For the past 6 yrs, I let hubby take the kids swimming. I would sit by the pool and watch fully clothed and tell people, I didn't like to swim. That was a lie, because I love to swim! This summer, no matter what my weight, we are getting a family pass to our pool and taking a trip to the water park :)

Gigi said...

I got a spa gift too and used it because I hate wasting money almost as much as I hate being fat. I didn't enjoy it tho - too self-conscious.

I did make a promise to myself that this summer I would go to the water park with my husband and son - no matter what. And even if I'm not as fit as I want to be, I know I won't be the only fat mom there (altho it'll just feel like I am). Anyway, the focus will be my son - not me. He doesn't care what I weigh, just that we're having fun together.

Lisa said...

I agree with missing stuff because I'm fat. I sometimes question myself before doing things like.. "How would a fat person look while doing this?" and I convince myself not to do it!

Lynne said...

When I lose some weight I'll go to the doctor. I hate getting on THAT scale (you know, the one that says you weigh way more than you know is true...).

I still have not been to the doctor. Stupid, huh? Even though I do alot of other things (I did the Boston Marathon at 198 lbs), I still can not bring myself to calling my doctor...

I wonder what I am missing, and sometimes that is scary to think about! Thanks for making me re-think this stupid THING of mine...

Dutch said...

What a great entry. I started crying because it sounded like you were speaking to me. I have always wanted to go to a spa but for the same reasons as you I have never gone. I had a very hard time playing on the floor with my daughter because I couldn't get up. I didn't go to my 30th reunion because of how I feel and look. Thanks for this entry. It really got me to thinking and feeling all kinds of emotions. Have a terrific Tuesday.

Valerie said...

I hate wanting to do something and then thinking, oh no, that won't happen until I lose at least 50 pounds. You're right, we have to do things now! There's no waiting around. I can do whatever (basically) I want at any size!

Lady Downsize! said...

Isn't that always the way, we let out thoughts and self perception get in the way. In some ways the weight is a very real problem - mainly when physical exertion is required. I know exactly what you mean about being self conscious for a spa. Last year our church treated the single parents to a spa day. I went and was thrilled. It was the first time I had ever experienced spa anything. I was self conscious, but felt more obligated by the generosity of those who were putting this day together than I did over my own nervous self. I felt I had to go, because if I didn't I would be hurting someone who was being so giving.

I'm glad I went now, and for the generosity of our church to make it a free experience.

Lyn said...

David~

Thanks for the link! I love Dietgirl. Did you see who else is on that list of her favorite blogs? :)

Me, Only Better said...

I hope you never miss another great moment!

Karyn said...

Loved this post, Lyn!

Of course, I also have regrets that I've let myself miss out on experiences because of my weight.

I'm so glad you have decided to live now!

Me too.

Thanks for the inspiration.

POD said...

Very thoughtful post.

wakati said...

Woohoo! A while ago I wrote down all the things I wanted to do, be, and have. Then I wrote down what I could do within 21 days to achieve them. I didn't have to achieve them within that time, I just needed to take action. I was astonished to see how many I could achieve just by taking a step in the direction. Every time I use the excuses, I'm too fat, or I don't have enough money, or I don't have the time, I ask myself what it would take, then I move in that direction.

Sherre said...

I could have written this! Thank you for so eloquently putting into words what you've missed. It makes me understand what I've missed!

Pubsgal said...

I think the only thing I let my weight get in the way of was horseback riding...and that was because of the weight limits. I kick myself that I missed out on riding in Hawaii! Never again.

I highly recommend finding a way to accommodate massage in your life in a way you find comfortable. If anything, those of us who carry extra weight need it the most! Some massage therapists will do home visits. You might also be able to find one that uses a massage chair (which are much more comfortable when you have a large bust and/or belly), or who will work with you clothed. For a couple of blissful years, we had one visit our work every couple of weeks...even just having shoulders, back, and arms & hands massaged was *wonderful*. Not all massage therapists are lithe young things, either. Getting a manicure or pedicure might be a good way to check a spa out in advance, too.

p. potter said...

This post really spoke to me, because when I was overweight there were things I missed out on, too.

But the hard part is that even when you've lost it all, you still have to shake those negative thoughts. Which is easier said than done.

Despite the fact that I'm no longer overweight, I still won't wear sleeveless tops. And I haven't owned a bathing suit in over five years. It's hard to let go of the restrictions I used to place on myself, even if they no longer apply.

Lynn Haraldson-Bering said...

I feel like I'm stalking Pubsgal! Every blog I've been on today, she's been at, too. hehe

This is a great post, Lyn, and it makes me a little sad, too, because I've done the same damn thing I don't know how many times. Let's make a pact. If either one of us feels like giving up or not doing something because of weight or other issues, we'll tell each other first. Deal?

Lucrecia said...

I've been right there! I recently had to use one to get a hair cut. My husband was so upset since thats not what he'd intended it for, but I wouldn't have enjoyed a massage at that size! I'll let him buy me a spa DAY when I hit goal though!

antgirl said...

I used to not do things because of my weight. Been there. I got tired of the altered behavior. That's when I got serious about getting healthy. I had just broken through other issues. Didn't need any other excuses holding me back. So, that one had to go too.

Thanks for sharing. So relatable and so inciteful.

Lexie said...

You seem to have the best attitude about this. I think it really takes strength to not let the way you feel dictate your life. It's never easy for me, so keep it up! Can't wait to read about you accomplishing things in the future that you never thought you could do :)

Juice said...

I skipped my college reunion this year because I was hung up about my weight. How silly! I'm going to my 20th regardless of size. Great post as always. Thanks for your honesty.

justjuliebean said...

