twice in the last 6 or 7 years, i’ve become what i consider overweight. what do i consider overweight? i could see in the mirror that my gut was sticking out, and my pants were getting tighter. to me, that’s overweight. i wasn’t a blimp or anything but i could see that i was starting to pack weight on, and that’s enough for me to want to do something about it.
the scale confirmed my fears, of course. while my adult weight has fluctuated between 180-190 lbs, it was only recently that it crept up to 200 lbs. both times that this happened, i simply cut back on junk food (i have a deep respect for cookies and chips), started eating smaller portions in general, and did a bit more cardio exercise like running and biking than usual. within a few weeks, my body went back to the shape i liked and my weight dropped down to 190. hooray, all is right in my world again.
but i’ve been thinking about why my weight has slowly become a minor issue for me, and i actually think it’s because i’m no longer poor.
hear me out, you treasonous infidels: when i was in my early 20s and first moved out, i didn’t have a lot of money so i bought the cheapest food i could — i learned that fruit was a much cheaper snack than chocolate-coated granola bars or any of the tastier, less healthy options. the same thing applied to cereal so i usually opted for corn flakes or red river — the ultra bland healthier stuff. i never bought cheese because that was WAY too expensive, and on and on. i never overate either, since that would obviously cost more. it’s no surprise i was pretty skinny for all of this.
but as i’ve gotten older and made gradually more money, i’ve gotten into the habit of treating myself to whatever i want, whenever i want. i can now afford whatever guilty pleasure i want when i get groceries, i can buy baked goods every time i work, i can get greasy pizza for a snack when i’m doing errands in town. it doesn’t have a visible impact on my bank account anymore so there has been no incentive to deny myself.
therein lies the problem. i’ve reached a point where i can financially afford to always say ‘yes’ to myself, and it has made me soft.
the funny thing is that i frequently think about this idea in terms of artists and how shitty most of them get once they make it big. i think metallica is a perfect example of how a hungry young band can create important, powerful art when they have nothing, and how the success of that art can lead to the band becoming complacent or self-indulgent. artists have to be careful with success because it can be such a double-edged sword. no matter how successful a band becomes, i think it is of utmost importance that they preserve the fire that made them so great to start with — they need to stay lean, stay hungry, so to speak. i think about that all the time.
despite being acutely aware of this idea, i too fell victim to it (in a physical sense, obv). it’s incredible.
the good news though is that i’m aware of all this now; i’m lucky i caught it early, and i’m lucky i’m already back down to my fighting weight. now i just have to learn to live every day like i’m broke again.