17 December 2018


I fell asleep on the sofa with my head next to the iPad I had set an alarm on — thirty six minutes to sleep after meditating and then I would run. I woke before the alarm went off and had another apple and cup of coffee before finally willing myself to put on my trainers, open the door, let my activity tracker catch the GPS and then I can start running. Just start running, nothing more. I tell myself I can stop, if I want to, but once I start and I make the first kilometer and then the second, I am on the trail and of course I am not going to stop running, what sort of dumb lie was that.

Never a fan of dialectics, I've spent the year looking for my own words to describe what is essentially a dialectic — the void and self-efficacy. My weight has been some measure of my own self-efficacy, my ability to say I will do something and then do it. It's an imperfect measure, and after struggling for years, and going through periods of weighing myself day in and day out and then lapsing, eating without stopping, loaded down with cookies and whatever else I can get my hands on, it all seemed to stopped this year once I committed to my insufferable plant-based lifestyle.

I still fear weighing myself after a period of not weighing myself and that fear is irrational; I accept that. I accept that all my thoughts about my body and what I should and shouldn't eat are self-made problems, the result of letting my obsessing mind take over different parts of my life, with promises of diminishing returns of success and eventual burnout. I'm a sucker for obsession. If I could, I would wake my wife up at two in the morning and share whatever concern I have on my mind, likely about our application for our visa. I'm proud of myself for not doing this, but you can't ask someone to appreciate that you haven't done something bad to them, even though you want to.

On Saturday, I peeled off all my clothes and willed myself onto the scale, afraid like I have trained myself to be afraid, but there it was. I had no one to announce this to, of course, no one should care. I made coffee and sat on the sofa reading all the online bad news and waiting to feel some sense of accomplishment for having willed myself into a body that I wasn't given. I used to be fat, I tell people, a-matter-of-factly, like the rejoinder should be, And now you're not. Well done.

The ax is already at the root of the trees. Jesus prunes the branches while John cuts the whole tree down. The run is over before I know it. I think I should do more, perhaps, press for another ten minutes, but I don't. Some years ago, on this day, I finished my PhD and then moved to Malaysia the next week. It was ten days later. See, anything is possible. You don't need anyone to pat you on the head, you just need to get up.