Thank god August is over. My mom crashed my car, a brutal heatwave left my video card (not to mention my mind) a molten pile of slag, and I’ve had so much work piling up that I had to pull nearly a week of all-nighters to stay afloat and I still can’t read my to-do list without feeling dizzy. It was stressful month, and if it had gone on much longer I would have ended up weighing more than I did when I first started this diet! Yes, nearly all the weight I lost between the start of my diet in November of 2011 and when I wrote this post in March, nearly 25 pounds, has come back. With reinforcements. The human body sucks. I feel like the owners of the Titanic: years of hard work, perseverance and unfathomable suffering ruined by a single, stupid iceberg. I also feel like the captain of the Titanic, watching as the boat sinks into the cold waters of the atlantic, knowing it was may fault I ran into that iceberg.
So, looking back on this past month, I’ve isolated the three major factors that contributed to this setback. I will carve into the sepulcher of humanity, the three dooms that cursed me with a gut the size of Europa.
#1. Forgetting You’re on a Diet
When I first began dieting way back in 2007, there was only one reason I was pursuing it: to get a girl. Yes, to hell with the drastically reduced life span, the increased chance of getting horribly debilitating diseases, and the almost nonexistent energy levels that come with being fat, sex was the only motivating factor. For a while that worked, mostly because I actually managed to land a girlfriend as a result. An unfortunately celibate girlfriend, but it was girlfriend nevertheless. Obviously the problem with using that as a motivator for losing weight is that if you don’t actually get a girlfriend as a result, the whole diet falls apart. Why the hell else am I suffering if not to have some hot, hot sex as a reward? Which is why immediately after becoming single again, I pretty much packed on all the weight again. What was different about this November’s diet is that I was no longer dieting for the sake of attracting women, that was just icing on the cake, oh no. I”m dieting for me now. All that horrible stuff associated with obesity I mentioned? That shit bothers me now. Back when I was in school and working at a vet clinic, when I was aspiring to become a veterinarian, I couldn’t really envision a future clearly. It was all just hypothetical, like Einstein’s theory of relativity, I know it exists and that it’s important, but I didn’t really see it as part of my existence. Then a year ago I ran into the guys at Ara’Kus Productionswho asked me to be a writer for them (well okay I asked them to let me work for them). Then it all started falling into place, I began writing more frequently, my confidence improved and I found that I could imagine myself doing this my entire life. I can see a future where I’m a professional writer, and it’s awesome. I want to make the most of that future, which means losing the extra person worth of fat I’m carrying around. Besides, I learned the important lesson that, in the end, self-confidence is all you really need when you’re looking for a potential mate. Besides I already look damn good, losing weight will just be polishing a diamond at this point:
Dieting is so much more successful when you’re working at better yourself because you want to, not because you think it’ll make someone else happy. Unfortunately on the flip side of that coin, is the fact that sex is never very far away from my mind, and when I was losing weight to become (more) attractive, the fact I was on a diet was always in the forefront of my mind. Now, however, it’s kind of easy for dieting to get lost in the shuffle of a dozen other things. Working and working my little (huge) fingers to the bone, I’ll munch on some chips until the entire bag is gone. Eager to get back to work I’ll stop and buy some Burger King or Taco Bell, complete with a soda. There are just so many little things we eat every day that are both horrible and delicious that are stuffed with so many calories that you have to use scientific notation in order to write it out on the package. Yet unless you’re consciously, and continuously, telling yourself that you’re on a diet, you don’t even think about how many calories you’re eating. You don’t consider the fact that giant bowl of ice cream might put a few pounds on you after researching and writing out a 15,000 word document. And that bag of donuts looks particularly inviting after you’ve finished a 4AM Skype meeting with the Australian based Science Fictioncompany you work for. And you know, as hard as writing is, it doesn’t burn any calories. The one calorie burning activity I have left is going to the gym, which I could no longer due because my mom crashed my car.
Oh sure, you could point out that the gym is within easy walking distance, I guess…if you wanted to be a dick about it. Or you could say this is all just excuses to cover up for my lack of willpower. Well you know what? Shut up, you’re not my mother!
#2 My Mother
While reading #1, you probably kept asking yourself why I even have junk food in the house. Why give myself the opportunity to binge on horrible, fattening foods? Well as you can probably guess from the title, the problem is my mother. And to a larger extent, the economy, which is still so depressed and crappy that moving out still isn’t a viable option. But mostly my Mother.
My mother, bless her senile brain and disintegrating joints, is one of the greatest people on the planet. Unfortunately her greatness is matched by her great appetite for junk food. She’s constantly bringing home donuts, chips, sodas and other various goodies. They’re all so delicious and yet they’re all so fattening. “They’re for me!” She’ll say when I ask why she brings these things home knowing I’m on a diet. Like that’s going to stop me eating them. I’m like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park, just because there’s a no entry sign on the fence doesn’t mean I’m not going to try and eat Jeff Goldblum.
Once the food is in the house, those apples and bananas and cucumbers might as well be planks of wood as far as I’m concerned. If you see a bunch of apples sitting there next to a big bag of your favorite barbecue chips, who here is honestly going to take the apple? No, the one and only way for me to lose weight is to not have the option of junkfood.
