It never goes away

Feb 18: Day 6

Planned workout(s): Bike, 10 minutes Z1, 10 minutes Z2, 8 x (30 seconds Z5 uphill or simulated/60 seconds Z1) 28 minutes Z1

Weight: 175 (yep, still stuck)


I knew this was going to come up eventually, it may as well be today.  Today the “former fat guy” part of this blog reared it’s head again.  It never goes away, really.

When I was in about 5th grade, I started putting on weight.  I was always a skinny kid to that point, but increased self awareness, my own natural introversion and social awkwardness, and sudden access to money (I had a paper route, this was back when KIDS actually delivered the paper) kind of created a perfect storm.  Most of my spare money went to candy, because food was always my way of dealing with being sad.

Of course, that led to weight gain.  In junior high and high school I was 50-60 pounds overweight, and while I am sure the years have skewed my memory from the reality, I remember being teased mercilessly over it.  Of course, that snowballed: the more that happened, the more I felt miserable, and the more I felt miserable, the more I ate.  There’s a lot of details I could get into, and may later.  Suffice it to say for now by the time I got to college I needed the “Freshman 15” a lot less than most people, and I got on academic probation and gained another 25.

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This is me at ~250lbs

By sophomore year I was 250 pounds but in so many ways ready to turn my life around.  I was accepted, which gave me confidence, and one day I just said “enough”.  I made a life change right then and there and started down a path away from being heavy for the first time in 10 years.

But here’s the thing–I didn’t know HOW to eat.  I just knew food = bad, so…I didn’t eat.  Food became the enemy.  Every time I had to eat, it was a struggle.  I skipped a lot of meals and cut my intake drastically, down under 1000 calories.  Some days I didn’t eat at all and called it a victory.  I also started running like a madman, to the point of utter exhaustion. It wasn’t a training plan per se, it was just that I had convinced myself I had to workout every day or I would gain weight.  And I had to work out until I hit exhaustion.  If I puked, that was a good thing.

You can see where this is going.

Over the course of the year I got down to 180 pounds.  This was my original goal, but in my head, I was still fat.  I was still gross.  I hated myself.  So I  kept on not eating.

This went on until I was 154 pounds (I am nearly 6 feet tall and barrel chested, so you can imagine what that looked like) and STILL felt gross.  Still felt fat.  I was still afraid of food.  But what I saw in the mirror scared me more–I knew if I kept going I would kill myself eventually.  So I had to make another change, and get healthy.

That was 22 years ago.  Over time since then, I learned how to eat, how to exercise properly, and put on weight, good weight, slowly.  I’ve even learned to appreciate my body to a point, but my obsession with and lack of confidence in my appearance and weight haunt me still.  It was within the last 8 years I was even willing to get in a public pool because I refused to take my shirt off, I was so ashamed of my body.  But I have perservered.

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Me now

Today, even now, food is a constant struggle between two compulsions: one to eat too much, and one not to eat at all.  It’s like any recovering addict: the fear of falling off the wagon is very, very real.  My problem is I have two addictions on opposite ends of the spectrum, and finding a balance is like walking on the edge of a knife sometimes.  If you fall off either side, it feels like impending doom.

Why cover this now?  Because last night I fought both battles and screwed myself over in the process.  Obsessed with the fact I was at 175, I first declined to eat.  Then I realized about 7PM how stupid that was and decided to eat a dinner.  But because I was feeling badly about my appearance, I ended up eating way too much and of course, got on the scale today feeling gross because I had.  And I’m still right where I was.  It made me pretty miserable this morning and I didn’t even want to exercise.  Eventually though, I made it happen and the ride went well.

I still haven’t eaten, and I am about to go take care of that.  Healthily.  But honestly?  I’d still prefer not to eat at all.

It never really goes away.