For many years I was unable to get below 285lbs – my personal weight loss wall. Then over months of running and watching my diet, I broke through that barrier! I crept down below 280lbs. Seeing the 270’s felt great after being stuck for so long at 285lbs. I continued to creep down, pound by pound breaking the 270 mark and seeing the high 260’s for a few weeks.
Finally, about a month ago after a LOT of training and dieting, I was able to weighed in at 263lbs. I haven’t been that “light” in many many years. I set my eyes on the 250’s. The idea that I could see a “5” there… I really started to believe I could do this. But then the Algernon event occurred.
One of my favorite novels from grade school was Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keys. If you haven’t read the novel and want to – fair warning, this post has SPOILERS.
The book is about a man named Charlie Gordon. He has an IQ of 68 but has a functional role in society at a bakery and he takes classes at a local school for special needs adults. A few researchers that work at the school he attends, suggest that he participate in a medical trial looking at increasing the intelligence in adults dealing with his disability. His teacher, Alice encourages him to participate in the study.
Algernon is a mouse that has been through the treatment before human trails began and showed amazing progress including the ability to read! Within a few months of starting the trail, Charlie has not only shown great progress – his IQ is over 180!
The book describes how Charlie’s relationships change as his intelligence increases. He is able to see how some of his co-works have made fun of him all along and even notice a co-worker has been cheating the company. He even begins a romantic relationship with Alice.
Then Charlie is given the worst news imaginable; Algernon has died. Its believed the trial is the cause and Charlie must stop the treatments. Unfortunately, as the treatments stop, his intelligence begins to regress.
By the end of the book, Charlie is back to his prior state of intelligence, however his relationships are forever changed. He cannot continue to be friends with his co-workers that made fun of him. He cannot continue a relationship with Alice, nor can he go back to having her as his teacher.
The truth is, he was better to have never gone through the trail, never have experienced intelligence, never to have seen the “other-side”.
What’s my Algernon Event? I weighed in a month ago at 263lbs, but two days later I weighed in at 273lbs. Ten pounds in two days – I truly have no idea why. My first thought was water weight – a high sodium meal could have caused a swing that big.
But after a week – I still had those 10 lbs. Two weeks after the event, I had picked up an additional 5 lbs. The day of the marathon, I was 280lbs. I feel like Charlie, slowly losing my progress, slowly returning back to where I was. Wondering if I were better off having never started the journey…
Charlie wasn’t able to do anything about his situation – but that is not the case with me. I have to figure out how to fight the impulse to believe I cannot lose weight. A struggle I thought I had actually gotten past until The Algernon Event…