The Skin I’m In

Tonight I’m doing something strange. I’m bagging up the jeans that don’t fit me any more. Which is about 75% of the pants that I own.

During the process of weight gain I kept ordering jeans that were far too small for me. And as a result, I wound up with about 25 pairs of jeans that I’d never worn. That’s a very strange admission, I suppose. I’ve known one or two other people who have experienced it, so maybe it’s not that strange.

Either way, I’m bagging them up, and I’m bringing them to the Salvation Army in the morning.

As of today’s weigh-in, I’ve lost 95 pounds. And that’s great progress. I’m officially at the half-point of my weight loss goal. And I’ve reached my ultimate goal of becoming active.

And that’s fan-fucking-tastic news, I know — like zippity-do-da-worthy news.

However, there are days where I just don’t feel comfortable in this new skin.

It generally happens when I bump into somebody who I’ve not seen in quite some time. I immediately begin to sweat. I get nervous — almost cagey.

This stuff isn’t new to me. It’s part of the whole anxiety “thing”.

So this morning, after going through one of these debacles I began to reflect on why it was happening.

I’ve spoken a lot about shame. And how it manifests itself in the body and in the mind. And it’s a hard thing to kick. It’s like the crack cocaine of human responses.

These sweats are a physical expression of that shame.

So, why do I still feel it?

I’ve spent the past ten months trying to rebuild and redefine myself. However, I’m more comfortable — despite the anxiety — with inserting the old definition of myself into the conversation. Or feel like, for lack of a better term, “old me”.

That’s because “new me” is so new — that there are times when I’m not sure how I should express it.

I’m not ashamed of who I’m becoming. Not at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. But somewhere, deep down, there’s a flicker of the old stuff. That stuff that got me to 415 pounds. There’s not a lot of it. Just enough to be a bother.

The good thing is I know it’s there, and I know where it came from. And part of this whole experience is learning to control those feelings of shame and guilt. Plucking them up from their little holes. And sending them packing.

Because what they don’t talk about on “The Biggest Loser” or “Extreme Home Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” is that the body isn’t the only thing that needs constant maintenance.

The mind and soul need it too.

And as I throw the last pant leg into the bag, I stop for a moment. I think about the work — both mental and physical — that has gone into this journey. I remember what it was like to order my first pair of size 50 jeans. I remember clicking the “submit” button on my computer and thinking to “Jesus Christ, what have I done to myself”?

And now, sitting in a size 42 — 10 months later — I can only hope that the recipient of these jeans will some day be filling his own bags.

And believe you me, there’s no shame in that.

15 thoughts on “The Skin I’m In

  1. Congratulations Dave! What an accomplishment. I love reading your posts. They’re very well written, entertaining and inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hey, Dave

    I want to thank you for these blog posts. They’ve helped me to kickstart my own return to a healthier me. I’ve joined Max Fitness, am eating very well and hope to rejoin the Running Room soon. I was 280 pounds and am sitting around 250 right now. It’s a process as you know, marked by setbacks and days of doubt but you are showing me that it’s possible and I wanted to thank you for that.

    Keep up the great work. You never know who you’re affecting.

    Every stone’s throw- a ripple

    All the best,

    Andrew O’Brien

    1. “Before too long, a light will come.”

      Dude, the path is tangly. No doubt. But the mistake most of us make is by framing it as impossible. It isn’t. It just takes time. And any movement towards breaking a pattern is breaking the pattern. And eventually, as I’m discovering now — it all starts to add up.

      I just listened to “A Light Will Come” three times in a row.

      You’re a tremendous talent with insight and a reflective maturity that most people never discover. I can’t wait to see what you do next, man.

      Thanks for the kind words. And bust your ass at Max. I hear they’re great.


  3. It is very much mind & soul also! Sometimes I think those parts are almost more difficult to work through than the physical stuff.

    Congrats on getting rid of your pants! I did the same recently and it felt weird, but really, really good. No going back now. 🙂

  4. Hey Dave, fellow 50 to 42 guy here. Just wanted to say thanks for your writing. I can identify so much with the challenges and emotions you describe so eloquently. Including the pants situation. I’ve filled up one bag so far and I’m looking forward to filling up the next one. I’d donated pants that I’d outgrown before and now I really wish I’d held on to them. Congrats on all your changes and thanks again for sharing.

  5. “During the process of weight gain I kept ordering jeans that were far too small for me. And as a result, I wound up with about 25 pairs of jeans that I’d never worn.”

    Coats…’s coats for me. I have coats with tags still on. I kept saying I’d fit into that……This will be my motivation to start getting rid of the weight. But it still hasn’t happened. I like your comment above about “the mistake most of us make is by framing it as impossible” Such truth.

    You are such a motivation….Way to Go YOU!!!

  6. Just read your blog and the comments. Congratulations on staying on track, that is awesome. You are not only helping yourself but are such an inspiration to so many.

  7. Good on you Dave! What a great show of love for yourself in getting healthier and recognizing that it is a wholistic approach that needs to be taken. There is a great TED talk by Brene Brown on shame and she has written several books as well. ‘The gifts of imperfection’ by her is well worth the read and I am presently reading ‘Daring greatly’. Keep up the great work and be gentle with yourself. Your courageous journey is inspiring.

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