Category: image

bran before and after

I waited a whole year for this picture.

When I saw the picture of my sister and me together last Christmas, I was heartbroken.  I was so big.  How did I get that large and not notice?  I’m sure I was in denial, sure I could ignore it until things in my life changed for the better so I could focus on bettering myself.  But nothing changed and when I saw the photo, I knew I had to be that change.

I told myself I would not repeat that Christmas picture looking the way I did.  Long time readers will know I’ve been dieting and exercising all year.  I’ve lost approximately 50 pounds.  I’ve probably gained at least 10 of them back in the past 2 months (I’ve been too ashamed to weigh myself lately so I don’t know the exact number) due to birthday bingeing but that’s another entry for another time.  For now, I want to focus on the positive.  Yes, I actually can do that sometimes.

I was excited to take this year’s Christmas picture, anxious to see the changes.  It wasn’t as big of a transformation as I was hoping.  Sure, clothing and lighting and angles play a significant role in revealing the body but I thought 50 pounds would show a more dramatic change. That’s not to say I’m not happy with the difference.  I definitely look better and I’m happier where I am right now.  I can mostly tell in my face, which is good.  But I still have a belly.

I’m working on it, though.  I didn’t put the weight on in a year and it will take more than a year to lose it.

I’m cool with that as long as I’m always making progress.

Starting January 1st, I’m going to begin my diet and exercise anew and at the end of the year, I’ll take another Christmas picture and hopefully I’ll see more positive changes.  And no man boobs.

Left: Christmas 2011 with my sister.  Right: Christmas 2012 with my sister.

beard is good

Having lost a little over 50 pounds and wishing to change my appearance further, I wanted to grow a beard.  No Shave November was coming up so I thought it would be a great time to try it.  I have always wanted to, mostly just to see if I could, but also to see how I’d look with one.

I thought growing a beard would reduce blemishes while covering up current ones (which it has).  I thought having a beard would save time not having to shave (which it hasn’t because trying to groom the beard is just as time consuming as shaving it off).  I also thought it would be cool to grow a thick beard and use it as a shield.  You know how some people can hide behind their glasses or heavy makeup?  I don’t have those options so I thought I could keep people at a distance with my beard.  For a dude who sometimes strongly craves a connection with others, I also want to push myself away a lot of the time.  I know.  It’s messed up.

I actually stopped shaving mid-October when I took my staycation because I have never grown one before and I knew Thanksgiving was coming up so I wanted to try to get a pre-beard going so I could shape it up and make it presentable in front of the relatives in time for the holiday.

After a week of not shaving, I went back to work and was surprised to find a positive response.  For me, I thought I looked just kind of dirty.  But all the girls not only approved but gave me a lot of compliments.  It was nice.  It was also very surprising.  I always thought girls generally shied away from fuzzy faced men.  Sure, there are ladies who are happy with hirsute gentlemen but I thought they were in the minority.  I was wrong.

Amazingly, the general consensus was that my beard is good.

I’ve learned a lot about my beard this month.  First of all, it’s a multitude of colors, ranging from brown to blonde to-get this-red!  In fact, a large patch of hair on my right cheek is a nice coppery color.  Who knew I was a ginger?  I guess that partly explains why I have no soul.

Also, it grows in every direction possible.  The hair on my left side grows down.  The hair on my chin grows to the right and the  hair on my right side actually grows toward horizontally across my cheek.  This has made it difficult to maintain the uniformity of the beard while trimming.  I don’t know if trimming is allowed during No Shave November.  It probably isn’t but I work with the public so I have to maintain some sense of being groomed.

Not only did I want to cut down on the mountain man look but I also hoped frequent trimming would tame the quickly growing hairs while allowing for the tiny baby hairs to catch up and fill in.

Now, No Shave November is over and although I didn’t exactly grow the beard just for November but in some ways, I’m ready to shave it off.  Now I face a seemingly unimportant decision:  do I shave or do I keep it?  It’s not a decision I’m taking lightly.  I’m not developing an ulcer over it or anything but I’ve worked really hard on this bad boy.  I’ve clipped and trimmed and plucked and sculpted and shampooed and washed and itched and scratched and sure if I shave it, it will grow back.  But it took a long time to get it the way it is now and I don’t want to have to go through all that prep again.

Plus, I’m saving a lot on razors.

