Thursday, July 15, 2010


Today I weigh 63 pounds less than I did six months ago. Since the initial weigh in on January 15th, I had not stepped on a scale.

At six this morning I stumbled out of bed knowing this was the day. The six month anniversary of my flipped switch. ON Fitness. ON Health.

It’s ridiculous, for I already knew of my great progress regarding my weight. The new clothes. The waist sizes not worn since 1992. But still, as I went downstairs to the basement where the scale sits in its judge’s chambers, I felt my stomach drop as I stepped on and waited that two to three seconds for the digital numbers to pop out a verdict.

What I did not expect was my reaction to seeing the number and doing the math. And then realizing “this is real”. For those who have not battled their weight, it may all seem the stuff of a bad Oprah episode. But for me, my war with food is something I've waged in shame – like so many people. Through reckless eating, I gave birth to ½ a new self - a coating that encased the born me and sought to give protection for many, many years.

Assaulting me was a sense of relief mixed with intense mourning. That other self is now gone. He did his job and had to go. But I’m not sure he’s fully accepted that yet. When I cross in front of a pane of glass and catch the transparent reflection, he is ghosting there for a fractioned second before being replaced by the true image. And when I bathe and stroke the soapy cloth over my body, I feel him wanting to be washed too – but when you’re gone, there is no need to shower. How can I tell him this in a way that is not hurtful? He worked so very hard to protect me, never understanding that he only perpetuated my pain and anxiety.

So for now, I am both exuberant and haunted. I have pride in my dedication to adopt new respect for my body and well-being. I give great thanks for the support of friends and family. But I also face the ghost of that extra me. And I wonder – with a touch of fear and a lot of curiosity – if this next phase is about a gentle fading into a permanent good-bye, or the revelation of a needed exorcism to rid myself of the risk…that he will demand a return.


ptwnstargazer said...

Congratulations Matt, good luck moving into this new stage of your self. The self control that must have taken astounds me.

Matthew Payne said...

This is so random. I came across your blog on google images when trying to figure out the name of the kid on glee who had that talk with his dad about gay sex. I Began reading your post looking for his name (Kurt, by the way) and your insights were caught my attention. I scrolled up and read this blog on shedding. I have never been able to relate to my feelings about being overweight until I read your post. This has been a casing i've put on myself, for protection. I've always struggled with disappointment because this wasn't my action, it was almost a natural defense mechanism. Eating recklessly. I'm 19 and gay, growing up with a verbally abusive dad, with a mormon family, and being ashamed of who I was- I turned to food to numb my anxiety of the life I was in. I want rid of the ghost that has total control over me right now, but your story gives me hope that it's possible, difficult as hell I imagine, but possible.

Thanks again,
If you have any other advice, let me know.