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Dan Nied’s Fortress of Weight Loss: Day 127

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At this point, I think Alexandria should be co-author of this blog.

She makes a wonderful point again in regards to Monday’s entry about my depression and such. Hmm… could it be I have a fear of success? That just sounds dumb.

Yet, she wrote:

…Then you probably have a bit of fear of success. What if you get to 240 and life sucks just as much as when you were 299? Or you can't get laid by the hot chick you want? Then what will you blame it on? Not being toned enough? Or, God forbid, something in your personality? Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of success. They all have the same elements. It's scary.

You know, I’ve spent the last two years thinking I needed psychological help, but didn’t want to pay for it. Now she comes in and gives it to me for free. I knew this blog would pay off.

I am guessing it is very possible that I have a fear of success. Though, if I was searching for something in my thought process that was blocking my efforts to lose the last 25 pounds, I probably wouldn’t come up with fear. Instead I might find laziness, gluttony, and a never-ending willingness to take the easy way out.

But that’s why the call it the SUBconscious. Because you don’t know it’s there. Get it?

I suppose all of my downfalls might ultimately be chalked up to a fear of success. It makes sense considering, in other aspects of my life, I tend to take a certain comfort with the middle. I never truly strove to be the most successful in my career, or the best athlete in high school, or the best student. In fact, my past behaviors might suggest I am weary of taking real risks for the most part.

Instead of introducing myself to editors of big newspapers when I have the chance, I figure they probably don’t want to hire me anyway. Instead of using my God-given size to try and earn a football scholarship after high school, I was happy working just hard enough to start my senior year. And instead of doing my homework during high school and getting grades good enough to go to the college of my choice, I instead got by with a 2.6 GPA and ended up at my third choice. Once I got to that third choice (good old Bowling Green State University!), I was happy just graduating in five years (plus a summer).

I suppose I have never really taken life by the horns. And I have been overly proud of the mediocre accomplishments I have earned, only to realize after the fact that they might not have been the best situations.

Maybe that’s why the weight loss effort is so important to me. Maybe that’s why I sit here and just think “I owe this to myself.” This is may be the first thing in my life that I have attacked with the kind of vigor it deserved.

But could it be that I look at the weight as a beginning to being the man I want to be? And, of course, once I am through with this, I will have to move on to the next task. But in that next task, I won’t be solely responsible for success. Nope, I’ll need the judgment of an editor if I choose to find a new job. I’ll need the judgment of a woman if I choose to forge ahead into a healthy relationship.

It’s always been easy for me to look on from the outside and think about how much better I could do if I was on the inside. In my mid-level job now, I can read the big-name sports columnists and scoff at the superior eloquence of my take on the same subject. If I see a guy talking to a girl at the gym, I can amuse myself by knowing that girl would much rather be talking to me. And, as an overweight man, I can just imagine how much better life will be once I slim down.

I take comfort in those thoughts because there is a certain safety to being on the sidelines. Currently, my work (at my newspaper) is read by maybe 10,000 mostly apathetic readers. But what if I was putting myself out there for 100,000 avid readers who might disagree with me or, worse yet, think I suck? I see attractive girls on a weekly basis (the pickins’ are kind of slim in this part of town), but I never make the move to talk to them unless I am a bit drunk.

Yet I complain about these situations because they aren’t what I ever wanted. Everyone wants to be the person in the middle of everything. That’s why girls love Sex and the City so much. But when you aren’t in the center, when you are actually physically removed from the center of things (remember, I live 30 miles from San Francisco, and my previous home was a two-hour drive to Denver — kinda far away from The Stuff), you eventually get sick of looking in. Instead, you want to be able to look around from the center.

The more I think about it, the more I see that the weight loss was the first step of moving towards the center. The second step was moving to California and upgrading my job. But neither step was the cure. They just got me closer. Now that the weight loss is coming to a close, I have to start thinking about the next big step. And Alexandria is right, it is kind of scary.

If I get another job, I might have to move again, to another strange city far from home. Even if I move down to Berkeley or somewhere closer to San Francisco, I will have to balance higher rent and a 20-mile commute, plus bridge toll, on a $14 an hour job. I don’t know if I can do that.

But isn’t it about time I start fighting my way toward the center?

I guess I just can’t get over the fact that, once I lose this weight, I’ll have to start over with something else.

Is that the reason I keep tripping up? Honestly, I don’t really think so. But every other reason I think of — an inability to delay gratification, the idea that I am owed some sort of prize for what I have done so far, a basic hunger for salted meats — leads back to the idea of fearing success. I am very close to complete success. So what is blocking me from taking care of that last mile?

That said, I should let you know that the last three days have gone very well. Though I would say I ate about 2,000 calories on Tuesday, I am cool with the distribution and choices I made.

Mentally, I am right where I should be: Looking forward to knocking off these last few pounds, wondering how long it will take to see a real difference in myself. I am wondering when I will move from XXL shirts to XL shirts, though the size 44 pants I used to wear are entirely too big now, as are the size 42 pants I bought to replace them. I bought a pair of shorts on Sunday, size 40, which isn’t exactly snug. The size 38 shorts I tried on were just a bit too snug. I am wearing shirts that I never could wear before, though they all seem a bit too short.

These things are encouraging and they make me wonder how much lower I can go.

I think I’ll have to just buck up for the next couple of weeks and make this happen. I’ll have to make smart decisions, like going to the gym before work. And I’ll have to realize when I am close to sabotaging the goals I have been working toward for the last two years.

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About Dan Nied

  • Alexandria

    That’ll be $356.

    I’m glad you are taking a look at the fear issues of being who you know you can be. I hear it in you – YOU know you’re so much better than some of the other journalists out there. You know you are smarter, wittier, etc. You’re right. Take a chance on you. I have more to say (as usual) but I have a client who just walked in.
    Keep up the focus on you!

  • Alexandria Jackson

    I’m baaaack.
    OK, what I wanted to say is that you should document for you alone. While it is wonderful for me to read that you’re this insightful, it might flow a bit freer if you didn’t have to publish it.

    And, no, I’m not giving away therapy for free. On your blog, I’m just Selma, the cheerleader, who just happens to have some basic knowledge of human behavior.

    So, consider keeping a journal of how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking when you decide not to go to the gym and you decide to eat at Taco Bell. RIGHT THEN. Not 4 days later when you’ve gotten back on track and can sit back and tell us objectively that you had a bender but you’re back in control. That doesn’t help you figure yourself out at all.

    When it happens, that’s when you need to sit down and journal for yourself. Why was today so hard? Why did you decide to eat TB? Why was your willpower not stronger? The answer is NOT that you just decided to say “Fuck it.” That’s too easy and that is beneath you. What were you thinking/feeling? What had happened at work? Why do you feel pressured by June….etc. Only you can do that work. Once you have it partly figured out for yourself, then if you want you can choose to share.

    OK, I have to go again. Good luck!!!!