My Unsolicited Advice

fatties have feelings too

I’m a big guy.  I’m probably big enough that people may occasionally do a double take when they first see me.  I say probably because as I stated in an earlier post I don’t always see myself in those terms.  This is not something I’m proud of and is a considerable factor in my decision and determination to shed the excess weight that I’ve been carrying around all these years.  Because I am so big, I seem to engender concern in people (many of whom are perfect strangers) so much that some of them are compelled to share with me all manner of ways in which I could lose weight.

This, admittedly, is preferable to the ones who just feel the need to point out the fact that I’m large. This is usually done by older persons (man or woman-doesn’t matter, rudeness knows no gender) who have lived beyond the expiration of their social decorum.  I never know quite what to say.

Older person: “Well, you’re a big one, aren’t ya?”
Me: “Yep, It’s nice to see your visual acuity hasn’t diminished with your ability to be appropriate.”

Me: “Here’s your table. Could I get you started with an appetizer?”
Older person: “Well, they’re obviously good. I imagine you’ve had a lot of them.”
Me: “They sure are. I’ll be sure to tell the cook to put a rush on it. Don’t you go dying on me before I can get it out here.”

Older person: “Did you save us any food?”
Me: “Absolutely, I always leave a few arsenic laced morsels for my special customers.”

Now, it should be pointed out that these are actual statements I have actually heard from actual people at my restaurants.  My words were all internalized and replaced with polite diplomatic responses because I’m a human being and I still have the capacity not to intentionally slight a perfect stranger because I’m too old to care.

Thursday was an especially annoying day for me.  I had three different occasions where people came up to me and told me how I should go about losing weight.  (It is imperative that I add this disclaimer that I am not including my cousin in this group. She messaged me and asked if she could share somethings with me about my weight loss journey. To which I replied that it would be okay, because I know her and I know that she cares for me).  The first occasion was early morning at the gym. I was working out when some person I had never met before (obviously an EGO) came up to me and told me that I was doing it all wrong. He then proceeded to tell me what I should be doing.  I have no idea what he said because I didn’t want to listen to him. He may very well have had good ideas but because he handled it so poorly I immediately tuned him out.  I asked him if he was a trainer and he said no and that he just really liked to exercise.  I told him I heard they were hiring trainers and that he should go apply as I slipped my earbuds back in (the international sign of This Conversation is Done.)

The second was a regular customer at my diner.  Perhaps they thought that because we see each other occasionally and I serve them coffee that they are somehow now in a position to tell me how to diet. Far be it from me to reject advice from a skinny person (they’re obviously doing something right), I probably will pass on any advice from someone who has been admitted to the hospital for malnutrition 3 times in the past 18 months. You see I don’t just want to be skinny, I want to be healthy. Thanks, but it’s a hard pass.

The third and most egregious offender was from the most vocal of weight loss experts: the Former Fatty! No one knows more about weight loss than someone who has lost it. And no one is more eager to tell you their story than that same person. This particular FF was a 50 year old man who claimed to have lost 186 pounds in his life. I joked that I’ve easily lost that much if you total it all together but with 186 pounds he also lost his sense of humor.

He was a bit caustic and he began to lay into me how I could lose weight.  His solution: Squeeze two lemons into a glass with three fingers of water. Drink that every morning when I wake up and every night before bed.  Then walk or run one hour and thirty minutes every morning.  Now he had decent ideas but I don’t care mostly because the acidity from all of those lemons he consumes has leaked into his personality.  His most passionate reason for losing weight he claimed was because his wife didn’t want to have to call 911 in the middle of the night.  A truly compelling reason if ever there was one. However, it lost some of its luster when he stepped outside for a smoke for the third time of his 45 minute visit.

What I’m trying to say is that I know I’m fat.  I’m trying to do something about it. But if you want to give me advice (or anyone for that matter) first let me know that you care and then I’ll care about what you know.  So if you see a fatty walking down the street and the urge swells within you to give them advice (even compassionately) just hold on to it. Say a quick prayer that they will either become aware of their situation or if they are already aware then pray that they will have the strength to continue the journey and the fortitude not to strangle the next person who points out the fact that they’re fat.

Advertisements

My Gym Experience

New York City 10956

Last week I posted about my propensity for making excuses and my need to develop better habits.  I don’t have any new news to post about this week but in the interest of developing better habits I wanted to be sure to post this week so that I can make it a habit.

As I’ve mentioned I have joined a gym.  I am nowhere near what you would call a gym rat.  One of my servers is a self-professed gym rat.  She describes the feeling and experience of exercising in very much the same way I would describe the euphoria of eating warm chocolate chip cookies atop a mountain of Bear Claw ice cream.

Excuse me, I have to take a moment to collect myself.

Okay, as I was saying, exercise is more of a drudgery for me than an exhilarating rush.  There are a few people in my gym that exhibit the same symptoms as I do.  I call us RGPs (Reticent Gym Prisoners). You can spot them fairly easily in my gym, which seems to be mostly populated by the Enthusiastic Gym Operative or EGOs (more on them later).

As an RGP I can recognize (and relate to) the character traits of my fellow prisoners.  It begins with the slow walk from the parking lot to the gym entrance.  In the mind you are still battling with how much you want to do this.  You know that the rewards far outweigh the cost.  It’s just that the cost is immediate and the rewards are more long-term.  Once inside the gym it is customary to make sure that your thumb print scan is as accurate as possible being sure to leave your finger in place a few extra seconds to make certain that you are indeed eligible to exercise at this gym (of course, all the while secretly hoping that it blocks you and two over-muscled goons escort you back to the parking lot).

