Really, it’s past time, but better late than never, right?
Ok peoples, here’s the deal: I’m overweight. I haven’t crossed the invisible threshold into obesity yet, but it’s safe to say that without any changes in my life, it is an inevitability. The reasons for the weight gain are few, the excuses are many, and the solutions are easy. In this post I will just be talking about the “why”. I will post later this week regarding the “where”/”when”/”what” (the “who” is obviously me).
How I Got Here
It certainly didn’t happen overnight, but it is a fairly recent development. Up until college, I was a pretty skinny guy. I played soccer throughout my childhood and high school, and it’s pretty hard to get fat playing soccer. In college, I put on the standard “Freshman 15”. Ok, it might have been closer to 20. By 20 I mean 30. Regardless, after failing out of school, I came home broke, fatter, lonely, and depressed. But, I kept the weight at bay, because I was working in restaurants. It never really went down, but I never ballooned up either. When my job situation changed – I became a courier – I was no longer hustling for work, and so I put on more weight.
However, I recognized this, and took an early great step to mitigate it. I stopped drinking soda pop, and I stopped eating fast food. In a year, I dropped 20 pounds without working out once. I looked better, I felt better, and by most measurements, I was better. But this was not a cure-all. After a return to restaurant life, I took an even bigger step: I got rid of my car, and bought a bike. For a full year (and intermittently for another year, whenever my bike wasn’t stolen), I was biking at least 8 miles/day. Not a superman feat, but a good way to stay in shape. I was eating well, exercising regularly, and feeling good. I went back to school, graduated, and the future was looking bright.
Cut to the present day. I have a different job now, pushing paper in a law office. It’s a good job, but it forces me to sit down for the majority of my day. I also have a car again, and my diet is, well, less than optimal. I done got fat. I topped out at 220 pounds after failing out of college the first time, and thankfully, I’m not there yet. But I am consistently above 200, and rarely have I been below 195 in the last couple of years. My BMI is roughly 28.5. >30 is obese. I’m not far away.
So, What Is The Problem?
It amounts to a strong bout of cognitive dissonance. Being fat is one thing, and it’s not a death sentence on its own. Even being obese isn’t the end of the world (although it may lead to it for you). But it does not fit my beliefs. I don’t like being fat. In fact, I really dislike being fat. Sure, I joke about my beer belly, about how it keeps me warm in the winter, about how I have a 6-pack underneath the fat, but those are all coping mechanisms. The truth is, when I look in the mirror, I’m not happy with myself. Not because I am so vain that I base my self-esteem on my looks, but rather because I know that I am not healthy. Can a person have a beer belly and be overweight and still be healthy? Yes, of course. Am I one of those people? No. I get winded going up the stairs. I can’t touch my toes. My clothes are starting to fit a little too snug. I certainly don’t have any muscle tone, like, anywhere. You can use your own metrics to decide if you are fat and healthy or overweight and unhealthy. For me, it’s no contest.
I rail on smokers. I make fun of people that don’t wear seatbelts. I laugh at an obese man trying to bend over to grab a candy bar but can’t (come on, you know that’s funny). I disapprove of these sorts of things because they are choices that hasten your death. Being overweight does the same. What is the difference between being overweight and smoking a pack/day? Being overweight kills WAY more people. Why should I try to talk my friends into quitting smoking when I’m killing myself at an even faster rate? Why should I tell you to buckle up when I will certainly die from an illness related to my weight? In order for me to continue talking the talk, I have to walk the walk.
What’s The Plan, Stan?
I’ll go into more detail on the next post, but essentially it is all going to add up to a lifestyle change. It won’t be easy. It won’t be a quick fix. It will be a consistent application of new principles and ideas to transform my life into healthy living. To be brief: Yes, I will be joining a gym. Yes, I will be changing my diet. Yes, I will be changing my focus in life. Yes, I will be deliberate.
I’m not a “diet” guy. I’m not going to go on the South Beach, or Atkins, or Jenny Craig, or any other diet. In fact, my diet isn’t the biggest part of the problem, as I eat a lot of good food. But that doesn’t mean my diet can’t use some work. I definitely going back to the no-fast-food-no-soda-pop plan (save Fanta Friday). I will be limiting my calories a bit, and cutting back on drinking. But my focus, at least initially, will be exercise. It is a habit that I need to develop in order to actually shed some pounds. It will take dedication, will power, and focus. Um…help? Just kidding, I got this. 🙂