What’s worse is that my mother is a diabetic and morbidly obese just like me. She’s like a future version of me, constantly reminding me of how I’ll end up if I don’t start losing weight: the constant injections of insulin, the exactly one million pills she has to take, and constantly worrying about getting sores on her feet because they might not heal. It’s not pretty. But like smokers who continue smoking despite the huge warning label on the damn box, I just can’t stop myself.
3. Defeat is Inevitable
Or that’s pretty much how I’ve come to look at it over this past month. You don’t really realize it unless you’re actively looking for it, but we’re surrounded by niggling little reminders about just how fucking hard losing weight is. All those diet commercials? The whole reason they show you those commercials is to say “You can’t possibly do something this hard, you need our program or you’ll certainly fail.” Those commercials for fast food, they concentrate on pointing out how cheap and convenient it is. You’re confronted by the fact that you can either buy a bag of healthy cucumbers for 10 bucks, or a couple apples for five, versus an entire meal for usually less than ten. That’s not even taking into account how easy it is to go through a drive-thru compared to walking all the way to the produce section at the store, picking out fruit, and then getting stuck behind the jackass with two shopping carts full of stuff who decided to pile into the 7 items or less line.
I think the worst blow to my commitment was an article written by David Wong, writer of masterpieces such as “John Dies in the End” and editor of my favorite website Cracked.com. It’s an article about how being fat is now considered incurable, by science. Not just some dumbass like Dr. Phil, actual scientists with actual degrees. They say that even if I lost a whole bunch of weight and got down to the ideal 270-280 pounds my body is meant for, it would just come back a few years later down the line. The final nail in the coffin is a picture of the famous Subway guy, back to his huge, hefty self.
I’ve never been one for believing in fate or predetermination of any kind, but Cracked might as well be the gospel as far as I’m concerned and they’re back up by science! That was a blow that affected me more than I knew, consciously I told myself it was a website that specializes in dick jokes and pop culture references, but down deep I sort of resigned myself to defeat.
All the stress of the past month also made it so much easier to make excuses not to eat healthy and exercise. All those things I wrote up there? Excuses. Every. Single. One. There’s truth in them, but at the same time they weren’t insurmountable obstacles.
Well no more. I’m going to start right back up again. I don’t care how many times I fall off this dieting wagon, I’m getting right back on again, because I’m sick of being fat. I’m going to show my big flabby body why I’m the brains of the operation and start working out again, eating healthy, and keeping to a normal sleep cycle. I will perform the impossible, even if it kills me.
>” And you know, as hard as writing is, it doesn’t burn any calories.”
Two words: Treadmill Desk!
No no no no no.
Are you trying to give me nightmares? 😛
I wouldn’t actually mind trying that out, though I hear most people just go back to sitting desks after a while. 😛 I really do hate sitting so much.
Maybe you could by a bicycle for going to the gym…
Just gotta find a bicycle that feels comfortable for my huge 6’4 frame. :S It ain’t easy being tall. 😛
Unsupportive cohabitors are the worst in my opinion.
I’ve always struggled with my weight for pretty much all of my short life but recently I’ve seem to have it the most under control I have in my whole life. The only really thing I’ve done is try to reduce my carb intake and just eat a bit less in general. It took me a while to get used to the person looking back in the mirror because he didn’t look like me and it’s weird when everyone keeps telling you that you’re skinny rather than you look thinner. Actually, I think most of the people around me might secretly be worried that I’m not eating enough (though in a latino family, you’re either too skinny or too fat, never just right) and that might be true because that analogy you wrote about being hungry all the time is very true; I still crave and eat junk food, but it just seems I don’t give in to it as much and when I do, I just eat less for the rest of the day and/or the next day. So, yeah, dieting really is pretty much like strategically starving yourself.
My current job also seems to accelerate my weight lost since it pretty much has me running around for 8 hours straight, five days a week. I can’t say that I forget that I’m on a diet; I just don’t hold myself to strict standards or maybe I’m just lucky that my body seems to be cooperating with my efforts. I’m just hoping it will stay that way for a while before point number three kicks in.
Keep up the effort; a healthier you is very well worth the struggle. And a healthier you will probably attract the ladies. I dare say that I’d look your way if I knew you swing that way; and I mean that to be taken as a compliment.
I think the thing about dieting, like you pointed out, is the aftermath of the diet, the bounce effect. Personally I think that there is an issue with the mentality. The lose weight (and keep it low) is to diet forever. This is not in the sense of a punishment, but rather the acceptance that a balanced nourishment (and most of the time complemented with exercise) is necessary to avoid going up in weight (aka: reduce drastically all junk food and sweets consumption).
Yeah, I’ve read a lot of weight loss books and blogs, and the common theme of all of them is that the word “diet” needs to go away. If you want to lose weight and keep it off you don’t need a diet, you need a life style change that lasts forever.
But holy crap is that hard to do. 😦
May I ask, what’s your opinion on the Leviathan DLC? Just to direct your thoughts away from your diet 🙂
Hahah I’ve been so busy lately I didn’t even realize it came out. I’ll check it out ASAP and give you my opinion on it. 🙂
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