#oneaday Day 847: You Must be This Skinny to Ride

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I’ve been going back and forth in my mind as to whether or not I should write about this, but given subjects I’ve happily covered in the past on this blog I figured what the hell. In for a penny, in for a pound, or something. Hopefully writing about this will prove cathartic, as I’ve been feeling fairly shitty for a fair chunk of the day.

Today, as you’ll know if you have read recent posts, Andie and I went to Alton Towers. I was looking forward to this a great deal, as it’s been a long time since I’d been and I was very curious about the new rides — as well as going on some old favourites.

All was going well. We’d been on the Runaway Mine Train, the Rapids, the Flume and an awesomely fun rollercoaster called Air that suspends you in a “lying down” position as if you’re flying like Superman, and we were having a great time.

Then I tried to go on Ripsaw. I had a feeling there might be trouble when the seats felt a bit small. I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so mortifying, however.

To cut a long story short, I had to get off the ride because I was too fat. The attendant didn’t use those words, obviously (if he had, I would have probably yelled more than a few obscenities at him and/or punched him) but there it was. Apparently the (already very tight on most people) safety harness thingies couldn’t be lowered enough on to me, so I had to get off. They gave me a “Priority Pass” to get on something else immediately, but guess what? All of the rides it covered also had very similar issues. I tried one and didn’t dare get on any others after that, as I was so upset.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so humiliated as when I was getting off Ripsaw and walking across the front of the ride area towards the exit. I didn’t hear anyone laughing at me, but it didn’t matter. I was mortified. I was The Guy Who Was Too Fat To Ride. I won’t lie, it upset me enough to make me cry. I have issues with my body shape as it is, and to have it “confirmed” by strangers was just the worst feeling.

I am totally insecure in my body shape. I’m not what you’d call “massive” by any means. But I have quite a “solid” upper body. I hate it. I feel revulsion when I look at myself in the mirror. I wish I could just be happy in who I was, but when a day out is spoiled by your own fatness, it’s hard not to take it personally, particularly when you’re already made to feel like a social pariah by the way the world is set up.

Every time I see statistics about the number of obese people in the country, I feel bad. Every time someone on Twitter makes some judgemental comment about obese people, I get upset. I gave up on Wii Fit in the end because I was getting so demoralised every time I did the Body Test and it made my Mii swell up like a balloon. I’ve even been insulted by complete strangers in the past because of my weight. The world is set up to make me feel like Being Fat Is Bad and that I should Do Something About It.

Here’s the thing, though: I am doing something about it. I am going to the gym regularly, doing at least an hour of cardio every time (plus some weights work) and burning anywhere between 600 and 800 calories in a session. I am watching what I eat, counting calories and trying to make sure I have a deficit of a decent size, but not so much I’m starving myself. And still I feel like a societal reject because the weight is hard to get off. I wasn’t expecting it to be easy, but I would have expected to have at least a little impact by now. Perhaps it has and I just haven’t realised or noticed. But it’s incredibly demoralising when you discover that despite your best efforts, you’re Too Fat To Do That Thing You Like.

I’m really not sure what I can do beyond what I’m already doing — perhaps trying to up the intensity further on my workouts, and making sure I’m being as consistent and disciplined as possible. But my experience today made me feel like absolute shit about myself, through no-one’s fault in particular. Besides my own, I guess.

I’ve known people who were pretty large who successfully managed to lose a buttload of weight and completely change their body type. I feel jealous when I see those people, and I wonder if I’ll ever succeed. On days like today, it feels like it won’t ever happen.

I have calmed down a bit since earlier. Shit happens, and the rest of the day was fun. I am thirty-one years old, and Alton Towers probably wasn’t built with thirty-one year old men in mind. Perhaps I just need to let go of the past and do things that are more friendly to thirty-one year old men instead of stuff I was doing around half my lifetime ago. Going to the gym. Sitting in the jacuzzi at our hotel (so relaxing — just the thing after a stressful day). Hanging out with friends and playing board games. Playing Diablo III. Being at peace with oneself.

I’m not sure I’ll ever manage the last bit unless I successfully manage to shed a whole buttload of weight. I certainly intend to keep on trying, but you’ll forgive me if I have occasional lapses in hope for my long-term success.

Thank you for indulging me with this post. We’re off to the Alton Towers Water Park tomorrow, so hopefully that will be a much more fun day.

8 thoughts on “#oneaday Day 847: You Must be This Skinny to Ride

  1. beige

    If it helps, last time we video conferenced I was genuinely surprised to see how much good your exercises had already done for you over there. If you’re seeing yourself every day you’re probably not picking up on it, but trust me. Talk to those of your friends who only check in once in a while.

    Reply
  2. Dawn McCormack

    I got stuck in a ride once. Proper wedged in because I was too fat. Mortifying. I was also literally ‘too fat to ride’ as was too heavy to ride my horse. I joined slimming works and lost 3 st in a year. To be honest, it was easy. I was eating shit and pretending I wasn’t. I was only cheating myself. I didn’t spend time in a gym, didn’t spend money on fancy shakes or meal replacements. Just running and eating normally. It’s hard, really hard, to like oneself in the mirror. But once you start to see a change, the motivation is there. Remember my fat file on fb? Do that, take measurements rather than weigh yourself. Stick at it, one day you’ll go back to AT and get on all the rides.

    Hugs x

    Reply
  3. Mike Thompson

    Aw, Pete. I know the feeling. I still have body image issues from my days as the fat kid for most of my teenage years. I’m sorry you had to go through this, sir.

    Reply
  4. Kittycow

    Be glad they didn’t let you ride, at least. I’ve been on a ride where I was slightly too big for the seat, which then used centrifugal force to spin you almost to a horizontal position. I could -feel- myself slipping for the whole thing, I was utterly terrified.

    Also, I’m in the same place as you weight wise. Concerted effort is needed, but I keep saying “after exams” or “after Diablo 3″… I shall explore some approaches over the summer and share with you how it goes.

    Reply
  5. mike

    Echoing beige’s comments – you were definitely noticeably sleeker last time I saw you. Don’t let this put you off.

    Reply
  6. zebra Matt (@zebraMatt84)

    I’ll admit, I’m guilty of a generally disparaging attitude towards those of extreme girth. (I am frankly a Bit of a Right Bastard.) But in spite of that, you’ve moved me here to extend my heartfelt support for your situation. I think all of us at some point have had a share of setbacks – some more than others, it’s true – when striving to come to terms with ourselves; and whatever it’s about it’s never easy to cope with.

    That said, it reads to me like you’re coping damn well in the face of this harsh and unforgiving world – and personally (gittish nature aside) I find that pretty inspiring.

    Chin up, chap!

    Reply
  7. sam

    Hey dude – I feel your pain. The first ride I tried to get on at Alton Towers a few months ago was rita, swear they nearly cracked my rips jumping on the harness to try and squash me in. It sucked massive balls – have you tried joining slimming world? I started it 2 months ago and it is such an easy plan, you can eat honestly massive amounts of an awful lot of foods, pasta, eggs, veg, fruit, most meats and for me the weight is coming off at a rate of 2 pounds a week, which for me is amazing because I eat so much, before and now!

    I really empathise with you – I’ve had all the same feelings, about the wii, whenever they mention anything on the news etc etc, and I know how demoralizing this is, but keep on keeping on, it sounds like you enjoy the exercise and even if it goes slow, you can do it :) Just try not to worry about it so much, just keep on plodding away :)

    Reply

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