Week 30 – Not an Addict, Just an Idiot

This week’s weigh-in:  178 lbs

Loss to date:  58 lbs

To goal:  8 lbs

What a week.  Down another three pounds.  I wouldn’t be this close to the finish without your support.

Ironically, this is the 30th week of my program and journal, but the first journal entry I’ve written specifically for the WordPress blog.  It’s a little more daunting writing a public blog than the one I wrote on Facebook  for my family and friends only, but since I didn’t write anything there I couldn’t defend to the media I should be okay.  I’ll still be my frank, self-deprecating, cheeky self.

I want to begin with a thank you to my friend Christian at Bald Guy Running for featuring my blog on his own.  Christian and I have been friends so long, I remember when was the not bald guy running.  He’s the one that got me drunk and convinced me to run the 5K on the Ottawa Race Weekend.

Okay, alright, I got me drunk, but he’s still the one who convinced to the run the 5K.  So all the photos of me in compression shirts, man boobs flopping like I was Pam Anderson in Baywatch are his fault.

Actually, I shouldn’t blame him.  I’m the one that got me into that shape.  He’s the one who gave me an idea as to how to get out of it. Or in it.  You know what I mean.

Speaking of running, I’m now an instructor for a 5K clinic at the Slater St. Running Room.  They guy who bought his first pair of running shoes in February is now an instructor.  I’d boast that it’s because of my steely determination to be the best runner I can be, but we know that’s steaming pile of merde.

The truth is they were desperate.  I was asked on a Wednesday for a clinic that started Friday, two days later.  It’s a clinic that starts in August so it’s rather small.  Not many people want to take a clinic that runs in the summer because it will probably interfere with vacation plans.  The same is true for those who instruct the clinics.  Clinics that start in January and March are quite popular because of New Year’s resolutions for the former and race weekend for the latter.   Also the higher turnout means more money for the instructor.

By the way, tonight is “Bring a Buddy” night, so if anyone wants to come, it starts at 6 at the Slater St. Running Room.

I’ve been thinking a lot about addiction lately.   I’ve often compared this journey to rehab, but I’m wondering if that’s too trite an analogy.  It’s probably because Amy Winehouse died.  I saw her perform when she was first hitting it big on this side of the Atlantic while I lived in Washington, DC.  An amazing talent. Watching her downward spiral in the glare of the public eye has been a tragedy that I’m not sure Shakespeare could imagine.  It was certainly disgusting enough that the guilty pleasure of watching tabloid entertainment shows just made me feel guilty and I stopped watching.

Sure, like those addicted to drugs and alcohol, I have had to change my lifestyle to get this close to my goal and I will have to maintain those changes forever to succeed and remain successful.

The other side, though, is the consequences of failure seem far fewer.  Sure, fatty me was at risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, etc., (which run in my family so I always felt genetically cursed anyway) but the onset would probably be decades away if ever.  Other than the disappointment of those that have followed me and having to buy fat clothes again, the consequences seem pretty light compared to those who are physically addicted to drugs and alcohol.  We have to remember the dangers of addiction are not just from drugs and alcohol, themselves, but also the behaviours the addict engages in service of their habits.  There have been early morning walks to my training session this summer where I’m pretty sure I was the only non-addict on the streets at that hour. When you live downtown and are up as early as I have been, you see things you wish could be unseen.  Today felt especially like a scene from the opening of Watchmen.   If Ottawa is like this, I shudder to think what I would see in larger centres.

I am sure overeating – the cause of my obesity – is compulsive behaviour, but “addiction” when it applies to food seems like it trivializes those most in need of help.  Addiction is medical, compulsion is behavioural. People who actually know about this stuff can feel free to educate me if I’m wrong.  When it came to food, though, I never felt I was addicted to food.  I just made lousy choices.  The “got home late for work and ordered a pizza that took 40 minutes to deliver and could have made a better one from ingredients in fridge in half the time” kind of choices.

Compulsive behaviour has to be dealt with in a similar manner as addiction, but they’re just not the same.  The compulsive must learn new habits, but won’t die if they don’t get poutine.Poutine (something I can honestly say I wouldn’t eat even when I was a fatty) may be bad for you but it doesn’t rewire your physiology to make every fibre of your physical being crave it the way heroin or methamphetamines do, even if it seems this way.

I was never an addict.  I’m not sure I could even be called compulsive.  I was just an idiot.  Plain and simple.

Thanks to a few friends who, though I doubt any of them realized it at the time, said the right things and the right place at the right time, I’m less of one now.



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