Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Desk/Chair Combo, Torture me No More

I weighed in today at 232 pounds--down one pound. I had so wanted to get below 230. I know it's just a number, but dropping into a new 10 pound increment is a real psychological shot in the arm. I like lovely round numbers. It's for that sick reason that I sort of wish I'd started my weight loss at 280 instead of 278. Weird, I know!

But on a different knot, I much prefer when I can measure my success entirely independently of numbers. Usually, these opportunities present themselves when I'm not even seeking them out.

One example was the day I realized my "lady junk" khakis were too big. I call them that because at my highest weight they were so snug that wearing them put every aspect of my anatomy on display. They have both a button and a drawstring, and when I first bought them, I had to use the drawstring to close them because I couldn't get them buttoned without popping an eye out. (You may ask why I didn't just buy the next size up--I was in denial; I thought if I didn't buy the next size, I wasn't that big). However, one day a few months ago, I realized I had to use the same drawstring to keep them from dropping around my ankles. It was the first time the number on the scale had any concrete meaning to me and the first time I really believed that I had lost the weight.

Yesterday, I had another one of those weird "non scale victories" as my Weight Watchers leader calls them. I have been a student for most of my life and probably will be for the remainder. However, when I first began college I met with a frightful and humiliating fiend--the desk/chair combo. In case anyone is not aware, the desk/chair combo is constructed with your average human in mind. While some allowances are made for those social deviants who insist on writing with their left hands, I discovered on that first day of class, freshmen year that no such allowances are made for plus sized folks.

I'd try to make it to class before everyone else so that no one would see me working to wedge myself into the chair. My butt would hang over the side and the desk would cut into my stomach which would spill over the top of the writing surface. Once I was in my seat, I prayed I wouldn't have to get out until the end of class when I would shuffle my papers so I could get up in privacy. The difficulty is that I would sometimes need to get up to get a paper or to do something in front of the class. A few times, when I stood, the chair came with me. Other times I had to shimmy my way out with what felt like the whole world's eyes upon me. Some people snickered and whispered--jackasses.

These vile contraptions were the only seating available in virtually all my classes. They were a constant, humiliating reminder of my size. They made it impossible to deny. Probably the worst thing about it is that it made me compare myself to other college girls. I noticed that other girls could fit piled two high in the desks, which is a lot like what I imagine it would feel like to see one (or two) of them try on my "lady junk" pants.

Last night, as I was sitting in my class, I became conscious of the space between my abdomen and the writing surface. I realized, with glee, that I could slip in and out of the desk with ease. I almost started crying right there in the middle of the lecture. It was so beyond belief that a difficulty that had dominated my college experience was behind me. That's a victory! Who cares if the scale say 232 or 500. Those real, quality of life differences are what I'm striving for.

So what about you? What non scale victories can you claim or what are you striving for?


Karyn said...

I just about cried when I read your experience with "the chair of torture".

It reminded me of the time I had my granddaughters at the amusement park...Grandpa and Grandma wanted to take them on the "train ride" - I had to cram myself into the car in front of a long, winding line of folks waiting their turns. Then, I could barely breathe during the entire trip because my gut was pushing up against my lungs.

But isn't it wonderful that our stories haven't ended in that humiliating place? You fit into the desk! Congratulations!!!! A much more concrete victory than a couple pounds on the scale.

How's that for a "shot in the arm"? pants that are too big and a desk that is no longer a place of humiliation. Who cares what the numbers are? Celebrate!

Karyn said...

Oh, I like your new look, BTW

Anonymous said...

That is so great! It those accomplishments that make this whole weight loss rollercoaster *more than* worth it! Keep up the great work!

Congrats on the NSV!

Chubby Chick said...

OMG! Those are AWESOME NSVs!!!

I battled desk/chairs my entire school life. I am talking from first grade on! Finally in some classes in high school the chairs were separate from the desk, thank God.

I've avoided taking classes in recent years because of desk/chairs. Maybe when I'm thinner I will finally be able to get out there and take some classes if I want to!