Weighing in on a weighty issue

All of my life I have suffered with weight problems. My current is the most prevalent. I am, as David Letterman once described an Atlanta Braves pitcher, a big tub of goo. One might think after some of the health issues I have suffered recently I might be a tad more receptive to dieting than I am, but there is one major problem with dieting, I get hungry and like to eat, which creates quite the dilemma.

According to my mother, my bout with an expanding waistline started when I was in kindergarten. Through my school years, my mom would readily volunteer to anyone inquiring, “He didn’t used to have a weight problem until he had pneumonia. I don’t know what they gave him, but he has been big ever since.” Thanks Mom.

Of course, in the good old days, for those of us whose self-esteem was not dinged enough, there was the semiannual shopping trip for pants. We would always start in the boys’ section, but the sales clerk would always pull out a tape measure and say, “You’re gonna’ have to go to the ‘husky’ department. Yeah, he’s a husky for sure.” I don’t know if there was any more humiliating walk than those steps over to the husky department. But then, if that wasn’t bad enough, when your legs start to sprout out, suddenly husky is not bad enough: “Nope, you’re gonna’ have to take him to the men’s department.” Thanks. Nothing like being 10 years old having to look at men’s pants that are too long, meaning you are going to get home-hemmed pants. The good part was when you grew in height a little more, the hem could be let out and other than the white band where the cuff had been, you had a totally new pair of pants.

By the time I hit junior high, my self-esteem was shattered and I was permanently branded a fat kid, at least in my mind. A funny thing happened that I didn’t notice: while my waistline was still the same, I grew about 13 inches. Now I look at my “fat pictures” from high school and realize I wasn’t that obese. The same continued through my early adult years. I apparently was a fat guy trapped in a skinny guy’s body. I mean seriously, I was not fat by any stretch of the imagination. I just wonder what differences there would have been in my life had I not felt like a little fatty all of the time. Of course, in the early days, other kids were quick to point out my weight issues, somewhere along the line they must have stopped, I just never noticed.

Recently, while cleaning out the house, I have come across lots of old pictures, including some from my college days and wonder what the heck I was thinking. I guess that’s something about self-image, it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with reality.

But now we come toward the modern day. Sometime between roughly 1995 and today, I started gaining weight. Now when I see my pictures, no matter how well intended, all I see is a big tub of goo. Ironically, after my heart attack last year, I started dieting and exercising and had some serious success in losing weight. Then, when I went to the hospital with COVID, I dropped several more pounds. But sadly, my eating problems: hunger and the availability of food have gotten the better of me and I have again found some of the lost pounds. From a health standpoint I do need to make some changes and that will come. Until then, I will continue to fight the various battles, including clothing, because now I am forced to shop in the “big and tall” section, which is the kinder, gentler way of reminding me I am husky.

One thing we can all wear, until we get COVID under control; please wear a mask properly.


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