Fighting Back Thriving

I’m Not Calling it a Resolution

I have had enough.

I’m done with being overweight.

I’m done with having a jacked up metabolism from cancer treatment, and I’m done with it still being the reason I’m overweight.

I’m done with programs built on shakes and handfuls of supplements that worked for a short time, then didn’t anymore.

I’m done with counting points, or eating giant amounts of protein, and getting mixed messages about what works and what doesn’t.

It’s time to take control and get back to the weight I was before my diagnosis. That guy in the picture at the top of this post … that was me roughly four months before I was diagnosed with the horribly, life-changing disease.

I miss that guy.

I miss wearing clothing sizes I hadn’t worn since high school. I miss being able to move faster. I miss getting up from a chair with ease and comfort.

I also miss not knowing that oral chemotherapy made my ears buzz like an electrical line ran between them, or that infused chemo made me so tired some days that I could barely move, or that radiation would burn the crack of my ass like a week of exposure to Death Valley sunlight. I miss life before shitting in a bag — Is it weird to miss sitting on a toilet, and miss farting? I miss feeling the ground beneath my feet.

I also miss not knowing that important friends would disappear because they couldn’t deal with my disease, and I miss not knowing how hard it is to make everyone around me feel comfortable with the fact that I had cancer.

In short, I miss my life before cancer.

And yet.

I would never call cancer a gift, ever, but my life is so much richer in so many ways because of the experience.

I would have missed having a stronger marriage because together we survived our toughest test. I would have missed making new friends, the closest of whom I barely knew before diagnosis. I would have missed being buoyed by the support of my entire community, as well as by friends and family across the country and around the world. Having a dog, writing a book, becoming a speaker — I would have missed all of that and so much more.

But I digress.

In December, I shared the story of my journey from fat guy to fit-ish guy to cancer patient. I shared how it feels to lose 100 pounds only to gain it all back and feel powerless to stop it. That presentation, given at a policy forum sponsored by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and others on Healthy Eating and Active Living for cancer survivors, has stuck with me because I feel like I need to live up to the words I spoke that day.

Four weeks ago, I drew a line in the sand. No more quasi-nutritional crap. If it didn’t come from God, almost directly, it doesn’t go into my pie hole (mmm, pie). I’m eating tons of vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins. I’m not eating sugar. I will have a cheat meal and plan to have them on occasion. They will include something sweet. After all, I’m not a monk.

I’m also moving more. I lead a bootcamp three mornings a week, I hit the gym on the other days, I train for my next Spartan Race every Saturday morning and when it’s over I will schedule another event to work toward, and Sarah and I take Tai Chi classes.

I drink lots of water, step on the scale every morning and track every bite in an app on my phone.

Boiled down to its essence, that’s my “plan.”

So far it’s working. I’ve lost 17 pounds. I have another 64 to lose before I reach my pre-cancer weight, and another 20 to get to my goal. (A friend calls the additional 20 my vanity weight, but I still had a little bit of a spare tire at my pre-cancer weight so my goal is to lose the tire altogether if I can.)

I’m not calling it a resolution, but a big part of my focus for the year is on getting back to my pre-diagnosis weight. I feel an urgency to do it now. If I wait much longer and get much older losing weight will be far more difficult. There’s also the fear of cancer recurrence, the risk for which is much higher for an overweight person.

This is the year.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Momma j
    January 28, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Great writing from you Michael. I am grateful that you got attitude about the cancer. The day I met you, in 2012, I have to admit, I was saddened by the way you seemed to feel. You reminded me of a dear friend who I miss dearly. Now, you seem like a whole new man. I’m glad for you. Prayers for your continued success.

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