I don’t like my body.
I’ve always been overweight, and I don’t expect myself to ever reach the hot, buff levels society expects me to be at if I’m to be considered an “attractive” person, but I would like to lose my gut. Over the past year or two, I can really start to feel it weighing me down. It’s getting harder for me to bend over. It’s getting harder for me to move around at work. Hell, it’s getting harder for me to just breathe. I already have enough weighing me down in my own head; the added weight of my stomach isn’t needed.
Dieting is something I feel like I’m continuously on and off with. I always start off the same way. I make a conscious decision that I’m going to start exercising more, eat less, and eat healthy.
I start using the elliptical machine every day or two.
I start shopping for healthy foods.
I avoid junk food.
And I can feel myself losing a little weight. I don’t know if it’s some kind of placebo effect, but just a few days of doing this and I feel less tired. I can do more at work. I can concentrate better at home. I can sleep better. I breathe better. I start gaining more confidence. I feel happier. My life starts to feel like it’s improving when I diet.
Then one of two things happen. First, I’ll get sick.
People say I get sick a lot. I don’t know if I agree with that. I’d say I get sick after I make a solid attempt at losing weight a lot. Maybe I push myself too hard too early. Maybe the sudden change in diet does something to my body. Maybe it’s shitty luck. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. But I get sick.
And then I get lazy.
I tell myself to rest as much as possible so I can get better, and then I’ll be back on my new exercise routine. It’s okay. I can take a break from working out. I’m sick. I shouldn’t even be exercising when I’m sick. Besides, I can still eat healthy.
It always starts with the fucking ice cream, too. I swear, if I really, really put my mind to it, I could resist a lot of junk food. Half the time I don’t even want it. But ice cream is my one food weakness. I will always, always be up for ice cream. And no amount of dieting will ever change that.
When I’m sick, I reason that I have a sore throat, and ice cream is good for that, and that having ice cream for breakfast is not only okay, but the right thing to do. I don’t even know if ice cream is good for sore throats. I’m sure I saw some cartoon as a kid, probably Hey Arnold!, and some kid (it was Gerald; don’t even pretend you’ve forgotten anyone from that show) got his tonsils taken out and was told he could have all the ice cream he could eat, and I made some connection that ice cream cured sore throats. I truly am from a generation raised on television.
It all goes downhill from there. I start reaching for Cheez-Its instead of apples. I convince myself to avoid the bananas I bought if they show even the slightest sign of spotting. Grapes start growing fuzz as I put my hand in the cookie jar for the third time in a half hour.
I’ll eventually get better, but now my stomach feels like shit. My gut is literally weighing me down, and sometimes it feels like it’s preventing me from exercising.
The second thing that might happen is I’ll become depressed. Depression is something I deal with on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes it’s about something. Other times there is no reason. It doesn’t really matter; it gets in the way of dieting.
I stay in bed longer, dwelling in negative thoughts. I’ll openly criticize my weight in between attacks on other parts of my life.
Dealing with depression is like an exercise routine in and of itself. To be blunt, I’m too worn out dealing with my thoughts to even begin gathering strength to exercise.
I’ll get over being sick, or I’ll move past the depression, and then I’ll be in a sort of limbo. I might try exercising one or two random days a week. I might go out to eat and spontaneously decide to order something healthier. I’ll try out a new snack, like raisins, in lieu of chips. I’ll stop being a lazy glutton, but I won’t do anything that will realistically help me lose weight.
And then one day I’ll have a revelation, one that’s I’ve had many times before and will probably continue having. I’ll become aware of how tired I am after a single shift at work. I’ll become aware of how it’s getting harder to breathe. I’ll become aware that I’m 26 and I shouldn’t be so tired all the time, and while I may struggle with depression all my life, I can at least do something about my weight.
And the cycle begins anew.