That's what the scale I keep hidden in my office tells me that I weigh.
I am not okay with this.
I've always been the "Fat Guy". The jolly, looking for a good time kind of person who indulges himself at every whim and leaves nothing to the imagination when it comes to giving into his cravings. I eat and drink what I want, when I want and that has always been the way I live my life. I used to joke that I wanted to be like Homer in that episode of the Simpsons when he tried to weigh 300 pounds so he could work from home, but never thought I would get that far gone. Apparently I am willing to let myself go to that extreme and I am not shy about saying I am appalled at what I've become.
It's not just that I have put on close to 40 pounds in just 2 years, it's that I watched it happen and did nothing to stop it. I eat late at night, drink a little too much, too often and am sedentary to the point of furniture. I can feel my clothes getting tighter and my breathe a little harder to catch. I know I stress eat and when the hours I work increase or my own personal anxiety goes up, I turn not to people but to the one thing I can trust not to judge me and that I alone control, my food and drink. It is usually funny to share the pictures of my 8 hot dog dinner, but I don't always share the whole bag of Doritios and crackers and cheese I would eat later that night. I laugh off the concern of those who think I am headed for a heart attack with my humour and toss a few fat jokes at myself to deflect the conversation away from it. I feel the pain of trying to make those pants fit and knowing that my shirt is too tight every single morning and am relieved when I get home and can slid into my sweats for the night. It's not that I don't understand nutrition and exercise, on the contrary, most overweight people are intimately versed in how to lose weight and live healthier. It pervades our thoughts perhaps more than healthy people. We yearn to do it, but often are not willing or are just unable to change or make it happen.
I wrote about being okay with who I was last year (read it here), but even then I was struggling with myself. I kept working on being body positive and not caring about what other people think. I still believe that. Screw anyone who tells you how to live your life or makes you feel bad, but I am not giving in to anyone else's pressure but my own. There is something wrong with how I am living my life and I am beginning to feel that on a very real level.
When I finished recording every beer I drank in May (150 - The real truth in May), I was trying to be okay with it, but inside it was tearing me up. I have been an advocate of mindful and responsible consumption and the impact craft beer has had on my life and then I was supposed to be okay with averaging 5 beers a day? I made a concerted effort after that to reign in my impulsive and destructive multiple beer nights and have done myself proud on that front, cutting down to less than 100 in June and am on pace for around 50 in July. I don't know where I need to be with this but I am trying.
Beer is not alone in my spiral downward, food has become the dark yet warmly embracing place I find my comfort. Long days, stress and a lonely life built on my inability to seek help for my anxiety means I look to anything else to bring me a sliver of joy. While talking about and sharing my love for beer gives me some online human interaction, financial and work reasons coupled with an often crippling level of anxious and angry feelings leave me looking for a way to feel good when the likes stop coming. When everyone else looks to spend time with their families, food provides that comfort to me. Lots of salty snacks, late night binges and multiple trips to the cupboard have left me full of calories but empty of emotions. I don't eat for pleasure, I eat to survive and then to fill whatever emptiness remains. I've always had a complicated relationship with food but never to the extent where I am now, beholden to a bag of chips for happiness. I lurch from the couch to the bed, sleep fitfully for 4 or 5 hours and then go through the workday with my eyes on repeating the minimalist lifestyle I've created. I am thrown into a spiral if there is any deviation from my quiet and lonely plans. I see people joke about not wanting to see others and put what I am sure are supposed to be funny memes on social media about how they hate people and want to be alone. Of course it's all just in good fun because they wouldn't want to actually be alone all the time, the weight of that silence would crush them. I have retreated into a world of my own making and while I do love the odd event we get to attend, it is becoming harder and harder to leave the house for anything but work. I talk myself into it every morning because I need money to live and a man does what he has to provide for his family. But because my job involves working with the public, I must always maintain a positive and cheery attitude and when that work day is done, I usually have nothing left in the tank for anyone else. I can literally not speak for hours after work in real life, despite a lively online presence. I know it is of my own doing and that only deepens the spiral.
That scale reading was far beyond a wake up call and now I know I have to do something, anything to restart the passion I once had and try to now instill in other people. I want to feel better about myself and despite my own protestations to the contrary, my weight is impacting my ability to function as a human being and is dragging me into a dark place I am not ready to go. So I will not do what I always do and I will ask for help. I will talk to the professionals who are there for me and have the ability and knowledge to give me hope and guidance. I will admit that I don't know what the hell I am doing and seek those who do. I don't hate myself but I am feeling like I don't even know who I am anymore and want to prevent that from happening. I will, as always, share this journey with you and try to use it to inspire others who are suffering in silence to seek help and a better way before it's too late.
We are not alone and I know how hard it is to reach out and say you need help. But it is okay to admit your weaknesses and ask someone for their hand to lift you up or their shoulder to cry on. Trust someone, anyone and seek out answers for yourself. I always sort of knew this day would come and I am glad I can still stand up and try to make it better. Life is about the journey and I don't want mine to be over just yet.
Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me as I write about not only beer, but real life and the things that make it mine. I appreciate it more than you'll ever know. I will keep you posted as this detour takes me to a place I've never been.