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.