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black fried day

I’m full of cake and milk and malice so bear with me.

Thanksgiving wasn’t as terrible as I anticipated.  We usually all congregate at my dad’s mother’s house, as per tradition.  But, through the years, every time one of my male cousins reaches sexual maturity, he knocks up some girl and then has to visit her relatives for the holidays.  This has led to a decreased number of relatives who come over.  Fine by me.  This year, it was mostly my sister and me and our cousin and his boyfriend.  We all sat in the living room while the relatives with children sat in the kitchen and the older relatives sat in the dining room.

My sister and cousin mostly talked about drinking.  I don’t drink so I didn’t have much to add to the conversation.  And as much as I might have residual ill feelings toward my sister, she’s quite the comedian.  My cousin’s boyfriend really took a shine to her with her quick wit and sardonic delivery.  I’m telling you guys, she’s more cynical than I am.  But she’s funny so she can get away with it.  I just sat back with my lemon pie and listened.

At one point, some random toddler waddled in and went over to where my sister was sitting and just stared at her.  Shannon visibly tensed up as the little girl bore a hole in her head with her inquisitive eyes.

“Who is that?” I whispered to her.

“I don’t know but she’s freaking me out.”  Then, she got up away from the girl, cringed, then sat closer to me.  The little girl kept staring.  Shannon kept freaking.

I’m telling you guys, she’ dislikes kids more than I do.  She’s a bitchier, female version of me.  I can respect that.

Black Friday wasn’t as bad as anticipated, either.  Had to be there at 6AM instead of the usual 3:30AM.  I did have an irrational fear of sudden diarrhea, though, based on the enormous amount of fried turkey and greasy mac and cheese I ate the day before.  Fortunately, I made it through without any oozing.  The five shots of Pepto I did before I went to bed and the five more after I woke up might have helped me out with that. 

Surprisingly, I also didn’t have many rude customers.  Although, I did have a few gray hairs who came up to me and said something along the lines of, “Excuse me.  I have two shopping carts and three shopping bags filled to the brim with clothing and there’s approximately twenty people in line behind me but could you tell me the price of each piece of clothing as you scan it thanks!”

And I’m all like:

But I did have time for a cold pop.

I was also surprised at how busy we were.  I’d say I stayed at my register 98% of my eight hour shift and went on autopilot at one point.  Scan, collect money, bag, rinse and repeat.

It was also ugly Christmas sweater day at work.  I looked so hard to find a freaking Christmas sweater.  Looked for an entire week.  There just wasn’t anything out there.  I finally found one at one store but they only had about three to choose from.  I guess I lucked out.

I tried to get a coworker to take these pictures and as you can tell, she flunked out of cell phone photography 101.  Every time she tapped the screen, I saw the phone move.

This was the result.  Ehh.

“How about you grip the phone tighter and lightly tap on the screen,” I said.

“Okay,” she responded.

Not only is it blurry but look at that composition.  I mean…really.

“So, are you hung over or something?” I asked her.  I could have done a better job taking the picture myself.  With my feet.

I made her drink a big cup of coffee and give it another go.  It still required some cropping and editing but I didn’t want to be a creep about the picture taking so I settled with this picture:

Guess who this girl is??

halloween and stuff

Happy Halloween, boils and ghouls.  I carved a pumpkin on Sunday…or I attempted to.  It turned out crap ’cause I tried to get fancy with it by shading and highlighting and…no.  Carving isn’t as easy as it might seem at first.  Maybe if I had a couple of pumpkins to practice with, I could have gotten the hang of it but my hand started cramping so I just gave up.  Anyway, here’s some pictures of the gutting process.

Our stray cat who adopted us wanted to help.  “Here, gimme that knife.  Let me show you how to do it.”

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salt soul

I finished Insanity on a lackluster note last week.  I had a lot of plans with people after work and that made it hard to exercise because I got home late and had to be up early for work and I also gave myself the lame excuse that one more week wasn’t going to make a difference.  I didn’t have a six pack before that last week and I wasn’t going to have one after.  I think I worked out three out of the six days I was supposed to, which isn’t terrible but I really wanted to finish strong.

Not a great end but the fact that I pushed myself for two months and sweat buckets each time is great.  I have muscle definition in my arms and I can do way more push ups and crunches than before I started and I have way more stamina…ladies.

