Day 346–New Year’s Eve

I was hoping that when I stepped onto the scale this morning that I would be in Best Weight Yet territory, but it was not to be. There are two ways to look at where I am right now. I could say that I failed; I wanted to lose one hundred pounds in the calendar year 2022, and I did not accomplish that. Or I could say that I succeeded; Anyone who can legitimately claim a ninety-pound weight loss in a calendar year cannot be a failure. Don’t get me wrong… I know now that I have three weeks to get to the hundred-pound milestone in my complete year on the program, and I have every intention of making good on that.

These last two months have been replete with stresses and anxieties that have hampered my success. Aside from all of the emotional issues – an extreme hit to my career, the physical separation from my wife – there was also an injury scare (which turned out to be a gout flareup in my right knee), and a soft diagnosis of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. While both of these are manageable with medications, the realization of just what ADHD does, and how it has impacted me so many times (and never in a good way) over the entire course of my life… that has been hard. I am happy that I am now on track to improve (I am now in my second week of the meds for that), but thinking back to how much it has held me back – the professional setbacks (including this latest one), the friends and loved ones I have hurt or pushed away, the missed opportunities in every aspect of my life – the negative affects of the undiagnosed condition can be attributed to so many things that I have done or not done over the last forty years. All of that has been a real psychological blow, and one that I know has driven me to distraction and despair these last few weeks since the realizations began.

I have heard many times that when you come to a terrible realization such as this, you can spend a certain amount of time mourning or in despair or whatever, but then it is time to move past it and focus on making things better. I cannot build a time machine and start over. What I can do is figure out how to move ahead now that I am being helped by the medicine. It is only a coincidence that tomorrow is the start of the new year, and a perfect demarcation point to start new things. That includes my diet; tomorrow I will begin to redouble my efforts to lose weight. This plateau will be behind me.

That is not to say that I plan to cheat today; I am going to Lyle and Dorothy’s house for lunch, and they are making a turkey noodle soup. Knowing Lyle and his recent health scare, it will be very healthy. This evening I will go visit Eduardo for a couple of hours. He was extremely sad that he was going to spend New Year’s Eve all alone, so I will spend a couple of hours smoking cigars with him. Several times he tried to convince me to go for dinner with him, but I stood firm. I am not going out to eat. I will have my turkey soup for lunch, and if I need another meal then I will prepare it for myself. That way I know exactly what it is that I am preparing, and how healthy it is. I should be home by 10:30pm and hope to have a video chat with Leslie… and yes, I will enjoy a cigar on the balcony to ring in 2023.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Day, and I can only imagine that the gym will be packed with people who made New Year’s resolutions. No matter, I will try to get in for a couple of hours after lunch. I have sufficient stock of chicken and vegetables so that I do not have to go shopping until Monday; I also have my new meal replacement bars which arrived yesterday. They are tasty and satisfying, and even my personal trainer recommends them. In other words, I will not be drawn to cheat because I have everything I need to not cheat. Really, that is what I need to keep reminding myself. I have the tools, so use them!

I was thinking yesterday about the first time I started on the medically supervised meal replacement program in 2017. The day before I started, my housekeeper was working in my apartment, and I told her to remove every stitch of food from my refrigerator, freezer, and pantries. There was no option o cheat without leaving the house and buying something, which I did not do. The twelve-week program was a resounding short-term success. Of course, we know now that it was a long-term failure, because I gained all of the weight back. I have discussed in this journal many times how I feel that my hybrid program which allows for one proper meal per day has a better chance for long-term success. I have to remember that may be true, but that also means that I have to have food in the house, which means that I am bound to be tempted. Yes, I have cheated plenty this year. Not only have I had food at home (and sometimes the wrong foods), I have also gone to plenty of restaurants. I take my son (the younger) for dinner or breakfast or lunch every couple of weeks, but I have also gone out with Leslie and with friends in that time. While these outings may have hampered my short-term success, I think they have actually helped my prospects for long-term success. I have eaten out… but when I go to a restaurant, I consider the foods I choose more carefully. Whenever possible, I look at the nutritional values of the menu items. That is something I never really did before.

Thinking back, I suspect that this is the year that I have sat alone in restaurants the least. That is something I have a long history of. While some people consider it a stigma, I have always enjoyed sitting in a restaurant alone, either reading a book, watching TV on my tablet, or just watching people. I remember doing that as far back as the Army (where my wife would not be surprised to learn that I had ‘collected’ a waitress at Planet Hollywood in Tel Aviv). In 2022, I have eaten at restaurants alone… but mostly when I was traveling, mostly to Montreal. With that said, I have probably cooked for myself more meals this year than any previous year of my life… including the years when I was dirt poor and should not have been wasting money on restaurants. That is a huge triumph. I have to remember one of the few lessons from my mother that rings true – eating at home is always healthier than eating out… and is almost always cheaper. Long after I have lost all of my weight, when I am finally at my goal body size, I will have to remember this. It is not only healthier but much cheaper to shop and cook than it is to order off a menu. (Of course, I still eat most of my meals alone, and I almost always do so with a book or my tablet. Some things don’t change!)

This is traditionally the time of year to reflect on things past, and to consider how to make things better going forward. I consider that a terribly unhealthy way of improving. My e-mail signature has the Japanese word Kaizen at the bottom, which means ‘Continuous improvement.’ That means that you can make small improvements and adjustments every day without worrying about having to make huge ones in one giant lump. With that said, by some coincidence of timing I am making a few changes around this time of year. I do not simply mean that I am getting back on track with my diet tomorrow; I joined the gym in November but have not gone steadily. That has to change now, and the fact that three huge excuses are behind me means that I can do it. I added a daily calendar reminder for myself and will follow through. In the second week of 2023 I am starting work for a training company that I think I taught for a couple of times over a decade ago, but they want to have me working more and more this year (and we already have $15,000 worth of contracts signed). There are a couple of other training vendors which I will be working with, but these guys seem to be my best bet. Until I can actually get a job (long story), these contracts are how I earn a living. I love teaching, even though there are some days when I feel like I am done with it. Chances are, that will never really be the case. I started taking my ADHD medications only ten days ago, so that is another huge change around the same time of year… but that coincided with my diagnosis, and its timing relative to the calendar is coincidental.

One last change that I am glad I was able to get in for 2022… This morning I put on my new Size-40 pants, and they fit comfortably, they do not feel too tight, and I am really pleased by that. I remember too often in the past I would down-shift to a lower pants size too soon, and I would end up with split pants. There is no indication in the fit of these that will be a concern. I have been wearing Size-40 jeans for the last month, so I do not know why I did not think to try this sooner. The fact that Day One of the new size is Day Last of the year is, again, coincidental… but it is one last non-scale victory for the old year.

Okay, I suppose it is time for me to head on out. Lyle and Dorothy will be waiting for me around 11:30am, and I do not like to be late. I will see if Charlie wants to play with Princess Sophie, because I know that she will not want to come with me because of the weather. I have a bottle of wine to bring for them, which I cannot forget. I’ll press ‘Publish’ on this piece, then I will wrap the bottle and head out. The next time we meet, it will be the new year.

Have a great day folks… and Happy New Year!!

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