Last Thursday morning I woke up and climbed on the scale and met a number so beautiful, I threw my hands up in the air in celebration. But then I realized that it was so nasty, I nearly hyperventilated.
If you’ve read along with the Fortress, you might understand why that is a paradoxical number. If not, I should probably explain it to you.
Start with the 100 Days blog, when I tried to lose 100 pounds with the theory that it could be done in 100 days. I started at an estimated (but binding, in my mind) weight of 370 pounds and lost 70 in those 100 days. It took a little longer to get to where I wanted. But five months after I began, I had lost 95 pounds, looking good at 275. I went home to the Midwest and showed off my new shape. One friend said I looked weird, but in a good way. The grotesquely overweight, but lovable, fat man he had gotten used to was replaced with something else. I took it as a high compliment.
Ninety-five pounds wasn’t a bad accomplishment. It certainly was more than most people expected I would lose. Losing that weight was one of my proudest accomplishments, and I let everyone know what I had done.
But that’s where it ended. I never got below 275, never finished off those last five pounds for the even 100. I just maintained my weight, and eventually moved, stopped working out and gradually went back to my normal ways. Even as my weight approached 290 at the beginning of last summer, I simply changed my diet for a few weeks until I was back in the mid 270s, but never below 275.
Fast forward to the Fortress, which is almost as much about taking off those five pounds as it is about the other 30 below them. See, if I end up failing in this, if I just get to 260 or whatever and then decide to give up (no, that’s not an option, I’m just saying), then I will still be able to hold my head high because I broke that 100 pound barrier.
So 274 marks the actual beginning of those five pounds. It’s the first step in a sprint to take care of the unfinished business from two years ago.
But that’s why it’s so hard. Yes, four more pounds are nothing, Four pounds can be done in one solid week. Four pounds in the frame of 60 total is something that should not discourage me. Four pounds is something I can handle.
But it’s these four pounds that create a barrier for me. Already I’ve reverted a tiny bit, taking an ill-advised off-day on Sunday, and not going to the gym since Friday. The number 274 caused me to relax a bit, because it makes it even more obvious that I am successful in my latest task. It gives me the feeling that 270 is right around the corner. Those are the same feelings I had when I hit 275 two years ago. Of course I can take it easy, these last five pounds will take care of themselves! It gave me a false sense of accomplishment then, which is exactly what it is doing now.
These feelings led to a little soul searching over the past few days. I’ve been talking to myself in the shower, which is usually the best conversation I’ll have all day. I’ve been thinking about this before I go to sleep, I’ve summoned my inner Tony Little for motivation.
In those talks, I’ve come to a conclusion. I must sprint my way down to 270. I must take care of this albatross as quickly as possible. I’ve given myself two weeks to make the 270s go away once and for all. While they have been a nice neighborhood to live in for the last two years, I’m getting sick of the same old view and the rapidly dying shrubbery. I need to live it up in the 260s for a little while, then make my way down to the 250s. I need to ultimately settle in the 240s, and maybe think about the 230 and, if I dare, the 220s.
But in order to go somewhere, you have to leave. I know now that it is time to get up and go.
So yes, I have given myself two weeks, though I know it will only take 10 solid days to get there. I won’t do much differently in those two weeks, except make an effort to exercise more (every day?), and draw from my strongest willpower in denying the toxins that will prevent me from reaching this short-term goal.
I’m not pretending that everything will be fine and dandy once I hit 269. To the contrary, I expect the second 30 pounds to require much more focus and discipline than the first. I expect to have to change the diet more than once, I expect I will have to alter my workout plans, and get a lot more serious if I want to hit 240 before summer.
But I will deal with those problems when the time comes. For now, I am looking at 269, at 101 pounds lost, and at a new life in a new neighborhood.
As The Jeffersons may say, I’m moving on up. But in reality, I must force myself to move on down.