Control…

It’s been 12 days since I started calorie counting using MyFitnessPal. It’s been 10 days since my first yoga class at CorePower. In that time I’ve lost 8 pounds. This morning was the first morning since starting that I woke up heavier than when I went to bed. Yesterday was a bad day…

I feel myself slipping into old habits. What’s the easiest way to count calories? Don’t give yourself any to count. My energy is low today, despite eating plenty yesterday. A friend recently advised me to shoot for what he calls the fat-burning ratio with 50% of my calories coming from protein, 30% from carbs, and 20% from fat. Coming from a place of eating whatever and not paying attention to my intake/output, this has been a strain. The foods that my body loves and is used to are the ones with the highest fat and sugar content. The amount of chocolate I’ve eaten in the last two weeks is miniscule in comparison to what I was eating before. It’s scary…

I’m, well, I’m worried. Initially, my reason for deciding to gain control over my eating habits and physical health was because, one day, I looked in the mirror, and I couldn’t even recognize myself. Since the year before starting seminary, when I initially quit smoking (an endeavor that lasted just under a year), I’ve gained approximately 40 pounds. At my lowest, I was 155. Unfortunately, even then, I was severely unhappy. I think I’m starting to understand why.

Standing outside our courtyard last night, in a conversation with a close girlfriend, I talked about how many gay men raised in conservative, evangelical families and church communities share the experience of feeling like their bodies have betrayed them. One day, they wake up, and they are the very thing that they know those closest to them will detest or despise. They know they are this thing based primarily on the reactions their bodies have when they see someone of the same gender to whom they are attracted. Shortly thereafter, they come to the realization that, in order to be attractive to someone else (hopefully to the person they find attractive), they have to change, to become something they presently are not. I think most members of the human race can empathize with this, especially any of us who have any desire of finding a romantic partner. Fact is, I’ve never trusted my body to be on my side, to surrender to my control. I’ve always felt as if it controlled me.

Around my sophomore year of college, I started having issues. More specifically, I started developing bulimic symptoms. To compensate for my surfacing desires, I began purging. I never really binged much. Purging, however, was comforting. Even to this day, as much as I hate getting sick, I’m more than comfortable with throwing up (forgive the visual imagery if you got any). However, my spell of purging tendencies only last about 6 months, unfortunately with some clear side effects — mostly the dental damage and what seems to be irreversible hair loss. I guess I just get to show off that soccer ball head God gave me for the rest of my life.

In the last 2 weeks, I have noticed my addiction to numbers. Being a career student and someone who manages his own finances (as well as much of his partner’s), I’m a stickler for numbers. I can look at them and gather concrete information. Sadly, being in the digital age, there is an abundance of information present on how to lose weight and become healthy. Even more frustrating is that rarely do two places offer the same answers to commonly asked questions pertaining to weight loss, exercise, and eating habits.

Where does this leave me? Confused. Frustrated. Worried. Fearful of becoming the extremist I know I can become, and even more frightened of diving into bad habits. Have I felt better the past week and a half? Most definitely. Am I starting to notice a difference? Yes, I am. So what’s the big deal? Well, truth is… I still don’t trust my body. Food has been a very dear friend to me for a very long time. Many of us know what this feels like. Shit hits the fan and who’s there to pick us up? Oreos and milk. Cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Any and all things baked, battered, or fried. But I’ve been 195 pounds, and I’ve been 155 pounds, and the latter sure as hell feels better. Right now though, I’m in a perpetual state of staring and glaring at numbers that don’t always make sense. More important, I need to let myself realize what the number on my scale does and does not tell me. What it does tell me is my weight, body fat, body water, and BMI (a number I seriously think is worth less than cow manure). What it doesn’t tell me… well take a look…

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~ by Michael O. on August 22, 2012.

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