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Finding a way back to the Fitness Revolution gym

January 4, 2019 - Andy Flynn
Every day, I open the curtains in my living room and say, “It’s going to be a wonderful day,” even though I don’t really believe it. I figure, if I say it enough, I may start having more wonderful days. It’s hope more than anything.

That’s kind of what starting the new year is like — drawing the curtain of the previous year aside and hoping that it’s going to be a great year, or at least better than the year before. It begins with goals, or resolutions, and usually fizzles into 12 months worth forgetting.

It’s weird being a pessimist at heart yet always having hope for a better future. I keep telling myself, “Things will get better,” but they rarely do. It seems over the past few years, things just keep getting worse, and — as always — I blame myself.

“You are your own worst enemy,” my mother recently told me. The context of the conversation was that she wanted me to get a sleep study done because — even though she’s not my doctor, only my mother — she “knows” that I have sleep apnea. Whether I do or not, I keep putting off that sleep study my doctor recommended years ago.

Don’t tell her, but my mother was right; I am my own worst enemy. It’s something I’ve known for many years, especially when I see my health worsen and continue to live in pain day after day. I should be in better health for a 49-year-old. I should have the strength to change; most days, I feel I don’t.

But those promises I make in the middle of the night — you know, the ones that begin with, “Tomorrow I will ...” — never materialize. Whether it’s 8 in the morning or 8 at night, I always seem to throw myself off my diet or exercise plan. The day is ruined. I rationalize it somehow. Then, that night, I make the same promise, and the next day I break it. Over and over. It’s a vicious cycle, and I’m embarrassed by my weakness.

The last time I had that kind of strength and worked hard to better my health was five years ago when I started writing the Lake Placid Diet column. I lost more than 80 pounds in six months. When I walked my first half marathon in June 2014, I was still obese at 390 pounds, but I felt a lot better and had more energy. I had indeed changed my life for the better.

Yet, as I always do, I sabotaged myself. Two-and-a-half years after losing the 80 pounds, I had gained it back, plus another 10 pounds. I was in pain all the time. I had to walk around with the use of a cane (I still do most of the time). That vicious cycle returned, and it’s how I ended my 2018 — weighing 13 pounds more than a year ago. I began 2018 at 444 pounds and began 2019 at 457 pounds —?not my highest of 493 but nothing to be proud of, either.

I can’t help but think that many of my problems would be solved if only I could lose weight and get it under control. I’d get my self confidence back. I’d dress better. I’d feel better. My finances would improve. I’d feel more comfortable in social situations. I’d be less embarrassed about how I look in public and may get out more instead of hiding from people. I may stop hating myself.

Yes, I could probably use some therapy, as some of my family members have suggested. I’m also a good candidate for bariatric surgery, as many others have suggested. I was actually in the bariatric program at Adirondack Health in the summer of 2017 and, after much soul searching, I decided against it.

I keep trying to remember what gave me the strength five years ago to lose all that weight, and I keep asking myself, “How did I do it?” For the life of me, even after re-reading the Lake Placid Diet columns from 2014, I haven’t found that answer. Sure, there are many good tips, but I haven’t found that winning formula again.

All I can say is, it’s complicated. There are so many moving parts in a person’s life — emotions, needs, pain, expectations, responsibilities, excuses, relationships, finances, etc. — that there isn’t a single solution to anybody’s weight-loss problem.

There is no silver bullet, no magic pill, no matter what you see in the television advertisements this time of year.

There is, however, a journey. It’s a journey of life, with ups and downs. Everyone is on their own journey and has a unique set of problems and challenges. And nobody is immune to pain and suffering. We all find different ways to deal with that pain and suffering, and some people are better at it than others. Me? Not so good. I use food to deal with it, and that’s a major part of my problem. I’m weak that way.

One thing I remember from 2014 was I stopped making excuses. I used the Nike slogan as a mantra — “Just do it” — and that helped tremendously.

Another thing that helped was going to the gym — Fitness Revolution in Lake Placid — and finding a support group there, people who share the same weight problems and people who I wasn’t embarrassed to share my feelings with because they have similar feelings. I worked out two to three times a week for months at a time, and it made me stronger. I did that for two years, and although I hadn’t lost much more than that 80 pounds, my strength helped me walk another half marathon in 2015, beating my time by one hour without even trying.

That, in itself, shows me I can do it. It should give me the self confidence to go back and make it happen again, but self confidence doesn’t work that way, at least not for me. It gives me strength, but until I can answer that question — “How did I do it?” — I will not be able to lose 80 pounds again.

Perhaps I’m over-thinking it. I tend to do that; my brain rarely rests. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night thinking of a problem or two, and I’ll stay up the rest of the night trying to solve those problems in my head.

Maybe it’s time to stop making excuses and “just do it.” This week, I’m returning to the Fitness Revolution gym to start my new year right.

It’s going to be a wonderful year.


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