Making bacon

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After spending over three hours at an Equity I rushed home very, very, hungry.  (By “rushed” home I mean I took the N Train – which is the express train except today it decided to go local, so it took over an hour, is that why it’s called “rush hour”?)  I decided to make a turkey club sandwich for no other reason but that I needed to eat and I needed to eat bacon.  I wanted the bacon so very much that while I was cooking it I was singing aloud “I love bacon!”  Behavior that, I am sure, convinced my roommate’s cat that I am an idiot.  Truth be told, I think she was on to me from the start.

Why am I writing about this?  Mayhap because I decided to write a blog post every day and I’m feeling a bit thin.  But I’m really writing about it because I’m not feeling thin, I started the day feeling pretty fat.

I started “watching my weight” in April of last year.  And by watching my weight I mean actively doing something about it instead of just watching it and complaining about it.  I’ve struggled (sometimes a playful struggle, sometimes a grapple to the death) with my weight most of my life:  From being a chunky pre-teen forced to wear Husky sized Toughskins, through the  Freshman 15 (or 25) in College, to the “holy shit, how did I get to be almost 200 lbs,” realization I came to last year.

Last April while I was working on a new show (“From Orchids to Octopi”) in Cambridge I woke with a puzzling thought: “I’ve been working out every day so why do I feel like a fat bastard?”  I jumped on the scale to confirm that my feelings were more than feelings, they were correct – I weighed in at 189 lbs.  189 lbs is a lot for me, I’m 5’9 on a tall day, I’m part leprechaun.  It was a sobering moment.  Clearly my work-out plan wasn’t working out.  Either that or the weight could have been connected to my regular post-show diet of 2 pints of IPA and a hamburger.  Who can be sure?  I’m no scientist.  Regardless of the cause, one thing was clear, in the immortal words of our “never been fat a day in his life” President Obama, it was time for a change.

And change I did.  With the help of the fantastic “Lose It” app on my I-Phone and my re-purposed type-A neurosis I began keeping track of all my calories – those eaten and those burned off.  And I mean ALL OF MY CALORIES – thank you re-purposed neurosis.  Within 3 months I had lost 16 lbs, weighing in at 170.  I actually lost 19 lbs – while I started the program at 189, I was too embarrassed to enter “189” so I flipped around the last digit and entered “186.”  Denial is an old friend.

Success!  I was down to 170 and lost at least 3 inches off my waist.  For the first time in many a year I was buying size 30 jeans and feeling pretty proud of myself.  And then it happened, you know that thing you hear about after people lose weight?  No, I didn’t start gaining it back – I decided that I should lose more weight.  The truth is, keeping myself focused on the goal of losing weight was easier than maintaining my weight.  And, thanks to my life-long struggle to be comfortable in my own skin, my new body only seemed great for a little while.  It was time for more.  So I set my goal for 165 lbs.  Which I reached in about another month or two.

I fell off the “Lose It” wagon for a while, particularly over the holidays, but never went above 168.  After a couple weeks I got myself back on target and down to 165.  Again, I found it real difficult to maintain, I needed the focus that came with a concrete goal of losing more, so I set my target weight for 160.  I could get to 160.  I’d look real good at 160.

So I began again.  Back on track with “Lose It” and a new workout program.  Within the first two weeks I was down over 2 lbs – weighing in at 163.8.  And then today, this morning, black friday I stepped on the scale and – 166.6.  I gained nearly 3 lbs in a week.  What the fat!?!?

It was bound to happen – I haven’t been watching my food intake as well as I had been: too much partying and not enough sleep.  While I’m working out 6 days a week, I think the new program isn’t as taxing for me (though I do think I’m building more muscle – if I’m kind to myself I’ll say that’s the weight gain).  And I will admit to giving into SAD – letting the blistering cold of the season put me in a down place.  So, yeah, I have my excuses.

But here’s the thing, while I was disappointed, I didn’t freak out about my massive weight gain.  No, I came home and sang to my bacon.  Which, now that I think of it, isn’t particularly healthy – but that diagnosis has nothing to do with my weight.

So what does this all mean?

I am still not over my body issues, clearly.

I have an unnatural affinity for bacon.

I’ll get down to 160, or stick around 165, or burn off the fat and become leaner or stay the way I am.  Either way, I think my focus on fitness has been good for me.  But I think the “I can’t maintain, I need to work against a challenge” is a big deal for me.  A really big deal.  Not just with my weight, but with life, and strangely enough, I think, with love.  I’ll need to look into that – and (this is a warning) I’ll probably write about that as well.

Look at that, I’m learning important things about myself, and all because of bacon.  Is it any wonder that I love it?

Thanks for this therapy session reader(s).  Go have some bacon, love who you are and where you are, and have a great weekend.

Tom

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5 thoughts on “Making bacon

  1. Scott

    Wow. Way to go Tom. I’m in the same boat bro. 189 a year ago. Did the Men’s Health Belly off program for 8 weeks and lost 16. Here I am a year later starting the program again at 186. I’ll have check- out that app.

    Keep blogging!
    Brother Dillow

    • Definitely check out “LOSE IT” it’s pretty great. I like the Men’s Health programs, especially the work-outs – I find their “food programs” a bit more difficult to follow militantly – but I use their guidelines on a daily basis.

      Best of luck with the fight Scott.

      Tom

  2. Toddy Randolph

    “working against a challenge” as opposed to “maintaining” – i like this – it reminds me of something a trainer once told me, i’ll have to paraphrase but something like this, that the real strengthening only happens during those last few minutes of the workout when we are pushing ourselves beyond the point of what we’ve ever done before – everything up till that point is “maintenance” which is fine and good and important, but the getting stronger and the breaking through to a new level of fitness happens at the very end, in that state of exhaustion when we think we can’t possibly keep going and we do anyway…

    i love bacon too, and from now on whenever i’m cooking it i’m going to sing aloud, “i love bacon!” – my cats already know that i’m an idiot, but they love me anyway.

  3. Ted Lewis

    Hey Tom,
    I’m liking your blog. I just read your entry regarding your body issues. Man, do I relate. I’ve had lots and lots of those and still do and probably always will. I lost about 50 lbs over the last year or so and find myself gaining some back. I need to get back on track, like, YESTERDAY! Anyway, thanks for the LOSE IT recommendation. And as to the constant challenge–I’m right there with ya.
    BTW–I have a blog as well. Truth be told, I haven’t written in it since the summer (Ugh) but I’m planning on getting the ball rolling again this week. Here’s the link:
    http://frumpyand40.wordpress.com/
    I am also subscribing to yours so I can see your new entries automatically.
    Onward and Upward!
    -Ted.

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