I’ve been using Windows Edge as a browser lately, finding it quicker and less of a CPU drain, but actually I’ve been not exactly using a browser. Mostly.
And none of this is important, just changing up the way I do things here, trying to manage my time better.
But Edge has some bugs, and one of them seems to be losing web pages. That is, I load a page, then it freezes on me. Not a lot. Every once in a while. Never happened with another browser, so I’m sticking with buggy.
This only matters because for one of those buggy reasons, I can’t search the archives of this here blog. If I want to do that – and this is also not a regular thing – I have to use Internet Explorer, which amazingly still exists in a standalone form (I deleted Firefox and Chrome). So I did that, just to check.
And I was off. For some reason, I woke up today and noticed the date, and a bell rung. It just turned out to be a tardy bell. The day I was thinking of was Sept. 24, not the 27th. But close enough for my purposes.
I read the post from the 24th. A little laughable now. I had some goofy ideas.
What I did, though, wasn’t all that goofy in the long run. I had just passed my one-year anniversary of kicking the booze habit. I’d signed up for some community college classes. I felt hopeful, and optimistic, and more than a little curious. If I could go an entire year without a drink, what else could I do?
So I tossed out what junk food I had around the house, and decided to pay attention to what I ate. Maybe start exercising (shudder). I had a plan, anyway. I was pretty fat, although I’d managed to lose about 15 pounds over the past couple of months, down from the low 270s. I was estimating that a normal weight for me, a guy my size and age and temperament and hair color, was anything under 190 pounds. I would take 220 pounds and be ecstatic about it, but under 190 was sort of a goal. A dream goal.
That day was pretty important to me, then. It didn’t have that much to do with the weight loss, although that was fun. Aside from my adventures last winter with loss of appetite and the resulting weird lab results and lowish weight, there are few foods that I ate back in those heavier days I don’t still eat occasionally. Haven’t had a chimichanga in a while. It’s hard to think of others.
By October of 2007, I’d headed outdoors to get my exercise, getting bored with my treadmill, and that was pretty much the ballgame. I needed to do that somehow, get out of the house and into the sun and the rain and the snow and everything in between, just move, walk around the neighborhood. By December, I sometimes was clocking 3-4 hours a day of just walking, round and round.
I don’t need to tell you about this.
Or about the fact that somehow, mysteriously given my former lack of discipline or anything resembling will power, I lost the weight. Not all of it, of course, because then I’d weigh zero and that would be weird. Just the extra weight. It went up and down a little, but mostly stayed normal. I’m trying to hang around 170 these days. That feels good. Better than 160, which I would have dreamed about nine years ago but never quite imagined, even though it happened. Too thin, really. Didn’t look right on an older dude. At least this older dude.
But whatever. I was pretty happy where I was, actually; not happy about the pounds, but happy in general. Content. Peaceful. Fat, but peaceful.
Honestly, I wish I’d discovered a trick I could share. I just think it was a phenomenon of the moment, having passed that first year of sobriety and feeling ambitious. Today? I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do it. Not the way I did, every day for four months, focusing hard on my little project. It was a little exhausting, and I’m not any younger.
The only thing I did consistently, besides walk, was pay attention. I tracked my calories relentlessly, plugging them into a spreadsheet, trying to figure out how much I needed to maintain my weight and then trying to eat a little less. Plus the walking. But mostly just the paying attention part.
And that’s the part I still do. It’s easier now; my phone is a handy scratch pad for numbers, and of course there are apps, etc. It’s reflexive now. No matter how much I indulge, the calories get counted. And while I’ve gone through many intervals in which I stayed away from the scale and just tracked what I ate, it turns out that doesn’t work for me. Calorie counting is always going to be an approximation. I need to step on the scale every day, or almost every day. So I do that, too.
Mostly it was discovering what was possible, and that I was more interested in that than what was likely.
Look: Losing weight didn’t solve any problems. It did change my life, though. Not because I weighed less; that mostly involves what clothes I can and can’t wear. Doing it changed my life. Starting it changed my life. Sticking with it, with anything, changed my life.
And that’s why the date stuck in my head, even being three days off. It’s been nine years. I’m a different person, for different reasons but this one in particular. Once, nine years (and three days) ago, I decided to try. Funny what happens.