mrsveteran (mrsveteran) wrote,

A Quest for Strength: Part II

As you may have determined, I've never liked the word "obese." I particularly didn't like it being applied to me. At one point (back when I first got ill), I'd had a chance to look through my own medical records, and I'll never forget the feeling I had when I read the description of myself that said "Patient is an obese, white female."

Talk about something you'd never want to put in a personal ad! "Obese white female seeks romance." It was a good thing I was happily married -- somehow, I don't think I would have had much success with that kind of ad.

So, okay: at the time, I weighed over 200 pounds. Medically speaking, that was just over the line of "overweight" and into "obesity." Sure, I could understand that. But did they have to use THAT word? I had even momentarily contemplated crossing out "obese" anywhere in my medical records, and replacing it with "BIG BONED! DAMMIT, I'M BIG BONED," but eventually decided that might complicate issues a bit.

The hurt feelings still remained however. "Obese" was like a personal insult: I've struggled with my weight for most of my life. Now, finally, I was the thinnest I'd ever been, but somehow, I was still unable to escape obesity. Let me tell you, it was a real wake-up call.

I did a bit more reading about obesity as a medical condition, and about the health risks associated with it, and began to learn things that turned my preconceptions around a bit. It's not, for example, necessarily unhealthy to be a certain height and weight. In fact, it's not necessarily unhealthy to be a size that makes people think "fat" when they look at you. On the contrary -- there are roly poly looking people who have a perfectly healthy (statistically speaking) percentage of body fat, and who are quite physically fit. Statistically, what's unhealthy is the amount of fat you have in proportion to the rest of you: muscle, bone, etc.

What it came down to, finally, was this: I wasn't large, but I was unhealthy. That's what "obese" meant.

I thought about that for awhile. Certainly, I didn't feel healthy. I had no energy, and no strength. I could barely pick up one of my cats, even one of the smaller ones. I could barely brush the cat for more than 5 seconds without my muscles burning like I was doing a hundred pushups. I could barely walk all the way across my house without having to sit down for a rest.

Sure, I could almost put my fingers around my forearm, but it was like there was barely anything there. It was just kind of squishy -- I could feel the bones all the way up my arm, but the flesh just kind of mooshed out of the way. I was nothing but skin and bones -- skin and bones and 36% fat.

Suddenly, I started to cry. All at once, I wanted more than anything just to be able to brush my cat. I wanted to be able to walk across the house without resting. I wanted to run, and dance, and climb trees and just go for a drive across town for no reason. I wanted to live, really live, and I hadn't been.

I knew what I had to do. I had to get my strength back. Somehow, I had to try and rebuild myself so that I could do all these things, these simple things, that most people could do without thinking about it.

It was time to ask Charlie to show me around the gym.


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