I may fall and break my hip soon. Tonight I ran 3.05 miles here in Albany right as the streets were beginning to become slippery with freezing droplets of rain glazing the concrete and cement. My sneakers–which I hope to retire soon–are coming apart but they still have some treads left on them and so I was able to get through the nastiness on the ground without taking a header into something real hard. The coldness came on quickly. It’s been warmer here lately and the temperature may have dropped five degrees while I put on my well-worn sneakers.  I noticed that the further I ran, the harder my rain-soaked hair became. It was nice.

When I weighed in I was 192.6, which is about a pound more than the same time yesterday. For Lent, I’ve given up a few things (although it’s only Ash Wednesday). One of those things is weighing myself on a daily basis. I gave myself a 20 pounds in 20 weeks goal and I have until nearly mid-May to achieve it, which I know I can do. It feels much easier than before. I’m thinking more positively before and dealing with the fluctuations much better than I have ever done. Add to that, I’m eating better. Things feel good. Even on a miserable freezing rain night such as this.

You ever see those news segments on CNN, MSNBC, FOX or the nightly news on the epidemic of obesity? While the reporter narrates their piece they do it over footage of random fat people crossing busy city streets. The shot is always from the waist down and the person is oblivious of the fact that their gross legs and rear end will be broadcast to a nation.

I used to feel bad for those people, but now when I think about it I can’t. A person who has gained too much weight in the last few years (though it’s been melting off pretty good), I know that no matter where you are in public, people see you.

For several months when I was at my heaviest I worked at a state agency here in New York (known for it’s fat people) which had a corridor with very reflective glass, I used to look away as I passed it. I couldn’t bear to look at myself in the mirror. Certainly, in my mind I knew that I’d gotten fat, but I couldn’t bear to look at my image. It was a perverse denial of sorts. After all, I was fat, 224 pounds at one point. I’m now under 200, but still overweight.

Regardless, the one thing that I know for sure is that when a person is not comfortable with who they are, they are more likely to have maladaptive behaviors like overeating or using drugs. To do so helps a person avoid dealing with the fact that they don’t like where they are in life, where they’re going and where they’ve been.  I know because I’ve been in that position.

A recent story that made headlines in the news of the weird sections circulating in American newspapers speaks to our nation’s obesity epidemic.

It’s a depressing thing when we have people who can accept the fact that that they are fat and do nothing about it. Just like myself avoiding my reflection in the Department of Transportation building window, a person who denies their fatness is doing their self a horrible disservice.

We are now the most obese nation in the world, a country filled with fast food joints, buffet style restaurants and eateries that advertise the big plate, 16-pound sirloin and all-you-can-eat fixings. It’s upsetting to think that I’m a part of that trend and the sad state of our dietary lifestyle. I don’t want to be, so I’m taking the bull by its horns and doing all that I can to melt away my fat. It’s not as hard as it seems. After all, I have good motivation, I don’t want to be one of those people taped for the nightly news walking across the street for a segment on obesity.

I weighed myself before a good four-mile run. I am 211 pounds. I understand why it is so hard to lose weight now. I eat when I’m bored, anxious or perhaps said. The last two days I’ve been asking myself the question, “what am I feeling” when I begin to feel hungry and I am finding more and more an emotion ease that coincides with and perhaps causes a feeling of hunger in me.

Rather than submitting, there may be other things to do. Who knows. I’ve been pretty steady at 211 for the last three months, occasionally dipping up or down but rarely far below that. I’d like to be at 209 by the end of the week and you’d better believe that I’ll weigh myself this upcoming Sunday.

That’s not my mouth over there, but that’s what it feels like. I have had a broken lower right side molar for over a month right now. It’s like the jagged ruins of an old Grecian building. It hurts so much right now. Last night I thought that I was going to break down in tears the pain was that excruciating.

I missed work because of it. I was so frustrated about other things to begin with, but the feeling is one that I can’t describe. It is not localized. It spreads across the jaw like a too-tight chin strap and sends jolts of pain shooting down the neck. There’s scarcely a comfortable position asides from some stretches and postures that are meant to divert the minds automatic attention away from the pain for awhile and produce calming chemicals in the brain. I hate this feeling so much.

Right now I’m a temporary office worker with no benefits. Therefore, getting the molar fixed is not an option right now because I don’t have the money to do so. I can’t wait to have a job that provides benefits for health coverage. I’ve never had that.

Having a broken tooth changes your perspective. In between the psychological torture of the throbbing that shoots not only through the body but seemingly every part of perception, there is a feeling that things might be better if you could get to a dentist, a doctor, a specialist of some type. I really want benefits right now, but I guess I’ll have to step in line behind the 50+ million other people who don’t have it. No use in complaining or feeling sorry for myself. That’s stupid anyway and only makes the pain worse.

I used to love to run, but in recent years–as my waistline has grown–I have ceased to enjoy the feelings it gives me. I’m not sure why, either. I like to be alone with my thoughts, particularly when they are not the chaotic ones that are brought on my life’s stresses and a weird neurological disorder that I have which causes repetitive thoughts to cycle through my mind over and over again.

When I lived in Brooklyn I used to love running from my apartment on Bay Ridge Avenue down to the waterfront, where I would make a left towards the grand Verrazano Narrows Bridge which connects Staten Island to New York’s most cozy borough (I really miss that place). I loved the smell of the ocean water and the site of boats whipping by or giant tankers lumbering in and out of the harbor. Cars raced by at high speeds, but I, running maybe 6 mph, felt even more powerful during the four-mile run. It helped to calm my frustrations, my anxieties and put me at peace. One morning in mid-July 2004, awakened for several hours by panic attacks, I put on my beat up sneakers and headed for the massive gray bridge. Eastward dawn sunlight illuminated the water as I ran, and when I returned to my apartment, sweating and breathless, I was calm and dozed off for several hours in peace.

Now, running is harder. Despite purchasing an MP3 player (which I’ll discuss in another posting), running is hard still. I feel tired easily and I don’t get the same satisfaction I used to get from pounding the pavement. It’s depressing. I’m trying to think about it and figure out why that is. Have I become so serene I can’t run or is there a restlessness inside of me.

I used to be spotted during college breaks running down Kenwood Avenue in my hometown of Delmar, New York. I was a running fool. Six miles, four days a week, sometimes in 96 degree weather. I loved the feeling, sweat-soaked, drained of worry and fear, relaxed. Even running 100 miles on a treadmill during the fall term of 2000, I couldn’t capture that exhiliration.

I’m noticing things are changing, but I feel a confident insight into why and a feeling I can regain my elan again. I hope so. I’m putting on my sneakers in an hour–as soon as the rush hour traffic dies down–to run for an hour or so. My body deserves it, but my soul craves it even more.