Healthy Gamer

Healthy Gamer: Heart of Darkness

Yeah. Hilarious.
Yeah. Hilarious.

“We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict.” – Jim Morrison

I’m going to take a brief departure from the Dating Misadventures of Joey FatOne for the GenCon Healthy Gamer report.

I think I did pretty decently all things considered. I managed to eat a real meal most days, and at least half of them were sensible choices. Admittedly, there was not a single night that I didn’t enjoy a few drinks, which I know isn’t exactly productive, but when in Rome…or in Indy, I suppose. I didn’t end up making it to the gym (boo! hiss!) on account of all of the Gen Con to do, and my sleep was not exactly frequent. From 7 am Wednesday to 10 pm Monday, I slept a total of 20 hours…and I wasn’t even the least rested of the people I kept company with. I did still get in a lot of walking.

Which leads me to the point of this post, and an admission of one of my greatest fears.

Wandering around the densely packed exhibit hall, there were a number of occasions where I saw some people that were pretty overweight. It takes a lot for me to say that. It takes a lot for me to look at someone and have the reaction of “holy hell that guy is heavy.”

You wouldn't know by his smile, but he's asking "Dude...what the fuck, man?"
You wouldn’t know by his smile, but he’s asking “Dude…what the fuck, man?”

Some of these people were in motorized carts and/or wheelchairs, and this is something that terrifies me. I’m not exactly a spring chicken, and I’ve been heavy pretty much as long as I can remember. (There are some pics of me as a kid that aren’t).

This means that for at least almost 25 years, my joints have been working harder than they were ever meant to. I’m thankful in the extreme that so far, I haven’t had any serious joint complications that have prevented me from moving as much as I needed to, and the more weight I lose, the more I learn about the kinds of movement I was denied this entire time.

But what happens if that weren’t the case? Though I recognize it’s an absolutely terrible thing to say (and I apologize to any readers this may offend, such is not my intent), but I can’t say for certain that I would want to live if my unhealthy choices had taken my mobility away

I know that’s a bit drastic, but it’s accurate. I’m not saying that if I ended up that way I would be making plans to check out early, but I can certainly say that the thoughts would cross my mind.

Really? Am I saying I would choose non-existence over a life using a cart or wheelchair? Maybe. I can’t say because I’m not there and I’m fighting like hell to make sure I don’t end up there.

This forces the question of “what’s so completely terrible about that?” One of my now six readers may be in a wheelchair and fuming. I need to clarify that I am not saying that I would rather die than live in a way that you have had to deal with. This has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with me. The notion that I made it happen is something that compounds every aspect of this fear.

In the end, I have some shame issues, as I’m guessing most heavy people do. Some of you have earnestly gotten past them, and more power to you, but I am not among those people. I struggle a lot with the shame issues, and this is 100 pounds lighter than I was. The truth is, the considerable and terrible shame that I have heaped on myself in the past is absolutely nothing compared to the literal Hell I would put myself through, if my choices put me in those circumstances. I don’t hesitate for a second to say that my darkest points regarding self-worth would be remembered as picnics in the park in comparison.

This gives me all the frowns. The other results from this Google Image Search gives me all the anger.
This gives me all the frowns. The other results from this Google Image Search gives me all the anger.

That’s what I am terrified of. That’s what I am running away from. Looking at this fear makes me aware of a very uncomfortable truth. When I see people a lot heavier than I am, or heavy people in carts, there is a knee-jerk reaction of disgust and/or disapproval and/or negativity….to something that I am not so far removed from myself. It is not at all lost on me that this makes me guilty of being judgmental on things that I have felt unfairly judged on myself. There is a pretty big difference between having the feeling and thinking it is okay to have the feeling. I most certainly do not think my view on this is acceptable, and that’s another demon waiting in the exorcism line.

So what am I doing to spare myself that fate? I’ve been changing my plan. I’m cutting dairy and grains from my diet entirely. Processed sugars are gone, not that those were really too present. Synthetics are hitting the road too. I wasn’t really eating a lot of red meat, and will probably reduce what little consumption is left. I’ve started using my lunch hours for walking in incrementally increasing distances in addition to my increasing cardio/lifting regimen. I’m going to pick up a Jawbone Up, because I like something that makes me more accountable by reminding me frequently “hey fatty…how about a quick walk?” Results of these changes forthcoming. What am I doing to deal with the fear and the underlying judgments? Trying to be mindful of them. Time will tell how well both of these plans work.

This is a difficult and prickly thing for me to talk about, which is probably a good indicator that it needed to be discussed here. What are your biggest fears concerning your health?

Next time: The other more fun parts of The Best Four Days of Gaming.

2 thoughts on “Healthy Gamer: Heart of Darkness

  1. Joe, this post concerns a subject that I feel very strongly about: fat shaming.

    Fat shaming is a bit of a misnomer; it should really be called weight shaming. It’s something that I have experienced but never really understood. I hear it all the time. A friend mentions a couple of “fatties” he saw at work today. Someone on twitter posts a picture of a supermodel with a remark to “go eat a burger.” A facebook friend posts about “going hogging” at the bar. A coworker refers to a fellow coworker as “that skinny bitch.” That’s weight shaming. No matter why those words are said – cruelty, hatred, lust, jealousy – they are always disgusting. I just don’t get it. Why the fuck do they care about someone else’s weight? What does weight even have to do with ANYTHING?

    Your series of posts has englightened me about the other side of weight shaming, the emotional stigma that goes with being overweight. I’ve never realized how powerfully someone’s weight could affect their emotions, their whole life. Every roller coaster, every vacation photo, every dating profile is a big. fucking. deal.

    But you’ve also inspired me. You woke up one day and decided, “You know what? This? This is unacceptable. Let’s get the fuck out of here.” And then you just… just did it. That takes a kind of single-minded dedication that I can barely fathom.

    It is (almost) never acceptable to judge someone else based on their weight. But yourself? Hell yes. If I am not happy with where I am, then I have a right to change it. And to be unhappy with what you have is, unfortunately, a symptom of the human condition.

    You forced me to look at myself in the mirror and wonder, “Is this what I want? Joe can change. Why can’t I?” So I got a Fitocracy account, and a gym membership, and set myself a goal. More importantly, I started working towards it.

    You are carrying the torch for me. You’re carrying a torch for others. Keep it up, Joe. We’re following you.

  2. Elyce,

    So, first off, wow. Thank you for the extremely touching compliment you’ve paid me here. I will do my absolute best to make sure that I earn it.

    Regarding weight-shaming…it’s never okay. For anyone. But let’s not even pretend it’s the same concept. Thin privilege is a thing. The incomparable Lindy West hit this better than I ever could hope to in an article I have linked here for you, and one I should link in a place where all of my 3 readers will see it.

    To be fair, I haven’t just done it. I am still doing it, and the battle is far from over.

    I’m very glad that I could play any part, regardless of how small, in your own decision to change yourself. Humorously? Oddly? The thing I take away most from this is a renewed infusion of “must work harder” because now I have a stranger to impress. It’s amazing what the feeling of being watched will do for your motivation, which is one of the reasons I took this whole thing online in the first place. I’ll carry your torch, but understand that in order for me to have room for yours, you had to take one of mine.

    And I need to get back into using Fitocracy, dammit. 🙂

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