Moment of Critical Mass, the Threshold, the Tipping Point


Losing 120 pounds.   120 pounds.   That’s like peeling off one whole other adult human being off yourself.  It kind of feels like that too.  The person you were before is gone.  In her place is someone you don’t know very well yet (I don’t think I can do that!). In a body that doesn’t feel like your own (Muscles? Ribs?  Is that supposed to do that?).  In a body that doesn’t look the way you think it does (What was I wearing that day?  I know I was there, but is that me in thepicture?  Is that what I look like?) In a body that doesn’t look the way your friends and family think does (but they will recognize my voice or laugh, so I only have to reintroduce myself some of the time).  In a world that feels very, very different and strange (Many people treat the morbidly obese either as invisible(with my implicit consent since god knows I was trying my darnedest not to be noticed, to shrink into the background, to make myself small when physically that was an impossibility) or as less than – that change in being seen with full human status takes some getting used to.   It takes dramatic changes and a lot patience and consistency to lose 120 pounds.  It started with hitting my own personal tipping point. 

A personal tipping point- that place when change is a hurtling inevitability – happened for me in one personal moment of despair when physically, mentally, and emotionally the line of “no further” was drawn.   Being diagnosed as pre-diabetic, having high blood pressure, living as a morbidly obese person, taking prescription drugs to deal with my weight effects, lectures from my doctor,  and having a personal trainer did absolutely nothing to change my behavior or weight (partly because nothing seemed to work, I didn’t understand my addiction to food, and statistically nothing does really work so I didn’t honestly believe it was possible –  but that’s another story for a different day).  One moment sitting alone in the hospital bathroom – cold and wet from the first shower after surgery, unable to get up and move, not knowing that the nurses call rope was above my head, in pain from wrist to ankle, with nothing to do but look at my naked self in the mirror for a good long while and decide that things were going to change. As they say, sometimes you have to get knocked down to get up.  In my case, it took getting knocked down to a whole new rock bottom of pain and despair – its one way to find a decent foundation to rebuild I guess –but I don’t recommend it.   I can still tap into that moment.  Actually, the 8 pins and a plate in my leg reminding me that they are there keep me in touch with that moment on a daily basis if I let them.   It almost feels like cheating since my choices become much easier and simpler.   I choose to get healthier and attempt to avoid that feeling of pain and helplessness for as long as possible – losing excess weight and getting stronger helps my odds.  

I’m almost grateful for that moment (almost).   As my Mother is facing dialysis after 20 some odd years of diabetes, one sibling injects insulin every day in an attempt to get the blood sugar under control, another sibling in need of surgery but is considered too high risk due to weight, and with an Aunt with Alzheimer’s still remembering how to give her own insulin shots but no longer remembering me – I wonder if I hit my tipping point soon enough or if I did enough metabolic damage prior to that so that my future is an inevitability or maybe with my actions now can kick that can down the road a little further in life?  I wonder what my loved one’s tipping points  are. I hope they find them without the scars.

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