Monday, May 23, 2011

Weighing In

It's been four weeks since I told you I was entering into a weight loss contest for money. Some believe this is medieval, I call it a gift from God. Nothing else would have motivated me to start dieting (haven't really done the exercising yet). Is that a problem, that I would only start to take care of myself for money? Yeah, it probably is, but I'm working on my waistline right now, not my soul, so BACK OFF I hope that is sufficient for you.

I just want to share a little of my experience. It will probably piss some of you off, as I have pissed off a lot of women in this office (apparently losing weight is easier for men), unfortunately at press time there is not a lot I can do about that.

Knowing who I am, and how much I idolize food (cut to me in an intimate setting having my way with a bacon cheeseburger), I am stupefied by how relatively easy the process has been. The first few days were hard, but then, you know, I got used to it. I got used to the way I never feel full when I eat fruit and or vegetables. I got used to eating smaller portions. I got used to turning down beer (for some reason my father in law is always offering me a beer, I think it's because he used to raid my stash, when I bought that kind of stuff, as in four weeks ago).

This is nothing short of a small miracle. It should not have been this easy. I mean, I haven't been the picture of discipline, but I've cut back enough to shed 10 pounds in three weeks--in this fourth week I've held stagnant, with one more week to go. I used to think about not having whatever the hell I wanted, and if I thought about having to cut back even during one meal, immediately I knew that my life wouldn't be as good. If I couldn't have any food that I wanted, at any time, then life would be severely degraded, and my happiness would be in jeopardy. This is easy to recognize, now, as the perfect definition of addiction. Yes, my name is Jason, and I can now see that I am a food addict.

If that feeling that my life wouldn't be as good without Jack in a Box at 11:12 p.m. were a cacophony of voices screaming at me to eat, then I would say the volume was turned up to about nine for most of my life, up until a day or two after I started dieting. I would now say that knob is turned down to about a three. And because it has gotten so much quieter in the food part of my brain, other voices are allowed to speak their piece. Now I have thoughts like, "Ok, I don't actually need a slice of pizza smothered in Ranch."

Again, with the addiction now quietly buzzing in the background, instead of raging in the foreground, it's a little scary how unwilling I was to evaluate and adjust my behavior. There was this all or nothing approach. If I couldn't have it all, whatever I wanted, then even getting 98% of that would be a deep disappointment. I've had, and do have, many addictions in my life. They all have the same baseline theme--"If you don't have me, life will not be as good." Now I think about the good things in my life. My wife, my son, my family, my God, reading, thinking about crap. Even if they statement were true, that my life wouldn't be as good without one of those things, I don't think that way about it, nor do those things tell me I would be less-than without them. Perhaps whenever I get that feeling, that my life won't be as good if I don't have it, I need to recognize it as something I need to reorient my relationship to, because I got something wrong in the calculus of where that things properly fits into my life.

The other blessing (I hate using that word but I can't come up with a more accurate one at the moment) in this whole thing is the effect it's had on my health. I'm talking big time. For the last three or so years I have been on a prescription acid-blocker. If I wasn't on that I'd be suffering horribly with acid indigestion and would have to take tums ever day if I wasn't on the medication. I just accepted that this was my lot in life, these are my genetics, and that I would just have to live with it. I had people suggest to me that diet might have something to do with it, and I promptly concluded that they were wrong (and stupid--you don't threaten an idol and get away with it cleanly).

I stopped taking my medication when I started the diet, just to see. Good lord the stupid people were right. I now need the occasional Tum, but the difference is nothing short of night and day. I thought I was going to be on those pills for the rest of my life.

Like I said, the addiction is still there, I still want to wolf down an entire pepperoni pizza, but my soul just isn't clamoring for it as fervently as it was before. And who knows, not having to take those pills, and just feeling better generally, that might be enough for me to fight off the demons long term.

Editor's Note: After typing those last words Jason was filled with an abiding sense of despair and incompleteness, he then quickly crossed the street to Domino's, then next door to 7/11. He was spotted behind the 7/11 with two medium pizzas and a six pack of Redhook. It's been three hours and he hasn't emerged. Don't let this discourage you, we all have our ups and downs.


Alexis said...

Oh man, pizza with ranch... a complete guilty pleasure! You're not the only one!!! :)

Jason Dean said...

Yep, a little trick I picked up in college. :)

Jessica DesLongchamp said...