Anyone can start strong. That’s the problem. We convince ourselves that a strong start is all it takes. It’s often necessary for success, but it’s not all there is.
I’ve been here before. Twice actually. I’ve dropped into this weight range after a struggle. It’s enough for people to notice a change, which elicits all sorts of comments. It’s positive reinforcement, and it feels good. It comes both from those who know me well, and people who just notice I look different.
This is a double edged sword. The blessing is that it’s always nice to get encouragement. The curse is that it is too easy to believe this encouragement. Some of it is just not helpful. I’ll unpack that statement.
If I woke up today with total amnesia, knowing nothing of who I was before, I would be quite unhappy with my current physical status. It’s simply not acceptable for a man to have this high a bodyfat percentage. I am a at a dangerous weight, and it has to change. That is a truth, regardless of where I was six months ago.
But with the hindsight of my last six months, I certainly shouldn’t despair about this reality. I know the path I’m on, and I’ve seen success. I know it has been far worse. But there is a major danger in letting relativism steer the ship. Just because 265 is better than 315, or 365, does not make 265 acceptable. So when people who remember 350+ Andy, or even just 315 Andy from the fall, say how good I am looking, I know they’re being kind. But that is all it is, kindness. It is not rooted in any objective reality. I do not at all look good. And forget the look word for a moment, I am not healthy. I am in better shape than before, but where I am is absolutely not a goal to set. This bodyfat % is still a killer.
So now I am challenged with the same mental gymnastics as before: how do I love myself and hate the situation at the same time? I want to recognize my progress and allow it to inspire more. But I cannot become complacent and decide I’ve done enough. Yes, the A1C number that is my primary concern can’t get much lower than it is, so there is an element of Mission Accomplished here. But we all know how that goes when you put the banner up too early.
This road is not short. The beginning was exciting, but it was only the beginning. Now the real work begins. Not just maintaining a below-average “Dad bod” at a place of “at least I can still fit in a plane seat.” Now it’s time to really manage this thing so that I can get close to an actual healthy weight. This is going to be less exciting, less rewarding than the initial 50 pounds. But this can’t simply be the third bounceback. My life as a lowcarber is locked in, not for the weight but for the condition. I have no choice anymore. I do this, or I die soon, probably without a foot. Dark? Hell yeah it’s dark. But it’s true.
So the next phase begins. The boring continuation of the groundwork laid over the winter. How long will it be? Well, you never really know when the endgame begins until you’re there. Except maybe in chess. I never was very good at it, even with all the reading I did. Maybe there is no endgame in health. There’s just living the middle. That’s going to have to be good enough, despite the fact that I’ve been one of those starter-only types before.
Welcome to the middle. It’s boring, it’s routine. But it’s necessary.