A Hard Year: Skin and Bones

My driver's license says I'm 5' 11'' and 135 lbs. I'm actually slightly shorter than that, but I am that skinny. 135-140 lbs is about what I consider a healthy weight when I'm active. I weighed 125 as a sophomore in high school. Briefly I weighed under 130 in college, and that wasn't a healthy weight at that time. This is  really brief post which looks at two footnotes in my notebook from last year just to give context to my overall health at the time.

"Weight 2/1=135lbs" February 1, 2016

"Weight 2/1=135lbs" February 1, 2016

I had my plan for February set out. I knew I would literally be tightening my belt to save money for a plane ticket to Italy for later in the spring. I wanted to keep tabs on my weight both for my health and as a bit of a point of pride in terms of checking my self control. So I took note of my weight at the start of the month. That kind of control was important at the time and was increasingly more so over these months. Frankly this note at the bottom of a page should've been worrying in that I was thinking in these terms.

"Weight 3/7=128lbs" March 7, 2016

"Weight 3/7=128lbs" March 7, 2016

So I lost seven pounds in about a month last year. I don't read too much into weight. Your weight can actually fluctuate wildly over the course of a day, so following a larger trend is more insightful, like these notes taken about a month apart. These seven pounds weren't just gained and lost over the course of a meal and a workout, I'd let myself waste in favor of holding some kind of control over my day to day activity. Seeing the face of that wasting certainly didn't help the dysphoric sense of self I've talked about.

If I hadn't worked at a job that provided me with a meal and calorie heavy drinks everyday, I'd have lost more. I ordered the most calorie dense sandwich and a large, whole milk hot chocolate to keep some calories and fats around me. My advice for choosing those tough jobs you have to work at certain points in your life: get a job that literally feeds you, working retail in clothes wont provide that, working in food service will keep you alive if that's the point you're at.

Above is a complete record of groceries I bought in February, 2016. What I spent on groceries, total, in February was only $49.08 and my additional records show about $51.00 spent for a continuous four week period mid February into March. My budget was $77.00 for food and I was under that number both months eating out included.

Above is a complete record of groceries I bought in February, 2016. What I spent on groceries, total, in February was only $49.08 and my additional records show about $51.00 spent for a continuous four week period mid February into March. My budget was $77.00 for food and I was under that number both months eating out included.

There's a few different ways I look at this. I paid about $100 per pound to afford a plane ticket. The weight would be $15 in pennies. In The Merchant of Venice only one pound of flesh is at stake. I lost more than two times the weight of my entire brain. Three liters of water weigh about seven pounds. A gallon of milk with two grande lattes poured out weighs seven pounds. It's the weight of a ream of paper with your favorite novel on top.

The difference between losing weight and wasting is also significant. There literally wasn't much of me left by the time I made it back to Chicago on March 27, 2016.