I want to go back to the 8-week workout I started back in January.  I thought it would be a good idea to cycle through all my fitness programs  but I also want to take a week to do some lower intensity workouts, like my mom’s walking DVDs, before I hit it hard again.  You know, something to give the old knees a break from all that Insanity pounding. 

Just for kicks, I popped in my P90 DVD two nights ago and breezed through the workout!  Insanity has really gotten me in better shape.  I remember huffing and puffing through P90 when I did it several months ago but this time around I was really able to keep up.  That was a good feeling.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still tubby and tire easily…just not as tubby and don’t tire as easily.  It’s improvement and I’ll take it!

I’ve also tried to incorporate walking outside because the weather has been gorgeous lately.  I’ll post pictures of my route on my next entry.

I’ve been a bit more relaxed with my workout schedule.  Since I’m not following any program, I don’t feel as compelled to be strict, which is good and bad.  I haven’t reached my goal weight so I shouldn’t be so relaxed but at the same time, I have worked hard this year and I’m really just taking an easy week or two but I do intend on going hard again, even through Thanksgiving and Christmas.  With my work schedule and family obligations and tons of turkey, I’m sure I won’t be able to exercise every day but that’s okay.  As long as I keep going.

I think I’ll be able to.

It’s only the days that I want to exercise that I don’t that bother me.  I also need to add that I’ve been eating badly lately.  Lots of candy.  Slipping in more and more fatty foods.  I need to reel the cheating in big time.  I’m being too lenient with my diet.  I can understand slacking off on the exercise after the boot camp from hell I went through for two months but food should remain non-negotiable. 

So when I eat crap and then don’t exercise on a day I’m supposed to, it worries me.  Sometimes I don’t get up and go but other times, despite my internal conflict, I push it all aside and just do it.  By the time I’ve got my shoes on, all hesitation is gone and I’m good to go.

I just feel better when I exercise.  Don’t get that statement wrong.  I haven’t turned into one of those people.  I don’t physically feel better but I do mentally.  It’s one more victory, one more fight against the calories I’ve consumed, one more attempt at creating a balance.  I’m starting to see that every bit of physical exercise is worth it, despite how I felt about the last week of Insanity not making a difference.  Sure, I wasn’t going to get ripped but I could have burned off some of those extra candy calories. 

It’s just when I wake up in the morning and I’m hurting, when it’s difficult to bend my legs to get out of bed, I love it (although it’s actually not good because it means I didn’t sufficiently stretch) because it makes me feel like I really worked out, really pushed myself.  It’s like how I feel when I sweat profusely.  I know I accomplished something.

I also hope some of that salt has seeped past the skin, that a switched has been flipped on, that I’ll continue to be physical because I know I need to be.  Food is such a temptation for me and I am still so weak, despite the weight loss, despite turning down doughnuts, I still struggle.  And exercise is a good way to offset the days when I can’t say no.  I hope exercising becomes a part of me, something I do regularly.  It doesn’t have to be every day but at least four times a week.  And not even every week.  Maybe some days I can do five days a week and others three.  I don’t have to be strict about it but I need to be firm, to keep myself accountable and remind myself that I need to get up and go, to feel the fat fall away as the sweat pours out. 


I hate almost getting to a certain state of being, like almost being thin, almost having clear skin, or almost being attractive and confident.  Having almost reached a certain goal gives me a taste of the possibilities and only serves to remind me that I’m not there yet.  That taste could be motivation for some but it’s detrimental for me.

It highlights my inability to be consistent and underscores my inclination for self-sabotage.

It’s kind of amazing how we try to train ourselves to be better.  We use mantras and daily affirmations and we think we’re finally on the right path but it takes nothing to pull away from the progress.  The days and months and even years of hard work toward betterment sometimes feels like a waste when we can so easily be swayed back into bad behaviors.

Years ago, when I was at my thinnest, I remember walking into a grocery store and finding myself in the candy aisle.  I walked past the Snickers and Reese’s and Milky Way bars and realized that I didn’t even want that junk anymore.  The chewy candies, the sour sugar, the tangy taffy all felt unclean to me.

I will never touch that stuff again, I said to myself.  And I wasn’t trying to convince myself, either.  I honestly believed I had no desire to devour that garbage.

Years later, I’m inhaling that garbage every day and gaining all the weight I lost, plus some.

