So. Just the other day one of the surgeons walked up to the nursing desk and said “You’ve lost a lot of weight!” Now. Since I’ve known this doc quite awhile (let’s say two years) and he’s seen me pretty much every week during that time, I couldn’t resist the urge to respond “Yeah. Kinda. But really… Are you just noticing NOW???? Come on Jim….. I’ve been THIS slim for a couple of months now!!!”
Of course the follow up question came next….. “So…. How’d you do it?” My immediate response followed…… “Well. In truth? I just STOPPED eating!” Honestly. Over the last few months that is the answer I use 50% of the time….. The rest of the time??? I say. “Well it wasn’t hard at all….. Every day when I’d leave work is just suture my lips shut!!!!!”
After fielding a couple more soft questions the conversation ended. I think my take away message was simple “but I just don’t want to be hungry”. Yeah. Me neither….. Of course, I also wanted to NOT BE FAT ANYMORE. I wanted to be in CONTROL of me. And I desperately wanted to be SUCCESSFUL with this weight loss thing….. I mean no one likes a quitter right? I didn’t make too much of the conversation at the time, but later, I did start to have some interesting thoughts seep into my brain.
That’s when I realized that the conversation really had NOTHING to do with MY weight loss. No, that wasn’t the intent of the conversation at all. It wasn’t a “hey man…. great job!” No, it was a segue way. The initial intention of the conversation was to find out how the change was accomplished. It was reconnaissance, research. There was a goal in mind when that conversation started. The goal was to “find the holy grail of weight loss.”
I of course was completely oblivious. I was obtuse. I was actually obstructive. My answers deflected the real intention of the conversation without me ever being helpful to him. I guess you can say that I make a very bad poster child for weight loss. You would think that I would be all about sharing my “secrets to success” and helping the world be just as successful as Todd and I. Of course, that is what I’d like. I want nothing more than for all of my friends to reach their goals in relation to their weight. Then on the other hand……..
Have you ever been an ER nurse?? You know. That guy (or gal) who sees people, day after day. Returning to the ER for those “simple things” that they ALWAYS return for? Things that you KNOW they have been taught to deal with already? If you’re a nurse you know the ones I’m talking about. The diabetic who is in DKA (really sick with a HIGH blood sugar for all you non-nursing folks) and who KEEPS EATING CANDY FROM THEIR PURSE WHILE YOU TREAT THEM FOR THEIR PROBLEM? Or the person who has been treated for their pain, given a prescription and instructions BUT NEVER FILLS THE PRESCRIPTION AND COMES BACK TO ER THE VERY NEXT MORNING. Or the guy with chest pain who has been diagnosed with “angina” and given a nitro spray but refuses to use it because he “feels safer being treated in the hospital.” Then there’s the asthmatic who won’t use their puffers because the “nebulizers” work better (research does not agree with this finding). Or the patient who thinks that the tylenol #3 from the hospital “is different.”
It seems some days that no matter how much care and attention you give, the patients just keep coming back. With the same problems. (and YES I’m talking about THE SAME PATIENTS…. and YES I get to personally treat them repeatedly…. I’m not even talking about the patients that I hand from colleague to colleague, shift to shift in a revolving door kinda sense…….). So is it ok if maybe, just MAYBE I am slightly jaded in regard to this whole weight loss poster boy thing? Because let’s be honest. I haven’t created any new technology here. Todd hasn’t found some miracle food/medication/plant/exercise/undergarment/diet that is destined to cure the American (Canadian as well) epidemic of obesity that we seem to have found ourselves in. We are leaving THAT medical breakthrough to Dr. Oz (lol. yeah like that is ever gonna happen).
