Monday, June 09, 2014

Once more unto the breech dear friends

I've had a weight problem most of my life. I think I was about seven when kids started teasing me about it. The check on it was that till I was 11 or 12, I had someone looking after me after school. Once I started coming home and looking after myself and having full access to peanut butter jar and the cookies and stuff, the restraints came off and my weight really took off. Not to labour the point, but by the time I was in my early 30s, at one point I tipped the scale at just over 300 lbs.

One of my friends, a fellow who stood about 6'3, was just shy of 400 lbs. He got into a men's weight loss program and was getting good results simply eating sensibly. I joined, though it was crazy expensive (over a thousand dollars a year), and put my shoulder to the wheel. In the space of about 11 months I went from 285 to 182. That was my low water mark.  My friend went from 396 to 190-something literally less than half his original weight.

I did pretty well maintaining for a couple of years but the old habits die hard, and as time went by, my weight crept up again. I've tried putting the brakes on several times over the past 12 years or so but the truth is, it's been unrelenting, and in the wake of Twinkle's death, it's really been considerable. I have no idea what my actual weight is at the moment but I'm pretty sure it's approaching what it was when I got serious back then. Of course, I'm considerably older now, well into middle age, and a lot of the assumptions about what my youth will absolve me of don't really apply.

There are some strategic problems, based around my life and lifestyle. I live alone. I don't have anyone pushing me. That said, I don't have anyone bringing anything I shouldn't have into my place but me. My problem isn't so much what I eat at home. I have a pretty good control over that. Most of the time.  The problem is that when I finally get together with my friends, I just want to forget everything else and have a good time. Laugh, converse, listen to music, complain about sports teams we don't really follow. Generally that means sinking into a pub two or three times a week, having umpteen pints of beer and chicken wings and congratulating myself that I ducked the fries.  I need it; I need to see the guys. But it's expensive, and it's doing me harm. I haven't been comfortable in anything I wear for a couple of years, and I'm back to feeling fainting embarrassed whenever I'm in public. I want to change that. But I've wanted to change that for years. The trick will be find a way to make it stick.

In mulling it over recently what was different the time it worked from every other time I think one of the things that contributed to my success back then was that I was going through it with friends… other guys going through the same thing. You know you have to show up. And you know if you're going to show up, you better have results. I think that's what made it easier to stay the course. Now, it's true that in the best of all possible worlds that I should be able to do this for myself, without needing that crutch. That it should be a matter of finding the will power; resources from within. But the reality is that that just doesn't seem to work for me.  Making it social did. The problem is that when that support is gone, the weight goes up again. So it's kind of a spiral. I can't really see my way out of it.

Nevertheless I want to try again. I'm gearing up for another go at it. I'm trying to see if I can talk Larry into turning our Thursday evening 'eat, drink, and be merry' thing into going to Weight Watchers. He's not that overweight but he does complain about it, works out, etc., but never seems to shake it off either. My thinking is that if we can do it together for a while, by the time he's lost what little he has to lose, I'll have lost enough that I have momentum and the success will be reinforcing. That's kind of how it worked before. Sort of a push on the swing till pumping my legs will be enough, if you see what I mean. I don't think he'll go for it, but he might surprise me.

Anyway, it's time for another charge at the breech… if not a tilt at the windmill.


Jim Grey said...

Good luck, man. This stuff is hard because you can't not eat, food is for all of us woven into culture and family and friends, and we are all wired to metabolize what we eat differently. I hope you meet your goal and find a way to stay there.

barefoot hiker said...

Thanks, Jim. I need to sac up and get cracking this Thursday. Look out, credit card...