How did I go from so healthy to so hefty?

What is it about the brain that some parts cannot be overridden?  Why are addicts life-long sufferers?  Why does the mind lean in the direction of decay?  If I learned these bad food behaviors, why can’t I unlearn them?  Have they been lodged so deeply into my very being that I cannot excavate the venom flowing so deep within me?

At one time, I thought I had.  I realize now that I had only scratched the surface.  I was only almost there.

Even today, all these years and diets and pounds later, all I want to do is bite into a gooey lasagna.  I used to think these pasta pangs were residual cravings from my former sloth-like lifestyle.  They say wait fifteen minutes.  They say drink a glass of water.  They say the cravings are fleeting and they will go away.  And so I wait and drink and they do go away but they always come back. 

I’m starting to wonder if the cravings aren’t fleeting but my resolve not to cave in to the cravings is what’s really fleeting.  But the desire to eat, the desire to destroy myself, is always swimming under the surface of sweaty skin and fatigued muscle.

fearfully and wonderfully slayed, part 2

“Just let your faith die…”
AFI, Sacrilege

I hear people say that unanswered prayers are still answered.  I keep thinking of that stupid footprints story.  Maybe you’ve seen me through all the pain and I never realized it or maybe I just made it on my own.  How will I ever know because you’ll never tell me!  How can I keep the faith when there’s no sign, no feeling, no subtle recognition to keep me going, to let me know I’m doing the right thing?  Am I just wasting my time?

I kept praying, turned away from my sins, tried to think positive thoughts, focused on you and nothing ever changed.  I was empty on the inside and disappointed with the nothing in the sky.  Why couldn’t I get a sign or a feeling of reassurance?  Why was there such a disconnect between me and you?  Was I still doing something so wrong as to keep you so far away?

I looked for you and only saw sadness.  I saw confusion over the course my life had taken.  I saw this little boy who sat alone, teary-eyed, wondering where the love and comfort was that was promised to him in a big book with big words and big promises if only he would believe in it all.

I believed in you.  But you didn’t believe in me.

I put everything into college and it was the biggest financial and emotional mistake of my life, one that I will likely pay for until I die, which will probably be sooner than later.  Not only did college not work out but I barely scraped through graduation with all of my limbs.  My mind was destroyed as well as my spirit.

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fearfully and wonderfully slayed, part 1

“If I ask you ‘what is truth’ will you be silent still?
My questions and doubts made a chasm
That I fear you can not fill…”

-Showbread, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things
I met up with God the other day.  He actually let me record our conversation and I have conveniently transcribed it for you.  We had a long talk, or actually I had a lot to say to him.  You might notice he was sparse with the responses, which wasn’t surprising.  Below is our exchange.

Me:  What’s up, Lord?  I know you’re busy not answering prayers and and standing idly by as the world crumbles, yet somehow swooping in and saving certain individuals from damnation to propel the proselytizing of non-believers, but we need to have some tea and a chat.  You’ve been dodging me for twenty-six years so the very least you can do is spare me a few minutes.

God:  *irritated, pointing to iPhone*

Me:  Sure, I’ll let you finish your call.  Tell Jesus I said hi and that I miss him.

God hangs up after several minutes, looks at me, becomes morose.

Me:  Please, have a seat.  Can I get you a Snuggie?  Nescafe?  Comfortable?  Good.  This is gonna take a while.

God:  *rolls eyes*

Me:  I hate to be negative right from the start so let’s get to the good stuff first, shall we?  First of all, I am an incredibly fortunate individual.  I guess you’d prefer the term “blessed”.  Sure, we can use your terminology.  I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say you played some part in the positive aspects of my life.  I’ve never starved because my family couldn’t afford food.  I’ve never been beaten by my mother or molested by my father.  I’ve never been left out in the cold or went without adequate clothing.  I’ve never had loved ones torn away from me by death or divorce.

My life is easy.

But I am absolutely miserable.

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I’m on the third week of the Insanity fitness program and it’s every bit as intense and intimidating and painful as the advertisements suggest.

I feel like there’s nothing left of me after every workout.  I’m pouring sweat within 5 minutes of the typically 40 minute programs and I’m completely drenched by the end of it.  I’ve never sweat like that before and have never felt so exhausted by the end of a workout.  My arms and legs are screaming and my lungs are gasping for air and I feel like I’ve just endured a boot camp session from hell.

