Thursday, May 14, 2009

At what point?

I care for some patients who are where they are (in a rehab facility/nursing home) soley because of their weight. They have a multitude of medical problems and are unable to do much of anything for themselves. I've been wondering at what point does a person say to themselves "Hmm, my weight is the cause of all of this. Maybe I should do something about it...?"

Is it when you get breathless walking from your car to the grocery store - where you have to use a motorized cart because you can't cope with walking around the aisles?

When you are on disability because you can't work?

When you have to live downstairs in your own home because you can't walk up the stairs?

Or when you can't fit into a seat at the movie theater?

How about having to buy 2 seats on an airplane because you can't fit into one?

How about when your doc tells you you have diabetes?

When your legs are constantly purple and ulcerated - and it's not because of the diabetes?

Or when your joints fail you because the human skeleton is only designed to carry so much weight and you have surpassed it's max capacity about 100lbs ago?

Is it when you have to sleep with a CPAP machine because your fat collapses your airway when you sleep?

When you can't lie flat on your back because your own weight impairs your breathing?

When you have to use a wheelchair - an OVERSIZED wheelchair because walking stresses your heart out too much?

When you have to use a motorized wheelchair because pushing yourself around in a regular chair stresses your heart too much?

When it takes 3 or 4 nurses to get you rolled over in your bed?

When those nurses have to use a hydraulic lift to move you from bed to chair, chair to commode, commode to bed etc?

When you can't use a bedpan because you'll crush it flat?

When your skin is so stretched that it cannot maintain it's integrity and it splits, and you leak lymophatic fluid all over yourself and your bed?

When you have constant raging fungal infection in some of your flesh folds because your lack of mobility makes it nearly impossible to keep them dry?

Perhaps losing coins, combs, and even a TV remote in those flesh folds is the motivation?

Or does being in your 40's but having to live in a facility with 80 and 90 year olds who have demetia because you simply cannot care for yourself at home?


When does your size become enough of a problem for you to make you want to do something about it?

A couple of years ago, my weight got out of control. I never broke 200lbs, but I was up there in the high 180's. I decided that I needed to do something about it when I found myself avoiding going upstairs in my own home because doing so made me breathless. That was what did it for me.

I started watching what I eat, being more active and generally trying to live a little healthier. It took me 18 months, but I lost over 50lbs. It wasn't easy, there was a lot of denying myself things that I really liked and times when I went to bed hungry.

When I tell that story to people, the most common question I am immediately asked is "Did you have the surgery?" followed by "Oh, you must've used Alli" when I tell them no, I didn't have any procedures. They're equally disappointed when I tell them no, no Alli or Hydroxycut or anything (as an aside, the latest Alli commercial pisses me off. The woman touting tells people they can eat what they like and still lose weight as long as they take that pill, which isn't the way to lose the weight healthily and more importantly, KEEP it off). I did it the hard way; I ate less and exercised more. Less calories in + more calories out = weight loss.

I'll ask again: at what point does your weight become enough of a problem/interference in your life that you decide you MUST do something about it?


Anonymous said...

Have *always* wondered that myself!

RD said...

Thought provoking!

Even when I could barely walk, I never considered myself disabled. It was a problem I had to fight through even if it was going to be hard and painful.