Monday, February 15, 2010


This morning, I was making the bed as I always do and I had to shove the mattress around in a particular way to deal with the fitted sheet having shifted. As I heaved it, I felt out of breath and was pondering the fact that this used to happen before I’d lost a lot of weight, but it hadn’t happened lately. The thought occurred to me that it shouldn’t be happening now as I’m certainly in good enough shape to shove a mattress around without huffing from the exertion.

The truth is that losing weight or even exercising isn’t a panacea for every situation where you had a certain level of difficulty just as gaining weight isn’t the cause of every problem you have. One of the traps that I think fat people tend to fall into is thinking that all of their problems are the result of their weight, and that losing it will end those problems.

My example with the mattress moving was just a small catalyst for considering this thinking pattern. The reality extends much further than this type of small thing. For example, a person might feel that love and a better job will come if he or she gets thin. It’s only when the weight is gone and the desired changes don’t occur that one considers that there might be other factors in play other than weight.

Sometimes I wonder if a third of the battle with losing weight is aligning yourself mentally with the onslaught of coming psychological changes. You are not only facing lifestyle choices, a difference in how others react to you, but also a radical change in your worldview and your internal personal expectations.

The most traumatizing part for some people is when the sharp reality that what you expected from losing weight doesn’t happen. Surely, this is one of the many reasons people regain the weight. When you put in a near Herculean effort to alter your life to get to a healthy weight, and the changes you expect to see around you don’t occur, it must be the easiest thing in the world to just head back to the comforting arms of the food and lifestyle you once enjoyed.

I want to keep this small experience with the mattress in mind because I think what it taught me was that you sometimes have to look past your weight issues as the cause of difficulty. Turning to that excuse first every time is not necessarily productive in working out what is going on.

In this relatively insignificant situation, I realized that the problem wasn’t my stamina or body size causing me to feel out of breath. It was the timing and how soon I made the bed after waking up. At times, I’m congested after waking up and at other times I’m not. When I unconsciously breathe through my nose, I don’t feel out of breath. When my nose is stuffed up, I unconsciously huff through my mouth. The problem had nothing to do with weight. I’m guessing there will be more and more situations like this in my future.

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