But my title doesn’t refer to the program.  It refers to my mental condition regarding my continual struggle to lose weight.  I noticed my weight loss started to slow down so I began the Insanity program to kick things back into gear.  Additionally, I started taking Alli consistently and have tried to cut sugar out of my diet.  I hoped the pounds would really drop with all that going on but they haven’t.  Yeah, I’m still losing but it’s still going so slowly.

I hit a plateau recently where I could not get under 200 pounds.  It was so frustrating because not only was I not losing any weight but I could not break that 200 pound barrier.  It was also frustrating because every plateau was time wasted.  When I committed to losing weight back in January, I wanted to lose 60 pounds in 6 months (10 pounds a month, average of 2 pounds a week, which is safe and recommended) but it’s now the 8th month and I’ve only lost 44 pounds.  I’m very behind and it scares me because I do not want to be overweight for Christmas.  I know I have a few more months left and I even told myself that I had a couple of months of cushion room in case I didn’t make my goal right on time but that cushion is slowly dwindling.  And now that I’m running out of time, I’m feeling the pressure to knock of these last 20-30 pounds.

But fortunately, I have finally broken the 200 pounds mark and I am down to 194.8 and it feels good but I am just so impatient and just want the weight to be off already.  I’m already exhausted from the Insanity workouts and frustrated because I can’t eat pizza and all I want to do is inhale one so bad.  I know having a cheat day every once in a while is acceptable but not for me.  I’m an all or nothing kind of guy and I’ve put up a dam when it comes to food and as soon as I let a little grease slip through, the dam will break and I’ll find myself on the floor, clutching a Little Debbie in both hands with lard dribbling down my chin.

Despite the 44 pounds lost, I’m still fat.  How much more do I need to lose before I feel good about myself?

There’s been this wave of weight loss at work.  Several of my coworkers have gotten on these health kicks and have lost anywhere from 10-20 pounds and they are thin and look great and they didn’t have as much to lose or had to work as hard as I have and it sucks because I’ve lost twice as much as they have and yet I’m still bigger than all of them.

They’ve reached their goal and can move on with their lives.  But even when I reach my goal, I won’t be able to move on with my life.  This is forever.  I’ll be on a diet when I die.

It also upsets me that I can’t see my progress.  Well, I can.  I look in the mirror or see older pictures of myself and I can see a thinning in my face and frame but I still think my perspective is skewed.  I don’t see enough change to be encouraged.  I have a problem seeing my body they way it is.  When I was heavier, I mostly ignored my condition.  I ate because I was depressed and couldn’t see the damage I was doing.  I was in survival mode, eating so I wouldn’t throw myself onto railroad tracks.

But when I finally faced it, I couldn’t see how big I had gotten.  You have to remember, I was thinner in college, the thinnest I had been in my young adult life, so I graduated being as close to thin as I have ever been.  I fell into an intense depression after college and I went into my room at 174 pounds and came out of my room at 238 pounds and although it didn’t happen overnight, it felt like it did.  I think in some ways I still saw myself as still being thin because the weight slowly crept up on me.  I was used to seeing myself as thin and since I didn’t face myself as I gained the weight, I went along unaware.  I wouldn’t have noticed at all except for the fact that none of my jeans or shirts fit anymore.  And they weren’t just a bit snug.  I literally couldn’t put my clothes on.

And now that I’ve lost weight, I can’t see how smaller I’ve become because I’ve shifted my perspective to being “the fat guy” again.  I couldn’t see how big I had gotten and it’s only now that I’ve lost quite a bit of that weight that I’m starting to see how big I was/still think I am.  My body is always changing and my mind is always working to keep up with the bingeing and purging of fat.

It’s hard but not impossible.  I’m going to keep going and I’ll probably continue to be unsatisfied with my performance and the slow rate of weight loss, all along beating myself up for over eating and under exercising.  But it’ll be all right because I’ll get there.

But this is forever, remember.  So when I get there, I’ll have to then shift my focus and fight to stay there.  No matter how much weight I lose or gain or maintain, I’ll always be the fat guy.  I’ll always have that mentality, always think about how what I put in my mouth will make me fat again.  My head goes to fat content and calories and the fear that comes along with it all.  There’s no taste without trepidation, no dinner without despondency, no satisfaction without slicing myself open.              

getting to know gluttony

I don’t want to say my mom is the reason why I’m fat but…it is her fault.

