“Is there anything you think would put you in danger of re-gaining the weight?” my good friend Doug asked me one afternoon back in 2011. For much of our lives we both fought the war with the scale, and he knew my history of being a chronic regainer. The answer I gave Doug was instantaneous. “Yes,” I said, leaning forward across the table at lunch that day. “Men.”
Seven years ago I was fresh off my most recent victory with said scale: 180 pounds lighter and enjoying an understandably new way of existing. Having learned much from all of my past weight loss ‘failures,’ I knew in precise terms what did not work for me, so there would be no more buying into quick-fix seductions from the diet industry. This time, I conquered obesity and binge-eating through a mosaic of solutions: self-help books, therapy, 12-step meetings, meditation classes, even a soul-searching stint in a food rehab. And when the wounds were properly salved, I was ready to take on the physical leg of my journey, finding a form of movement I clicked with (DDPYOGA) and taking the advice of a reputable nutritionist.
There’s no magical, easy life once the weight is gone, however. I still had to live with myself…and my hang-ups and fears. 25 years ago a painful break-up sent me reeling. Determined to never be hurt again, I dove head-first into regaining lost weight and hiding from the issues of intimacy. I hid with copious amounts of food and by half-heartedly agreeing to a new relationship where I knew I wouldn’t be fulfilled or happy, but hey, it was about hiding from the truth, so I was all-in. My body and soul paid the price. It was only after I was aroused from this self-inflicted coma 20 years later that I took a step back and admitted how profoundly unhappy I was. What, did you think lasting weight loss was all about calories in/calories out? If only it were that cut and dry.
But don’t be discouraged. Please don’t be discouraged. All it takes is a little bravery. Once you wade into the waters of honesty you’ll discover it’s not only not excruciating, it’s freeing. After a year or so of taking time to reconnect with myself again, it seemed like the right time to think about dating. I assumed that with the weight off, a roster of dashing men would somehow find me and commence courting. They didn’t. Friends suggested online dating. I said no way, it was for losers who couldn’t meet people on their own. Another year went by and I wasn’t meeting people on my own. Humbled, I joined a dating site, knowing it would be more than a viable way to meet a guy – would provide a golden ticket to face my fears and slay them once and for all.
Did I experience rejection? Of COURSE! Were some of my hopes dashed? Yup. Was there a healthy percentage of players? Affirmative. But a wise friend imparted some powerful wisdom to me at the beginning of my online search that stuck: something along the lines of ‘no one can make you unhappy but you.’ Sure, people can disappoint me, but it was incumbent on me to mind my side of the street, properly interpret the red flags, and not get carried away in my head. And believe me, I was getting fed up with some of the shenanigans from some of my suitors. Perhaps it was time for a break…I was approaching the six-month mark, and my patience was set to expire with my membership.
But, at the 11th hour, I grudgingly agreed to go one one more coffee date before checking out. January 11 is the day the walls came down, not because I was invested in a fantasy, but all the years of trial and error, learning and discerning, and rising again after each dust-up had taught me well. I sensed goodness in the man who sat across from me that morning of January 11, 2012, and as it always is, my gut was correct.
So, cheers to not only 6 years, but to surmounting obstacles and smashing down walls that keep us hidden. Risks are soul-enhancing, and disappointment is survivable. This I know for sure.