My last blog post was pretty direct. I’ve felt like a failure. Sometimes, I still do.
Isn’t one definition of insanity “doing the same thing and expecting different results?” Well, I’ve certainly done that before.
I’m doing better.
I’m eating much cleaner. I’ve found that soda is no longer appealing. Sometimes I still crave it, but I just remind myself of the horrible bloated feeling I had last time I drank a Sprite, so I just drink water. (I haven’t touched artificial sweeteners in over a year, which, weight-loss issues aside, is one of the best decisions I have ever made. My joints thank me for it.)
I’m down 9.8 pounds in a little over three weeks. I think that’s pretty decent.
All that said, words are cheap. I find I don’t have much to say until I’m clearly walking the walk, and three weeks of eating right is not enough.
I miss blogging, though.
Blogging is not a job for me; I do have advertisements on the blog, but that is literally just an attempt to recoup my hosting costs. (Most months, I make less than a $1 in ad revenue, so I’m not even getting close to making my money back. However, I have stellarpath.net for more reasons than just this blog, so I remain self-hosted instead of going the free blogger route.)
I’ve been trying to decide what to blog about until I get my weight loss mojo back. I don’t want to be a “weight loss blogger” who keeps losing the same few pounds over and over. That’s just embarrassing.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I need to do, and quite frankly, a lot of it is some mental work. I still have fat people issues. I’ve read several good books over the past few years that give advice, but I haven’t taken as much action as I could.
So today, I’m going to start doing that. Some things I’ll leave off because they are too personal, but for those that I feel comfortable sharing, I will share.
I am writing my List of Advantages. This is, quite literally, a list of things that will be BETTER once I have lost weight.
This isn’t just a list that I write once and forget. I am writing them in three places. One, they are going here, on the blog. Two, they are going in my Weight Loss Journal (more on that later). And three, they’ll be going on a small card in my wallet that I must pull out and read at least twice a day.
And one last reminder – this is MY list. The things on this list may or may not apply to you. And be warned – this may be more blunt than you are used to from me.
1. I will look better.
I will never be a fat acceptance blogger. I do agree that everyone should love themselves at whatever size they are, but I am in the 370s. I am super morbidly obese. I am NOT going to accept that, and even if I am not a fitness model when I get to goal weight, I’ll still look better there than I do now.
2. I will be healthier.
Quite frankly, I don’t even think I agree that you can be obese and healthy. Healthier, sure. There’s always a worse case of health no matter what your size, but in my opinion, obesity and healthy do not go together. However healthy I can be at 370, it is clearly a mere shade of the health I can have at 180.
3. I will look good in a tucked-in shirt.
I dread getting dressed up for this reason – I hate tucking in a shirt. It is uncomfortable and does not look good on a big belly. With no belly, this wouldn’t be an issue.
4. I will not sweat as much.
Sweat may be genetic, and I may sweat more than the average person at 180, but right now, I’m wearing a 190 pound fat suit. That thing is hot.
5. I will be around to take care of my son.
I recently heard the term Death Fat, and I’m clearly it. I was denied life insurance coverage earlier because I am too fat. My son deserves a father to live as long as possible for him, and more than that, he deserves a father who can be active WITH him, not merely sitting around as set dressing.
6. I will feel like I am in control of my life.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think I’m wildly out of control now. But the fact remains, food still controls me. If it didn’t, I would have gained 20 plus pounds this year. I want to be the one in charge, not fast food, junk food, or even healthy food in excess quantities.
7. I’ll be secure taking my shirt off in public.
This one may require skin removal surgery, too, but I know that’s in my future. Regardless, I don’t take my shirt off in public. I avoid situations where I would need to, and if I’m in a place where it is culturally acceptable to do so, I simply don’t. It will be nice to go to the beach, take off my shirt, and not think about sticking out like a sore, fat thumb.
8. I won’t be as self-concious.
See many of the above. I’m extremely aware of my weight, my size, and my limitations. It will be nice not to have to worry about those things anymore. I know losing weight isn’t a quick fix, but it’s still part of the solution.
9. My entire body will feel better.
I already feel TONS better from giving up artificial sweeteners. My knees, hips, and back used to ache horrible. I gave them up (and after a horrible three month detox), they’ve stopped hurting. That said, my feet still ache sometimes. My body is carrying an extra 190 pounds it is not meant to carry. Losing that weight will literally lighten the load.
10. I will be able to consistently clothing shop in stores.
Sometimes, I luck out. I’ve bought shirts off the rack at Kohl’s and J.C. Penney and been excited that they fit. However, that’s the exception. It will be nice to consistently find clothing in my size; to go in a store and KNOW that they’ll have my shirt on the rack. I even suspect I might like buying clothes if it wasn’t such an all-encompassing ordeal.
11. I will be a better martial artist.
I don’t mention this very often, mostly because I’m a little embarrassed, but I actually have a senior 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo. I got it about five years ago, not eons ago as a little kid. I haven’t been to class in a long time, and I don’t think I’ll be going back until I’ve gotten rid of some of this extra fat. I would be embarrassed to put on my dobok and be a fat black belt. And yet… I can’t wait to do it again!
12. I will be able to run.
I may find that running sucks. And for this one, I at least don’t have to wait until I get to goal weight, but I am waiting until some of the mass is gone before I start pounding the pavement. I don’t want to risk doing irreversible harm (I’ve heard of people blowing out joints and vertebrae from running while obese). And yet… someday… running may not just as easy as taking a walk.