Once you’ve successfully signed in, you walk over to the equipment, making sure to adjust to the maximum comfort levels (comfort here meaning least painful) and begin your work out.  Now is when the RGP breaks down into a couple different categories.  First, is the Clock Watcher.  This RGP can be seen constantly looking at the clock on the exercise equipment eagerly anticipating its completion.  Second is the Distracted.  This is the category in which I fall.  Exercising is easy if I don’t know that I am doing it.

There are many ways to distract yourself.  One way is by competition.  This is when you keep a close eye on the person next to you and try to match or eclipse the pace they are setting.  This is a useful tool and I have employed it once or twice.  But this can be problematic especially if you wind up next to an EGO. There’s no way for an RGP to keep up with an EGO. If you do, you run the danger of doing some serious exercise (nobody needs that headache-or more accurately back, legs, shoulders, neck-ache). My distraction of choice is Netflix.  I enjoy putting on anything from the Food Network. I like Chopped. By the time the judges are enjoying dessert I have exercised for 20 minutes straight without realizing it. It’s a beautiful thing.

Occasionally, I will forget my ear buds or my phone battery is too low to watch something so I am forced to occupy my mind by observing the EGOs. This group too breaks down into several categories.  First, and my favorite is the Stalwart.  They are there every time rain or shine.  They are just basically consistent.  They have their distractions too. But they just work hard. I admire them and hope someday to be listed among their ranks.

Second, the Dreamer. These are the EGOs who are often new to the gym but they have all these grand aspirations to become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger.  They are only interested in getting as big and bulky as possible.  They are often seen carrying a protein drink around with them so they can “maximize muscle calibration” (it really says that on one of the bottles). They can be seen exercising in front of a mirror like some present day Narcissus believing that they can literally see their muscles growing with each rep.

The third (and by far the largest) group is the Socializers.  To be fair, this group can consist of RGPs and EGOs alike but since the very nature of an RGP is to hide in the background while exercising it is vastly more populated by EGOs.  They usually work out in groups and can be seen standing around unused gym equipment.

Mostly these groups consist of 3-5 people. They stand around talking while one of them (on a rotating basis) takes a turn on whatever equipment they have migrated towards.  Conversations include maximum number of reps, weight at which those reps were accomplished and number of consumed raw eggs. Compliments on one another’s muscles/physique are bandied about like bad jokes at a comedy club. They are an encouraging lot.  They can often be heard uttering phrases like: “You got this, Bro; Just one more, Bro; Dig a little deeper, Bro.”

It is my opinion if they spent as much time working out as they did jawing about what they did last weekend or the body building competition they will join once the creatine kicks in, they would all be bigger than The Rock.

Suffice it to say that I will never be listed among their number.  I don’t have the desire and I feel like my IQ is just far too high to be comfortable around them.  Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go to the gym now and sit in the parking lot struggling with my self-loathing.

Excuses and Habits

Hello Media.

I have to apologize.  Half of October is done and gone and this will be my first post for the month.  There are several reasons as to why but when the title of your post is “Excuses and Habits” then I can’t very well start off by making excuses.

The truth is I am an excuse guy.  I have referred to the fact earlier that I am a people-pleaser.  A byproduct of that is I have the ability to be diplomatic.  It’s not all bad.  When dealing with people, especially ones who may be upset, it is a very useful tool.  I can craft words to allay hurt feelings and bring peace. But just like any super power it can be used for evil.  I happen also to be adept at crafting words to get myself out of trouble.  There are some things that no amount of words can save you from but when it comes to diet and exercise the stakes are considerably lower.

Allow me to illustrate.  The second of October was the 18th anniversary of  our first date.  We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary back in July but to be honest, celebrate is a strong term.  So we decided to take a couple of days to get away in conjunction with our church’s couples retreat. We had a good time.  We went disc golfing (which I have discovered is excellent exercise), took a stroll along the San Diego waterfront and even went to a craft faire (feel free to follow that humorous adventure at my wife’s blog). This was by far one of the more active getaways we’ve had.  We also ate pretty well.  We basically ignored some of the rules we established for our current diets (I say rules, they’re really more guidelines).  So we were busy and spending quality time together and it became a handy (and justifiable) excuse for not posting.

The best excuses are the ones that are crafted with a really good reason.  For example, I have been battling a cold the last few days.  It was so bad that it sapped all my energy and I skipped the gym for a few days.  Anyone looking at it objectively would see that I was justified. But if I am be honest with myself, if I somehow found the strength to work a 10 hour day I could probably have found the strength to go to the gym for 30 minutes.

Because excuses are so readily available I wield them with the precision of a politician.  My seventh grade teacher defined an excuse as “the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie”.  I always felt that was harsh.  There were plenty of times when an excuse was perfectly justified. I still believe that is an over simplification but the truth is that once you use an excuse (even justified) it becomes so much easier to do it again and again whether it’s justified or not.

Which leads me to the last half of the title.  Something else that my seventh grade teacher said was that it takes 3 weeks for something to become a habit.  I think he missed the mark slightly on this one too.  It takes 3 weeks for something to become a good habit (some times longer). It takes far less time for something to become a bad habit.

I am all-world when it comes to making bad habits.  I am not even in little league when it comes to making good habits.  I am as sincere as the next person when it comes to resolutions. It’s the resolve that I generally lack.  I had been rolling along pretty well for the last few weeks.  I hit the gym regularly, ate well and was losing weight.  I plateaued a little.  I am officially at 32 lbs. lost but I have fallen off the pace.  This is where I usually give up and go back to my bad habits.  That is where the blog comes in to play.  I have painted myself into a corner.  I can’t just go back because I put myself out there.  It’s a good thing.  I did it because I knew I needed it.

I guess that ultimately I wanted to say thank you to all of you who read this and respond with encouraging words.  When I reach my goals I will have done so because of the chorus of voices that have cheered me on along the way.  It is my journey to take but I am very glad to have company. After all, I am a people person.