GROCERY STORE COUPONS & STARES
If you haven't noticed up to this point (and if you haven't...you need to pay more attention), I'm the manly kind of man. I watch sports, work out incessantly, play football, grunt at opportune times, and manscape. Okay, maybe scratch that last one, but you get the idea. And part of being a manly man is avoiding any sense of "Mr. Mom". Sure, I used to clean the house better than Mr. Clean himself, but I did that in the privacy of my own house. I'm not a shopper, not a "saver", and not the coupon kind of guy.
So, of course, it would so happen that those "unmanly" items mentioned above and my journey from fit to fat
would collide extraordinarily, and teach me another valuable lesson. You see, I've been working on getting fat
for 16 weeks, and have never felt that someone was looking at me in that "look-at-that-fat-guy" way. It so happens that my first experience with "the look" (well, besides the ones I get from my wife, and who can really blame her at this point?) took place at the grocery store. My wife (it was my wife, not me...coupons are not manly) had these coupons she wanted me to use to save money. Apparently, eating processed foods comes with some great deals!
So off to the grocery store I went, coupons in hand. I filled my cart with the usual processed foods that I've been eating on this journey, but since I had the coupons I had to buy 10 of everything for $10. I loaded up a cart with 10 2-liter sodas, 10 boxes of all the sugary cereals you could imagine (all of my cartoon friends, all together for a party!), 10 boxes of chocolate covered granola bars, etc. I think you get the idea. As I arrived at the checkstand, I couldn't help but notice 3 moms waiting in line behind me. First, understand they were annoyed. Was it the fact that I was using coupons? That they didn't have the same coupons to use? That I had literally cleared the grocery store of everyone's Lucky Charms? Who knows. Maybe I was just embarrassed to be using coupons.
I noticed they were all looking at the foods I had in my cart and looked disgusted. Was it my imagination, or did their eyes go from my belly to my Cocoa Puffs, and back again? And was that judgment in their eyes? I wanted to tell them about my journey. That this wasn't really how I ate. But I "owned it" and just let it be. Okay, maybe I threw a box of Fruity Pebbles at them first but then I owned it. But I felt a new emotion too - shame. No, not at my own belly. But the kind of shame that perhaps I had inflicted that same judging look on other people in the past. And I was glad to be on this side of the look - not because I liked the judgment (only from my wife, folks!), but because I felt a change in me.
All in all, my typical trip to the grocery store was a humbling experience. First, I used coupons. Second, while I'm not saying I now truly understand what it's like to be overweight because of one experience (and I probably never will TRULY "get it"), I do have a better understanding than I ever did being "in shape" for my entire life. More than ever before, I feel like I have a better understanding of what it's like to be overweight, but I still have a lot more to learn and only 10 more weeks to learn it.