Remember how I wrote a whole series of blog posts touting How I Lost 40 Lbs? Well, in the interest of full transparency and keeping in the spirit of using the blogs to chronicle the never-ending process of losing weight and keeping it off, I’m here to share with you, somewhat disappointedly, that I’ve gained 20 of those pounds back. And to combat that, I’m back on Weight Watchers, just like I was in 2013.
So what the hell happened?
Well, I’ve been trying to figure it out since this time is a lot different than last time, and it’s not like I suddenly decided to wake up and start each morning with an ice cream cake or anything. But I’ve been feeling… I don’t know, bloated or something lately. I spend an inordinate amount of time looking at photos of myself from when I was at my thinnest and comparing them to recent photos of myself.
I realize how disgustingly vain and insanely counterproductive and neurotic this is, but I’ve got lunatic body image issues I can never seem to shake. It’s weird, too, because I’m the only one I do this with. I don’t give a fuck what anyone else looks like, and love the quirks of other people’s composition. When you see the idiosyncrasies of someone else, you discover their humanity. On myself? GAHHHH FUCK YOU YOU’RE A GOBLIN! I nitpick the shit out of myself to a completely masochistic degree.
And that’s why this weight gain has been so confusing. I can tell my stomach isn’t as flat as it was two and a half years ago, and my love handles have expanded a bit. Yet my upper body looks loads better, my legs are shredded, and my face isn’t really showing the puffiness it did before I lost all that weight. My clothes, while admittedly a bit tighter in the midsection, still fit fine including three custom suits I had made when I lost the weight initially. And this is the reason I pore over photos of myself looking for clues.
I realize the easiest thing to do would be to just get on the scale and see for myself definitively where I stood, but when I was doing that regularly, I was even more of a basket case. I know! I’ve got a real problem! I’m way fucked up mentally!
Finally, last week one morning before I showered I looked at myself in the mirror, felt pretty good about who was looking back at me, turned around and stepped back on the scale for the first time in – Christ, I don’t know – two years?
205 lbs. it read back at me.
Gah! Twenty pounds of meat back on the old skeleton! I can’t express to you my surprise at seeing that number start with a two, but the good news is it propelled me immediately to sign up for Weight Watchers again and reset some habits I’ve let slide. I’m writing this in the middle of the first day I’m tracking points, and I already feel better. It’s nice to have the guardrails up again and drive toward a goal. In a weird way, I missed the structure, which reminds me of The Shawshank Redemption when Red gets paroled and can’t take a piss at work without the boss give him the go-ahead. Structure is restrictive by its nature, yet there’s comfort to be had in that structure.
But I’m still curious how I got here. How do my clothes still fit while I’ve gained the equivalent weight of two sizes? Let’s look at the contributing factors:
- Loss of routine
It’s been a year since I worked in an office, and since my environmental variables are so much more fluid, I’ve lost a bunch of the routine I had when I successfully lost the weight the first time. I’m on the go, which means I’m eating out more. I’m not always making the healthiest choices because time is a factor in my productivity. Frequently I’m grabbing sandwiches when decent salads aren’t available, I’m failing to pack a lunch since I have client meetings during that time, and I’m socially drinking because that’s how a startling amount of business occurs. Keeping healthy on the run isn’t always easy.
- I’m drinking more
At my healthiest, I rarely drank during the week. Lately that’s crept back into my life, and it’s annoying, but hard to resist. It’s annoying because I really don’t need to drink, I just enjoy it. And how often is anyone really capable of just having one beer in a session. If you are this person, tell me how you do it because it seems 99% of the time one beer becomes two becomes three, etc. This is doubly annoying because when I drink, I sleep like ass. I didn’t drink for most of January, and I slept amazing. I slept so well, I’d wake up the next morning and feel like I was high. It was insane, and I look forward to getting back there. In the Alky VS Fatty game, remember, I’m pure alky.
Holy shit, the food creep that happens when you parent a toddler is damn near unavoidable. My daughter has three meals and two snacks a day, of which she rarely ever finishes it all. And when she gives up on a meal seemingly out of nowhere, who can resist moving in on those Goldfish crackers, Craisins, little cut up pieces of waffle with peanut butter on them or chicken nuggets? Have you eaten a child’s chicken nugget recently? It’s delicious! But that’s probably calories I don’t need that add up in a terrifying way as the day progresses.
Before I even talk about this, let me just say Kristin is in no way responsible for my weight gain. I appreciate that I’ll never know what it’s like to grow a person inside of me, so I don’t pretend to weigh in with any kind of opinion about what she’s going through. She’s not the one having three beers with me a night after the girl goes to bed (obviously), and she’s not forcing me to sneak a few bites of little kid snacks each day. Yet, being married to a pregnant woman presents you with some logistical challenges that are conquered pretty simply, if you’re not a complete wang, which is not always true in my case. One of the persistent symptoms of her pregnancy is food aversion and nausea, in particular when it comes to meat. This makes dinners interesting, and sometimes instead of preparing yourself a healthy option in addition to getting anything to nourish your wife is too tall a mountain to climb after a long day of client work and parenting that you just say fuck it and eat the frozen pizza with her. It’s pure laziness on my part, and something easily overcome with a bit more advanced planning.
When I postulated a week ago that I felt like I had gained some weight, Kristin said it couldn’t be more than 5 or 10 pounds because my clothes still fit. When I told her that I’d gained 20 lbs, she was shocked and said some of it had to be muscle. I’ll buy some of that.
I’ve been doing DDP Yoga four times a week with good regularity for more than a year. As a result, my strength is better than it’s been in the last 10 years, and my flexibility is off the charts – better than it’s been probably my entire life. That’s why my upper body and legs look so damn good. Do a bunch of 10 second pushups every day and carry around a 25-lb child all the time, and you’re bound to see some improvement in your muscularity. Yet, that doesn’t translate to the whole soggy midsection I’m rocking at the moment.
And that brings us back to my return to Weight Watchers. I didn’t gain all the weight back, and even though I have gained back half, I’d still take the body I have now over any iteration of my body between 2004 and 2012, and most of 2013 as well. I’m surprisingly upbeat about this development because while I suspected I’d gained weight, I never confirmed my suspicions and let the speculation drive me mad.
As for my diseased head and masochistic self-flagellation… who knows. But I’m working on that all the time too.
If you’re going through a similar journey, or this blog post inspired you in some way to change your life, best of luck. You can do it. I’ve done it before, and I can’t wait to share my success again. Reach out anytime if you want to talk.
I’ll check back with you on my progress soon.