Re-entering society

January 20, 2013

re-entryLosing weight and returning from a place of dramatic obesity (284 pounds on my 5’6″ frame as chronicled in this site’s charter page) toward a healthy lifestyle and physique obviously brings several changes, many of which were unforeseen.

One thing I’ve become cognizant of lately is the phenomenon almost of “re-entering society”.  Like a career criminal whose reality for the past several years has been “life on the inside”, and for whom the normal world is an alien landscape he/she re-integrates into, the person returning from excessive obesity is returning to normal societal ranges in all sorts of ways.

Take clothes.  The excessively obese dread shopping for clothes, because very little if anything at normal stores fits them.   The size range of clothes the obese person can even start to consider will typically start at or beyond the top end of what most stores will carry.  The few items that can be had are invariably quintessential “fat-person” looking clothes, which doesn’t help the morale any.   The profusion of “big and tall” stores is mute testimony to this vexing situation.  So the former “extra plus size” person who is now returning to normal sizes suddenly begins to have available to him/her the same (if, initially, still the higher end) clothing size ranges as “other people”, and at the same stores.

Probably not unlike the dilemma of the left-handed person in a right-handed society, the excessively obese person is an “outsider” in so many ways.  Flying on an airplane can be challenging, depending upon exact dimensions, as the possibility of being unable to fasten one’s seatbelt is omnipresent – and what about lowering that food tray within having it ride atop the ample gut!  Here too the formerly obese person suddenly starts experiencing “normal life”, much to his/her satisfaction.

Taking a page from my personal routine, I obviously ride the bike a lot, and I take “engineered nutrition” with me to fuel the long rides – for example, primarily Hammer products such as Hammer gel and Perpetuem.  Here, too, the overweight rider is unavoidably reminded of how he occupies “the other side”, as portioning schedules based upon rider’s body weight rarely reach as high as his weight.  For example, Perpetuem lists suggested portion sizes for fueling for riders starting at around 120 pounds and reaching up to “190+”.  Well, that’s one thing if you weigh 192 pounds; it’s another if you weigh 256 pounds.

Searching online for calculators relating to how many calories one burns riding the bike is similarly subject to more of a guessing game than for “normal people”, as many of the estimates don’t take into account excessively heavy riders and may top out at 190 or perhaps 210 pounds.

This phenomenon of “re-entering society” in terms of being able to experience the same range of choices and daily realities that “other people” take for granted was something I totally didn’t foresee when I started losing weight, and which I became aware of only quite recently.  Needless to say, it’s a gratifying and welcome development!  And one which I will continue to work to make available to me.

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