I am overweight. Although I am 6’3”, clocking in at 300 pounds quickly and easily puts me in the overweight/obese bin. And while that doesn’t tell the whole story, trust me. I’m fat. I don’t know what my body fat % is, but it’s up there. I’m huge. Physically, speaking.
Last year I started a project I called Waist 38. As I began to make out a glimpse of the birth of my third child on the horizon, and with the help of a John Mayer song, I got motivated. I started a blog. I started to eat right. I counted the days. Day 1. Day 2.
The pounds went down, too. I didn’t measure my weight. It was one of my core beliefs to measure my progress by waist size, and not body weight, to keep myself motivated. But the inches were coming off. It was working. I was happy. The physical aspect of my daily practice was in full swing.
But then it stopped. A trip to Disney World with my wife at the height of her pregnancy and in the heat of summer did me in. And while I blogged positively about it, the sad fact was that this was the beginning of the end. Taxed physically with my other two girls, I was too exhausted to work out. My eating habit started to slip. What day was I by? The counting stopped. The blogging stopped.
And then Benjamin was born.
Babies are wonderful. But once they come, you stop sleeping. For a season, anyway. The exhaustion never left. Working out was a forethought, while the high calorie high fat foods that I had put off for such a long time never tasted better. And then my day job got taxing, with 60+ hour weeks and sleeping at the office became more the norm than the exception. Also, for a season. We were launching the largest revision to a major piece of software in over two decades at my job, and I was part of a small core team where ultimately the buck stopped. So we had to pull it out, make it happen.
And I gained weight all along.
But then I had a bit of a renaissance earlier this year. I got an email, and then I went on a run. Running was always a fun activity for me in my fitter days. And it felt much better than going to a treadmill and walking for 40 minutes a few times a week. I got active again on my blog. I set micro and macro goals, i.e., 5k in 30 minutes, eventually complete a half-marathon. It was fun. I blogged again. I ate better.
And then I decided to do treadmills instead of running outside. I started seeing breaks in my discipline. The eating, again, began to become sloppier. I was making progress. But, for lack of a better explanation, I just lost the spark. And then I just stopped.
This is why I started a blog and even a brand (Waist 38) just to lose weight. It’s why that e-mail I got months after quitting stirred me to run that very afternoon, and run a few more times after that. It’s why I started the blog, and tried to get involved. I wanted feedback. Something that would prove to me I existed. That I have a life and am not just surviving, taking resources from the earth until the day I die.
I wanted to matter. That’s why I went public.
I don’t write today with some big announcement or master plan to lose weight. Someone shared a blog post with me, and it made me reflect on my recent adventures with weight loss. The stories go deeper than I share in this post. But it motivated me to write this post. To help me remember what is important. I believe missteps in personal health always directly tie back to a lack of proper priorities in my value system. I have to remember what’s important.
But I also have to learn. And I think one lesson I’ve learned is that if I’m going to get healthier, I’ve got to do it for myself. Not for someone else. And not for feedback. Because, with exception to you, dear reader, and a few others (including my maker), I don’t matter. And that’s OK. I can live with that. But the point is, if feedback is the purpose, then weight loss is not the most efficient way to go about it. Better to marry a celebrity then divorce her after our reality TV show special aired to get publicity. If I’m going to get serious about my health, is has to be about more than feedback.
Did going public feed the success or the failure? I would argue neither. Going public is just that. I’m publicly writing about my adventure. It’s not as if I got a lot feedback, right? Besides, I would find it interesting if someone else wrote stuff like this. It’s why I write anything: I write content I would like to consume from others.
I will stay public. I’m embracing this new world we live in (of blogs and Twitter and Facebook). Not shying away from it. I don’t think that’s the reason I failed. That’s too easy. While there’s internet access, I’ll be here documenting it.
Maybe it’s time to get serious again. I have failed twice before. Perhaps third time’s the charm? I’ll give it some more thought today. There are more lessons to be learned before I embark on chapter 3. I want to put myself in the best possible position to succeed.