Because this column has been running almost ten years, I’m taking a leap of faith and assuming not everyone started reading it day one. Therefore, especially with a title of, “Striving for Imprefection,” (sic) one might not easily comprehend why I write so often about weight and diet.
Born overweight and battling obesity through my early and teen years, I for the first time in my life, reached my correct weight when I lost about 100 pounds at age 17. However, I put it back on when I was in my twenties (sigh…), having to shed about 80 pounds, and thereby becoming a leader/facilitator for a major international weight loss company. In those days, I was a rarity; being male and “young.” Moreover, my primary meeting had a weekly attendance of over 100 people. To further cement my bona fides, I was chosen as one of twenty people in the entire U.S. and Canada to be a role model for the company when they celebrated their 20th anniversary in New York City in 1983. We were escorted to Broadway plays, received a complete “make over” (which made me look ridiculous), and I got to meet the founder of the company. (Oh yes, we were indeed treated to copious amounts of food at five-star restaurants.)
Despite my “rock star” star status in weight loss circles, I stopped attending meetings due to a dispute I had with a supervisor.
To “teach her a lesson,” I regained about 70 pounds. Old feelings of humiliation and self-loathing re-manifested themselves, and yet I did everything I could to avoid returning. My back pained me 24/7. My marriage was a mess; my attitude was worse. People who know me today consider me “positive.” They would not have used that adjective then. I was forever unhappy.
Yet, I still refused to seek help, thinking the shame of returning was even worse than the nagging unhappiness and hurt that refused to leave.
On my 39th birthday, after everyone had gone to bed, I got down on my knees, bent over the garbage can, and ate the leftover birthday cake I had placed in the tin earlier that evening. Am I proud of this? Of course not. However, it is part of me and I’ve learned to release the shame I hold about poor choices. More importantly, it was the turning point that made me decide to seek help once again.