Part of the reason that I blog is because I have words stuck in my head that I want to get out. It’s the same reason that I write. I’ve been a writer since I was probably 8 years old. For a lot of years, the protagonist in my short stories and novels were a lot like me.
They were the me that I wanted to be.
They were always roughly whatever age I was when I was writing, they were always fit, and they usually had a girlfriend. They weren’t the point of the story. It would just always be a healthier version of me who had been abducted by aliens or fighting ghosts or trying to save a magical world with newfound magical powers and fighting skills.
Now as I’ve gotten older, I’ve changed my protagonists. In fact, in the novel I am working on currently, my protagonist is a 15 year old girl. In a short story that I go back to from time to time, it’s an old black man. The protagonist is no longer me.
Well, at least physically. I believe every author puts some of themselves in their main characters, but that’s not the point.
The point is that I have always had a very certain look I wanted to achieve.
That look was muscular. Fit. Healthy. And happy.
I’ve accomplished the happy part. I just need to work on the others.
There are days when sheer vanity is what drives my workouts. I literally dream about the day that I can pay thousands of dollars for abdominoplasty. I know it will be necessary. It might even be necessary for health, because I am still almost 200 pounds overweight. That much excess skin could lead to infections and chafing and other problems that, while far less severe than weight related issues, still won’t be desirable.
So even though I’ll have a few scars on my midsection (I’ve heard good plastic surgeons can hide those scars in your pubic region where they’ll be hidden by underwear), I know what I ultimately want to look like.
I don’t know what the future holds. I know I might get to goal weight and a six pack of abs just isn’t in my genetics. And if that happens, I’ll redefine and still be happy.
But for now, almost 200 pounds away (188, to be exact), I can dream about what I will look like. I can fantasize about a rippled midsection (with muscles, not fat – I’ve already got that one), a chiseled back, and 19 inch arms that aren’t flabby but are solid muscle.
Is it realistic?
Dunno. I know most people don’t look like that.
Is it doable?
Yep. Some people do look like that, and I know they put a lot of work into it.
Will I do it?
I will someday have the physique of a men’s fitness model. That is a big bold claim, especially from someone who spent over a year in the 370s. I realize that.
But the idea of being that fit, of being discovered and getting on the cover of Men’s Health (don’t laugh – this is my fantasy), of looking down at my abdomen and seeing only muscle… that’s what drives me at times.
Health, fitness, longevity… Those are all great things, and I want them to.
But some days, I just want to be hot.
This afternoon, as I get my workout in, if I feel tired in the midst, I’ll think of taking off my shirt on the set of a photoshoot and knowing that they’ll only need to photoshop out some scars… that’s what will lead me to finish. That’s why I packed a carrot to go with my lunch instead of a brownie.
Am I alone? Am I the only one driven by vanity? Even if I am, that’s okay with me, but I bet I’m not. What’s your vanity fantasy?
I haven’t seen many people do this, and I don’t know why. I know some do, and I’d have a hunch that those who do are more successful than those who do not.
Writing down our goals is huge. I teach literacy, and one of the things I teach my freshmen is this. If you write something down AND visualize it simultaneously, it triggers an action in your brain that releases dopamine. It is part of the reason I encourage my freshmen to rewrite their notes while actively recalling everything they can about the lecture they took those notes in. Those students, without fail, do better academically than students who do not. (For those of you still in school, there’s a free tip for you.)
Dopamine does a lot of things for us. Virtually every type of reward that we humans engage in (food, sex, listening to music, watching movies, whatever) results in increased dopamine transmission. In addition, (and this is what I am going for), dopamine increases motivation. So, writing plus visualizing equals dopamine which equals increased motivation.
I am going to start a running list of the reasons why I want to lose weight on this blog. Now, I don’t know if typing is the same thing as writing out in longhand (my hunch would be yes), but I’m going to start a hand-written list somewhere else. I encourage you to do the same. (And I’ve love to read blog posts. If nothing else, feel free to share your reasons in my comments below!)
So, what is the first reason for why I want to lose weight?
I sweat too much.
It may be genetic; I may be a sweaty thin guy someday. But the fact remains, my obesity definitely plays a role in it.
I sweat in the winter. I love the winter, because I do, admittedly, sweat less. Others will ask me, “Where is your coat?!” My answer – in the car, and it’s only there in case the zombie apocalypse occurs before I get home from work and I have to camp out somewhere cold for the night. I’m fine being cold. I relish it.
I sweat in the spring and fall. I sweat to the point of dehydration and heat exhaustion (seriously – it’s happened to me six different times) in the summer.
Sweating is disgusting. The only time I’m okay with sweat is if I’m working out; sadly, that isn’t the only time I sweat. Sweat makes me stink, it makes me oily, and it makes me look unkempt and sloppy.
I sweat walking to the building where I work from the parking lot, and the two are separated by only maybe a hundred feet.
This spring, which despite being early April already feels like late May, has been rough on my sweatiness. I know I sweat more than my colleagues. I sweat more than Tina.
I probably sweat more than you, unless your name is Sweaty McSweaterson, and even then, I’ve still probably got you beat because a name like that is just flash with no substance. Show off.
I want to lose weight so I will sweat less. It may not be as powerful sounding as “I want to lose weight to live longer” (which is true). But I want to sweat less. I don’t want to look disgusting. I don’t want to smell bad at the end of a long day. Heck, I don’t want to smell bad at the end of a short morning.
I look forward to the day when I can say, “I’m wearing my winter coat. The only thing I have in my car for the upcoming zombie apocalypse is my Gator Machete Pro.”