Friday morning I’m going to get on the scale for the first time in a month. I only weigh in every month at this point because I treat the scale like a piece of medical equipment. It’s a single measurement of my progress, albeit an important one. Still, the thought of climbing on it every three days, or even once a week seems unhealthy to me. If I’m making the right choices and doing the right things than there shouldn’t ever be a surprise when I see the number.
All the same, I find I’m mentally preparing for my first real set back in two years. The timing couldn’t be stranger. My book actually arrives on Friday – what I expect to be the first month In 22 that I’ve possibly gained weight.
Now, I’m not sounding any alarms. These things fluctuate and I’m far from off the wagon, but the fact that I’m going in to it expecting the number to be heading the wrong way tells me I know that I haven’t been taking care of myself the way I should.
Now, I can list off excuses. Changes at work. The launch of the book. All of the marketing that goes along with making sure no one loses money. I’m stressed about my house and change my mind every two days about finding another place to live and taking on the costs that go with that. My mother’s birthday is in a couple of weeks and for the second year in a row I’m not going to be with her. My friends are having children I still haven’t met, and my goddaughter hasn’t seen me outside of an iPhone screen since I was 100 pounds heavier.
All of those things are true. They’re all things that are happening in my life that need attention. But if I’m making the right choices how am I worried that any of that has lead to a possible gain?
This is where the excuses fall off to the side. The gain, if there is one, isn’t because of any of those things. It’s because I’ve been to the gym twice since I was sick almost three weeks ago. I’ve stopped being selfish with my time. Not because there are bigger more important things happening in my life that require my attention, but because those other things make a nice excuse on a long day and you’re looking for a reason to nap.
I barely have any sugar in my diet yet I’m up against cravings like I’ve never had before. I had friends over for drinks last Friday, and when they left I ordered a small pizza online. I was asleep on the couch when it arrived, and I ate one piece of it before heading to bed. I threw the whole thing out thing out the next morning wondering what had crept in to my head, with whisky thoughts or not, and let me think that was a good idea?
The key to handling these things successfully is being open and honest with yourself about the choices you’re making and figuring out what’s behind them. The benefit of two years of self-analysis and reflection about my old habits is that I know myself really well. I know I’ve been on the borderline of making self-destructive decisions the last few weeks. I know there’s a nervous energy about me that I haven’t had in almost two years.
And literally, as I write these thoughts down for the first time, I know why.
Because Friday my book is going to arrive at my office and right there in black and white, is a story without an ending. The whole premise of Fat Man Walking is that the best I can ever hope for is a daily commitment to dealing with this. I’m going to ship hundreds of copies of my story all over the country and for the first time ever there are parts of my life and this journey that are going to be out there, for the rest of my life, and for some time after that if anyone is kind enough to keep a copy or two after I’m gone.
The most empowering part of this? When these emotions would fuel bad decisions before I never had the knowledge to see them for what they were. The truth is my recent cravings and temptations haven’t been about wanting to taste those things again. It’s been about wanting to taste defeat again. To retreat to a place where I found comfort for so long. No matter how far any of us get in our journeys there is a voice that will whisper to you that you don’t deserve any of this, and while every logical part of my brains tells me I do – and that I have fought hard for it – there is still a part of me that’s 460 pounds, has given up on himself, and is scared to death of the world.
When I admit that, the timing of all of this makes sense. I am battling a fear this week – it’s a fear that comes with realizing people are soon actually going to read this book that that’s been a part of my daily life for almost 18 months. While I’m incredibly proud of it – there is an anxiety that comes with putting so much of yourself out there.
I’m grateful for the things I’ve learned over the last two years that let me see this for what it truly is – a chance to test the strength I’ve built so far.