Losing it: Life's tough times provide a stern test to my weight-loss quest

Published: Sunday, Oct. 4 2015 11:21 p.m. MDT

When the going gets tough, the tough supposedly get going.

And me?

I eat.

And eat.

And eat some more.

Yep, when the going gets tough, I get going all right ... to the pantry, the fridge, the vending machines, the fast-food joints.

One thing I usually don't do, unfortunately, is get going to the gym or on a bike ride or to the swimming pool or on a run.

Sometimes I do, but usually not.

Those regrettable facts of my life have become quite evident the last few weeks as I've endured some pretty tough times — layoffs at work and a frightening wildfire in my neighborhood — along with friends, family, co-workers and neighbors.

I promise this is not a woe-is-me column. I'm kind of writing some thoughts out loud, trying to get to the bottom of self-defeating habits that prevent me from becoming my best.

Unlike many talented people I admire and care deeply for at the Deseret News, I did not get laid off a few weeks ago.

While I'm extremely grateful for my own situation, I've felt horrible about seeing so many friends and acquaintances receive the unfortunate news. I know this topic has been hashed and rehashed by all sorts of media outlets, and I'm not trying to pull off anybody else's scabs or delve into why it happened.

On a selfish, personal level, I'm concerned about what happened to me after it happened. Let me re-frame that: I'm bothered by how I reacted to what happened.

As a point of reference, the day before the news broke, I rode my bike 26.5 miles to work and I'd lost 20-plus pounds since committing to do an Ironman triathlon. I was on a roll.

Since then, I haven't ridden my bike once. I swam while we went boating Labor Day Weekend, and I walked 21/2 miles during a lunch break two weeks ago.

But that's it.

My jaws and taste buds have sure had some intense workouts, though.

Part of my problem is that I try to eat my way out of being depressed or anxious.

That surfaced again earlier this week when the Herriman fire broke out and threatened to burn up my house and neighborhood.

Along with my family and other cherished possessions, I did have time to pack some triathlon gear, including my bike and running shoes, into my vehicle before the mandatory evacuation came Sunday night. (Of course, they remained stuffed in the back until we returned home.)

Plus, I didn't make an effort to save anything from the fridge or pantry, so I'll consider that another positive sign that my heart is in the right place.

But I sure did do a lot of nervous and mindless munching while waiting to see what damage the blaze would do.

As you can imagine, my indulging actions have resulted in weight-gaining consequences.

By facing and owning up to these dietary downfalls, I've also gained valuable insight into my own weaknesses.

Hopefully, I can now let this important lesson sink in: Some things in life you can't control, but you can control how you react.

Sports writer Jody Genessy chronicles his weight-loss/fitness adventures every other week.

e-mail: jody@desnews.com

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