Tag Archives: weightloss

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A couple of weekends ago I had to fly to Brisbane. It was for a 90th birthday, a beautiful gentleman who, when asked what it felt like to be 90, replied with, “Up the shit!”.

The last time I flew was around two years ago. That flight, I was heading to Melbourne. I remember the angst on the lead up to the flight.

I knew without a doubt that I would need a seat belt extension. Some people don’t even know what they are, or even that they exist. You know the seat belt they use in the safety briefing before you take off? Well that can click into both ends of the standard seat belt on a flight, thus extending the length of the belt so that every passenger can be safe. I rang the airline to get the seat measurements. I wanted to be sure that my sizeable bottom would fit. I contemplated booking two seats, so that my overflow wouldn’t affect the person sitting in the same row as me.

Because that’s one of the things I used to worry about, that my too-bigness would infringe upon other people. That taking up too much space would inconvenience the people around me. That I should do whatever I could to make amends for being the size I was.

That I should wear a sign, apologising for myself.

For me, my weight was a shame that I wore on the outside for the world to see. I took on the stares and the comments. I absorbed the giggles from children in the street. I carried every single one of the observations about my size and even though they were pointy and hot and uncomfortable, I carried them close to myself until they became myself and there I was, a walking ball of shame and grief and sadness and disappointment.

For me, my size mattered, 100%. And a lot of my time was spent trying to minimise it. I’d sit hunched and curled into a ball. I’d move with a nimbleness that belied my size when I felt like I was in someone’s way. I’d stand rather than sit, lest I break a chair or block an aisle.

Now, I still stand. But it’s more about not wanting to sit still. And now, when I do sit, I tend to sprawl in a most unladylike manner. Because screw being a lady.

When I booked the flights to Brisbane, that little voice made me wonder. Would I still need a seat belt extension? I’ve tried and tried again to explain how hard it is for your brain to catch up when your body changes. I knew that in losing over 50kg, the chances of me needing that extension were pretty slim. But what if. What if I hadn’t really changed my body shape that much? What if that apron of skin was going to be still too big for the standard seat belt?

Turns out, it wasn’t.

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And it also turns out that the tray coming down is a thing. The tray never used to come down. Not even close.

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No worries.

These are the victories that, for the run of the mill person, seem a little odd. If you don’t even realise that a seat belt extension is a thing, then what’s to celebrate if a normal aeroplane seat belt fits you?

Here’s what’s to celebrate:

I didn’t have to walk sideways up the aisle. I didn’t have to whisper that I needed an extension when I boarded, and hold it close to my body as I took my seat so that nobody would notice. I didn’t have to tuck it down the side of my seat when I got off the plane, trying to hide the shame I felt. I didn’t have to pre-book a specific seat at the window, so I could at least spread in one direction in an attempt to minimise the impact I had on the person sitting next to me.

You might think I am being too hard on myself. You might think that most people wouldn’t care.

If that’s the case then thank you, you’re a human with a beautiful heart.

But the reality is that a lot of people are not like that, particularly with strangers.

I’ve discovered that as a whole, society still believes that fat is something that people choose and therefore something they can quickly change. And as a result we have created what seem to be quick fixes for this problem. I’ve always been very careful to state clearly that for me, what was going to work was earning every single gram lost through sheer hard determination, through pushing my body, through walking and running and riding endless kilometres and lifting and pushing and pulling different weights. I had to respect what I had done in order to maintain the weight loss. For me, and I can only speak for myself, that’s what I had to do. Not everyone’s solution looks like that. But I can’t speak for everyone, only for myself.

As the seat belt clicked shut, and I tightened the strap, it sounded like victory.

But in my victory, as in any victory, I remembered the battles lost in winning the war.

So to the me in the plane. Taking up space. Wearing an extension. Desperate for the flight to end:

I’d rather you were safe with the extension on. You have an equal right to be on board this flight. Where are you going? Are you excited? Who are you seeing? Don’t let this moment rob you of your joy regarding travel. You go, you get there, you have an absolute blast. Because regardless of your size, you matter. Your heart is ticking, your soul is full and your smile lights a room.

Extensively.

 

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There’s a fork in the road and it’s loaded with kale.

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Regular visitors here and to the Facebook page would have picked up on a bit of a shift in gears at the Naughty Corner.

I’ve never really hidden much from this blog.

I’ve written about all sorts of shit, haven’t I. The ups, the downs, the ins, the outs. We’ve been together through this blog for I think about three years now. And I’ve loved getting to know you, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride thus far.

The thing is, as my own life has changed and twisted and turned, so has the blog. I just feel like it’s something worth talking about, so that you know where I’m at and I know that I’ve been upfront and honest – things that are priorities in my life, often to the mortification of those around me!

I started this blog sitting on a hill at the Byron Bay Writers Festival. It came out of a decision to write more regularly. And I’ve tried to write here fairly regularly. I know there have been quiet times, but I’ve usually come back and explained the reason behind the silence. And it’s like coming back to an old friend. I love your comments and your likes and your questions. Because the other aim of my blog was to make sure people knew that they were not all alone. Be it mental health, same sex attraction, being on the spectrum, chronic awkwardness – it was important to me to make sure that people knew there was someone else.

