My Progress!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shopping and the poor man's wheelchair




So some of you might wonder how I'm managing shopping if I can't even cook an entire meal without a chair in the kitchen. I am still amazed at how easily it was to go from kick boxing to my current state. When all you have to do is roll out of bed and take a 5 second walk to your office and that is about the extent of the activity you get for the day, is it any wonder I can even muster up the strength to roll out of bed? To say I am out of shape just doesn't even do justice to how SERIOUSLY out of shape I truly am. Every time I have the least little problem health-wise, I'm reminded how close I am to becoming completely bedridden. Just one little mishap or illness can erode what little strength I have left and possibly compromise my mobility to the extent that I WON'T even be able to roll out of bed any longer.

So, with this in mind, I made a drastic and humiliating decision. I am going to have to start reclaiming some of the things Erik started doing...first, because I was working too much to do them myself (running errands, grocery shopping, taking Tanner to doctor's appointments, etc), then later because I no longer had the strength to do them myself. The situation was snowballing on me and I realized that it wasn't going to take much more before I couldn't even do the things I was doing now...that's scary. If you've ever wondered (like a thinner me used to wonder) exactly *how* an extremely obese person gets bed-bound....my blog should answer your question. It starts slowly. You gain weight over time and gradually you start adjusting your life and activities to accommodate that weight gain. At first, you start waiting for a parking spot closer to the entrance of the store, leave earlier to get a closer spot at work. When you go grocery shopping, you stop doing the once every week or so shopping and start shopping in more manageable bites of time that won't require you to be on your feet an hour or longer or require you walking the entire store. You start using the elevator instead of the stairs. Before you know it, this reduction in activity means you lose bits of muscle mass which makes mobility and physical activity even more difficult. The lack of activity contributes to your weight gain which makes everything more difficult. Before you know it, you discover internet shopping...no need to leave the house at all for that. You go through the drive through at the drug store pharmacy vs. walking in. And so on, and so on....you see the vicious cycle here.

If you happen to have problems with depression (like I do) that only exacerbates your problems as you likely will spend most of your free time sleeping. The more weight you gain, the more mobility you lose, the more depressed you get. Again, vicious cycle.

The problem I was faced with was...how was I going to attempt these outings without getting myself into a situation that I might have a problem getting out of. How was I going to go to the store, walk from my car into the store, walk around the store browsing products AND stand at the check out line long enough to pay for my items and then walk back to my car? Sounds like a simple outing to most of you. For me, it might as well be climbing mount everest. I finally came up with a solution. Yes, I get funny looks, yes it is somewhat humiliating (it would probably be incredibly humiliating for most of you, but when you weigh what I weigh, the bar for what sort of humiliating situations you can endure definitely gets raised. What I did was load a folding chair in the backseat of the car. When I got to the store, I threw the folding chair into a cart and walked until I really needed to sit down. I tried to last as long as I could which quite honestly, wasn't all that long. We are talking way under 5 minutes at a time on my feet. Usually my cue to break out the poor man's wheelchair was about the time my back started aching, knees started trembling, calves cramping...you get the picture. Pretty much, if I knew the next step was going to possibly endanger anyone who might be unfortunate enough to share the aisle with me should I fall, I sat down. A few clerks gave me funny looks when I whipped out the chair. Some customers tried to act as if it was the most normal thing in the world to carry a folding chair under your arm while you shop and avoided my gaze. In all honesty, they probably could have cared less lol...they were probably more interested in their own crafting pursuits to worry about the morbidly obese woman taking a crafting break in the middle of aisle 12. Yes, it was a bit embarrassing, but I was proud of myself for getting out there despite my limitations. I have to start somewhere.

I suppose I could have used one of their wheelchairs or hopped on the motorized chairs they have at some stores, but to me...that is only one more step towards immobility. Right now...that is MY "waiting for a closer parking spot" or giving up another errand to erik. If I accept my current limitations then I'm only setting myself up for the next step...becoming completely immobile and I refuse to accept that. I may not have made much progress this year where my weight is concerned. I've actually lost about 30 lbs in total which is progress I suppose seeing as I've managed to gain about 25 lbs a year for the last 10 years. I'll take what I can get :)

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15 Comments:

karen said...

