Saturday, August 31, 2013

Persistence - Virtue or Willful Stupidity?


I keep a spreadsheet on my refrigerator door.  It tracks my weight back to 2004.  During that time - almost a decade now! - I've weighed as much as 294 and as little as 202.  It shows my best efforts, like the 18 months when I managed to stay below 225, and my worst, like the most recent 20-plus months, when I've remained stuck in the 270s and 280s.  Anything encouraging on this spreadsheet seems more than cancelled out by the rest of it: not only have I failed to maintain substantial weight loss on the relatively rare occasions I've achieved it, but the weight losses I did temporarily achieve were never even enough to move me on the BMI chart from Obese to Overweight.  A rational person would not predict future success based on this decade's worth of hard data. 

But yet, I keep stepping onto the scale and recording my weight on the spreadsheet 3 times every month.  And every so often I summon up a surge of will power, clean out the kitchen, and try to be more conscientious about using the elliptical machine.  I'm not even sure why, because I honestly have a hard time imagining that (or how), at nearly 50, I'm going to be able to achieve and maintain the kind of weight loss that's consistently eluded me throughout my 30s and 40s.

But yet, I never quite give up. Maybe it's the fear that if I ever listed the elliptical on Ebay and gave my running shoes to Good Will, then soooner or later my weight would cross the 300-pound mark, I'd turn into a recluse, and someday I'd be on the news when the EMT's had to cut a hole in the side of my house to get me out!  Or maybe it's the simple vanity of still hoping that someday I can reach and maintain a weight which wouldn't be the first thing people noticed about me.

So, I'm persistent.  But, given years of only insufficient and temporary successes when my body was younger and responded to diet and exercise more readily, is persistence still a virtue?  Is it even smart?  I have no idea.     
 

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