Shelly is observing her body shrink in stages.
It's freaking me out more than it should be.
My estranged wife weighed over 300 pounds when I married her on October 31st, 2003. She was less than that when we met, but over the course of our relationship she discovered she was diabetic and had been on insulin injections for a while. Apparently insulin, given to type two diabetics who are usually overweight, causes serious weight gain. (And with this information I wonder if there isn’t a reason to merge lawyers and doctors so that folks can get some satisfaction from the struggle between meds and the damage they do.)
She had gastric by-pass surgery, although in which year following 2003 I can’t be sure. Life during that time is a blur for me. She did have the surgery, and with some post-operative complications, she came out fine. She began to lose weight radically quickly. It would go in stages: First her flub, as it was, would get soft. The once firmly fat parts got a little squishy, lose about the skin. The skin puckered and wondered where its friend went, I’m sure. Then the skin would respond, and shrink to fit. Now for her, she was losing weight faster than her skin could respond, leaving her with baggy thighs and an oddly deflated stomach. She began to talk about surgery to fix all that, dollar signs flashing in her eyes and falling out of her mouth.
I left her at the end of 2006, the same year my Jewish conversion was completed. They are connected, but that’s a different story. The real connective tissue there, however, is that I felt finally that I had a responsibility to take care of myself. I probably weighed 255 or there about when we split. Maybe more. That’s a lot on this 5’2” frame, for sure, even if some of that is heavy, dense muscle, as I often interject when talking about my weight. Today, I’m at 230-something, which is something. It’s shocking every time I see it, especially because I’m so used to the 250-something range. Twenty pounds ain’t much, I know. Realistically I’d like to lose fifty more, and then see where I’m at. I dread putting all this information in writing because I feel it might make me somehow stop losing weight. I might jinx myself entirely.
Right now, however, in direct opposition to the jinx, is reality: my softening thighs and gut. I poke at them gingerly, wondering if what I’m seeing is real. There is an incredible pain going from my inner left thigh down to my knee. After considering it for a moment I recognize this as a muscle that hasn’t been used properly in over twenty years. Welcome, I think, and get busy, I’m gonna need you.
So, the question typically is “What are you doing to lose weight?” This question can probably be asked of well over half of Americans, and everyone will have some sort of answer. Here’s what I’m doing: not eating after 9 PM. That’s mostly it. I’m exercising, as I need to for all other kinds of reasons, mostly bodily health and flexibility. I go to martial arts class three times a week, and I hit the elliptical machine in the apartment complex’s gym whenever I can. But mostly, I make myself deal with the hunger pains and munchies from late night until early morning. I keep telling myself that if I’m up at 6 AM (or 5, say) then I will gladly roll into IHoP and down a stack of pancakes, hash browns, a mess of eggs and turkey sausage (keep the defib paddles handy). But if I can deal with being hungry at night, I just might slay this dragon.
Then I just need to deal with my head, and the loss of my protective outer covering. If I can’t hide, then I’d better be strong.