Though it took me a long time to realize it, this Journey has always been about reinvention. It has been about creating an improved me. At first it was just about the body. Lose weight and get fit. Soon I came to understand that for me to reach the goals I set for weight loss and fitness I had to address the emotions behind the physical me.
I have written about this many times; my need to understand the why behind the excess weight and the constant eating and the underlying needs that the food was feeding. I also had to face the facts that the weight gave me something to hide behind. If I was “The Fat Man” in the group I had an identity that was my own. I didn’t have to establish myself. My size established me, defined me, and categorized me. Everything that came after, the gregariousness, the loudness, the talkativeness, the humor, all came after the size. In new situations I could hide behind my size.
As I lost the weight I often wrote about trying to figure out who I am if I am not “The Fat Man”.
If you are picking up an undercurrent of insecurity, well yes, that is a big part of it all.
I am convinced that a factor in gaining back the weight for many who have traveled a similar Journey is this insecurity, addressing the physical side without addressing the emotions behind it. There is a loss of identity in weight loss. My image of myself is of a fat man. I KNOW I was lean in high school. I remember that I weighed in the 170’s and peaked around 200 pounds by the time I graduated but I still have a moment of surprise when I see the pictures of the lean teenager I was. I think I was always fat.
I came to realize that for this weight loss to be a permanent thing, for me to stay below my maximum allowable weight (205 pounds), I would have to become the lean me emotionally not only physically.
I am self-conscious with a plate of food in my hand. I still think I am the big fat guy overeating. I have to understand that I am not a fat guy. I am not thin. This much I know, but I am not fat. I am more lean. I am fit. I know this intellectually. I have to understand it emotionally and I am not there yet.
This is the reinvention. I have to become the lean me. I have to think lean but more to the point I have to FEEL lean. I have to see myself as lean and fit. I still see myself as fat.
Without the fat to hide behind I find that I talk less. I am quieter. Now understand that all things are relative and I am still a chatty guy. It is a matter of degrees. When I started to Hike with PGB and MT I would talk the entire hike (when not gasping for air). I am now content to chat a little and enjoy the act of the hike. Maybe PGB and MT hear it differently but that is my perception.
I am reinventing my person. Growing more comfortable with the skin I am in. I am stretching myself.
I have recently accepted a part-time job at a Local Bike Shop, combining my love of cycling with my gregarious nature. I am stretching myself to pursue a deeper involvement in this avocation.
I didn’t know it back 18 months ago that this was all about reinvention. I know it now.
My New Weight Goal
After nine months at or below my goal weight, after successfully maintaining my weight through the winter months and the unusually cold and wet spring, I am now ready to reset the weight goal.
I am still medically overweight. That is to say according to the Body Mass Index (yes a highly flawed measure) I am still in the “overweight” range.
I have a BMI of about 26. To fall in to the normal range I need a BMI of 24.9 or less. That would be 191 pounds. I am 200 right now.
I don’t know that I will get to 191 and that is not truly my goal. Knowing the BMI is highly flawed and does not take in to account bone structure or muscle mass, I am aiming for a BMI of 25.4 or 195 pounds. I am adjusting my weight chart to reflect this new goal and I will change the “Weighty Issues” section of this blog to reflect the new goal.
Why? Well not simply for the BMI. The reality is I am still carrying too high a percentage of fat on my frame. I still have a belly on me. I am looking at buying a scale that measures fat percentage. I know they are not extremely accurate but they tend to be consistent. That will give me the base line and help me track my progress.
With just five or six pounds to go to the new goal I plan to take it slowly, keeping calories at the current level and increasing the activity. The plan is to continue improving my fitness and building muscle mass and reduce the fat percentage. This will result in slow going to the goal. I will get there.
This will all result in a healthier and stronger me. I am looking at upper body workouts now. Has to help.
So there it is; my new goal.
On Saturday I had thought about going for a hike but then I remembered I start my new part-time gig on Saturday. I am JAZZED. On Sunday I am riding in the Bergen County Bike Tour in Bergen County NJ. 45 miles and I have only ridden 20 miles since May 5. Oh My! Well at least I can breathe again as the lingering effects of the head cold are finally drifting off.
Saturday June 8 I am in the Ride 4 Autism, doing a metric Century (62 miles equals 100 kilometers) with my good friends KG and NI.
Sunday I will work at the Bike shop. I plan to ride to work and back and in this way get in my 30 miles. If I get there early enough I can also do the club ride and get a really good day of riding in.
I like these plans. I like making plans. Making plans has been a major factor, if not THE major factor, in my weight loss and fitness. Heck, I even call it “The Plan”.
I think a mistake that is common on Journeys such as this is failing to plan. I plan everything. Meal, hikes, walk, rides, sleep….
Without the plans I would be lost.
With the plans I have found an entirely new me, though I am still figuring out who that is.