Not Being Afraid of Fitting Through the Narrow Space

Bridal Cave Fat Man Misery

We traveled to Missouri this past weekend for a quick family vacation and a karate tournament for the kids.

The kids did well with the tournament, even though we were there for 10 hours. The littlest guys went in the morning, the middle boys in the afternoon, and the oldest girls in the late afternoon. Whew. It was a tiring day but fun.

The next day we got up and went to some caves in Missouri. If you have ever been inside a tourist cave, there are defined pathways, some railings, and most importantly, a tour guide!

Anyway, we started the tour in a big room with high ceilings and plenty of space to move around. The tour guide explained the differences between stalagmites and stalactites, which was helpful because I couldn’t remember. (In case you forgot too, stalactites are the ones on the ceilings because they “hold tight” to the ceiling.)

The one-half mile tour through the caves was fascinating. Fascinating and tight. Lots of narrow spaces, lots of ducking down so you didn’t hit your head going through “Concussion Cavern,” and some extra narrow passageways called “Fat Man’s Misery.”

Here’s a picture of me in one of the narrower parts of the passageway.

diane in cave small

You can see I’ve got plenty of room but I promise you that had I been 300 pounds, it would have been a really tight fit. In fact, I’m not sure I could have made it.

After the tour the guide and I were talking. She was asking me about my kids and where we were from. Somehow the conversation drifted to the size of the passageways and I asked her if people had ever gotten stuck.

She said, “Well, not stuck to the point where we have to get them out, fortunately. But there have been times where people don’t fit. Then we escort them back to the entrance.”

I cringed inside because I can imagine how that would feel. If I had been 300 pounds and seen the sizes of some of those passageways, I would have been very nervous. I know a human body can squish and move, but it would have taken a lot of maneuvering for me to get through the Fat Man’s Misery.

Interestingly enough, the official name of the tightest passage is “Fat Man’s Misery,” but the guides call it the “Lemon Squeeze.” I have to admit it is a kinder, gentler name and definitely more sensitive in this day and age of rampant obesity.

Situations like this make me remember what it felt like to be morbidly obese. I remember the days of avoiding rides at Disney World, getting unexpectedly stuck on the carousel there, and sitting gingerly in chairs to test if they would hold my weight. Those days were not fun and those situations were uncomfortable.

Weight loss brings a lot of positives, but one of the nicest is to no longer worry about fitting into tight spaces, breaking chairs, or having people look at me in pity as I walk down the mall corridor.

If you are feeling stuck in your weight loss efforts, I’d encourage you to really think about how losing weight will affect you day-to-day.

Have you ever had a moment like this where you realized that things would have been different if you had not lost weight? Or are there things you avoid doing from fear that you will be uncomfortable physically or emotionally? Diane

15 thoughts on “Not Being Afraid of Fitting Through the Narrow Space

  1. blackhuff says:

    I remember those days as well, where I dreaded being in narrow, small places or even crowds. Being in confined spaces, made me nervous for getting stuck and being embarrassed. These days it put a smile on my face every single time when I fit through a small space 🙂

  2. Ann Wilson says:

    Oh boy, you know, it was more that I didn’t like being hemmed in when I was large or too close to people. I used to get very frustrated with my skinny boyfriend when he’d get really close to me in hallways, door jambs and the passage area around the bed. It made me feel very large like the two of us could not fit. When I got thin, I became so bruised renegotiating the 100+ pounds leaner me through the house as I’d bounce off door jambs, stub my toes on the bed, etc.

  3. Susan says:

    Hi Diane,

    In the back seat are two children’s carseats. I used to look at the small space in between and tell hubby “We’re going to have to take two cars. Me, you, and [insert third person’s name] won’t fit.

    Now, I fit and we only need to take one car. And I’m overjoyed.

  4. Pam says:

    There isn’t a single day that goes by that I don’t think about how my 175 lb. weight loss affects every aspect of my life. I go to wedding receptions and can squeeze easily between the tables that always used to be set too close together. I can squeeze into the tight little cars that go to the top of the St. Louis Arch, I can fit on even the kiddie rides at Worlds of Fun Amusement Park. I fit into booths at restaurants, seat belts snap easily, and airplane seats are no longer a tight squeeze requiring seat-belt extenders. I hope they have a note at the entrance to the cave that there are tight places, because that would be so humiliating if you couldn’t make it through and had to go back to the entrance! I always did my best to avoid a situation where it might be pointed out that I was too fat to participate.

    Today, 2.5 years into maintenance, I try to remember how my life has changed, as part of my motivation to keep the weight off. I never want to take it for granted.

  5. L says:

    I love being challenged to think about how much easier life is, now that I don’t have 100 more lbs hanging off my frame. I still have a ways to go, but goodnight, life is so much easier with those pounds hanging somewhere else, and not around my middle. 😉

  6. JenB says:

    The hubs and I went to a local dinner theater. They sure do like to squeeze in as many people as they can, it is SO tight. The couple to our left were both on the heavy side and they couldn’t help but encroach into our space. I was grateful at least that I am now smaller and was able to cope. There are so many challenges when you are bigger …

  7. Joy says:

    I felt that way recently when I tried a new class called anti gravity yoga. They have silk sheets that are suspended from the ceiling. When I went to put my whole body weight on the sheet, picture a swing. I was so afraid I was going to break it! Gladly I didn’t and losing over 50 pounds made me have the confident to actually try the class.

  8. Leah says:

    Just this past weekend I had a situation where I was able to pass between two tables at a restaurant and I wondered to myself if I would’ve been able to fit through there at my heaviest weight. We don’t think about these small benefits of losing weight until faced with a situation, do we?

    Thanks for the reminder!

  9. Hope K says:

    I’ve been there! That’s a really cool cave, and I forgot about that narrow passageway.

    One time, when I was at my heaviest, I sat down on a flimsy plastic lawn chair, and after a few minutes it caved in. In front of several people. So humiliating! It makes me so grateful I’ve lost 38 pounds.

    I went to the shrink yesterday, and he told me I was looking good and asked me if I have to beat the men off with a stick. That made me feel so good about myself because I know he was telling me the truth, that I look good since I’ve lost the weight. I’m very happy. 🙂

  10. Dr. J says:

    Poignant Diane. Yes, the tightest, most claustrophobic places I’ve ever crawled around are caves!

    As you point out, there are so many positive aspects to our being physically fit!

  11. Stephanie says:

    Good for you for going down into the tight spaces of a cave. Not for me though, being deep under ground and in a tight space is just too much. On the other hand, getting a pic like the one have is pretty inspiring. it’d be better than a pic of me standing ina leg of my “fat girl” pants.

  12. Lori says:

    I know exactly what you are talking about because I am living it. Fortunately, I have recently lost about 15 pounds which has made a significant difference. I always worry about restaurant booth seating. Last night I just fit into a booth. A couple months ago I wouldn’t have. More than a year ago at my heaviest, the stirring wheel would rub on my belly. I look forward to the day when I don’t even have to think about it.

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