When Loss is Gain

The early stages of an exercise routine, coupled with a healthy change in eating habits, give quick results. The results I experienced during the first six days of 2016 are almost too good; if I were to expect the same pace to continue, I would reach my baseline target of losing 52 pounds by February 21.

But that is absolutely unreasonable (and probably unsafe), so I must keep my expectations in check; it would be absurd to abandon a goal because progress slows, as it naturally will.

Still, I’m pleased with losing six pounds so far. It’s impossible to see the difference, except by looking at the display on the scale, but it’s heartening, nonetheless.

I’m looking forward to seeing visible changes in my body, especially in my face. Why my face? Because I believe one’s face emerges from shadows when the body sheds excess pounds. The wrinkles of a smile become more pronounced, the eyes come out of hiding, and the jaw gains definition, if only slightly. And, of course, the extra chins begin to recede into memory.

The most important hope I harbor about seeing changes in my face is that the changes in my body will coincide with changes in my mind, changes in the way I see the world, just as that transformation causes the world to see changes in me. It may be unfortunate, but in fact one’s self-image relies in part on what one sees in the mirror. And as I see changes in me, I expect to change my perception of myself. And as that perception of myself changes, I hope my view of the world will change; and that will become a positive feedback loop.

Ultimately, the loss of body mass and weight and physical body “baggage” can help one establish a better context for gaining an improved self-image and all the benefits that arise from that transformation. It’s not just the individual who gains, it’s the environment in which he lives, the people surrounding him. At least that’s how I see it this morning as I prepare to decide whether to venture out for a walk in the fog and rain.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to When Loss is Gain

  1. Holly Forrest says:

    Congrats on your loss. And the resultant gains.

    I liked the South Beach a lot, and I’m considering giving it another try. While my children thought I was crazy for loving the cauliflower substitute for mashed potatoes, and ricotta with vanilla substitute for ice cream, reading your blog actually has me craving that stuff. Redefining comfort food is a good way of putting it. A master of spices like you is bound to succeed.

  2. Ha! I am on the last hole in my belt, but I will continue punching new ones until the thing rips apart like a zipper. I wish I would not have to buy a new one until I had reached that point at which I am satisfied I will not need another one.

    I’ll join you in beseeching the great spirit within me to avoid comfort food, except as I now define it: radishes smeared with just a taste of soft goat cheese and topped with freshly-toasted cumin seeds!

    And always, if I have questions, I will inquire, not of would-be diet coaches and prophets of magical nutrition but of doctors and dietitians. As Nietzche wrote to his sister, “Hence the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire.”

  3. jserolf says:

    Yes, a better self image is right. I’m wearing T-shirts again with things that say, “Read Banned Books” and “1k fun run … let’s not overdo it.” The other day I had to burn a new hole in my belt, so today, I’ll just have to get a new one — because I’m not going back, and I’m not looking back either.

    What’s troubled me about this, Brother, were the number of people who actually negatively coached me against this diet — even hurtful. They would say things like “you’re going to get sick,” or “that’s not good for your heart.” In almost all cases, however, the devil’s advocate was overweight him/herself, and I’m too nice a guy to counter back with something like “Well, look at you ya’ fat-fuck.” I remain amazed at the number of people who seem to have no sense of conscience.

    Besides, we’re not stupid. Got a question about something? Go to the doctor.

    As a result, I’ve become more critical to goofy terms like “comfort food,” which are actually meals with high levels of carbohydrates. Every night I get on my knees and pray to the Great Spirit, “O God, please don’t ever let me become a person who smiles and uses terms like ‘comfort food’. In Nietzsche’s name I pray.” 😉

    Keep going, my friend. Become an expert in ketosis. There’s great books on this. You are not alone. I am your greatest fan!

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