In September 1993, the thing for men was silk long-sleeve shirts hiked to the elbow, and bold, brightly colored ties.
Radio stations played The River of Dreams by Billy Joel, Runaway Train by Soul Asylum, and Reason to Believe by Rod Stewart. True Romance, A Bronx Tale and The Joy Luck Club flickered on movie screens. Television’s offerings included Murphy Brown, Roseanne, and Seinfeld. The Internet – as we know it now – didn’t exist. Email was in its infancy (but I’m sure there was spam). Our president was Bill Clinton with Tom Foley as the Speaker of the House. Finally, news stories included PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shaking hands; and the continued legal fallout from the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco.
The biggest news story in my world was my 39th birthday on September 28 and that my life was careening out of control.
I suffered from severe back and chest pains; my finances were a mess; my marriage was hanging by a thread — and I topped the scales at 250 pounds. Taking self-inventory, I came to the shocking realization that what was in common among all these difficulties was me; I had become my own enemy.
From past experience, I knew that my canary in the coalmine was my eating.
When I got that under control, everything else fell in place. But if you added up all the weight I had lost (and then regained) over the course of my not-quite-forty-years, I’m sure it would have been in the thousands. I had even helped others lose weight. Yet, I always regained it, reverted to old habits over time.
Defeated, overwhelmed, and hopeless – but seeing no alternatives — I opted to try “one last time,” promising myself that by September 28, 1994, I’d be “fit, fun, and fiscally sound.”
It was that despair that led me to action. I went to a meeting; I reached out.
A small step, yes, but still it was movement. When I entered the room, I wanted to fall through a hole in the floor. It took every ounce of will I could muster to prevent from turning and running to the nearest bakery.
Yet I stayed; one more small step.