When we started this journey in January of 2015, and we started seeing results that people noticed, I’d get asked the questions. “My you are looking good…. Losing some weight??? What are you doing?” I would dutifully answer the questions. Put some thought into the answers. TRY and help people understand our motivation… Must be for the wedding right? (“no it’s not for the upcoming wedding…. we just realized we needed to get this issue under control before our health was impacted”). How are you doing it? (“we are just cutting calories….”). But it CAN’T be THAT simple!!! What ELSE are you doing? Going to the gym? Exercising? (“nope. just counting calories. recording everything that we eat. stopping when we reach our daily calorie limit.”). Well….. that sounds HARD!!!! I couldn’t do THAT!!! How do you know how much potato you’ve eaten at dinner? (“we have a scale, we measure everything before we eat”). But you must have cut out all the BAD FATS, that must be why. You just eat HEALTHY and you lost the weight right? (“no. we still eat butter. but we weight it and measure it and count it. so yes we eat LESS of it…. but we still eat it…”). You must have cut out all the carbs!!! That’s your secret right? (“there is no secret. no. I still eat carbs if I want them. but. sometimes I realize that IF I eat that pasta at lunch I won’t be able to have the steak I want at dinner, so I just pass. But it’s not because it’s CARBS, it’s because I want the steak more than I want the bread/pasta/MARS BAR (god I want a MARS BAR RIGHT NOW!)”). Or my ultimo favourite….. I COULDN’T DO THAT IT’S TOO HARD!!!! (“damn right it’s hard…. but nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” ). Ok that LAST one? That’s a lie. A HUGE Effing lie. CHOCOLATE TASTES BETTER THAN SKINNY FEELS!!!! SO DOES RED WINE!!!!! OH AND STEAK !!! RED MEAT RULES!!!! But guess what….. I NEEDED TO BE THINNER!!!!!!!!!!! So Todd and I worked our buns off…. literally.
So what exactly is the point of this blog?? Is it to tell you all that I hate all the attention that the weight loss has brought? Oh God NO! I LOVE the fact that I’m no longer “invisible.” Is it to tell you that I don’t want to share our secrets with you? Absolutely not!!
The point is simple. I am still human. I’m not perfect. I can have an off day. I might misunderstand what it is you are ACTUALLY asking me. Or maybe I could be having a jaded moment where I’m sure you have no intention of following through, and I don’t have the strength for the personal rejection I feel when you look me in the eye and say “Oh, my I could NEVER do that. That’s way too hard!!” You may think that it’s complimentary to say that. (it might be meant that way but it doesn’t FEEL that way). You might think you are just stating facts when you say “I could NEVER do that! It’s too hard!” You might even think that you are telling me that you think I’m stronger, or more disciplined, or more driven than you are. But you’re not. What I hear is….. “I’m sorry I wasted your time. I was looking for a quick fix. ‘Cuz I mean really….. I’m not FAT like you were. I just need a little touch up. I don’t have a REAL problem like YOU did. My “little” issue isn’t worth the effort you HAD to put in. Excuse me…. I have a chocolate bar I have to go eat right now…..”
Does that make sense to you? I hope so. I WANT you to find your motivation. Your REASON to move forward. I’ll gladly HELP you by answering your questions. I’ll share my struggles with you, and my successes. I’ll give you tips and suggestions if you ask. Truthfully? If I think you are seriously looking for help I’m your guy. Of course on the flip side….. if I seem to side step your questions and simply offer you the link to this blog?
1. I’m being human that day and am completely “off my game”
2. I just can’t take anymore rejection today. Somehow, somewhere in the conversation you made me think I was at work. That you were “one of those” patients who asked all the “right questions” but with NO INTENTION of ever following through on what you’ve been offered. I’ve somehow determined that you had simply hoped for an “instant solution” and that I have nothing of value to offer you. So, instead of feeling that “rejection moment” yet again, I’ve resorted to talking about the fact that I didn’t want to be “gay dead” (fat) anymore. or told you how “I simply sutured my lips shut after each shift” in order to loose weight. Believe it or not, I’ve been known to hide in my humour before…. imagine that….Please don’t hate me for being human. I never intended to brand myself as anything other…. I’m just a guy. on a journey . to a thinner me. Of course I know you are human too. If you stumble on your journey I’ll still be here for you (I’m not that short sighted, really). God knows I’ve stumbled too. In return, please don’t hate me if I momentarily have to “protect myself” with humour and a little distance. I promise it won’t be a permanent situation.
Thanks for reading