Voices In My Head

Every once in a while, these days, I find myself flexing my arm and poking at my bicep.  Mostly because, after years (decades, even) of being mostly flab and fat, I’ve discovered that I actually have a bicep.  It’s not huge, but it’s there.  And I seem to find it fascinating.

Does that make me strange?  Because, now that I’ve typed it out, it really sounds strange.

There is a point to this post beyond simple narcissism, however.  One of the things I struggle with, day in and day out, is the feeling that I’m not actually making any progress.  Which is bad craziness, objectively.  I’ve lost 117 pounds, after all.  I wear pants with a waist size that’s a foot smaller than where I started.  I can climb stairs, and walk five and six miles a day, and give my son horsey rides around the house.  Clearly, I’ve made progress.  And yet, on a daily basis, I don’t feel like I have.  Why?  Because I live in my skin 24 hours a day.  And because of that, I don’t notice the changes that have taken place, unless I force myself to stop and look at them.  When I don’t, I still see all the work that’s left for me to do – I see the hanging gut, and the way my knees will still ache after some of my exercises, and the struggles I have to hit my goals.

Losing the weight, it seems, is the easy part.  It’s just a simple transaction, burn more calories than you consume and – barring exotic medical conditions – you will lose weight.  The difficult part, it seems, is all in your head.  Way back when I started this blog, I said that I didn’t believe I’d lose the weight.  That I knew I could, but that I didn’t believe that I would.  I was doing it because I knew I had to, not because I actually thought I’d succeed.  Some days, sometimes a lot of days, I still don’t believe I’ll succeed.  And I’m terrified that I’ll go through all of this, and that I’ll just turn around and gain it right back.  Sometimes, I really think that I’m just a fat person, and that all of this weight loss is a temporary fluke.

I think that’s why I notice things like having a bicep.  And why I’m amazed, when I stop and think about how much walking I do in a day, or how much exercise I get in.  Not out of narcissism, but because I find it amazing.  It’s proof that I’m not the guy I’m afraid I am.  That I’m not just a fat guy going through a phase.  It’s proof that I really am making progress, even when I don’t always notice it.

Now, I just need to keep reminding myself of that fact until I start to believe it.

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