I wonder if avoiding things is one of the reasons I stayed fat for so long, it's a good excuse for me to not make an effort to be social, or take risks in meeting new people, etc. I still do this-not looking for a boyfriend, not buying clothes that are decent, not putting myself in social situations, etc. And I've only got 20 more pounds, but still, it's a good excuse to not live.

Lyn said...

Lynn H.~

You've got a deal :)

Marshmallow said...

You're very brave to writ here about how you let your weight held you back in the past. It's often a painful and embarassing thing to realise when you look back.

You are worth experiencing wonderful wonderful things so PLEASE, don't hold back for anything! You deserve it :-)

Bethany said...

As usual, you are preaching to me, sister! Wow, the things we let zap the living out of us! It's a shame. I'm glad you are coming to the place where you can get past it. I'm not there yet, but I hope to get there eventually...
Bethany

Dinah Soar said...

I've missed out on lots of things too..some for fat, some for fear. It's a huge waste. Good for you realizing it while you are still young--which you are--Yay!!

You might try getting a massage at a school. Before we moved I got them for $20 for a 55 minute full body Swedish massage by a student almost ready to graduate.

I'd have never done it except my daughter explained you have your underwear on and are fully covered with a cloth except for the part they are working on.

The room is dimly lit, they play soothing music and use warm oil and it is like heaven.

And because it's not a fancy spa, you don't feel like you're being measured against the other 'posh' people there. Baby steps.

Diane said...

Inspiring post. Many of us put off doing things "until we are skinny" or "because we are fat". Maybe if we tried some new things and got out of our comfort zones we wouldn't resort to eating to fill emotional needs! Thanks for reminding us to get out and live a little.

clickmom said...

I'm fat and I do everything. My goal is to continue to do everything while I take the weight off and one day not have to hear that pitiful voice in the back of my head that wonders if I look ridiculous or not and what any one seeing me is thinking.

Pamela said...

Beautiful post, Lyn! I know that I am still guilty of avoiding things because of self-consciousness, but I am trying to work on it!

Anonymous said...

Important.read:
http://kateharding.net/2007/11/27/the-fantasy-of-being-thin/

Tina said...

Oh Lyn I feel your pain. I just threw away a big, beautiful $150 spa gift certificate that expired. I couldn't imagine anyone but my husband touching me at this weight. Plus last time I was there for a pedicure the robe would barely close.

Ria said...

Beautifully written and oh so true. I think missing out on things has to do with staying in our comfort zone when we feel vulnerable due to our size . . . I've definitely passed on new experiences due to embarrassment over my weight, but I've continued to do most things I did before. For example, I started going to spas in my early 20s before I was obese, and I just kept right on going regardless of my weight . . . but as much as I would love to go snorkeling, I haven't been able to bring myself to sign up when I've had the chance to try it.

Here's to showing that fat girl the rest of the way out the door!

Karen In Tennessee said...

That blog entry was like the soundtrack of my life. I have missed SO many opportunities to do things I really wanted to do. I almost missed my childhood best friend's funeral 5 years ago because I was so embarrassed to see other friends from school at my current weight...I kept changing my mind over and over again. Luckily my brother in law stepped in and said "What are you talking about? You HAVE to go." He was the only person who really spoke up about it and I am so glad he did. Yes, I went. And yes I was embarrassed but I was glad I went. However I did not go to the cemetary because I was afraid I could not handle all the walking. I am done making excuses, done missing opportunities, and done putting food before my life.

Miamommy said...

I recently found your blog. I feel so similar to many of your entries! I am down 15lbs, only 110 to go, sigh.

Anyway, my fatness has stopped me from doing so many things.

I am sick of wanting to play with my kids but being too tired to do it. And too big for the swings and slides. When you are a few pounds away from outgrowing the plus size stores, it is time to take charge and get the weight off!

Thank you for your blog and your honesty. It helps to know I am not alone.

bbubblyb said...

Great post Lyn, I've always called it my "fat girl syndrome" I'd like to think I'm letting it go too.

I have a certificate from Christmas my husband got me for a hot oil massage. I keep putting off making the appt but I need to go ahead and schedule it *smile*.

Tena said...

I've spent many years saying "when I lose more weight, I'm going to..." I've missed out on so much fun. This year I'm changing that and I'm kicking my fat girl outta my head, too. I don't want to miss out on anything, anymore!

Great post today, Lyn!

Scale Junkie said...

Another great post and so true. My husband has wanted to get a season pass to Disney for the past 7 years, we've been a few times and I've stressed every time and cried every time because I don't fit, I don't want to be that person anymore. Adding this to my list. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Yep, me too. Two christmases ago, I got a decent gift certificate for a spa from my husband, which is what I asked for. I wanted so bad one of those mini queen for a day things, massage, facial, etc. Well. I couldn't do it. I chickened out, for the same reasons, thinking what if they don't want to touch me or talk about me after I leave and spent the whole amount on getting my hair done and I felt cheated. I really wanted that experience but let my fear control me. I am taking six classes at school this semester and am sapped. So this morning I called and Friday have an appt. to get a half hour massage and do an hour in the float tank. What the hey, huh? I need to relax and this is totally out of character for me, but I'm going to give it a try. Also, I'm going to a health and wellness facility I used to go to for physical therapy so I'm not worried about some thin, perky thing giving me a massage.

fatfighter said...

No more missing out for you, okay? You're right - life is too short. Live it to its fullest. And no regrets.

Heather said...

it really is hard when you look back on the things that you missed because of your weight. I have a few of those experiences myself and it sucks that I let my weight hold me back, or kept waiting until I lost the weight. I have to say that that is one of the greatest things I have felt since meeting my goal - that I can do whatever I want and it feels good not to have anything holding me back. I just wish I had realized that years ago!