Three Flights and a Small Studio

Posted by Wesley On Monday, August 2, 2010 2 comments

So tonight my friend Jesse and I were on our way to get some grilled chicken salads (yum!!), and I started talking with him about this guy I met on Sunday evening through another friend. He was a pretty heavy guy, probably about 310 to 320 pounds, a red head, dressed in Prada sunglasses, and was wearing some fancy flip flops with linen pants. As I was describing him to Jesse, I told him that I could not help but think of him when I met this fellow. It was like I was staring at a version of Jesse from when I first met him through Jenn, before he had lost almost 100 pounds. The resemblance was pretty uncanny. And I told Jesse "I was looking at him, thinking 'this is where Jesse used to be. He's lost so much weight!'"

After meeting this gentleman, I stood by on the sidelines and listened to him complain to Chris about the new apartment he had just moved into. He was upset because he had been shown a unit that was leased, but was told the studio he would be getting would be exactly the same. Obviously, that wasn't the case. He told Chris the apartment didn't have an air conditioning unit, was on the third floor, not the first and with no elevator, that the closet was about half the size of the one he saw, and that the doorways weren't as wide. He said he could barely squeeze into the kitchen and that he had no room to turn around in his closet.

I told Jesse that last list item hit me in the face like a ton of ice cream trucks. That I walk around too much not thinking about the things heavier people have to account for in their lives. I asked him "wouldn't things like that really motivate you to lose the weight?" And he responded, making a very good point:

"The thing that people don't understand Wes, is that when you're that heavy, doing anything is difficult. Walking up stairs is hard. Getting in and out of a vehicle is hard. Just walking to the mailbox is a chore. And people stand around and look at us and say 'why don't you just get on a treadmill and walk or run?' and it's like 'you expect me, a person who breaks a sweat just walking into work, to get on a treadmill and walk 5 miles per hour? You're crazy'". 

And, that's true. I guess I've never really realized how difficult general life duties can be for someone who is really heavy. And I feel like a total nard face for never realizing it. I can relate to things being a bit more difficult, as I think back to my heaviest days. But I can't relate on a scale that's even close to what Jesse described to me. Things that were more difficult for me were trying to fit into pants, finding clothes baggy enough to hide my belly, and mustering up the energy to walk from the couch to my fridge. For him, it was walking up the stairs in his house and getting out of his car.

I think in the long run, for the gentleman I met on Sunday, it's going to be a good thing he has to walk up three flights of stairs to get to his home. And I have no idea if he is taking any steps to become healthier. I don't know what his day-to-day routine is. But I do know this: the steps he's taking every day to get home are going to help him, hopefully, one day realize that losing weight may not be as hard as it seems. That one day he'll wake up and say "I walk up and down three flights of stairs three to four times a day. If I can do that, then I should be able to walk to work. And if I can do that, then I should be able to spend ten minutes on a bike at the gym. And if I can do that, then I'll be able to walk on the the treadmill for 15 minutes. And if I can do that, then I'll be able to spend a good amount of time on a stair stepper. And if I can do that, then I'll be able to jog on the treadmill for 20 minutes. And if I can do that, then I'll be able to run up the stairs at my apartment complex. And then if I can do that, I'll be able to bike to work everyday. And if I can do that, then I'll be able to mix in some weight training at the gym with my cardio workout. And if I can do that, then I'll be able to..." and before he knows it, he'll look in the mirror and see a skinner, healthier, more energetic him. And from there... take it to a level that's more extreme than anything he's ever done, and continue down the road he's already begun to travel, but at a much faster pace.


Jennifer Brindley said...

Yes, moving/exercising/life in general is difficult when you're that large. No, I can't relate directly because even at my heaviest, I was not that heavy.

However. You do NOT have to exercise to lose enough weight to make exercise easier. I get that running on a treadmill is really effing hard for someone who is 300+ pounds and might kill their knees, etc. But, you can diet your way down and then start encorporating more exercise in.

Plus, if knees/joints/etc are particularly prone, people should do what Jesse did: swimming.

And honestly, it all is a lot of excuses as far as I'm concerned. If Jillian Michaels can kick the shit out of people in the 300-500 range... everyone can work out as long as their doctor approves it. It's not a matter of ability, it's a matter of motivation.


JewliaGoulia said...

I agree, it's a matter of motivation.

*Jenn and I have talked angrily at length about catering to larger people - i.e. if you have a fat friend don't go to restaurants where their chairs have arms on the sides, etc.*

Look, I was "that guy" (minus the "guy" bits. I started out at 338 lbs! When I was 275 I trained to run my first 5k, I walked 20 miles a day, I even rode a 25 mile bike course. Now, I understand that everyone's physical ability is different BUT, I lost weight because I WANTED TO. I got up, moved my ass, didn't listen to what people said about fat-folk stereotypes. I just moved. I moved because I didn't expect companies to have to make larger pants available for me and because I wasn't happy being winded walking up a flight of stairs.

There are SO many things you can do to lose weight - swim, dance, Wii fit, walk, etc. The main point is (except if for some reason you have a crazy medical condition in which your body does not let you lose weight) you CAN do it. You can lose. . . you just have to want to lose (and you have to be realistic - it's about getting 100% control over your eating habits and being honest with yourself.)

I can say from experience, that there is no one that is "happy" being fat but (again, baring medical conditions) you did "this" to yourself. Stop whining about small doorways and third floor apartments. Suck it up, put down the cheeseburger, and take a walk.

It sounds harsh BUT that's what I did and now I can turn around in my closet with no problem! ;/