How do you say goodbye to something that has been a part of your life for 34 years? People, as a general rule, have attachments to both good things and bad. We like familiarity; we cling to things that don’t change, almost like a buffer against the new and the scary. So again, how do you say goodbye to something that has always been there? Something that is your “normal”, your every day, literally a part of you. Today, I’m asking myself that question.
My wife and I have said “enough”. We will lose the weight and get healthy this time. For seven months now, we have kept true to our goals and stood strong, even when it hurts. This time, the fat is going away, the bellies are disappearing, and muscles are getting strong and visible. Unfortunately, the demons still sit on our shoulders and remind us of who we have always been and that it is hard to say goodbye to familiarity.
Having said that, I want to take this opportunity to publicly say goodbye—for good—to my belly, the symbol of an unhealthy life and the suffering that came with obesity. I want to say goodbye to my years as an overweight kid; goodbye to all the times I never got picked for the team or was embarrassed to do the things that the other kids were doing because it was hard and made me look bad.
I want to say goodbye to my teenage years, where I rarely had a date and never a real girlfriend because I was never confident enough to try (and the few times I did try I was shot down). I want to say goodbye to wasted years in my twenties, where I didn’t follow certain dreams because I knew I wasn’t fit enough or driven enough to make it happen.
I want to say goodbye to other wasted opportunities that fell to the wayside after years of crushed self-esteem made it too hard to even try anymore, and goodbye to the crushing defeat of trying to lose the weight after undergoing a gastric bypass, then gaining half of it back again.
I want to say goodbye to fear, grief, depression, lack of confidence, lack of love, low self-esteem, diabetes, high-blood pressure, low energy, and everything else that comes along with being obese. I want to say goodbye to a lifetime of settling for whatever life hands me and consuming it from a paper wrapper grabbed from a drive-through window.
Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye. I tell my wife all the time now that I know I am going to get there, but I can’t imagine it. How can you even entertain a reality that has never been? I have no frame of reference for a healthy me with no huge belly hanging out below.
Am I, in a weird sort of way, scared of it? Yes. But I am also very excited about finding out “how the other half lives”. So goodbye fat me, I can’t say I’ll miss you. You have freeloaded off of me long enough. I am leaving small parts of you behind me at the walking trail at the park, along the walkway at the dam, on my living room floor where I do my workout. I hope to leave you as far behind as possible.
I will always remember you, because when we fail to remember where we came from, it’s possible that we just might go back there, looking for the familiar. No more.
I will see you all on the other side of healthy.