Stephen Mosher On The Yo Yo Waistline
I was a chubby kid. There are photos of my little round face throughout my parents’ photo albums. Eventually, my body changed and I was slender and svelte. Until I met the man I would marry. Our first year together was all about eating. It was the mid 80s and people were doing Jazzercise but they weren’t paying attention to HFC or Gluten, to dairy and to simple carbs. Some people in the know were, but not our circle of friends. And Pat and I made meals for each other that, frankly, should have killed us. There was macaroni and cheese made with five different cheeses, and Carnation Ice Cream Bon Bons. We ate Hillshire Farm smoked sausages with Rice a Roni. We loved sandwiches – the more ingredients the better. We made one another elaborate meals and we made enough for second helpings. Years went by and we made a lot of friends. At Christmastime I made more cookies and pies than you were likely to find at the local bakery. We had elaborate Thanksgiving dinners and pot luck parties. By the time we were in our thirties, we were chubby. Eventually, I weighed 205 pounds, my back hurt all the time from carrying the weight, I couldn’t breathe when climbing stairs and I had huge sweat bands under my Man Boobs, walking around New York in August. I hated myself. I hated everything about my life.
Just before I turned 38 I hired a gym and a trainer and, together, we changed my diet, my workout regimen, my body and my life. I lived for many years, after that, as a paragon of health and fitness. So much so that people made fun of me, to my face, for doing something that was good for me: minding my diet and my exercise. People went out of their way to call me names and tell me something was the matter with me for living the way I did. It was frustrating, irritating, exasperating, exhausting and insulting. I didn’t change. Not for them. I loved feeling healthy and I loved looking the way I did. I had self esteem and self respect and I had a lot of people admiring me, especially the men who I wanted to admire me.
Needing work, I went to work for a catering company. They made really good food. When I started working there I had 18% body fat. When I left there, four years later, I was 20 pounds overweight. I have been trying to get that weight off ever since. It is difficult because the first time I took off the weight I was 37. Now I was in my late forties (today I am 53) and shit doesn’t come off as easily when you’re middle aged than it does when you are younger. I had spent four years eating fresh pasta and chocolate molten cakes. I had spent four years missing workouts. And I had started drinking again. There is so much sugar in alcohol, so many calories. To add insult to serious injury, I had fucked up my back on the job at the catering company and couldn’t exercise the way I once had. I was broken. And I gave up. I was starting to hate myself again. I was turning into a fat middle aged man. Hate.
It’s ok now. I got my shit together. I meditated on my experience, on what I had, what I wanted, what I needed, what I didn’t want. I changed my diet again and started working out again. It’s still hard because I have still never fully recovered from the back injury. But I will. I’m working on all of it. I’ve spent the last few years wearing blousy clothing and hiding myself from the world, when I can. When you have been the role model for health and fitness and then you are the Mighty who has fallen it is humiliating. Your friends still love you and they see you for the beauty that you are; but you feel something else. And it’s your damage. You have to shake it off, be strong and move forward.
So that’s what I’m doing . The healthy diet is back on. The workouts are getting stronger and more regular. I threw out two of the “fat shirts” that I wear most often and am wearing clothes that fit me now. I’m down from 185 to 175. Sometimes I have to miss a day or two at the gym (life gets in the way) or I make a wrong choice, diet wise. So what. All you can do is what you can do and not make yourself hate yourself if it isn’t going the way you want to. You just have to appreciate the days that you do it right and give yourself a break on the days that you don’t. All that matters is the days that you show up and do it.
The best good health is not hating yourself because you’re human.
Below you can see a journey of me at 205 lbs of adipose tissue, 170 lbs of muscle and, today at a less extreme middle of the road body type.