|Hiking Neversink Mountain at 300+ pounds, December 2013|
But then the changes started. My partner and I moved to Boston, where I fell in love with hiking. Then within six months we moved to Albuquerque, NM. With the hiking, my caloric needs changed, and I began letting some post-hike junk foods seep into my otherwise still healthy diet. Ice cream was where it started. It began as a once-in-a-while treat, but it soon became more frequent. I began noticing that I was sometimes eating emotionally as I had done so many times before. It was sabotaging my stellar weight loss, but just a bit, I rationalized. I believed whole heartedly that I had everything under control.
Eventually, my partner and I broke up – apparently I hadn’t found the love of my life, but only a reasonable and temporary facsimile. I moved in with a stoner roommate, and I began smoking pot. Often. Being stoned led to the munchies, of course, but I kept up a rigorous hiking schedule that had me logging 20-plus miles a week hoofing as many trails as I could access in the Sandia Mountain Wilderness. So this kept the weight gain to a minimum, and I made it a point not to go over 275 pounds.
That was until this year. 2013 was the year of permission – I gave myself permission to grieve the loss of love and finally deal with the cold hard facts of middle age. I continued to hike regularly, but when I moved to Philadelphia in April, the distances I’d hike were not as great, and the frequency was reduced to once a week. That means just five miles a week of walking – and I didn’t step into a gym at all.
My food choices were challenged by the fact that my new living situation did not allow me to cook at home or to store frozen vegetables and such in the fridge. I began eating out for nearly every meal. And I once again began to pack on the pounds. It was inevitable. The whole crux of my weight loss was preparing my meals, knowing what was in them, and treating my food as fuel, and not my friend.
By the end of October, I weighed 295. After that, I began to slip into a slight depression about it, so I stopped measuring my weight on a regular basis. I knew I was chunking up – clothes weren’t fitting that well and one or two people brave enough to say something mentioned they noticed I wasn’t my old self physically. The ankle I'd twisted in September began to make it difficult for me to do my daily two-mile round trip walk to work. I became bound by my conditions, and I continued to make unhealthy decisions about food, and I gave myself even greater permission to splurge over the holidays.
Now it’s 2014, and I began the New Year with a hike in the nearby Blue Mountains. It was a fairly strenuous hike and I could feel the pounds weighing me down. In fact, at one point after I had hiked and scrambled my way a quarter mile down a geological feature called Devil’s Pulpit, I sat down on the precipice and got the feeling that I was going to fall. I just felt so damn heavy. Perhaps it was psychological, and it felt a bit like a mild anxiety or panic attack, but it passed as I made my way back up to the summit and finished the hike in style.
However, this morning I woke up with new resolve about my situation. I know that if I don’t curb my poor choices now I could end up gaining all of the weight I’d worked so hard to lose – and then some! So I made a few resolutions to change the things I can change – like stop smoking pot. But for things I can’t change – like my current living situation that bars me from healthy cooking at home – I have decided that I still can control where, what and how much I eat, so I am currently working out a plan for calorie control once again. Also, while I don’t feel joining a gym is the right choice for me at the moment, I have dug out my dusty medicine balls and dumbbells and starting today am committing myself to working out at least 20 minutes a day, four times per week.
Oh, and one last thing. I weighed myself this morning. I was scared because being over 300 pounds again seemed inevitable. I figured I would be at 305 or even 310. But when I stepped on the scale I was horrified when it read 325 pounds! Really?!?!?! It took me two years to gain 40 pounds, and in just two months I’d gained 30 more. I am shocked. The last time I weighed 325 pounds I was on my way down, having achieved a 95 pound weight loss, heading for 100. Well, let me tell you, this stops now! Depression be damned! This is all in my mind and I need to get it straight! My decisions have shaped my current destiny, and new decisions will create my future. So that’s what I’m going to do – begin again making healthy food and exercise choices so that by summer I can feel good about my fitness level once again.
My goal: Lose 40 pounds by the end of April.