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Welcome to Dalando's Personal Diet Dairy
The purpose of these reflections is the author's attempt to understand and deal with the mechanisms of his own despair.
While dieting is the stated objective, like all personal quests, each aspect of life is integral to the goal.
This will be tedious reading for anyone but the most dedicated explorers of the human psyche.

Kilogram to Pound Conversion

80 ------ 176.2
82.5 ---- 181.7
85 ------ 187.2
87.5 ---- 192.7
90 ------ 198.2
92.5 --- 203.7
95 ----- 209.2
97.5 --- 214.7
100 ---- 220.2
102.5 -- 225.7
105 ----- 231.2
107.5 --- 236.7
110 ----- 242.5 
112.5 --- 248
115 ----- 253.5

117.5 --- 259
120 ----- 264.5
122.5 --- 270
125 ----- 275.5
127.5 --- 281

118 kg

I am presently the highest body weight of my life. This has still not sunk in. It is believable, even predictable, but still hard to swallow. Both my parents, despite a trim youth, became extremely over weight at my age. Both my sisters and most of my extended family have weight issues. One could easily argue my entire birth nation the USA has a weight problem. Even here in my adopted culture of Japan being out of shape and suffering the ills of food related symptoms is epidemic.

I have always had an aversion to exercise, I am physically lazy, and I love to overeat the wrong foods (meats, fried fatty food, creamy cakes, etc.). Despite an active Spring in Australia & Bali I have not fallen into a state of self maintenance. Instead I often over-indulge in a 'bad boy' defiance (against who I do not know) of overeating and inactivity. After my wife's suicidal death in June of 2000 I assumed I would somehow focus more on getting back into shape. There was so many insights while in the throws of shock, such a closeness to the subtler workings of my universe. It was spooky, perhaps psychotic, yet so terribly authentic within the pain.

Now on the second anniversary of Reiko's death I continue to live a barrage of psychological symptoms I never faced before. Though I assume we know the taste of despair when we are young, I never had both emotional and physiological symptoms merge. I guess I was blessed with enough youthful assets to always have a wonderful safety net to life's challenges. As a widower with two small children, the long painful depression of my wife remains unresolved ( depression was something I had always assumed would work itself out and bring her back to her powerfully vibrant self stronger than ever ). So much since her death has become inflamed into terrifying proportions... yet I need to win this one. Allowing myself to fall, as my wife did, is a statement about life I do not want to make to my children.

Besides the guilt, anger, and sense of powerlessness that followed my wife's surprise death (how naive I was to such matters) and the sadness that most widowers face, I have had a series of illnesses that would suggest rampant hyperchondria. If it were not for the fully debilitating nature of these problems I'd write them off as paranoia. More likely, the bounce back of my youth has been lost to age, responsibilities, and the neglect of my physical well-being to the challenges of parenting. To put it another way, mid-life crisis is real, anchored in actual loss.

Though I have done little about dieting or exercise while working, during holidays I am active. After all, my young children depend on my being healthy more than ever. But the problem is far more serious than my lifestyle reflects. When I came to Japan in the early eighties I was around 80-85 kg (177-187 lbs.) and in recent times I have fluctuated between 110-120 (242-265 lbs.). Once my warning line was 100 kg but several major campaigns could not get me back there. Though the time spent at a local health club prior to having kids is a cheerful memory, I recall looking and feeling toned, young children afforded little time for such luxuries. The more accessible forms of exercising, house bound workouts and long walks or sports, never caught my fancy.

Right now I am still waiting for a panacea. I have had several cures in the past that were very effective but these date back to my pre-kids days. Years ago I walked the pilgrimage of the eighty-eight Temples of Shikoku. I spent a year in preparation, took the challenging hike without eating meat, drinking alcohol, or other such pleasures. I refused lifts in cars and generally pushed myself physically. Though it was a physically demanding experience lasting over forty days, the spiritual depth of the journey, and the contact with the gentle country folk, as well as the spectacular scenery witnessed daily, left me fit and satisfied. I felt and looked sexy. I followed this with three months in a Zen monastery rounding off the experience and improving my physique even further. No wonder my wife found me attractive enough to marry.

Though I repeated the pilgrimage again after marriage, as well as other experiments in dieting and 'shaping-up,' the sweetness of marriage along with the anxieties and tensions of the new responsibility of fathering lead me back to the patterns of consumption and busy-ness without proper exercise. Now I am paying the piper. In the last few months I have had major hip damage resulting in the loss of my mobility and forcing me to bed. Gout now leaves me in ruthless pain when the crystals nest in my joints. I have become all too aware of the dangers of heart disease, diabetes, and chronic joint problems which plague the obese. Now that I am a widow I also must again face the demands of 'looking attractive.' Fat people can supplement appearance with virtue, but nothing beats authentic self confidence and an intone physique.

That said, the reality is, I live in the same trap as my mother. I have built my life around the challenge of feeding my children and drowning my own despair in food. This process highlights my dilemma but has not of yet found either panacea or self-faith. At best it keeps me on task 'intellectually' until the missing variables kick in.

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Robert L. Seltman