Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Oops, I did it again...

Playing on the iPod: Jonn Serrie, "And the Stars Go With You"
Meters swum today: 1600

...I missed a Significant Anniversary (TM). No, not mine and Joan's, that's next month (I think--oh geez, is it the 15th or the 25th?) No, I think sometime this month, or maybe last month, I've been in OA for a year. It was before I got laid off, anyway, and I think my last day with the Feds was early March. So, okay, late February, early March-ish.

It happened like so: Sometime in January (this would be 2007, or maybe it was late December 2006?) I went to the gym. I try to avoid that place in January, what with all the New Years Resolution folks and so on, but I think this was a Sunday evening. I hopped on the scale, as I'm wont to do, went out to the car, and was just gripping the steering wheel to drive home when it suddenly occurred to me that this wasn't getting any better. My weight, I mean. I wasn't upset by it, that I recall, and it wasn't like the old "hitting rock bottom" of alcoholic lore, but it was kind of a reality check. It sort of hit me that I weighed 160-ish in high school, 190-ish in college, around 220 when I moved to California about 15 years ago, and at that moment, I weighed--well, let's just say a lot more than that last figure.

I'm not sure what else to say about that except that this time line kind of strung out in my head, and I realized that I wasn't going to lose weight by myself. If that were possible I'd have done it already. Trust me, I've been fat since I was roughly nine, and my folks were hauling me around to specialists before I hit the double digits. If you look at photos of me at that time, I'm definitely on the heavy side, but not out of line, really, for a kid of that age who's just hit puberty at about 3000 miles an hour. Still, there've been tests and more tests, doctors and more doctors, stern lectures from medical professionals (one of whom was wont to grope me under the table, but never mind that), Weight Watchers, behavioral therapy at the local hospital, predictions of death before I turned 20 and, far worse, the prospect that no man would ever want me (which, as it turned out, was just fine), psychotherapy, physical therapy, dieticians, everything but stomach surgery. And what have we learned, Grasshopper? Well, that I'm anemic, which makes a lot of sense, and hypoglycemic, which also makes a lot of sense. And that whatever was thrown at me, I gained weight. Steadily. For close on 40 years.

And here I was at the gym (my dad is an exercise freak; I seem to have picked that up from him because I've always done something--soccer, skiing, walking, hiking, swimming, cycling, karate, racquetball, weightlifting and now swimming again) and I realized that it had all been a huge waste of time, money and energy. Except for the exercise, which was and is fun. I was still fat. Fatter than ever, in fact. And either I needed to just get over it, be fat, and enjoy life, or I needed to Get Some Help, because it was glaringly obvious that I couldn't do anything about it myself.

Here's another irony. If I'd come to this conclusion when I was around 160, or 190, or even 220, I'd have been okay with that. Just being fat and not worrying about it, I mean. I'd probably try not to gain any MORE weight, but I wouldn't have worried about losing. Unfortunately that was quite a few pounds ago. I've now arrived at a body size that is flat-out uncomfortable, not to mention inconvenient. Despite dire warnings to the contrary I'm not gonna drop dead at any moment; my blood sugar, pressure, glycoids and whatever the hell are all pretty good (see above re: constant exercise--it's a lot healthier to be fat and work out, than to be skinny and a couch potato.) Still, to heck with fitting into a size twelve. I wanna fit in an airline seat.

So over the next few days, I looked up cheap weight-loss help on the Internet (because I was pretty sure I was going to get laid off pretty soon; fancy doctors, dieticians and all that were Right Out) and there were basically two options: TOPS, which is like $40 a year, and OA, which is basically free except they pass the hat and you toss in your spare change, like at church. OA had more convenient meeting times. So I went. I am still there.

I have lost 30 pounds. BUT: that's not the important reason for showing up. The important reason is all the other stuff that happens. Meeting lots of other people that are just like you. Getting cozy with God, or Buddha, in my case. Realizing you're sick, not weak or rebellious or a jerk, and that it's not your fault you have this disease. You just do, is all. Some people have diabetes. Some people have osteogenesis imperfecta (hi, Mike!) Some people have this thing. It doesn't have a name but the major symptom is compulsive overeating. (Or alcoholism. Or drug addiction. Or or or.) It can be managed but it can't be cured. There are coping strategies. There are meetings. There's hope. Things can change. The end result doesn't have to be dropping dead.

So there we are. And here I am. And I have to get back to work now, so, cheers, y'all.

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