As far as I can remember, I’ve always been lazy. My mother told me that when it came time for me to be born, I refused to get into position so they had to perform an emergency c-section. The story goes that the doctor took one look at me, laughed, and told my mom “Wow, look at her; just sitting there sucking her thumb. She’s going to be a lazy one.” Growing up, the phrase “Oh my God, Kat, just get up and get it yourself!” was a constant utterance of my friends and loved ones. I’m talking lazy to the point where if I was upstairs watching TV (laying down, of course) and I felt hungry, I’d stay hungry because I was too lazy to go downstairs and get something to eat; or worse, I’d make my boyfriend at the time (or really, anyone who was in the room with me) go downstairs and get it for me. In fact, I was so lazy that I used to have my then-boyfriend drive me to work (which consisted of me sitting on my butt for 8.5 hrs a day on the phone) even though it was only three blocks away and drop me off at the entrance because the parking lot got full and I “didn’t want to park far and have to walk all the way to the entrance.” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that was the extent of my laziness.
Knowing all that, it should come as no surprise to you that the word “exercise” was not in my vocabulary. I mean, sure, being fat I would have these proclamations of “Starting next Monday, I start working out! I will be fat NO MORE!” every once in a while. I even joined a gym with my cousin Diana and got a personal trainer! I would at first be very excited and show up to the gym at least 3 times a week for 2-3 weeks and then I’d lose interest, go to Burger King and forget all about the gym. Then I’d go back, months later (after a doctor’s office where I got chastised for my weight gain), and do a hard workout that left my muscles screaming and the cycle would repeat itself all over again. I used to mask self-hatred with self-deprecating jokes, to make sure people were laughing with me not just at me. I remember many a time where I danced around my room, jiggling my flabby stomach and singing Weird Al Yankovich’s “Fat” to the amusement of my cousin. I had given up. My body was this alien thing to me; this thing that had swollen feet and legs, this thing that made it hard for me to move without struggling to breathe.
It all changed one fateful day in my doctor’s office. When I burst into tears after seeing the numbers on the scale (over 300 lbs.), my doctor gave me a sympathetic look, handed me a tissue and softly asked: “Have you given any thought to weight loss surgery?” That’s when it all became real; when I realized that this body belonged to me and I was killing myself if I didn’t make a decision soon. She handed me some pamphlets, recommended I go to a surgeon’s bariatric surgery presentation and shortly thereafter I made my decision. I would be one of “those people.”
This whole journey, from the shaky beginnings of getting approved for surgery; the first few months post-op as I got accustomed to this stomach that I now call a “pouch;” learning to eat and drink and even move all over again; this is the most present I’ve ever been in my body. I think of those sedentary days a lot lately, especially since I’ve been training for the Lou Gehrig ’s Disease 5k in May. It took me quite a while to get to this point, I still struggled with laziness post-op but I have learned to make exercise more than a chore, make it something enjoyable. Sure, I still feel lazy a lot of times, when I get home from work, on the weekends; but instead of giving up now I push myself and force myself to go out and walk, and you know what? Once I’m out there with my headphones on, enjoying the fresh air and scenery: I’m so glad I did.
That lazy girl who lived her life on the couch, watching other people live in her TV may be only a memory now; but she’s a memory that I need to hold on to so she doesn’t become my reality again.