And I’m still here. Tapping away on the keyboard.

But yes, things have changed.

You see, because this blog represents my life, it’s taken a turn.

A turn towards documenting weight loss, getting active, making changes towards a better quality of life. And I know that this isn’t everyone’s power smoothie cup of tea. But I wanted to be honest, so here I am, pointing out the obvious in my delicate way.

I’m still blogging. I’m still ridiculous. But I have a goal. And I’d love to take you with me as I close in on it.

Because there’s this thing:

Many years ago, back when I lived in Sydney and was at the peak of my weight training and fitness, I had a small idea that one day I might be a personal trainer. But then life happened, and I left that idea on the side of the road that I was stumbling along.

But you know what?

I’m fit now. Yes I am still fat. But I am getting closer every day to my goal weight, through a mixture of sensible eating and dedicated exercise. No short cuts. No fads. Just making choices, every single day. I have an army of supporters, including my beautiful beloved, the flatmate who isn’t my flatmate anymore, my awesome family and friends, and one very dedicated trainer. And I’ll get there.

So, in a couple of weeks, I’m heading off to an information session. To start a Certificate III in Personal Training. I know I’ll need at least a Certificate IV to actually do anything, so by starting now, at this place, I am giving myself another year to keep working towards my fitness and weight goals.

I’m totally shitting myself about this. But I reckon I can do it. And it feels ridiculous to be putting this out there on a public forum – but fuck. I want to do this and I’ve worked my arse off to get this far. Yes, I’m still fat. But I am fit. And every day I am capable of doing more and more.

And I’d love it if you stuck around.

Because I’m still going to be blogging. About doing life as my body shrinks. About taking on challenges that freak me out. About navigating gym classes and fun runs and lycra and the sore bottom of spin class. But most of all, about being myself in the Naughty Corner while I plod on towards a dream.

Come with me?

Sticks and Stones

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“See that lady there? She looks like she has a baby inside her”.

“I’m sorry, we can’t cater for you here”.

“You might not fit”.

“I always thought fat people would smell. You know, because of the rolls you all have”.

Before I moved to Newcastle, I loved the gym. Particularly weight training. Loved it. It was my happy place.

Not long after I moved here, I fell down a flight of stairs. I was carted away from work in an ambulance, a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables wedged against the tennis ball of swelling that had appeared where my ankle used to be. I remember those vegetables, because they were the fresh cut stir fry vegetables that you could buy at supermarkets – not the ones from the frozen section – and I was wondering the whole way to hospital about how the client I was seeing was going to defrost them when they hadn’t been snap frozen.

It’s funny, the things that stick in your head.

At the hospital I had xrays. I was given one of those green whistles to suck on for the pain. Man I loved that stick. Made me feel so floaty and happy. And every it looked like I was going to come back to earth and the reality that my foot was fucked, I just took another suck of that whistle and all was well once again.

Except it wasn’t. Not by a long shot.

I’d broken the edges off one bone, and severed ligaments and other bits and pieces. Funnily enough the doctor at the hospital told me it was a sprain and that I could start walking on it again by Friday (this happened on a Wednesday). My flatmate (who isn’t my flatmate any more) was with me, and was most unimpressed. We came home and I used that green whistle to help me deal with the pain of crawling up three flights of stairs to our apartment. Meanwhile she organised for me to go to one of those McDoctor places that have xray on site. We fronted up there and had more scans done, and I was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon. The next few weeks were a jumble of scans and MRIs and second opinions and Work Cover and phone calls. I finally got to the surgeon, a couple of weeks after the accident, and this was his verdict:

“If you were an athlete, I’d fix it. But you’re not. So I won’t”.

And so began seven long years. I didn’t need surgery apparently, so I had to just make the best of things. Every one of those seven years saw me either rebreak or fracture or severely sprain that ankle, at least once. Because I was in pretty constant pain, the way I walked changed. I couldn’t go to the gym. I couldn’t do much of anything.

One of the results of this was weight gain. A shit ton of it.

Fast forward seven years, and beloved and I are on a cruise. Our first big holiday together, just the two of us. Night three, and I stumbled in the hallway and went down like a sack of potatoes. Snap snap snap went my ankle.

When you can’t go on holidays without busting your ankle, it’s time to act.

I saw a different foot surgeon. He looked at my foot very briefly and had me booked in for a reconstruction within a month or so. He saved my life. He really, really did.

The reconstruction was followed by a procedure to correct an issue that had developed on my other leg due to the way I had been walking. And again, a further procedure to try to rebuild the Achilles on that leg. This was the result of walking badly for seven years. Through all of this, physio. Practice. Listening, watching, applying. Through all this, beloved. Watching, supporting, helping. Loving.

Exactly 12 months after I relearned how to walk, I completed my first fun run.

Today I smashed a new record (for me) on the treadmill.

