In February of 2002, I reached a milestone mini-goal: 232. However, it was hard-won (the hardest yet), and I bounced around for 3 months between very strict paleo/antiyeast and regular Atkins.
It just wasn’t fair that I couldn’t eat regular Atkins anymore and expect to lose weight. I began to lose hope in my ability to get beyond this obstacle, but I persevered somewhat on less-than-perfect paleo/antiyeast. Then a friend slapped me in the face with a truth I would never have acknowledged for myself because it was so painful: I had lost my motivation.
Mind, I’m confessing this to you as I would a murder to a priest. It’s difficult and uncomfortable for many reasons, not the least being that I’ve been lying to you for the entirety of this column. However, if I don’t tell you this now, none of what I have to say hereafter is going to make sense. I’m going to tell you about The Captain.
I met The Captain online in a Mormon singles chat room in June of 1998 when he was bored and living in a barracks in Texas and awaiting transfer orders to Hawaii. After 18 months of on-and-off “How’s the weather” type email communication, he called me. After that, we were in constant contact by email and phone, regardless where he was in the world.
In September of 1998, I first discovered Atkins and four months later I was 50 pounds down. I began to cheat, and in March or April of 99 was only maintaining the 50-pound loss, and then through the summer I began to gain again. (At this point, The Captain was only a blip in my email inbox, so he was inconsequential to the whole process.)
By October of 99 I knew I was seriously out of control and had decided to eat myself silly till the end of the year and start on Jan 1, 2000 with the CORRECT way to eat and no men to distract me. So I did. And I gained to 380.
Along about December of that year, The Captain decided to call me for the first time. Mind, there was nothing about this haphazard relationship and then telephone call that should have kept us together. It was pretty much a disaster all the way around. Neither of us acted according to our usual patterns of behavior with the other. But…the burgeoning relationship held on.
On January 1, 2000, the very day I began my new/not-so-new low carbohydrate way of life, The Captain called me to tell me he was at KCI Airport for a layover and would I come see him?
I knew, knew, knew, knew that that would be the death knell for any potential this relationship might have (despite my resolution to forego distractions of the male variety). I said no.
For six months, The Captain badgered me to let him come see me, or would I come see him? No, no, no! I explained myself, even. I told him about my resolve and my goals and though I didn’t give him any numbers, I told him my history of being a Fat Girl; I let him understand that I was very heavy and wasn’t about to trust any chivalry on his part that would turn a potential love match into a friendship. Period. End of discussion. He was very unhappy with me, and I didn’t care.
In May of 2000, he had begged me to let him come see me and take me to see The Barber of Seville. I again refused. I figured if he didn’t want to wait for me to do what I needed to do; he’d cut me off and that would solve my no-guys dilemma. He was not used to being refused. And yet, he hung on.
The Captain then became a civilian in an Air Force Reserve uniform and, at the same time, a new student at Brigham Young University in their MBA program. He was then going to be within reasonable commuting distance in a place I considered “my territory” and the phone relationship was getting on my nerves, so I arranged to meet him and set a date – August 18, 2001.
And, oh, was I on plan.
By August 18, 2001, weighing in at 255 pounds (down from 380), I was to meet him for the first time, and I was a wreck. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was working 2 jobs, and I wasn’t eating well. Oh, I was on plan, all right, but my caloric intake was probably fewer than 1,000 per day. I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I knew I hadn’t lost enough weight to make a good impression on him. And though I knew I had accomplished something tremendous, he would never know this because he had nothing to compare it to. Further, I wasn’t even sure if he’d appreciate it even if he did have a context.
At the time, my skin was pulling back nicely (which I didn’t expect). I could feel my ribcage (something I didn’t know I had). I could see my collarbone, and my second chin was gone. Nice black shorts (really pretty short) and modestly high mules made my legs look long and muscular. My feet went back to a 6 1/2. I could wear sleeveless blouses, as my arms had muscle definition. The very small and fine definition of my bone structure was very obvious in my upper body and face. My ass was perky. My non-touchy-feely mother said she was proud of me.
And I was sick to my stomach because it wasn’t enough. I knew in my heart that it would never be enough, and I would not acknowledge that fact.
So on August 18, 2001, I went to Utah to meet this man who had evolved (despite my resolutions) into the sole motivation for my successful weight loss.