If you know me personally, you know that I’ve always been on the chunky side and if you don’t know me personally, now you know.
Truth is, I’ve never been uncomfortable with my weight because I never really cared much to be skinny or to gain anyone’s approval.
I’m not afraid of the word, “fat.”
I’m not afraid of stretch marks.
I’m not afraid to shop in the larger section of shops.
But what I am afraid of is declining health.
Like everyone, health issues run in my family and as I get older I am more at risk.
True, I’ve always known that but I didn’t realize the impact it had on me personally until last October.
Last October, my grandmother, the woman who helped raise me was admitted to the hospital and had to have a major surgery.
A week prior to the surgery, my grandmother was staying at the hospital and I was there every day.
I would sleep in the uncomfortable visitor chair at night and when the daytime came, I would drive home, shower, go to work and after work I would return to my grandmothers side and that awful chair.
While I stayed in the hospital, I really studied my grandmother and how much she’s aged. I guess as a grandchild you view your grandparents as strong and happy as they used to be when they would take care of you.
As I sat in my chair, I looked at her full head of grey and white hair, I heard her horrible coughs, and as hard as she tried to stop me, I was present when she had minor accidents in bed.
The first two days she would alarm a nurse to come in and help her since she was unable to lift herself from the bed due to weakness.
But on that third day when she had another accident, I couldn’t sit back and let some stranger tend to her while I stood outside.
I put on some gloves and did my best to lift certain parts of her to clean her and change the linen on the bed.
As I wiped her and freshened her up, I could see tears rolling down her face.
She apologized and I assured her it was my responsibility and duty as her grandchild to tend to her and that what I was doing was not for her but for me. I expressed to her that it made me feel like I could help ease her pain.
She kept apologizing over and over again until her voice began to crack and I assured her that I wanted to help.
After I finished cleaning up, I told her I was going to dispose of the dirty linen and wash my hands.
I went into the restroom and disposed of the gloves and linen and I held on to the sink and began to cry.
What do you do when the woman who took care of you for so many years can no longer take care of herself?
I couldn’t do much but cry.
After a few minutes in the restroom I got a hold of myself and wiped my tears and went back to my grandmothers bedside.
Since that time I have been very worried about my health because when the day comes that I have to take care of my parents in that same way and I am larger than what I am now, it’s going to be very difficult if I’m not in good health or a decent shape.
God forbid some day I get sick or become unable to take care of myself and my aging parents have to tend to me as if I am still a baby.
No one will take care of my parents the way that I will, so I finally made the move to join a gym to prevent any kind of health issues that come from being overweight.
I am NOT going to the gym to get skinny.
I am NOT going to the gym for anyone else but myself.
I am NOT going to the gym to boost my confidence because small or large, I know my value.
I AM going to the gym to take care of myself so that I may take care of my parents in the near future.
Before I start working on my outside appearance, I’d like to first work on my insides.
I have been working out for a little over three weeks and while I don’t have set days, I do work out three times a week for an hour or more.
Each month I would like to set a goal and accomplish it and post my achievements.
The first months goal was to simply be active. So far so good.
I thought I was going to dread going to the gym or maybe be insecure about working out around fit people but the truth is I enjoy going because I see it as, me time and everyone at the gym is there for the same reason: to exercise and improve their health for whatever reason.
Since I have made the move of joining the gym, I’ve had the opportunity to encourage and support my mother who has been unhappy about her weight so at least once a week, she joins me.
She’s a bit embarrassed but I tell her, “One step at a time mom.”
I haven’t made drastic changes but I am trying to learn portion control and cook and eat healthier meals.
My mom and I alternate from Dairy Queen Dates to Panera Dates.
Pesto pasta with lemon pepper chicken.
Taking care of my parents is my number one priority. In order to take care of them, I need to take care of myself.
This is my health & happiness story.
– R. Vargas