Sounds like a good plan to me. Keep it up. If it works for you than it is a good thing. :)

Val said...

Good for you! I think you are being so courageous and you really are reclaiming your mobility. Keep it up, and you will definitely start to see changes :)

Mzchef said...

I am really proud of you! Quite frankly, for many reasons, here they are:
You can self-reflect. That is a difficult thing for many. YOu know your strengths and weaknesses and you are taking responsibility for your own actions.

It is so hard to get out of the house sometimes, especially when you are feeling sorry for yourself. Great job getting out and about. That is such a fantastic step.

Your honesty. It is hard to write down, to give words to your weaknesses. You give courage to others.

You can do it! Hugs...

cmoursler said...

that is great, five minutes at a pop this time....maybe try for 6 the next, every step you take is a step in the right direction.
I am rooting for you here.
I know you can do this.

SeaShore said...

I think that's wonderful that you have come up with a solution that allows you to push your limits. You will succeed.

Lolly said...

I am so proud of you! I have more than 150 pounds to lose and I know that there are days when it and life can sometimes seem overwhelming. But if we keep pushing....just something every day....it's a start! Keep up the great work! It's a long and weary journey, but the end results are so worth it........we're worth it!
OK, I'm rambling now. :)
Lolly

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on taking charge of change. You are an inspiration to me becuase you put aside potential embarrassment in order to be more active.

Kim said...

You are so brave to post this. I weigh around 370 and I know things get harder for me all the time. I have to think about which public restrooms are the roomiest when I go out. It's hard. I know if I don't get control of this that I'm well on my way to gaining more and more...I can sympathize. Who cares if you have to bring a chair? If anyone gives you any weird looks then screw'em. lol. You are making a huge step and I give you props Lady! Awesome job! And I hope I can take an honest look at myself the way you are about yourself.

Anonymous said...

What a brave and honest post! Great job on starting to tackle some things you haven't in a while. It's all about small steps. They do add up!

Have you ever thought of using a walker with a seat built in? It might give you some upper body support as you're running your errands and also a place to rest when you need to. I've seen them at Walmart near the pharmacy.

You're doing great; hang in there and stay strong! We're all pulling for you.

Gina Fit by 41, Maybe 42 said...

You are aware of a potentially embarrassing situation but press on doing what is best for you...I SO admire that and find it inspirational.

Ian said...

Awesome job! And I hope I can take an honest look at myself the way you are about yourself...
Loved Your blog..


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Mary Shrimplin said...

Good for you Michelle! I am so proud of your effort not to become totally immobile. It's baby steps my friend!

KrysTros said...

You know what? Eff people. The self righteous attitudes of others who are thinner than me are probably why I felt so bad about myself for a long time. About a year ago I started saying "EFF YOU, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?" No one is perfect and you are doing more than some who just give up and get in the motorized scooter until they can't even get to the store anymore. So be proud, you are doing something, you are stronger for it! Like Mary said, it takes baby steps.

Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing.

debby said...

Hi, I'm reading back through some of your older posts, and I thought this sentence was such a concise and true representation of what happens to all of us who have gained large amounts of weight: "It starts slowly. You gain weight over time and gradually you start adjusting your life and activities to accommodate that weight gain."

You are a good writer. So far I haven't read much about what you are eating. Just wanted to encourage you that you can lose a tremendous amount of weight without exercising much (you mentioned somewhere being worried about injury.) You just need to learn new ways of eating and make better and better food choices. Little by little, gradually adjusting your life. JUst the same way we gained all the weight. I lost 100 pounds mostly following W.W. guidelines, and actually, all that time I never gave up my diet chocolate pudding and cool whip lite. Now, I have taken a few more steps and have adjusted my food choices to be more healthy...Don't give up. You can do it!