Saturday, November 15, 2014

4 Things I've Learned

I've talked a lot about this whole walking and trying to lose weight thing since I started it in July, but I realized this week while talking to a friend that there are some things I haven't talked about. You learn a lot about yourself and your friends when you try to turn your life around (or at least part of it) and, while some of those things are hard to mentally wrestle with and some of them are annoying to listen to, some of them are also kind of amusing, at least to me.

In no particular order, here are some things I'm learning during my journey that are amusing me:

1) The top of my head doesn't sweat.

Every time I walk outside, I wear the same hat. It's the gray Old Navy hat I bought for Alternative Spring Break in 2013. We were going to some service sites that said we could wear hats instead of hair nets, and I didn't own any hats, so I got this little gray one at Old Navy. It's been riding around in my car since then, because sometimes I go outside and walk around and I don't want the sun to burn the top of my head, so it was natural that when I started walking around outside regularly I put on the hat.

And I sweat in it.

A lot.

And over the course of four months, this happened:

salt washed

The top of my hat is the only part that is still the same color it was when I started walking. My sweat, soaked into it over the course of days and miles, has slowly bled all of the dye out of the hat except for the top. The top of it does touch the top of my head; I've checked when I have it on. One of my friends has argued that what's actually happening is that the sweat all rolls down my head and the bottom of the hat, which is tighter, soaks it in, but I have chosen to believe that the top of my head doesn't sweat.

2) I'm going to donate clothes that I have worn less than five times.

I bought a lot of clothes on my way to 295 pounds. I had to, because the old clothes stopped fitting. The pants wore out, but the shirts didn't. I just kept putting them away and buying newer, bigger shirts. This happened gradually, over time, so it never seemed like, "I just bought this. Shit. It doesn't fit any more," but now? Let me show you something:

I bought a red, white, and blue shirt in June, a 3XL, with the idea that I might wear it for the 4th of July with a patriotic tie. When I tried it on, though, my 3XL shirt was too tight when I sat down. It looked fine standing up, but when I sat and my belly spread the buttons were straining and about to let go, like the unmarried sister in a Tennessee Williams play, so I couldn't wear it with one of my patriotic ties and I put the shirt and the idea away. After a few weeks of walking, though, I could wear it on July 29, and look how cute it looked! I looked adorable and patriotic, but a bright red and white shirt isn't something you can wear every day, so it turns out that I didn't wear it again until Tuesday this week. It was so big that when I tucked it in I had to unbutton the bottom button, because it now hangs so long and billowy on me that I have to tuck the bottom part not just into my waist, but past my groin and into the legs of my pants. 55 pounds will transform a shirt that had tight, straining buttons into a tarp with buttons.

It's a great problem to have, but it also means that I am going to take a shirt that I wore twice and put it in my Goodwill pile.

3) Cramps hurt like hell.

One morning, I snapped awake out of a dead sleep and sat up in bed somehow managing to both scream and to gasp for breath. God only knows what the neighbors thought if they heard it, because I'm pretty sure that I've never made a sound like that in my life.

Probably because I've never had a cramp like that in my life.

My calf was fully constricted and rock hard. Like any sane, rational person who went from sound asleep to maybe a six on the pain scale (possibly more; it felt like more, but I don't want to belittle people who have been impaled by things or had limbs violently removed) in under a minute, I sat up in bed and began punching myself in the calf. This was purely instinctive, because it took me at least a minute to think, "Oh, this is a cramp. You need to massage that out."

I've never exercised enough to get muscle cramps before.

When I finally got my calf to unlock, I staggered to the living room to google "cramps", and then to google "leg cramps" because I'm not menstruating. Now I eat at least one banana every day, and I haven't woken up with horrible leg cramps again.

4) My tailbone hurts.

This is my living room furniture:


That's not the way my living room looks most days, because it is both spotless and organized in that photo, but you get the general idea. That chaise lounge piece on the right is my favorite piece of furniture. I love that couch. I refer to it as my Fainting Couch, and it is the piece of furniture that I sit on every day, because the other couch is usually hosting a big pile of laundry that I need to fold and put away.

It is no longer comfortable, because I got so fat that I broke it.

I don't mean that it is physically broken, in the sense that the frame remains solid and I didn't get so heavy that I actually cracked my furniture by sitting on it. I did, however, wear a bit of a rut in my fainting couch. It was a really comfortable rut, actually. I'd come home, sit on my fainting couch, stretch out, put up my swollen ankles, and settle in for the night. I might fall asleep while I was watching television, but eventually I would get up and go to bed after spending a night not moving, sunk into my rut on my fainting couch.

And now, I can't sit on it for more than an hour or so at a time, because it hurts my tailbone.

Because my smaller ass no longer fits in the rut.


Marcheline said...

Those are some interesting lessons, Joel. Makes you think... if more sofas were uncomfortable, would more people get up and go out for a walk?

P.S. When you do find something fabulous to hang on that blank wall over your sofa, go to Home Depot and get "monkey hooks" - they're amazing - and cheap! No tools needed, they just pop right into the wall and they hold really heavy stuff without putting undue stress on your drywall.

That's my politically correct way of offering a valid piece of advice while also indicating I think your living room could use some wall stuff. 8-)

Joel said...

That photo is from when the furniture was delivered. There's stuff over the couch now. :)