LAKE PLACID DIET: Just because you’re not dying, doesn’t mean you’re not hurting

Lake Placid News Editor Andy Flynn wears one of his favorite hats — Gibson Brothers — in the dining room office of his Saranac Lake home Thursday, May 14. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

Start (Dec. 31): 447 lbs.

Last week: 454 lbs.

This week: 463 lbs.

Total (2020): 16 lbs. gained

I’m fine. I’m good. I’m well. How are you? That’s what I say when people ask me how I’m doing.

Truth is, I’m not fine, I’m not good, and I’m not well.

I don’t have COVID-19, and although my wife was laid off at the early stages of the pandemic, we’re doing fine financially. I still have a job, and my wife’s unemployment insurance with the federal help is keeping us fed, housed, clothed, etc. We can afford our medications, put gas in our cars and keep the lights on.

Yet I’ve gained 26 pounds in the past 12 weeks — 9 pounds in the last week alone — and that is not good. It’s a personal crisis. My mental health is not the best right now, and my anxiety is up — way up.

But I still tell people I’m fine. I’m good. I’m well. I don’t want to trouble them with my problems. After all, we all face demons, and we’re all going through problems right now with the social distancing lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

What makes me so special? Nothing.

At the same time, if I don’t write about this crucial time, this crisis I’m in right now, I’d feel as though I’d be letting people down — readers of the Lake Placid Diet. This column isn’t just about the successes of weight loss; it’s about the struggles we go through to achieve our goals.

I want people to know that it’s OK to have these feelings, and it’s OK to share them with people. In fact, it’s healthy to share them. Not with everyone, of course. God, no. But people you can trust, people who will just listen. They probably can’t do anything for you, but that’s OK. They can listen, and that’s enough.

The snow doesn’t help, does it? As I’m writing this Wednesday morning, the sun is coming up, and there is a dusting of snow on the ground. Day after day, snow! F’ing snow! But the sun helps. I got a dose of sun Tuesday driving around Lake Placid taking photos for work. It felt good.

I knew after getting off the scale Tuesday morning that this was a defining moment. How could I be 463 pounds again? That’s ridiculous. I knew at that moment that I had to get really serious about taking charge of my health. Not just lip service but real action.

I remember being in the hospital for nine days in 2017, recovering from multiple blood clots. I remember the words from the emergency room doctor that I could die at any moment because a blood clot was close to my heart. I remember the anxiety from that traumatic episode in my life so vividly that I still have to keep the lights on in the bedroom before going to bed because it gives me some comfort.

And I also remember that I eventually got better. It was because of my doctors and nurses. I had to get up from my hospital bed and walk around. I had to start exercising, even if it was only a little bit at first. And I had to eat proper portions of healthy food.

How hard is that? Come to find out, in the real world — away from a controlled environment like a hospital — it’s extremely hard for me. I’m an emotional eater, and I’d rather not exercise. So now I have to turn that around.

Nobody’s going to step in and tell me what to eat or how much to eat. Nobody’s going to tell me that I need to get up and walk around. I have to do it myself, be my own doctor and nurse, so to speak, and have the discipline to listen to myself and not give in to emotional eating or laziness and continue making excuses. I’m really good at making excuses.

So there you have it. A real crisis — all in my mind, people say. Yet if I don’t do something now, it will only get worse. And then what? Another blood clot? A heart attack? A stroke? Type 2 diabetes?

Please know that I’m not spilling my guts here for attention. I don’t care about that. It’s not why I write this column. I’d just assume keep to myself, but I do it because it truly helps to write thoughts down and share them with people. It helps to keep me accountable. It helps me work through my crap. Moreover, everybody has problems, and many are struggling with their own weight issues, especially during the pandemic. It’s good to know we’re not alone with our struggles; we’re all in this together.

For now, I’m working hard to make changes. Most are in my head. I’m trying to give myself direction and be tough, trying to tame that little kid inside who fights back and tries to do whatever the hell he wants.

Keep the faith, my friends. I’m wishing you the best of health these days — mental, physical and spiritual.