When we had our first kid, it was time to start taking care of myself a little better. That meant that it was time to get an annual physical.
Being in my 40s made it even more important. I hated doctors. They would take my blood pressure, temperature and bang my knee with a rubber hammer.
Then, just as it would be seemingly over, I’d get the comment: “You should really lose some weight.”
Some of the doctors were nicer about it than others. But, no matter how nice it was said, it just sucks to hear it. I know I’m overweight, but I don’t talk about it.
It haunted me in school (especially middle school – oh how I hated middle school). It haunted me in dating. It haunted me trying to get cast in theater. But, ya know what? I was mostly ok with who I was. I lived a fairly active lifestyle and got used to some of the awful things that go along with being heavy.
Seriously, I never talk about this – so this is hard for me. But I can’t talk about being a Modern Man trying to live life in his 40s without this being part of it, as it’s a ‘big’ part of my life.
Being big is tough. You can’t walk into a store in the mall and buy new clothes. Sure, I always picked up a hat or new pair of sneakers – but pants, jeans, shirts – nope. WalMart has big sizes, but the quality is subpar. To be fair – J.C. Penny does have a nice Big & Tall section. But just once it would be nice to own something from a trendy story that isn’t specific to Big & Tall store.
Amusement park rides hurt. That safety bar digs right into your gut. Ooff. Airline seats. Squeezing between tables in a small crowded restaurant. The looks. And don’t get me started on patio furniture. I can’t tell you how many picnics I’ve had to apologize for snapping a cheesy plastic lawn chair.
I can hear some of you – well, if this is such an issue or you – why didn’t you do something about it?
I’ve tried – mostly for a role on stage, to be honest. I’d look up some fad diet and lose 20-30 pounds and by the time Christmas rolled around – it’s back to the bowl full of jelly look. It’s who I’ve always been. The funny big guy.
But I digress. Back to last week when I sat in the doctor’s office for my year 43 physical. My blood pressure was “perfect”. (Which the nurse said with a hint of surprise in her voice.) I’m still 6’0 tall and yes, I’m still heavy. Ugh the scale. Hate that thing. Even now, in the middle of all this cathartic typing, I can’t put the real number here. I just can’t get over that stigma.
The doctor came in (I actually really like this guy) and we chatted about family, farming and more. He checked my eyes and nose and throat. He listened to my heart and breathing. I turned my head and coughed. Surprisingly – no rubber hammer to the knee!
We talked about seasonal allergies, poison ivy and my barking shoulder. We were finishing up and … Yeah. I need to lose weight. A nice little sermon about being here as long as I can for my kids.
But this one was a little different. The doc really was personal and kind. He explained that at 43, I’m still ‘young’ enough to do something about this problem and fix things before they get harder to do.
Then he challenged me.
He said he wanted to see me again in 3 months. At that visit – he wants me to have lost 20lbs. WHAT?! 20lbs is a bit of a tall order. My head was spinning and in my brain I was having flashbacks to my pediatrician who was always SO mean about my weight.
I opened my mouth and you know what came out? “You’re on. But how do I do that?”.
So, we talked about it. Biggest thing – exercise. I already walk several times a week with my family – but maybe add more walking – go uphill more and pick up the pace. Really get the cardio working.
The other – change how I eat. We eat pretty healthy already, but I’m a sucker for carbs. I love them. I crave them for every meal. Rolls, breads, pasta, potatoes, corn. SWEET BAKED GOODS! These are my babies!
But, it’s been a little over a week now and I’ve stayed strong. Trying to walk more and faster. And I’ve avoided carbs – and it’s been ROUGH!
Soon, I’ll share how I’m surviving at a catering company (with an in house pastry chef!). How the fine folks at my favorite Deviant Donuts keep teasing me and how I ever made it through Easter.
The important thing here is that I’m going to share the journey. I can’t stay silent on this battle, I need you – the Modern Man community – there with me. I can do this. Right?