There are a lot of things that can get me riled up: the U.S. prison system, equality for women and minorities, the Detroit Lions, the current state of the "high fantasy genre." But no issue hits as particularly close to home for me as weight and weight loss.
A very brief backstory: I've always been fat. Even at my healthiest, when I was doing a minimum of an hour of aerobic exercise every day and an hour of strength training, I've never looked particularly impressive. Even when I was bench pressing 285 pounds and could outrun all but the leanest of my friends, I still looked like "the fat kid." Some bodies are just like that. Mine is. I accept it.
After I left teaching and started writing, blogging, and playing poker for a living, my physical activity stagnated. I also started in on a steady diet of the worst of the worst of fried foods and soda, quickly gaining over 100 pounds, ballooning up to a near-catastrophic 375 pounds.
Weight, for most people, is a largely cosmetic issue. There may come the day you realize you'll never quite be ready for swimsuit season or that your chances of becoming a career MMA Fighter are done for, but weight, for most people, doesn't impact daily life that much.
There comes a point for everyone, though, when it starts making a difference on the daily stuff. I suspect it's a different time for every severely overweight person, but for me it was right around 350 pounds. Getting on socks became a challenge. I had to start ordering clothes online. My hips started to hurt. I couldn't complete daily tasks like cooking or walking to the store without stopping for a rest. I began selecting restaurants, laundromats, and other public places based on whether or not chairs would fit me.
There comes a time when you stop thinking "I should lose weight," and start thinking about how your weight influences every single decision you make. Because when you weigh this much, it has to.
Unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult - even impossible - to turn back from this point. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. Fat role models are thin, but when you see them dropping over at frighteningly young ages, it's a harrowing realization.
Chris Farley died at 33. John Candy died at 43. John Pinette made it to 50.
I turn 33 in under a month. My first novel just got published. I have stuff left to do. That is way to young to go.
There comes a point with food when it's no longer, I have some bad habits. There comes a point when it becomes holy shit, I am killing myself.
That's where I was. Next week I'll find some time to write about where I am now, which is - thankfully - much brighter.