Fat Man

Papa John and Baby John, Father's Day, 2010
I'm Fat!
 There's no other way to put it... I'm not 'A bit overweight', I'm not a 'Burly Man', I'm not 'Robust'... I'm fat, overweight, sloppy....  if you can find a more disgusting word for it, then that's what I am. I look like Jaba The Hutt with clothes and legs.  I look like a small planet. I cannot stand the way I look. I disgust myself, and that is sad. If you cannot like yourself, then how can you expect others to like you or look at you in any other way then 'That little fat guy'... it's disgusting!

Papa John May 21, 2013
 I wasn't always like this. As a matter of fact, up until two and a half years ago, I was in decent shape, for someone with arthritis and two torn rotator cuffs and a history of back problems. I didn't take pain medication, I walked every day, I ate normal meals and drank a lot of coffee. That was my only vice... oh, wait.... I forgot... I also smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes every day. I didn't have a smokers cough, or problems breathing, even though I had smoked for 52 years, but I did have have heart problems, high blood pressure, and vascular problems.  I quit smoking in July of 2010, not because I wanted to, but because cigarettes went to over ten dollars a pack and, more importantly, my wife was diagnosed with COPD and had to quit, and the only way that she would quit was if I did too. So, we made a pact and we both quit. It was difficult.. I won't lie to you.. it was perhaps the most difficult thing that I have ever done in my life, but we both did it, and I am proud of that fact. There was one, small, problem: It decreased my metabolism. It decreased it to the point where I put on 65 pounds between July and November. I didn't start eating more. I didn't start drinking sugared drinks. I didn't do anything to gain the weight aside from quitting smoking. That did it to me. 
  I discussed this with my Internist, who I have know for about thirty years and who is also my friend. He told me that a weight gain was normal, but he would rather see me healthy and overweight, rather then thinner and smoking. "Your weight will eventually level off, and return to around what it was." OK, I decided, I'll live with it for a bit. 
 I also discussed it with my Cardiologist, and he said the same thing, basically. The only difference was that he told me that the metabolism slows way down, and I might not go back to the weight that I was. This is not what I wanted to hear. I had a very physical job, before I retired; telephone work, contrary to popular opinion, is not always easy, and if you worked outside, as I did for the last 15 years of my career, it was very seldom easy. So, I am not used to being overweight and out of shape.
 So, here I am, almost three years later. I have a hard time moving around because my knees, as well as my back, are shot. I have sleep apnea because of the weight gain and I have to sleep with a mask on and a machine forcing my airway open at night. I'm always short of breath, not because there is anything wrong with my lungs (there is not), but because I have this barrel for a belly that is putting pressure on all of my internal organs, especially my heart and my lungs. I don't have clothes that fit, and I just cannot get around like I used to. I'm 66 years old, and if the weight does not come down, I may not see 70.
 Now, I do not overeat. I very seldom eat between meals, and I do not eat very much when I do eat. I am in a quandary over what to do about it. Today, I am going to a seminar about lapband surgery, but I don't see how this will help since I don't eat very much anyway. Something has to give, and I hope that it's not my heart.
 I see articles all the time about people who are not bothered by their weight and just want to continue on as they are. I am not one of them. I want to look good, and be able to get around like I once did, without pain and exertion.  So, wish me luck on my quest. I don't know if I will be successful, but I am going to try. That is all that I can do.
 John Zaffino May 21, 2013

 

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