Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Biggest Loser and a Box of Kleenex

I'm watching "The Biggest Loser" finale on Tivo at the moment and I have no problem admitting I'm teary-eyed and snotty-nosed. These are my people after all. Century people. People who were morbidly, dangerously obese and have lost a 100 or more pounds. We might not have a clubhouse or a secret handshake but we're all connected in a way that's hard to explain, but it boils down to this. We know.

We know what it's like to have looked in the mirror and not been able to see ourselves, who we knew we really were under all the flesh and fat that hid us. We know what it's like to have had the other passengers on a plane watch as we squeezed down the aisle with a look on their faces that said "I hope that huge person isn't sitting in the seat next to me." We know the humilitation of not having fit through a store turnstile or into a restaurant booth, and to have been treated in public as if we weren't there because somehow the bigger we were the more invisible we were. And most of all, we know what it was like to have wanted more than anything to just fit in, to look normal, to have tried everything and anything to lose weight only to find ourselves powerless in the end to change anything. And after trying and trying for so long we had given up. We had said that was how we were and how we would always be. Nothing had worked and nothing ever would, and so we gave up all hope and accepted that we would die fat and we would probably die young, and we only hoped when the end came they wouldn't need to bury us in a piano crate.

And then something happened; a something that was different for all of us. Maybe it was the burning desire to live long enough to accompany our newborn child into their adulthood and not miss a single minute more of their lives than was our destiny. Perhaps a doctor looked us in the eyes and suggested that the next time we wanted a donut we should consider picking up a handgun instead because it would be quicker and less painful in the end. Maybe it was growing so sick and tired of how our lives were going we couldn't bear it another day. Perhaps it was hitting the bottom of despair with a thud and having no other way to go but up and accepting that nothing we had tried on our own worked so we reached out for help and support from others, some to a 12-step recovery meeting, some to Weight Watchers and others to "The Biggest Loser."

So I'm teary-eyed and snotty-nosed because just as I know the pain and humilation they've been through in their lives, I know the joy they're experiencing now in hope restored and a the goal of a lifetime reached. I know when they look in the mirror today they see the person they knew was there all along just waiting to get out. I'm so happy for all of them, for their chance to participate in a life that up to now they've only watched from the sidelines. They've done an incredible thing; so incredible that only those of us who have "been there and done that" can really appreciate...because we know.


Linda Stipe said...

"I have read every word...and all I can say is WoW."

jeanne said...

You are an incredible writer. I haven't had to lose 100 lbs, but i've been to the 12-step programs and everything else. I can only begin to imagine.