A one-week challenge: Day 1
Today is day 9 without a functioning boiler, and it’s turned painfully cold in here. It’s difficult to get much of anything done. Any body part that happens to protrude from the safe encasing of several layers of clothing, coats, and duvets is instantly freezing. The only real difference between outside and inside today is that it’s wet outside. Our small space heater takes the edge off, but after running for a week, the plastic part of the casing has started to warp out of shape. This is the point where I start to understand the thinking that leads to the annual warnings about not using the stovetop and oven as a way of generating heat for the home. I’ve actually considered it this morning.
Today also marks the first day of a set of personal challenges Adam and I have set ourselves. While it’s not my place to talk about his challenge, I think it’s necessary to talk about my own.
My challenge, quite simply, is to go on a diet for the week.
But it is more than that, I think. It’s to look at my relationship to food, and to my body. It hits on all sorts of issues. I don’t know whether I can even put it into words. It’s a long-term issue that has manifested itself in various ways.
I’ve never been happy with my body. Even as a kid, there were always skinnier kids and I felt somehow inferior to them. As a teenager, it was even worse. At a certain point, I knew I’d never be happy. No matter what, I’d compare myself to somebody skinnier and be depressed.
In 2005, it all went to crap. I was in the grips of my worst depression and I can say with some certainty that the only thing that kept me alive was a pill that did all but kill me each day. Seroquel, in combination with a load of other pills and almost daily appointments with a psychiatrist, finally got me out of a depression that had been doing all it could to destroy my life since my mom died in 2000. Seroquel would knock me out for half the day, and the ability to be in a near-death state of sleep. It took me away from myself, which was exactly what I needed.
When I went off it, I was left with two things: a significantly better mood and a significantly fatter body. Over about 6 months, I had gained somewhere in the region of 100 pounds. I went from being heavy to being a blob of self-hatred. I’ve lost and gained the edges of that weight, but I’m still quite a bit up on where I was.
I’ve never openly gone on a diet. I don’t want to be the one ‘on a diet’ because it’s an admittance of defeat. It’s saying, finally and publicly, that I don’t like who I am. But it’s something I need to do. I don’t like who I am. I don’t like what I look like. I don’t like what I feel like.
So today is the first day of a 5-day challenge. On Saturday, before we have an evening of fun, we’re going to see where we stand. We’re going to see how we’ve done with our challenges and see what we’ve realized about our relationships with our vices. As the week goes on, part of my self-challenge is to write about this challenge. In addition to regular posts about things that grind my gears, television, and whatever other drivel comes to mind, I’m going to write each day about my diet challenge.
As an aside, we might both be a bit edgy come Thursday or Friday. Just to warn people.