Previously, I achieved almost miraculous results by Wii-ing around for thirty minutes a day and making more sensible choices when loading up my plate at lunch and dinner. In short order, I went from obese to merely "overweight" and hit a record low weight of 206.
I bought new clothes and donated the old ones — which were, by then, falling off me — to the Midtown Assistance Center. For the first time in years, I started liking the body I saw in the mirror. And everyone — and I mean everyone! — noticed the change and commented on it in one way or the other.
Around Day 90, we took a cruise to Hawaii. I loved seeing old friends and new islands … but that disruption in my routine had a negative impact on my progress that, today, I see as the first major misstep in what had been, up until that point, one of the most positive experiences in my adult life.
And here's why: for the duration of the cruise, I went back to my old habits — eating virtually anything and not exercising at all. When I left for that cruise, I weighed 206. When I got back home, I weighed 212.
Gaining six pounds in a single week takes on a whole new meaning when you know, from experience, how much time, hard work, and effort goes into losing six pounds.
Initially, the shock of the weight gain inspired me. I went back to exercising with a passion — but my routine included less time with the Wii Fit and more time on the treadmill. Then I caught a cold. Then we went out of town for a long weekend. Then there was that week I went into work an hour earlier than usual. Then I just didn't feel like exercising …
… and suddenly, I had gone almost thirty days without touching the Wii Fit.
Two Mondays ago, ashamed and angry, I forced myself back onto the Balance Board. I knew bad news was coming, because, over the past month, I had already seen some unpleasant changes. My belly was back — and after not really having much of one for a month or two, that change was as uncomfortable as it was unwelcome. Those new clothes I purchased so proudly? They were beginning to pinch, especially around the waist. Worst of all, the mental clarity I'd regained while slimming down had all but evaporated, and I was back to feeling sluggish and dull-witted.
I weighed in at 215.
You might think this number would serve as a wake up call. You'd be wrong. I was angry and depressed — but rather than make that into motivation, I just gave up. I didn't exercise for the rest of the week.
I felt terrible. Over Thanksgiving, I caught myself deliberately over-eating — trying to fill the hole in my heart with heaping helpings of lunch, dinner, and dessert.
Yes, I was out of my routine. But — worse — I was out of what I had begun to recognize as a "thin mindset." During those first 90 days, my effort to reach my weight-loss goals transformed my body … but the biggest and most important change was in my head. I thought thin. I made better choices at lunch. I turned down desserts and never missed 'em.
And now, that consciousness — that new self-image, that dedication to revising my body, and that awareness of myself as a slender person with slender habits — was totally and absolutely gone.
Glum and tired and heartsick, I weighed in yesterday morning.
Two more pounds regained.
But this time, my response was different.
For most of my adult life, I have been Fat Mark. As a result, he's an easy guy to be. It's easy to get up and not exercise. It's easy to eat whatever, whenever, and excuse bad habits by saying, "The diet starts tomorrow." It's easy to distract myself from unpleasant realities — expanding waistlines, shrinking life expectancies — with another slice of cake.
Being Fat Mark is easy.
But for the last few months, I've had a small glimpse of what life could be as Thin Mark. I've been more active. I've been proud of my progress — and, for the first time I can ever remember, I was proud of my body, too. I enjoyed wearing clothes that fit. I enjoyed feeling younger and smarter and faster and leaner. And while we're never guaranteed a tomorrow, I liked the idea that my new habits might, with some luck and some blessings, give me more days to spend enjoying my life with Clyde.
Being Thin Mark takes a lot of work and effort … but, having now been both Fat Mark and Thin Mark, I can say, without a doubt, that I like being Thin Mark more.
I've wasted enough time being angry and sad about the setbacks.
And so: if you peeped into my window yesterday or today, you saw me, once again, stretching and stepping and bending and pushing and working out on the Wii Fit Balance Board.
You can't tell it by looking at me — yet — but as of yesterday, Thin Mark is back.