I kid.  Sort of.  But my mom equates food with love and living in the South, food is fried.  We fry everything.  We fry chicken and potatoes and vegetables.  We fry desserts.  We’ll fry anything.  We’ll fry milk if you give us the chance.  So my mom equates fried food with love, which means I was doomed from the start.

My mom learned that kind of love from her mom, who probably learned from her mom.  I don’t think that’s an unusual parenting style, especially in the South, but it’s a slippery slope.  I don’t see much wrong with showing someone you care by feeding them as long as that’s not the only way you show love.  You also have to teach your kids to have a healthy relationship with food, just like you’d teach them how to have a healthy relationship with people.

My mom skipped that part.

My parents were not very affectionate, especially my father.  Once again, not unusual, but Mom’s love shined through the most when she cooked.  She conveyed her love through cornbread instead of kisses and while she just did what she knew, it had an unintentionally negative impact on me.

When I was younger, Mom asked me what I wanted from the grocery store.  I told her I didn’t want anything.

“But the kitchen is practically empty.” 

It wasn’t. 

“I just hate the idea of you and your sister walking into the kitchen and not having anything to eat.”

That sentence struck me.  My parents have been very fortunate to have always been able to provide us with more than we needed as kids.  I don’t think her concern came from a place of fearing she might not being able to have access to proper nutrition, but came from a place of fearing she might be a bad mom.  I say that because she never said she worried about us opening the closet and not having clothing or opening our backpacks and not having enough school supplies.  It was all about the food.

And so my mom passed down the notion of food and love to me, whether she meant to or not.

Even as far back as recent months, as much as I’ve tried to diet, I still look to her as a compass of sorts, following her lead when it comes to eating.  I tried to be good and follow a strict diet but if I see her eat a small plate of food in the middle of the night, I feel like it gives me license to do the same.  Or if she asks if she wants to go get a pizza for us, she knows I’m going to say yes.  Sometimes I’m only as strong as she is.  And when she gives in, I have no trouble caving as well.

I’m not exactly sure how my weight gain started.  I don’t think it was anything tragic that led me to the linguine.  At least not at first.  I was an active child.  I often played with my cousin, who was around my age.  But as I grew older, I simply grew out of playing outside.  I was not a rough and tumble child.  I was sensitive from the beginning.  I was artistic.  I liked to draw inside instead of kick up dirt outside.  I simply think the combination of an ever stocked kitchen coupled with inactivity caused my initial weight gain.

I didn’t notice my extra bulk until a classmate of mine pointed it out in fourth grade.  We had all come back from summer vacation and the first thing he said to me was, “You got fat over the summer.”  I’ll never forget it.  It was the moment I became aware of my appearance.  And over the years, I’ve only become more and more aware of myself to the point of obsession.

That was around the time I went from eating out of pleasure and convenience to eating so I could comfort myself.  I took those notions of love and feel good feelings I inherited from my mom and ran with them.  Any time I felt bad, I used food to recreate those feelings, to cover up any pain I felt.  And this continued into adolescence.

When I hit puberty, everything only got worse.  Not only was my stomach expanding but my face exploded with acne.  I was an awkward mess of excess oil and body parts padded with fat.  And so I ate to forget the freak show in the mirror.  I felt ugly and inadequate and eating only made things worse in the long run but I either didn’t realize or didn’t care at the time.  As self-aware as I thought I was, all that weight certainly creeped up on me.

But eventually, I got sick of being so big and so I lost around 20 pounds during the summer after 11th grade.  I came back to school and felt and looked decent.  After I graduated, I continued the weight loss journey and ended up losing a little over 60 pounds and went to college with a better attitude and a better body.  But I hadn’t defeated the cause of my weight gain.  I was still insecure.  I was still sad inside.  I still felt inadequate.  Somehow I had found the resolve to lose weight despite my overwhelmingly negative attitude about myself.

And then my first year of college destroyed me and once again, I turned to food to cope.   But only for a while.  Eventually, I got a hold of myself and dieted and exercised away all the weight I gained that first year.  But the issues remained, nagged at my mind and wouldn’t let me forget the gross, fat guy I still thought I was.  I buried the feelings with school work instead of food.  I hadn’t overcome my issues, only ignored them again.