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Will I ever have feet that are 100%? Nope.

Will I ever be a teeny tiny size 8? Nope. Do I want to be? No, actually.

I want to be fit. Healthy. Strong. And I’m doing it.

But those words that I started this post with, they still sting. With over 30 kg gone, it’s hard for my brain to remember what my body is like now. I still walk around braced for nasty comments or observations from the peanut gallery of life because of my size. I still go straight to the biggest sizes available.

But I’m recovering. And again, relearning. I bought size 16 gym tights last week. 16!!

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I’ve got big plans to use this journey (isn’t that a terrible word) to help other people, but I am a little to shy to share those plans on a public forum just yet.

But for now, I am doing it.

If you are someone who would pass comment on another person’s weight or size, please stop. You have absolutely no idea of their back story. And your words will stick for a long time.

But they won’t break a spirit that has a goal.

 

The Outrage Has Spoken

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I had quite a few comments in reply to yesterday’s post. Everyone was beautifully supportive. If you missed it, some lady at the Melbourne Cup lunch beloved and I went to saw fit have a dig at me as I walked past her.

But 24 hours on, I feel pretty good about it.

I don’t live in a bubble of being completely unaware. I know I am, well, big. But the thing is, I know and the people around me know how hard I am working towards changing that. Not just to change my shape, but to also change my fitness.

In the past when this sort of thing happened, I would leave and go straight home. And there is no way in hell I’d return to where the incident occurred in a hurry. Usually, it would be coupled with panicking if I had to go out.

Not this time.

This time, yes I felt like shit for a while. What that woman said to me really did say more about her than it did about me. If that is how she gets her rocks off? Well, I feel sorry for her. I left the school yard years ago though. I didn’t engage. I haven’t said anything negative about her (in public anyway). And I haven’t given up.

For me, I think I’m taking my reassurance in the situation from a few places. The first is the support that I’ve received. The second? The fact that I am actively working my arse off to change things. She didn’t tell me anything new, her statement wasn’t something I didn’t know – but it is something I am slowly winning the battle against (19kg down last time I checked, thank you very much!). The third? While I try to be loving and caring to everyone, the reality is that this woman was only walking me home for those few short minutes. She’s not a major player in my life. She’s not worth the upset, not really – not when there are so many people who have walked with me much longer, who were shouting their support from the rooftops.

This is a short post. Mostly, to thank you all for your support.

But also, I am posting to say that I am actually OK about this. As far as I’m concerned, I won that battle. I went out and about today, I have a busy few days ahead and I don’t plan on pulling out of anything because of this woman.

It takes more than that to rock me now.

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The slab of meat

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I went to a social thing with a group of friends. Most I knew quite well, some were acquaintances and others were new to me. One of them greeted me with, “So how are your surgeries going?” and in that instant I felt like I lost my humanity. In my head I became a slab of meat, full of stitches and scars and procedures. I ceased being about my music and my writing and my volunteer work, and the passions and preferences that ignite my creativity and my individuality, and I became a slab of meat.

I am the first to admit that I have had a rotten run of things. Not a single person in the world goes in to surgery lightly, and when it has to happen again and again, you can safely assume that this isn’t something that person is choosing as a new hobby. It isn’t a recreational pastime or an adventure sport. It’s more likely to be shitty and confronting and scary, with no real secure promise of what the result is going to be.

In the midst of all of this, it is easy to forget the person inside the body that is being cut open – it is easy to forget that they are there.

Earlier this year I had a “discussion” with my GP about this. I told her that I felt like I couldn’t plan anything because I didn’t know what part of my body was going to let me down next. We talked about different things that could be causing this, we talked about broken mirrors and rotten luck. We talked about the things I had wanted to achieve this year, and the different barriers that had arise, changing those goals. We talked about the things that could help, if not maintain health then at least give me a better chance to get through shit as it arises.

I went to my car and bawled my eyes out.

In my head I physically couldn’t go to the gym or get active enough to lose weight, which would be extremely helpful when it came to my physical health. Even eating properly was a challenge because the simple fact is that beloved and I already were eating very healthily.

Then I remembered those words. “How are all your surgeries going?”

I don’t want to be the sum total of scars and repairs.

So I joined a gym a couple of months ago. I figured I could at least sit on a bike and pedal. And I could, and I could do the treadmill and the cross trainer, too. And weights!! God, I forgot how much I love doing weights. You see I have in the past been a gym person –  before I moved up here. And it was some of the best times ever. I stopped when I busted my ankle. But my ankle is fixed now. So off I went.

Since then, I’ve dropped 10kg.

There’s a shitload more to go, I know that. And life has indeed reared up and given me another kick. But fuck it. I kick back now. I kick back.

I’ve set myself the goal of doing a 6km mud run next march. I can’t wait. It’s going to be fantastic.

I am not just a slab of meat connected by scars and stitches.

I am a person with goals and dreams and passions and people of the highest quality around her.

I am a human being and I am turning this shit around.

I am a human being.

I am a human.