Chapter 1 - Morbid Obesity? Nahhh...
From Fat to Fit – A Geeky Weight Loss Memoir is a serial podcast audiobook–or podiobook–that is my story of how I lost 150 pounds and changed my life. It is the second season of the Geek Fitness Health Hacks podcast.
what’s in this chapter:
I was 20 years old when my urologist diagnosed me as “morbidly obese.” It was my junior year of college, and I will never forget those two words, his demeanor, or how I felt during that meeting.
He was going to have to surgically remove a kidney stone (which started hurting during the opening night showing of The Matrix Revolutions and totally prevented whatever small enjoyment I would have been able to eke out of the movie). He was warning my mother and me about the dangers of anesthesia on a person of my size. I don’t know what I weighed at the time, but I was pretty hefty, likely somewhere between 280 and 310.
Even knowing that I was fat, when the doctor told us that I was medically classified as “morbidly obese,” I wanted to punch him right in the throat, under that face of his.
Who was he to call me that? He didn’t know me. We were paying him to remove a rock from inside my body, not to pass judgment on my weight and lifestyle. But that’s what he was doing.
Or at least, it felt like what he was doing.
He explained that I needed to lose a lot of weight, and there were options that he could recommend to help me. But none of them would take effect before the surgery, so he wanted my mom and me to know how dangerous it was to put me to sleep.
“With any morbidly obese person,” he said, “There is an increased chance of not waking up. Of course, if we don’t surgically remove the kidney stone, one of those barbs I showed you earlier will catch in the urethra and shred it as it is passes out of the body. The likelihood of death from blood loss or infection is greater than surgery, but I wanted you to know the risk involved.”
All I could focus on was him calling me morbidly obese, not the risk of death. He explained later that he was basing it on my body-mass-index (BMI), and that my weight-to-height proportions were out of whack. He said that I was over a 40 on BMI charts, which meant that medically I was morbidly obese.
I didn’t care what jargon he used. This was a doctor calling me fat.
“You have to lose weight, B.J.,” he told me from across the desk. “Not only does your weight make this surgery dangerous, but it limits your life. If you don’t do it now, while you’re young, it just gets harder. But you have to do it. You’re just too big.”
He said that to me. I remember the condescension in his tone.
Now you should probably know that I might have a slight problem with authority and people telling me what to do. But this doctor was being a jackass. He was talking to me like I was an ignorant kid, but I was 20 years old! And in college! (Looking back, he was right, and I was an ignorant kid in so, so, so many ways, but that’s neither here nor there.)
I don’t remember what I said to him or much of what was said after that. My feelings were hurt, and I didn’t care if he was right. I wasn’t morbidly obese, I told myself. I was fat, yeah, but morbidly obese was the label was for people who couldn’t walk or get out of their beds. I wasn’t like that. I was fat, but I carried my weight well (said every fat person ever).
I knew I needed to lose weight, but I wasn’t about to do it because some smarmy, condescending urologist told me I needed to. I’d let him pull the rock out of my kidneys, but I wasn’t going to let him insult me.
I never inquired about his methods of weight loss. Because screw him.
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