Commit to Fit | Week 42

Author: Commit to Fit 2011 Winner, Dave McKew

When are you writing your novel?

It's a flattering thought, but I assure you my life isn't interesting enough to sustain a novel. Even if I lose 50 more pounds, my weight loss story isn't all that compelling because I've not overcome any personal tragedies or anything like that.  In fact, my life has been generally free of major obstacles (knock on wood or whatever this desk is made out of), even when I was at my heaviest.

That being said, my life's journey has definitely been ridiculous enough to sustain a one-man comedy stage show, and that will probably happen in San Francisco in late 2012, so...stay tuned for that.

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 Do you consider yourself an over-eater?

No.  In fact I recently confirmed this by attending an Overeaters Anonymous (OA) meeting, for the first time.  I went to lend support, and do some research for a writing project (which may or may not be the one-man stage comedy about weight loss I previously mentioned.)   Overall, I found the OA experience to be cult-like (talking in sync, memorized prayers, etc.) and just... thoroughly disturbing.

At the start of the meeting, I felt pressure to identify myself up-front as an overeater which, frankly, set a poor tone for me for the rest of the evening.  The meeting was so regimented, with everyone who spoke having a strict time limit denoted by a loudly beeping stopwatch (and everyone was given a “warning” when their time was almost up, it was like watching Oscar speeches... you aren't even listening because you're so stressed out about how awkward it's gonna be when they're cut off.)  The people in this meeting were obsessed with food at a level I could never have been.  There were two people in the meeting who said they’d weighed and measured EVERY meal they’ve eaten since the early 1980’s. A woman said something funny that was kinda "anti-OA" and no one laughed.  It was erie.  How did they all know not to laugh?  I don't get it.  Anyway, I left the meeting feeling like OA had actually made some of these people feel like they had a problem they may not have actually had.  Yes, I am probably going to get in trouble for saying this, but the impression I got was that OA actually may CAUSE people to obsess about food.  I can't see how people don't leave these meetings feeling like food is their personal demon and a horrific challenge, based on what everyone was saying.  I should have brought some Eating Free brochures.

Perhaps I sound very closed-minded.  Perhaps I can't relate to skinny people who think they have weight problems.  But as I looked around the room and heard stories both familiar and unfamiliar, I found it remarkably easy to distance myself from these people; I truly don't believe I was ever like them. I never recall eating in secret, feeling guilty about food, eating differently in front of people vs. alone, partaking in "emotional eating."

I suppose when push comes to shove, I guess I've always felt different from other obese people because I haven't shared a lot of their more common problems.  If you read my blog, you'll see that I don't say "Biggest Loser" style stuff like "now I have my life back" and "my life was spinning out of control" and "I'm a different person now" (and my favorite: "I don't know who that guy is" when I'm looking at an old picture of myself.)  I don't say stuff like that, or even think it, because I don't feel that my previous life was some horrific disaster.  In fact that is one of the reasons why I went to the OA meeting, and I said this when I was there: “I’m here because I’m in a great place in my life, and I wanted to be reminded of where I’ve been, because I respect how remarkably easy it is to get off this successful track that I'm on."  I further explained that I was checking out OA as a possible support network I might need in the future.  However, at this point I know it's not for me.  I won't be going back.

That all being said, if these people feel like OA is helping them, who am I to say it’s not? These are my observations as a first timer; I was basically an outsider to a process that I simply don’t understand.

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Now that you've gone through this huge transformation, are there other challenges you feel like you're able to take on, that you wouldn't have before?

The two most common questions I get these days are "What's next for you, after Commit To Fit, in terms of food and exercise?" and "What's next for you, in terms of life?"  I answered the former last week and this week I'm tackling the latter.

As I've mentioned before, I'm an actor/writer/comedian and for the last ten years, I've been largely performing my own material, which is rewarding but limiting as an actor because you instinctively don't write parts you can't play.  Acting isn't much of a challenge when you know the character inside and out, right?  Losing weight will undoubtedly open up some opportunities for me.  I don't usually go to auditions because I've been too big for most roles.  But at both my current and future sizes I'm far more apt to get work on stage or in a commercial or movie, which would be challenging and rewarding in  a different way than playing parts written by myself or my creative partner.  And as I get smaller, even more doors will open for me there. So I suspect I'll be auditioning more, and seeing what's out there.  I'd like to do some drama, which I've not really done since my college acting class.

I have a few other ambitions and several big ideas for sure...but I'm not ready to announce them here yet.  I am focused right now on finishing my Commit To Fit year before focusing too much on what comes after. But watch this space in the coming weeks as I expect to have more to say on this topic!

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Thanks for your questions!  If you have any others that you'd like to see answered here, email me at dave@diakadibody.com !