My Battle with Obesity
An article written by Frank Kermit
Published in The Suburban Newspaper
My dear friends,
I had written an article on My Battle With Obesity for The Suburban Newspaper.
The article appeared on page 23, of the Wednesday November 8th edition.
As you can see in the photos below, a caption and photo of me appeared on the gatefold front cover as well.
It was a truly magical moment.
Here in are the images of my story in the newspaper, as well as the full article I wrote, unedited.
In April 2020 I got a call from my doctor that would change my life forever. I was 460 lbs unable to walk and did not see any way out. It was the beginnings of Covid, and we were into the first lock down. Doctor told me I had Type II Diabetes. Time stood still. I had hit my rock bottom.
Something happened to me that day. I made my health my number 1 priority. This meant anything that was going to help my health goals stayed and anything that worked against me had to go. Sometimes this meant giving up doing things I really loved because they were triggering for me, and I needed to avoid my triggers while I worked on my ability to withstand them.
First thing I did was write out a list of reasons I needed to lose weight. I have added more reasons as I discover them (and I am still adding items to that list today). At last count I had 160 reasons to lose weight. Those reasons included feet pain, diabetes, slim enough to fit in a train bathroom, and fit in a movie theatre seat. After that I started to do therapy, got bariatric surgery and changed my repeating behavior patterns related to obesity.
When I first started, I was still struggling to move, so my main exercise was chair-cercise. I would watch videos of songs (usually uplifting motivational songs, songs from my childhood, TV show theme songs, cartoon movie songs, etc.…you get the idea) and all the while moving my arms and body as much as I could so that I would get a good work out sweat. I did this every day, multiple times a day…anything I could to end this nightmare of a life I have created for myself.
A life changing moment for me is when I discovered that the chronic pain I was in, was not a result of my obesity. I got a job that was physical and needed support gear. Once I got orthotics for my work boots (and other support gear). I noticed a change right away. My feet did not hurt as much. I now know the difference between my feet being “tired” (like a normal person experiences) and my feet being in pain.
All my life, I have had incredible foot pain, and every doctor told me that if I lost weight the pain would stop. Not even one ever referred me to a podiatrist or suggested orthotics. Turns out when I lost a lot of weight, my feet STILL hurt. It was never because I was fat! I am still so angry about that.
That is when I learned the most powerful lesson in my weight loss journey:
My body wasn’t in pain because I was obese. I was obese because my body was in pain.
I cannot fully express to you how HUGE this revelation was. Suddenly I saw my entire life in a new way. This was the biggest mental shift of my mental health recovery.
Obesity was not the source of all my problems. Obesity was the symptom of what my actual problems were…problems I did not know how to cope with so, I turned to food, my drug of choice. Just like any addict, the addiction is not the problem; the addiction was the means I sought to cope with whatever my core hurts were.
I was not: in chronic pain, depressed, anxious, enraged, grieving, unwanted, unloved and hated myself because I was obese. I was obese because I was: in chronic pain, depressed, anxious, enraged, grieving, unwanted, unloved and hated myself.
Obesity is NOT the problem. Obesity is the SYMPTOM of the problem.
I never saw myself or my weight problems the same way again. I discovered that a lot of my food related repeating behavior patterns was a result of how I used food to cope. This helped me understand why losing weight and exercising were so difficult for me to maintain.
I have kept the weight off ever since. That was over a year ago.
Today, I am still about 250 lbs, diabetes in remission, and off most of medications. Today I eat an 80% plant-based diet, and I can walk without a cane. Today I work a full-time job physical job clocking in about 8000 steps a day. Today I have a more active social life with my family, I fit in movie theatre seats and fit through the turnstiles at the metro stations. I still have 50 lbs to go, but the eventual skin removal surgery will knock off about 25-30 lbs of that and spare me the chronic back pain.
For the first time I am finding my bliss. I am starting to learn who I was meant to be before childhood traumas altered my nervous system. I am discovering my normal. It is both exhilarating and terrifying and feels unreal.
After healing some of my trauma, something lifted for me, and I decided learn singing. I want to form my own Barbershop Quartet and sing TV show theme songs and perform at conventions. One day I want to sing the national anthem for the HABS, the Alouettes, CF Montreal and F1. In the meantime, I keep practicing for my first ever major singing event with the South Shore Saints Barbershop Chorus taking the stage on Saturday November 18th in Saint-Lambert for their Annual Show. If you would like to join me in this experience, please visit SouthShoreSaints.com for tickets.
Want to know the scary part? I could easily go back to where I first started if I am not ever vigilant every day; I could very easily balloon again to 500+ lbs. Just like any addict (yes, I am a food addict), I must live life one day at a time and make a conscious choice each day, not to allow myself to go back. That is what Obese Recovery takes.
Dr. Laurie Betito Quotes