Just before nine in the morning on New Year's Day I was standing in the street in front of a nearby shopping center, trying to stay warm in 23 degree Fahrenheit weather. I'd been pacing around the parking lot of Calhoun's restaurant for about a half hour prior to this, bundled up in two layers of shirts, headband in place under my hood to soak up forehead sweat before it could drip into my eyes (it stings, and I hate that), and now it was time to line up and get ready for the New Year's Day 5K to start.
I looked around at the other racers, many of whom looked thinner and faster than me. They also had on a lot of really specialized racing gear, but I realized after a few minutes that I did, too. The shirt under my sweatshirt was a tight, clinging special athletic shirt designed to wick sweat away from my body. I have several of them now, and a few pairs of thin athletic shorts. My socks were designed the same way, and my shoes are specially designed for walking and running. (I found out a few weeks ago that they are not designed for walking through puddles, as the many ventilation holes in the shoes immediately result in wet feet.) Back in July, the first time that I walked on the Greenway I had on a polo shirt and a pair of cargo shorts, but now I have specialized athletic gear. I look like the other people out walking and running.
I don't look out of place at a 5k.
That probably happened a while ago but I didn't realize it until I looked around at the other people who'd also gotten up early to come out and walk in the street in mid-twenties weather and thought:
Is this who I am now?
I guess it kind of is.
It's been six months since I started my weight loss journey. In that space of time, I have walked over 2,000,000 steps. I have tried to understand the reactions of people around me to my goals and progress, and I've tried to understand myself better. I've destroyed a pair of shoes, sweated all of the dye off of a hat, and participated in five 5k races. In late December, I took 42 size 3XL shirts and 2 size 4XL shirts to Goodwill:
I felt like Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby folding up all those shirts. "I've never seen such beautiful shirts," indeed. I thought, when I started this, that getting rid of my "fat clothes" when I was less fat would be exciting. I thought it would be a milestone, like cutting up photos of your ex-boyfriend after a break up and burning all of the pieces with his face on them in your sink. (Other people do that, right? It's normal? Nowadays I assume people just photoshop him out of the good pictures worth keeping.) It turned out, though, that when I finally got around to getting some of them ready to donate, I felt sad. Part of me has changed. Part of me needs to change, and it's a positive thing, but I kept thinking, "Wait, what am I going to wear that tie with now? I love that outfit."
My #firstworldproblems are terrible, right?
Either way, I've changed. I am now a person who got up on Christmas Day to walk 4 miles in 40 degree weather, and I was excited to do it.
Sometimes, I feel like I don't know myself.
I'm trying to get to know myself, though. That's part of this journey, changing who I was and becoming someone better, who takes better care of himself and thinks nicer things about himself, and I'm still making progress. You might remember that last month I was down to 234, and a little unhappy that I had only lost six pounds since the month before. Well, I only lost six pounds this month, too. I now weigh 228 pounds, but I am very excited about it, because:
I AM NO LONGER MORBIDLY OBESE
I'm now just regular obese.
This was actually one of my goals for the new year. Given that it's January 3, I guess I can just coast for the next 362 days.
But I won't.
I have another 5k coming up.