My latest in what’s now been a lifetime of ridiculous mind-games designed to get me back to the gym is a new strategy to wear my running shoes to work (I sit behind a desk). The basic premise is that I am far more likely—and at least one step closer to a workout—if I have running shoes on my feet. I even went so far as to buy a fancy, 76-dollar pair of Nikes because we all know it’s the shoes that do it.
So yeah, I’ve been wearing my running shoes to work lately, but I still haven’t made it to the gym or worked out at all this year. And, if I’m being honest, it’s no laughing matter.
Subsequently, another new strategy that I am rolling out (no pun intended) is to publicly out myself as being miserably overweight (because nobody could tell otherwise) in hopes that the mere shame of it all might get me to just do it.
And yes, I do feel a sense of shame about being, well, obese. By definition, I am morbidly obese except without any of the most common obesity-related health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, at least not yet—not an easy thing to admit to myself, much less to the public. Herein lie other tangential, mental health issues related to obesity and the co-existing nature of conditions in mind, body, and soul, but that’s a whole other conversation unto itself and for another time.
To be clear, I couldn’t care less about how I look or about what other people think of my Pillsbury figure. I’d like to think there are still people in the world who appreciate a man they can grab a hold of and I’ve never been one to put much credence into the value placed on aesthetics or other societal norms/expectations related to appearances. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. Concerns with obesity should never be about looks because the truth is that being fat is dangerous (literally a matter of life and death), physically uncomfortable, if not painful, and, in some cases, extremely painful.
The further truth is I feel shame in knowing that I can’t blame anybody but myself for my lifestyle choices and the consequences of my failing health. Most of all, though, I feel a sense of shame for being a bad example to my kids and in knowing my heightened risk of dying even as they are still in primary school.
According to the internet, “Overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for global deaths. At least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. Forty-four percent of the diabetes burden, 23% of the ischemic heart disease burden and between 7% and 41% of certain cancer burdens are attributable to overweight and obesity.”
Note to self: Strategy number three—Think of your kids!
An oft stated, rarely heeded tidbit of knowledge too is that the older you get, the harder it is to shed weight and the more painful it becomes to do it, then do it again. I can bear witness.
Perhaps my biggest (pun intended) problem is thinking that I can simply run from my problems. I mean, who says you can’t run away from your problems? Right? The reality is that it hurts to run.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll wear my walking shoes to work. Yeah, that’s it, baby steps. My fourth new strategy then is to wear my walking shoes to work—even I should be able to walk onto a treadmill…back at the gym.
For more information on protections for obesity related disabilities and other related mental health conditions, please contact NMPASI at (670) 235-7273/4 [voice] / 235-7275 [fax] or contact us on-line at www.nmpasi.org.
Jim Rayphand is executive director of the Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc.