40,000-49,999 SparkPoints 42,597

My Heart Breaks....

Sunday, January 27, 2013

...For anyone and everyone I encounter who is obese and in obvious pain from the weight. I was checking out at Walmart Friday and the clerk told me there was no lines down at the other end. Obviously she wanted me to leave her check out stand. But I was in no hurry (one of the many perks of retirement). I told her that I would stay where I was because I was parked at that end anyway. As she started checking me out, her supervisor came up and said, "How can I help you?" Evidently she had called him. She almost moaned, "I think it's past time for my break." He assured her that he would do what he could. Then I noticed her....really noticed her. She was a heavy-set older woman, although not as heavy as I got in my estimation. But she was hurting. She had probably been on her feet for hours, scanning purchases and sacking and taking payments. I felt for her aching body because I remember the pain of being on my feet for too long so well. My job never required much standing. I used to blame my sedentary job for my weight gain, but that was a lie. I was heavy when I went to work there in 1977, and it was a Catch-22 situation anyway. "sitting all day" job didn't help my weight problem, but due to my weight, I couldn't have done a job that involved much standing anyway.

Today I'm like any reformed (but still and always recovering) addict. I want to help the world. But I know there was nothing I could to help that woman at Walmart. Everyone has to come to their own "Aha" moment and to confront her would have just humiliated her. I carry around my "before" picture, as well as my picture with Joy Bauer and a copy of the article that was in our local newspaper, but I never take them out of my purse.

That's why when I heard about an acquaintance of mine who had observed me walking around campus and then realized that slimmer woman was FAT PAM, who she knew but hadn't recognized from her window, and that encounter led her to lose some weight, it felt so GOOD! To hear that there was a person who was actually so inspired by my accomplishments that she changed her own life meant the world to me.

Here at Spark, I'm only one of many inspirational success stories, but for this woman, I was her only inspiration.

Losing weight is tough. Keeping it off is even harder. I am motivated by so many Sparkers, not just weight loss maintainers, but those who are still in the process of losing. There are a few bloggers, however, both at Spark and elsewhere, who have been especially inspirational to me on my own journey. Some of those bloggers are: Shauna Reid who used to blog at, is still archived there, but now is blogging at, Katie at
, Anele at, and most recently Holly at These marvelous young women have documented their journeys to lose weight and keep it off and are absolutely brilliant writers! They inspire me and motivate me and help keep me on course. Of course there's tons of Sparkers whose comments on my blog and through their own blogs keep me going every single day, but they are too numerous to mention. I hope they know who they are.

To all these bloggers I say THANKS! But not only did none of them confront me about my weight problem at Walmart, they know that wouldn't have done any good if they had done so. It might break our hearts when we are unable to help someone who obviously needs it, but we are wise enough to know from our own experience, that the person themself has to be ready and come looking for help before our encouragement will do any good. We all have to be ready in our own minds to change. I do wish sometimes I could show and tell these people my own before and after story and tell them about Spark and all the motivational blogs and information available on the Internet. I wonder sometimes if I'd have been aware of all this motivation available at my fingertips, if I wouldn't have started my own weight loss journey much sooner. Who knows?

UPDATE: My sweet little girl was not at class again last night. I will always wonder how her story turns out.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I can imagine how you felt but what you said was true. But you can always lead by example, and inspire people that way...which you already ARE!
    1969 days ago
  • LINDAK25
    You are so right about being unable to held someone who's not ready to lose weight! I have this neighbor who has tried a variety of diets, including gastric bypass. She was always telling me about her current weight loss journey. I saw her just before the holidays and I told her I was losing weight here at Spark. I was horrified when she told me she's decided she's happy where she is and has decided she doesn't need to lose that 120 pounds. I wished I had kept my mouth shut. Then I thought about it. I should point out that I never discussed my weight with her when she would bring up weight loss. She approached me over and over again about how she was losing weight and I should, too, so I think it was okay that I said something. But I don't think I'd do that again unless someone asks and really wants to know!
    1970 days ago
    You have to wait until people are ready. I tell people about my Spark Experiences that helped me lose 70 pounds, but until they are ready, they don't really hear me.
    1970 days ago
    It is beautiful that you would like to inspire each person who is suffereing. I understand. We'd like to help everyone, but often I'm not even a help for those who are close to me, those I love dearly. You are right that each person has to find their own way, their own readiness. Yet I know you have inspired many. And many more to come.
    1970 days ago
  • KERRYG155
    We would be considered rude if we tried to talk to someone about losing weight but I can sure understand that desire to help others when we know they have to take that step by themselves. I'm glad that others have watched and are following your example, though. That is a great compliment.
    1970 days ago
    Poor thing. I know my mom used to work retail and while she didn't work it when she was at her heaviest (there's no way she could've), I remember more than a few foot massages given after her long days. I think of the days of piled up filing so behind and dreading being locked in the file room to catch up when I was toward my highest weight. (Though even my stick thin counterpart was behind on hers as well so it wasn't all weight related) Working and being overweight is HARD and not many people have the empathy you had for her. Even people who have walked a few miles in those wide width shoes in a former life sometimes forget where they came from...I'm glad you don't. You're one of the good ones. :-)

    Thanks for the shout out. ;-)
    1970 days ago
    Congrats on your weight loss. I hope the woman at Walmart finds some way to help herself because, as you said, it is your own decision.
    1970 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.