The new normal

Having fun and making memories in Canada.

Since going Paleo, our lives have changed drastically. My wife and I are no longer “Big people.” We are far more active, and we are finally able to do simple things many people take for granted like eating in a booth in a restaurant (I couldn’t fit), buy clothes off the rack in stores, and go zip lining. OK, we haven’t done the last one yet, but we will at some point. We are able to walk great distances, and on our last vacation, we fit in so much more than we could on previous trips due solely to the fact that we could both go 110% from 7:30 a.m. until 7 or 8 p.m. This allowed us to have a lot more fun, see a many more things, and to create more awesome memories.

Our self esteem has also risen. No longer are we given looks of disgust, or at best, looks of apathy or even sympathy. We’ve both noticed people smile at us more. Men hold the door more often for my wife. People make more eye contact and smile a lot more when I’m talking to them. Little things, but it all points to the fact that we’re no longer outcasts due to our bodies. I’m not saying it’s right; it’s just a reality we’re experiencing.

One of the strange “new normals” is that I feel cold more often. When I was fat, I had a lot of natural insulation that kept me warm. Now, I find myself wearing my long sleeve t-shirts and even light jackets to restaurants and movie theaters just to keep warm. I never realized how cool a lot of these places are kept to keep the overweight masses comfortable.

While at the doctor’s office a few weeks back (I was there for my annual physical), a lady sitting in the waiting room struck up a conversation with me, and told me that, “Thin people like you don’t have to worry about losing weight.” I almost laughed out loud, but I just gently told her that I used to be very overweight and that I’m still working on losing even more weight. I thought it was funny that someone would assume that I didn’t have to worry about gaining weight just because I looked thinner than she was.

Another really strange new normal for me is not being the biggest guy in any gathering. I’m, at worst, the average, and often I’m among the thinnest in the room. It’s weird because after almost 20 years of being fat, you notice this. You FEEL it. There was a sense of comfort when I was among other fat people because at least they understood what it was like. Now, I get looks from them; some of the same looks I likely gave people who looked fit to me when I was fat. The looks vary from rolling of the eyes in judgment (I don’t understand this one and I never did it, but it happens to me among the really overweight people), to the “sighing look” where someone looks at me, realizes they’re the same age as me, and then they realize they are overweight and with some effort, could look like me. The worst part is that I want to go up to them, hug them, and tell them that there’s an easy, natural, and free way to lose weight, and all it takes is some time, preparation, and determination. I want to tell them they can do this. But I can’t. It’s not appropriate.

My point is that with our weight loss, lots of things have changed in our lives.

One of the biggest changes, and the one that facilitated all this, is our eating habits. In the beginning, it was difficult because it required a lot of learning. There were hits and misses. The first month of dinners we made to conform to Paleo were like playing bingo at the local VFW: we won sometimes, but most of the time, we were underwhelmed. Eventually, though, we got the hang of the food, the preparation, the cooking styles required, and the changes in flavors. What came next was unexpected: we actually found that we prefer this food and don’t miss the “old” foods.

The Paleo Peach crumble I made this weekend. I thought it was great; Sherry says we need to use unsmoked bacon next time.

The flavors are amazing: many layers, textures, and combinations that are very delicious, good for us, and best of all, delicious. After eating all our bad foods on vacation, while it was all yummy, Sherry and I found we were looking forward to getting back to eating our good foods.

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