I stared incredulously at the picture before me. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The photo in question was one my wife snapped on the line at a major archery event in Pittsburgh quite a few years ago. The second-most amazing thing in the picture, was the five left-handed archers all standing next to each other taking aim at some distant targets. What made my jaw drop and the most amazing thing in the photo was the enormous belly on one archer in particular. The dewlap hung over my belt like Buddha. “That can’t be me!” But it was.
I printed the picture out and hung it on the refrigerator. I also put a copy at the bottom of my monitor at work. It became my inspiration for the years to come. At the time of the photo my weight was well north of 230 lbs. and was way too much for my 5′ 11″ frame. With a stressful job, I was a stroke waiting for a place to happen. I resolved to change.
If you’ve followed my blog or know me personally, you know that in the ensuing years that weight came off in a big way. 170 lbs (or a few lighter now and then) became the new Pete for many years. Running and other exercise to get my weight down became a passion and my 5K times quickly dipped below the 20 minute mark as I got my eating under control and upped the exercise intensity. An Ironman and a couple Boston Marathons followed. Fit Pete was pretty fast. Fit Pete could also hike miles into the mountains and drag deer out without it being a monumental effort. Fit Pete was pretty lean and agile as well. (Physically lean and agile, not corporate lean and agile . . though he is supposed to be that too!)
In 2017, some setbacks began. First there was a major core muscle and hip injury that needed to be surgically repaired. Then, while coming back nicely from that, I got somewhat devastating news about my right foot. Much of this had to do with my twisted, scoliotic body. Still, I was running, riding, staying active and eating pretty well. I was also still motivated to do what races I could. Races on the calendar equaled reason to stay fit, lest I be crossing the finish line while the cleanup crew was taking down the last of the race accoutrements. Still, knowing my distance running days were behind me, motivation began to lag. And then 2020 happened and the world stopped. Since then, I’ve worked at home, lost the desire to race, and live just steps from the refrigerator, pantry, and wine cellar.
That’s a long list of excuses right there. If I’m being honest with myself, I know I have not done the best job of trying to be healthy. There is always an excuse to not care what I’m eating. There is always an excuse to reduce the intensity of my exercise. “I’m not putting on that much weight.” Meanwhile, for the first time in years I’m using something other than the last available hole in my belt. It wasn’t that long ago, I was making new holes because it wouldn’t go any smaller. Each morning I’d ignore the bathroom scale where I once diligently weighed in each day. Each morning I’d ignore the growing blob in the bathroom mirror. But yesterday I took a deep breath and stepped on the scale. “Please don’t say 180.” But I knew it would. And it did. 180.0 exactly. I am now 10 pounds heavier than what I have been for nearly 11 years. It’s time to buckle down.
So here I am. Posting my weight out there for the world to see. I’m not posting a picture of my new-found belly. It is nowhere near what it was at that shoot in Pittsburgh but nobody wants to see that. I am going to take a picture for myself though and, with your help, make it go away permanently! I need your help to keep me accountable. Feel free to ask, how it’s going. Feel free to remind me to pick up those healthy snacks and stop stress eating chocolate throughout the day. Feel free to remind me that a couple glasses of wine on the weekend is plenty and it doesn’t need to be a daily staple for each meal. Feel free to challenge me to run hard again. Feel free to challenge me to race again!