It's three months now.
I have become the world's most boring person. In the morning I weigh myself and measure my waist, and enter the numbers in a spreadsheet; in the evening I conscientiously fill out my food journal. When I wake up I lie in bed for a while, solemnly considering my shopping and exercise plans for the day. I have become a self-contained system, a zero-sum human being: all my energy is subsumed in my own maintenance. I feel a bit lonely, a bit ridiculous. Stupid thing to be doing with my time. Was it for this?
The hardest part of all this is realizing that – while many of the constituent parts of fixing how I eat and exercise are in fact easier than I expected – in aggregate, it is simply a large and never-ending project. The most damaging of all my many damaging fantasies about this was that, if I only succeeded, it would become easy and automatic. At some point, I thought, the boat would hydroplane. It does not: at least, it does not within three months. It simply goes on thrusting through the water. It requires a lot of energy. Period. This is not going to change.
Why do I keep doing it? Sheer cussedness, for one thing. But also, in this as in so many other areas of my life, I am tired of living beyond my means, tired of the ominous sense that I am only getting along by storing up trouble for myself. I want a pay-as-I-go life, not an indebted one. So far this is – just barely – worth it. I like getting stronger, quicker, livelier. I like being unashamed.
But it also makes me feel old, vulnerable, ordinary, mortal.
I will learn what everything costs, says Dorothea Brooke. Well, it all costs quite a bit.