I weighed myself today. Weighing yourself is always an uneasy experience: Take a breath, step on the scale, and wait for it to scream the truth at you. The scale is a hard-hearted, callous judge of character. The verdict:
Exhale. Get off the scale … get back on: 273.2 lbs. This is the heaviest that I have ever been. I have decided to do something about it.
Some history. When I was a kid I was rail-thin. I was the skinny kid running around playing sports: basketball, football, soccer, whatevs. I was also a little stud-muffin. I know exactly when things changed (I mean my weight, I still think I’m a stud-muffin—just a bigger one). The summer before fifth grade I spent two months in Mexico with my late grandfather. I didn’t know anyone there, so there wasn’t anyone to play with. Add that to the fact that my grandpa (as grandpas are wont to do) fed me. A lot. Anything I wanted. For two months I ate like a Mayan prince, and did nothing by way of physical activity. After those two months I probably gained close to 15 or 20 lbs, which is quite a bit for the child that I was.
More important than the weight that I gained was what I lost. I lost my enthusiasm for being active, and in the process gained bad health habits. It couldn’t have come at a worst time. I was about to enter puberty and would need to feed a growing body. I gained more and more and more. I grew both wide and tall. It has been a slow, exhausting march toward obesity.
So here I am in the autumn of my twenties. I still love sports, but I find myself watching more than playing. I love to dance, but doing so is traumatic to my body. I am aware of how much space I take up, and the awareness is haunting. Most of the time I don’t care, but when I do it’s painful. When I close my eyes my image of self is not obese; it’s youthful, carefree and, yes, thin. That image of self has been trapped in a prison of its own making. An imprisonment so total and unyielding that it seems inescapable.
On the day after Christmas I made a bet with my father: $100 to whoever loses 45 pounds first. There is so much more to be gained. I want to feel like myself again: youthful, carefree, and thin. If it has been a slow, exhausting march toward obesity; then the march away from it will be equally grueling. This world around me will not discourage me from failing. A careless, sedentary lifestyle is not only common, but it has much to recommend it. Modern society sells desire and its pitch, persuasive; and its payoff, gluttonous. My having decided to do something about my weight is about so much more than 45, 60, or 75 pounds; it is about reconnecting with the youthful exuberance that—until now—I had written off as fantasy, nostalgia. It’s about me doing me, again. Success will be impossibly hard, yet unimaginably rewarding.
I hope that this blog will be a strong component of this process, a place where I can share my thoughts, challenges, and insights. Hopefully a small community of support and encouragement will sprout up: a selfish wish. I will share some specifics of what I plan on doing shortly.