Look, I know it is supposed to be funny, and in some ways it kinda is. But to those who live day-in-and-day-out with morbid obesity, it is an ever-present reality. Every day, we get out of bed, or even make the decision to get out of bed, we are faced with the decision to lose weight or to find a way to adapt.
Adapting is one of the great attributes of we humans. For example every one of us, with the possible exception of Tom Selleck and Mr. Pagano (my 9th grade science teacher), were born as the only species of naked, hairless animals. So what do we do? We adapt. We learn to fashion clothes from animal skins and plant fiber to protect us from the elements so we can survive in any climate. Psychologist Viktor Frankl talked about the ability fo the Jews to psychologically adapt to the atrocities of the Holocaust.
Through adaptation we have conquered rivers, climbed mountains, learned to breathe in space and to fly without wings. The story of our adaptability is the story of our success. It, however, is also the story of my demise.
Many of you may be on the same path. it begins with easy enough adjustments like “sucking in” when the cute girl walks by in high school, or buying the next size up when you by your new fall clothes. It may involve changing a hair style to one that makes our face look thinner or layering clothes properly to accentuate our good features. All of these are subtle changes. We had a choice to lose weight or “buy the bigger bed” we chose the latter.
- Really, I did. Last year, I surprised my wife for Christmas. For the past couple of years we were both losing sleep because we “sleep hot” and the proximity of our two hot bodies in our queen sized bed made us both uncomfortable and caused a lot of fitful nights sleep, not to mention the impromptu kicks, hits, slaps and other incidental body blows in the middle of the night. So, I bought us a King Sized bed as “our” gift. Now we sleep int he same bed, but in different zip codes. We had a problem; we had a choice. We adapted.
- Other adaptations I have made:
- When I got to the point that I could no longer stay bent over long enough to tie my shoes, I either bought slip ons or I tied them loosely enough that I could just slip them on and off without having to wrestle with them.
- When I got uncomfortable in my car, I scooted the seat back. When that no longer work, I tilted it back. When that no longer worked, I bought a new car with a roomier cockpit and started the process over again.
- I bought bigger and bigger belts to go around my bigger and bigger pants. Till finally, I either quit wearing a belt altogether or I put my belt through all of the loops first, to make sure I don’t miss any, since reaching around myself was growing more difficult.
- I would eat small “normal” portions when out with friends, then stop by for “The meal after the meal” on the way home because I was convinced I was still hungry.
- I found myself purchasing more and more appliances and contraptions, in the name of convenience and progress, to do yard work and household chores. In reality it as because riding a lawn mower was easier than pushing one up the slight hill in our yard.
- I convinced myself, for a lot of rational reasons, that I enjoyed driving more than flying. The fact is, even if I wanted to fly I could not have flown unless I wanted to be cramped, uncomfortable, and spend three hours with an arm rest enema until I reached my destination.
That is enough of that, you get the idea. The point is, rather than dealing with the real issue, I adapted. We adapt.
In the above bullet list, the last one, I alluded to one of the key tricks of “The Adapter”: I rationalized. But if you break that word down, rationalize becomes “rational lies”. These are the lies we tell ourselves to justify our poor decisions. Lies like, “I can’t do it”, I’ve tried before and failed,” “It’s genetic.” “I’m just not one of the pretty people,” “I’m big-boned,” “If I leave my shirt tail un-tucked nobody can tell how big I’m getting or that my gut hangs over my pants.” Even though they may sound good and assuage our conscience the reality is they were lies, albeit rational ones.
Once I believed the lies, it was a short step to adapt and overcome. I did, and I have quite successfully. To my own detriment.
So, this year as I saw that cat sitting in that broken basket. I wanted to scream out, “Don’t you dare buy a bigger basket. Nature hates a vacuum, you will expand to fill the extra space.” I was screaming at myself. It was then and there I determined to leave the lies, to avoid the adaptations, and to revel in the reality.
I am fat. I am killing myself. I am dishonoring God by abusing this wonderful body he created for ME to enjoy and to use for HIS service. WOW! Can’t really rationalize your way past those indictments. That is not negative self-talk, that is reality.
Having identified the problem I have two choices: I can either adapt or I can change the paradigm.
Today, I choose change.
Juice on; Join the Journey.