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.