The last time I saw a number with a 5 in the middle on the scale display, I was on the way up. That was in 2007. I had just left theatre school, and my sense of hope for the future had been utterly vanquished.
This morning I saw a number like that. It felt good.
One of the things I’m tracking carefully now is my weight. I weigh every day, which means I see lots of fluctuations up and down (at 300+ pounds your body weight changes with a stiff breeze), but I only record the number once a week. The trend, you see, is what matters. And it’s trending down.
I set up a spreadsheet with a graph a long time ago to track this.
That first yellow highlight is a goal, but what it really means is under 360 for the first time in almost a decade.
There are 9 highlights in my spreadsheet. 8 of them are memories; 350 is a giant chocolate chip cookie dessert reward, which is its own kind of memory.
Is about what I weighed when I got to Cambridge in 2007. I had spent nearly a year with a busted Achilles. I had lost the thing I had been working towards for nearly a decade. I was devastated, and I had only just begun my descent.
300 is a very particular weight. Below it, you can kid yourself that you’re ok. You’re a tall, broad-shouldered man, you feel good, you can still walk to work. You are lying to yourself, but it at least seems plausible. Above 300, that goes away. You become morbidly obese in a concrete way, and it changes you.
I was 290 16 years before I was 390, and I hung out at that weight for a good long while. I hitchhiked to Toronto at that weight. I danced my cares away at that weight. It’s the last weight I remember actually being. Everything before that seems a fever dream.
The first three months in theatre school I shed 25 pounds. I felt young. I felt strong. I knew what I was about. I bottomed out somewhere south of 270, but it’s not clear where precisely, so this will have to do. This was the lightest I weighed since I entered the workforce as an adult.
250 is the number I hit in my second year of university. It was a shock to see that mass accumulate so quickly. I was away for the first time, on my own, functioning more or less independently. I didn’t weigh much. When I did, when 250 hit me in the face, I felt the first bubbling of fear that perhaps a good adolescence had not protected me from myself after all.
Is what I weighed when I was on the wrestling team. I wasn’t a terrible wrestler, but I was pretty far from good. The coach taught me one move and asked me to stick with it. It worked for me. I did not like it.
When I was using a sauna bag to cut my weight down to tournament trim, I ate KFC. The coach surreptitiously put his foot on the scale, and I, appalled at my failure, believed that meal had added 10+ pounds to my frame. These memories bounce around inside me.
Is the memory I want to make of myself. I weighed less at times, but 210 is the weight of a well-built hockey player about my height. I think I’d be happy to be a well-built hockey player. At 210 pounds, at this stage, I would be mostly skin and muscle. My body fat would have dropped from over 50% to well under 20. It’s a weight I could live with, in more than one sense.
I’ll check in now and then, probably when I hit these numbers. I’m glad I can say “when” I hit these numbers; I don’t know if I’ll hit them all, and I certainly don’t know when, but I feel like when is still the right word. I am changing. I am getting better. I am losing weight. These things are not the same, but they go together.