Yesterday morning I had my weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in. 50 pounds. Since February I've lost 50 fucking pounds. That's almost an Ethan. Back when I began the program, 50 pounds was my goal -- an arbitrary goal I'd set based on what I weighed the last time I thought I looked OK in clothes. When I was healthy. But a while ago I actually dared ask the question "what is my ideal body weight?" As my dad used to say, don't ask the question if you don't want the answer. Turns out that according to the Body Mass Index Nazis, my ideal weight is another 50 pounds away. And I am still technically obese, though much less so.
I honestly wonder whether I can hit that goal. After all, I was well over my ideal weight when I graduated high school and still thought reasonably thin. When I was on any one of my numerous meth kicks during college, not eating or sleeping for days on end, working out like crazy -- even then I never approached my ideal weight. No, since about 9th grade when I broke 200 for the first time, I have outpaced "normal" by scores of pounds. This could be one of those times where I throw up my hands and say, "Fuck it. That's unattainable."
But then again, I've learned a few things on Weight Watchers. First, I realize that I never knew how to eat. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Open mouth > insert food > chew > swallow > nap. What could be easier? But now I'm forced to consider what I've been putting into my body my entire life. We were a lower-middle class family, single income, 7 kids. Economically, that translated to lots of refined starches and sugars; fool the stomach. There were more nights than I'd care to remember when my dinner was slices of white bread with gravy. Open-faced wish sandwiches. Maybe we were lower-lower-middle class. Maybe we were just plain poor. All I know is that we were taught that red meat was a celebration -- the ultimate goal and measure of one's quality of life. If you're eatin' steak, you're doing OK.
About a year ago I cut down substantially on red meat (mostly for environmental reasons, but with a nod to the ultimate health benefits). About 4 months ago I stopped eating it altogether. Now I rarely eat meat at all, but when I do it's usually chicken or, more often, turkey. I discovered the wonders of fruits and vegetables and the orgasmic celebration of life that is Newman's Own salad dressings. Fish. Whole grains in moderation. I have never eaten better in my life, nor have I ever enjoyed it more. That's life's dirty little secret: good food is actually really fucking good!
And then there's the exercise. Lots and lots of exercise.
Something that's eluded me all my life is the equation: losing weight is a simple matter of burning more calories than you consume. Seems so simple, but when you're ballasted by porterhouses and Buffalo wings, the proposition may as well be written in Esperanto. Get off the couch? Faaaaaaa Q! But in my quest to simply get to this point, where there's 50 pounds less of me, I've rediscovered the bliss of exercise. I am back in the saddle, breezing past the 5-mile marker, stopping at 8 only because my time is committed elsewhere. Feeling like I could do a half-marathon at least. Getting stronger each week. My shoulders are once again wider than my hips which are wider than my waist, which is 2 inches smaller than it was in February.
My clothes fit better. I feel better. I look better. I am better.
By the time I got to the gym yesterday, my usual machines were taken. The only one open was the one in front of the mirror.
I saw him yesterday in the gym. And when I recognized him I grit my teeth, turned up the resistance and rode that mother fucking elliptical like it owed me money. We'll catch up later. Got work to do now.
"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." -- Andy Warhol