It was only when I graduated from college and moved back home that I let food back in again.  It was like meeting an old, familiar lover.  And we made sweet, sweet love.  60 plus pounds worth of love.  I was more depressed than I had ever been and I did not care about anything except filling my stomach up with everything I could get my hands on.  I was in self-preservation mode.  If I didn’t reach for pie, I probably would have reached for pills.

All the weight I lost, all the hard work I put into changing my body and my mind slowly unraveled with each passing day.  I packed the weight back on over the course of two years.  And I ignored it.  I didn’t want to face myself and so I simply didn’t.

And one day I looked at myself and saw that I was back to where I started.  Overweight and still miserable.  I realized I hadn’t changed, hadn’t learned, hadn’t accomplished anything.  I felt like I had wasted my youth.

For me, food was the only constant in my world.  It wasn’t just my comfort.  It was my companion.  It was my best friend.  And although some best friends can be destructive, I didn’t care about the long-term damage.  I was looking for the short-term solution.  I couldn’t just give up on food.  I felt like I was abandoning someone who had been there with me through thick and thin (both literally and figuratively).  Me giving up food would be like me telling you to suddenly cut your best friend out of your life.  I just couldn’t do it.  It was a ridiculous notion.

But one day, just like that one  magical day in high school, I said I was tired of being like this.  I didn’t want to see another birthday as big as I was.  I didn’t want to ring in another year overweight.  Since January, I’ve made the decision to lose the weight I had gained not once, but twice.  And I’ve managed to lose 39 pounds so far.  I still have a long way to go and I’ve hit several obstacles along the way but I’ve done it before and I’m confident I can do it again.

But it’s still hard.  Even now, despite how far I’ve come in trying to recognize bad food behavior, when I’m at my lowest, all I want is food.  It’s still the only thing that soothes me.  No person, no god, no orgasm, no compliment or accomplishment is as satisfying as food.

And I even tell myself to stop.  I’ll grab some chips or reach for the frozen pizza and I’ll pause and tell myself it’s not going to help.  It’s only going to make things worse.  But I eat the chips or the pizza anyway.  I don’t care if it’s going to make things worse because I’m hurting in that moment and need to make the pain go away.  I say I’ll deal with the consequences later.  I never do.  I deal with it by eating more pizza.  By eating  more cake and pie and chips and candy.  I deal by not dealing.

I’ve realized that it’s easy to lose weight.  That’s a bold statement with the seemingly insurmountable weight struggle so many people are going through but it’s simple science.  More calories burned than consumed.  In fact, you can even pinpoint how much weight you want to lose on a weekly basis.  1 pound equals 3,500 calories.  Eat 500 less calories than you normally would every day and in 7 days you will have saved yourself 3,500 calories, which totals 1 pound.  The trick is finding out how many calories you usually eat and how many calories you need to consume to maintain or lose more.  But that’s the basics.

But my point is, physically, losing weight is easy.  It’s the mental part that is the hardest.  Diet and exercise can change your body but what is going to change your mind?  It’s all a head game, a constant fight with the demons inside you pointing you in the wrong direction.  And until you tackle those demons and exorcise them from your brain, you’ll always be in the middle of sensibility vs. gluttony.  I should know.  I’ve been caught in the crossfire more times than I can count.

My mom’s not really to blame.  I was just kidding.  If anything, the combination of fried food love and my stunted social skills and possible mental defects that no one had any control over is what contributed to me being this way.  It’s all just circumstances, random events and chances that led me here.  But I’m at a place now where I can take responsibility for my own body and actions.  Looking into the past and finding the cause of my weight issues is good because I can learn and grow from it but I don’t play the victim here.  Not in this case.  I don’t look back to blame, only to resolve.

I’ve managed to lose the 39 pounds despite not having dealt with my issues.  And until I do, it’s very likely that I’ll gain the weight back.  That’s why it’s imperative I try to fix the inside while simultaneously correcting the outside.  The problem is I just don’t know how to do that.  So until I do, I have to stay on top of my eating and working out.  I gained all the weight back because I didn’t stay on top of it.  I let myself go.  I allowed my inner insatiable beast to roam free in a playground made of pasta.  I’ve temporarily caged him but with makeshift bars.  He’s still clamoring to get out.

I can only hold him back for so long.