I want to write something profound—something witty—something self-deprecating that speaks to a greater truth…but I cannot. So, let’s keep it simple. I am fat. I am 50ish pounds down from where I was in 2013 but I am still way bigger than I would like and being brutally honest, I have not been good to myself of late.
In the past I have been able to point to progress in other areas to justify lack of progress in matters massive. I might have backslid a bit but look at my new job, my exercise regimen, my improved finances…as long as I did not backslide more than 20 pounds or so it seemed worth it. Now…ah…not_so_much. Fatness does not bother me in and of itself (that is fixable) but my lack of willpower irks.
Fatness is a symptom of larger problems. First, I have lost most of the reinforcing schedule structure that kept me on my best behavior. Squish and B have put their gym membership on hold. Twas a time when we went 2 or 3 days a week without fail. The free transportation, social pressure of gym friends, and the buddy system insured regular gym time. Now, with each uber trip costing $7.00+ each way, it is harder to justify the quantity and quality of activity of old. I have purchased blind-friendly exercise routines which I genuinely enjoy but the motivation and accountability is not as high as before and my participation has suffered accordingly.
Then there’s “work.” I no longer take public transportation to and from work each day. Paratransit takes me door-to-door, supplanting my daily treks around the bus stop. My commute is 2 to 3 hours round trip—cutting down time I used to use for walks and grocery junkets. My activity level is noticeably decreased.
Second, work is dietarily toxic. My previous routine left me with few disturbances. I could not leave my desk easily because of my work flow. So, while I was not covering much ground, I had few opportunities or reasons to stray from plan. I was an employee in an office building of a couple thousand. Nobody cared about my habits as long as my job got done. Nobody was pushing me toward my health goals but there were few negative pressures; so as long as I was mildly motivated, I could stay on-plan.
You would think that working in the library for the blind that I would find a more supportive environment. Part of my issue is that the library employs no more than 30 employees even counting contractors and volunteers. Everybody is in my business—commenting on what I ordered for lunch—counting how many snack wrappers are in my trash can (I am not kidding)—pushing me to order with or for them. It’s that whole small world thing. The contract and operational employees are as like to treat me like a special snowflake as a valued professional peer. Most of the time I politely redirect, educate, and do the smart tolerant thing. I try not to engage—not to give them a chance to hit my buttons. Sometimes though I just lose my patience. The secretarial and security staff comment on how much I order, how often I order, if I order or not, whether I included them on my order. It does not matter that I order delivery at most twice a week and they order out every day for lunch and breakfast, the delivery people come in through that front entrance and they feel empowered to voice an opinion. I hate being made to feel self-conscious. My immediate reaction is to fight back in pure spite. So even though I did not think of ordering or snacking when I started this job 9 months ago, I feel like I have to keep doing it to make a point…to prove they have no power over me. Stress makes me hungry. Food makes me feel better. The more stressed I am the greater the chance I will overindulge…multiply…consume…etc.
Supplementing that issue is the fact that my schedule is 2 hours off the rest of the office. I arrive at 6:30 in the morning, have lunch by 11:30, and am on my way home by 3:30. Most employees work 8 to 5. Everyone else is eating lunch hours after my meal is done. So, my day is coming to a close and my work area smells like fried food, burgers, and pizza every-single-day—just when I am at my weakest. Put that together with food being the proximal cause of my stress in the first place and meals are problematic. I tried incremental fasting and failed horribly. I was fine till 1:00ish and then olfactory suggestion destroyed my willpower.
My schedule changed. My activity level changed. I let stress get the best of me. My gout is acting up again. My belt is starting to tighten…and I know where this spiral leads. I feel bad so I eat more, more often, more per serving, more of the things I know I should not. I feel worse so my motivation slips. I stay home and do the one thing that makes me feel better—eat. Screw that nonsense. I am going to make better choices by finding sustainable patterns that fit my new life. I am not falling back down that rabbit hole. I need to proactively change to sustainable choices that I am motivated to perform.
Here are some of the better choices I am making going forward:
1. A friend of mine going through addiction recovery and I have a call scheduled twice a week. He talks about recovery and I talk about health stuff. If he can fight off controlled substance addiction I can eat better.
2. I have tested and am now using reusable 14oz plastic shake pouches by little green pouch. I have a breakfast shake that I make in 5 shake increments, freeze, and take to work in the morning. It is the best combination of health and efficiency I have come up with so far. I am going to take it to work every day starting tomorrow.
3. I am going to bring in a selection of Birdseye frozen steamed vegetables each week—whatever is on sale. Lunch is going to be a heaping 500 calorie or less serving of random veggies. I’ll add some low cal hot sauce to make it palatable if required. That is a 0-effort meal that should fill me up with good things for the rest of the day.
4. I am reading a book from bard called the gut makeover. It is…interesting. The author talks about how to reconfigure your digestive track over 4 weeks. There are no portion sizes. I need to get out of the holidays but after that…I am going to give it a try.
5. I am publicly acknowledging that exercise or the lack there of is not my problem. My friend Phoenix has cut over 50 pounds through moderate portion control. If she can do it how can I do less?
6. I have asked to have my desk moved to a less disruptive location. It may take a couple months until the area is ready but my boss has agreed. In the mean time I’m just going to confront bad behavior openly and honestly. I am not doing myself or anyone else any favors by letting this crap slide.
7. I work in a library. I am going to take my breaks on the lowest basement floor and walk through the stacks. I need to get out of my office periodically anyway.
8. I am going to work on confronting the behavior that makes eating uncomfortable, guilty, stressful, and socially awkward. I am entitled to splurge every once in a while—I need an eating plan that can handle that within reason.
I was already doing most of this stuff desultorily—I just need to commit to doing it all the time. I do not want to get down on myself but I feel brutal honesty is the only way to deal with my health issues. I am going to make better choices.