Yesterday evening I stepped on a scale and it said 183.5 pounds. I haven’t specifically been trying to lose weight, exactly. I’ve been trying for about 6.5 years now to be a healthier human. I quit drinking. 18 months later I quit smoking. 18 months later I started running. And about 2 years after that, after I moved, I sold my car entirely and now I walk everywhere in addition to running. Though that means that my running has dropped off a bit, because when I walk 15-25 miles a week, my motivation to run 10-20 more is limited. And I have restructured my diet to diminish (but not eliminate) sweets, and to revolve around whole foods that are minimally processed. This means a lot of peanut butter and jam sandwiches on whole grain bread with skim milk.
183.5 pounds is a drop of 51.5 from what I believe is my peak weight of 235. I remember seeing 235 on a scale. I may have been a few pounds heavier at some point, but 235 is what hits my ear as correct for my peak weight. If I had not taken this path, I would certainly be diabetic at this point. I might be anyway, though my blood numbers are good. My doc says, “Definitely insulin resistant.” But it’s in control with diet and exercise. My last A1c was 5.4 and I’m happy with that. Anyone with metabolic risk factors should be. And I have them.
But I also don’t want to go patting myself on the back too much. At 183.5, my BMI is still 26.7 (Quick! How tall am I?). I need to get down to 171 to be “normal” weight. Even at the high end. I don’t know if I will. I don’t know if that’s even a goal. My goal is to be healthy, feel healthy, and look good naked. I don’t feel like I’m at that last one yet. I know BMI is a rough guide and doesn’t work for everyone, but for me it feels really accurate and it tracks my blood numbers well. When I’m below 27, I’m objectively healthier.
Having spent so much of my supposed wild and care-free youth essentially in the grips of a terminal illness, I cannot begin to explain quite how remission from that feels. It feels wonderful, and it feels like work. I’m proud, but I’m grateful. I worked for this. But I didn’t earn it, exactly. I feel like I am a confluence of effort and serendipity and immense, immense thanksgiving. There are a lot of challenges and problems and difficulties and bullshit in the world. I’ve had my share, and I’ve been granted incredible opportunities and privileges as well.
Tomorrow, I intend to put on a pair of light, bouncy shoes and then run in them for two hours without stopping. It’ll be a hell of a thing if I succeed. And if I fail, well, I’ll try again another day. One day after one day and then another. Here I am.