After I had gained my thirty pounds and within no time at all, I found myself doing the exact things I had always done which had pushed me to that fateful day when the scale read “OL.” Yo-yo diets. Rationalization. Blaming the family genes. And at 250 lbs, I saw what I was doing, and I knew that if I didn’t solve what had made me fat in the first place, that scale would one day read “OL” again.
The day the numbers on the scale read 250, I dedicated myself to fixing myself. I promised myself I would get rid of every ghost and every demon that I was perceptibly carrying around with me.
That was nine years ago. I have kept that promise ever since. And I’ve learned something as I’ve kept my promise.
Overcoming those ghosts and demons from my past is much harder than losing weight on crash diets and whatever latest pill hits the market.
It involves a lot of trial and error. It involves therapy. It involves righting past wrongs. It involves letting go of past anger, resentment, and hatred. It involves finally facing things that have been buried or left in the past.
More than anything, it involves journaling. Journaling has a way of accomplishing most or all of that. It gives me therapy. After all, most therapy is simply a person sitting in a chair while you sort out your own feelings to them. Journaling helps you know what you are holding onto and who you resent. It helps you deal with the things that give you anger and hatred. It gives you a place to confront those ghosts and demons from your past.
For me, my journal was public. Several years into my goal of fixing myself, I did it in the form of a blog. I never intended for it to be therapy. I simply made a goal to write and publish something new, every day for an entire year. And, I found that when my primary list of musings was used up, and all my initial hilarious and insightful rants were scratched off the list, I naturally began delving deeper and deeper into who I was and what had made me the person that I am.
Overcoming the demons and ghosts that made me be strangely okay with killing myself slowly? That shit took me years, and the majority of it didn’t happen until I began writing. I wrote nearly a million words on my blog by the time I finally felt like I had tackled the last of the big ones. I had to dive into my relationships with my parents and my siblings. I had to confront the bullying from my past. I had to take an honest look at how I viewed romantic love. I had to challenge the sexual abuse I experienced as a child. I had to tackle the sexual attraction I sometimes felt toward men. My feelings about the religion in which I was brought up, and the dogmatic subculture that surrounded me had to be dealt with as well.
That can’t all be done in one good sit-down, or even ten. It takes time. And the more broken you are, the more time it takes.
The good news is, I didn’t have to completely fix myself to start seeing the benefits of it. The healthier I made myself mentally, the easier physical health became for me in general. The more ghosts I exorcized, the more I fell in love with my body and my physical abilities and potential. By the time I zapped the last of the big ones, I was to a point in my life where I longed for daily exercise and I loved eating healthy. There was no longer any need for rationalization or explanation. There was no need to think about diets or goals or plans. Health just became a natural part of me.
And you know what? I can honestly say that my family does have fat genes. I’m still convinced of it. But I don’t think we have 350 lb. fat genes. We just have chubby fat genes, and I know now that I can be a little pudgy and still be in incredible health. I will never be a Calvin Klein underwear model. I have learned this. I will also never be Billy Currington or Bradley Cooper. But I don’t have to look like those guys to be loved or thought beautiful by the masses nor do I have to look like them to be appreciated and respected by my much smaller groups of friends and loved ones.
“OL.” I’m fairly certain it meant “over the limit.” And I was over the limit. For a lot of things.
Dan Pearce, from my book: The All-Important, Well-Fed, Giant White Man
Last Chapter: Mom. Grandma.
If you would like to start from the beginning, or catch up on a missed chapter, you’ll find all the chapters I’ve published so far by clicking here.
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