A woman by the name of Kelly Coffey wrote a pretty incredible blog post called “5 Thing I Miss About Weighing More Than 300 Pounds.”
In her post she talked about Power, Comfort, Perspective, Friendships, and Presence. I can relate to every word. A friend who sent me her post asked me if I’d answer the same question. What do I miss about life at my heaviest? What do I miss about weighing 460 pounds?
I want to preface my answer by saying I’m happy with the changes I’ve made and truly believe they have saved my life. That said, there’s a lot I miss about my old life.
1. I miss having downtime. My whole life outside of work used to be downtime. I spent it in my basement, propped up on a bed, trying to see Netflix over the top of the bowl of cheesies resting on my gut. My old Saturday’s were fat man heaven. My day would start with a $20 drive-thru trip to McDonald’s. I’d watch 4 episodes of some TV show I barely cared about. Lunch would be a liter of Chocolate milk and a couple of candy bars. I’d sleep the afternoon away, through a fog of Facebook and text messages, wake up, watch two movies and order a pizza and garlic finger combo. I was completely shut off from the world and it’s exactly how I liked it. A lot of that sounds disgusting to me now – but at the time, it made me calm. Being home and just doing my own routine never tested my anxiety or made me uncomfortable. It was my safe, happy place, and there are days now when I really don’t know where that is anymore.
2. I miss not caring about the future. I lived day by day, pay to pay, with little worry about a future because I was actively aware that I was killing myself. The upside of that? I never worried about long term prospects, or broke a sweat when my savings account was low or non-existent. My job was just a job and never really a career – so it didn’t come with the planning and ambition that most people consider. I was just happy I had a way of earning a paycheck. I didn’t really think it was a long term plan. Without a doubt radio has become my accidental career, and in a lot of ways the final part of my life that’s left unchanged since I’ve changed everything else. Do I have this job because I love it and see it as a career I want to keep growing, or do I have this job because it’s what’s evolved from a desperate decision I made on my spiral down as I grew to my heaviest? The truth is – it’s a mix of both, but that doesn’t cheapen it at all, and it doesn’t mean it’s not where I belong.
3. I miss lying. Lying was a huge part of life at my heaviest – to myself and to everyone else. I’m not saying I was ever good at it – because I think I’m a terrible liar – but I at least got to a point where the people I was lying to would just let me have it. They’d swallow my excuses, not challenge my stories, and just generally let me say whatever I had to say to keep on living the way I was without shame or losing face. I don’t miss lying because I liked it, I miss lying because having people who know you’re lying let you get away with lying is so much easier than telling those people the truth. So the part of lying that I really miss is the lack of accountability. And I miss being able to lie to myself the way I used to. It helped me settle for less and not expect much of anything from myself or anyone else.
4. I miss secrecy. There are entire days I forget that I’m not in the closet anymore. I spent so long keeping my bisexuality split between those in my life who knew and those who didn’t that I sometimes forget it’s all out there now. A friend will crack a joke in front of people I work with and I have a split second of panic before remembering that I’m 31 now, not 21, and that don’t feel an ounce of shame about who I am. All the same, having that part of my life under wraps for so long left me feeling interesting in a way that I’m not anymore. I think part of me enjoyed that there were so many people who thought they knew me but didn’t. I’m in no way saying I regret opening up about it – because I don’t. Life just feels lighter now and I should have done it years ago, but I do miss feeling like there was a part of me that was just mine. I don’t miss hiding who I am, but I do miss having something that was just mine.
5. I miss low expectations. People just didn’t expect much from me at my heaviest. Now, there’s a certain pressure to everything I do especially since I’ve been on a two year roll of success. I’ve had an incredible run of opportunity and success since I’ve started changing my life and the way I see myself in the world. I’ve never been the sort of guy who does things lightly. When I commit to something I want to knock it out of the park. I’ve always put a tonne of pressure on myself because I don’t like being average at much of anything. I am incredibly competitive in certain parts of my life and my default outlook on most things is win / loss. If you’re not winning, you’re losing. That drove me through school and through my first few jobs. As I grew to my heaviest I dropped that from most parts of my life, but thankfully maintained it professionally where I do consider myself a fighter. I work to win. These days though that mentality is driving every part of my life. Suddenly there is an expectation that I will bring that ferocity to every part of my life – and I do, and life is more engaging because of that, but I miss there being parts of my life where I didn’t care if I was winning or losing. When the expectations are as low as they used to be, winning was easy anyway. I miss the easy win, but recognize now that those weren’t ever really wins at all.
So, there they are. Those are some of the things I miss about life at my heaviest. I don’t miss them enough to want to go back – but I liked this challenge because it reminded me of something. I was the way I was for so long because it worked for me. Being that size and living that life was working for me in a whole bunch of ways for a long time. That’s why I didn’t change.
It catches up though, and suddenly one day it isn’t working for you and the prospect of changing it is so overwhelming that you do nothing about it. Suddenly you aren’t living that way because you want to, but because it’s the only the way you know how.