Yesterday I was walking through a large barn that housed thousands of items for sale in trendy Newburyport. The two outside aisles were rather narrow, but people seemed to be following an unspoken rule for the flow of movement. I was walking along, more wasting time than planning to purchase anything, when I heard, "Excuse me." As I turned to the side, this tall gentleman passed by. He could have just kept on walking. But, no, he decided to turn around and say, "You must get that a lot. You take up a lot of space." He continued to share that someone in his life had a similar build and then added that he liked my Marvel t-shirt, as if this were to atone for the unsolicited comment.
These kinds of moments are a part of my life. My height and my size are often pointed out, and it pisses me off each time. From the innocent 'big guy' [there's nothing innocent about it] to jokes about me probably wanting more food (a common assumption), I have heard them all. I am a tall and big guy. I have been for most of my life. It's not an easy battle. Several times over the past few years, in particular, I wanted to create a YouTube sub-series called Unbearable. It would cover this aspect of my life.
Check out this unflattering photo from almost four years ago:
That's me in the background. I'm trying to hide the fat, but it's not working. It wasn't working here either:
This is 2021. You get the point. I'm a big guy. I have set up these plans in the past to do updates, such as "one month in" and have this significant number of pounds lost to share. That hasn't happened. My weight has bounced around the same area for years. It has wavered around plus or minus twenty pounds for the past five years.
Last December I joined a gym. I had one of those body scans done on me. I don't know its accuracy, but it had me at a biological age of 69. When I had it done again in June, I was at 52. I'm not putting faith in either number. I'm heavy. I know this. My weight this morning was 349.4 pounds. The morning before it was 351.0. It varies. It's a struggle.
I went to pick up some groceries this afternoon. I have food in my house, but I wanted some additional selection. I bought some pasta and sauce on sale, bags of grapes, almond milk so I could finish my remaining cereal, Tylenol, and frozen dinners, also on sale. I know the frozen dinners are not the healthiest option, but I like them. I did not buy ice cream. I did not buy junk. I did not buy 'comfort food.'
I get in a decent amount of exercise. I'm surprisingly strong for someone my weight (I'm also 6'4") and relatively healthy. My blood pressure is lower than it was years ago. I still want to shed the excess. It affects my self-confidence, even though I know there are people who find me attractive. This was me four days ago at the gym:
I recognize changes in the face. The arms are a bit more toned. I still carry a lot of weight, but it has shifted to less of a pronounced stomach. I bought this t-shirt maybe four years ago. Like many of my Marvel/DC shirts, I wear it too often. When I was at the gym, an employee asked me if this shirt were my motivation. He asked if I wanted to be the Hulk or his alter ego, the slim Bruce Banner. He didn't use those words, but that is what I extrapolated from that conversation. When I got home, I threw away that shirt.
I have long wanted to get away from the various shirts I have. They are so comfortable but so faded; these types of shirts do that. The truth is, as much as I do like superhero movies, I wore these because I imagined them as a distraction to the size of my body. I often hear comments about the shirts. Even if meant as compliments, I often feel like there is another message being sent out and received. I don't need to hide, even on days when shirts don't quite fit as preferred.
Regardless of the body positivity I try to embrace, I do want to burn this fat. I do want to slim down. I do want to live a healthier lifestyle. Perhaps approaching this in print again will help me be accountable for my actions. I guess this is today's step in the right direction.