I’m fat. I’m not “heavy”, I’m not “big-boned”, I’m not “chunky”… I’m fat. I’m morbidly obese. I’m 6′-0″ and this morning I weighed 316.6 pounds. That equates to about 40% Body Mass Index.
No one in their right mind whats to be fat. Believe it or not, until I was in my mid-twenties, I was skinny. Rail-thin skinny! When I was a kid, my family used to call me the “human garbage disposal” because I’d polish off the leftovers. I frequently would eat entire, large pizzas in a single sitting. I drank soft drinks, ate candy, ate constantly, and never gained a pound, even if I want to!
Of course, I was a basketball player and sprinter, too, so that may have had something to do with it. I didn’t mind sports, but I hated “exercise”, and I still do.
Then, by the time I was about 25, I’d been in the restaurant business for about four years, first as a waiter, then head waiter, then manager. I was around food constantly, and as my “rank” grew, I walked around the restaurants less, but had access to comped meals when I worked. Plus, my metabolism was changing.
From about 25 to 27, I’d grown tired of management, (and who I’d be required to work under), so I went back to waiting tables. For about two years, I was a server at Chelsea Square, Ltd. (Now Blind Tiger, under different management.) Even though I was back to walking miles a week waiting tables, I was beginning to form a spare tire around my middle. I remember one fellow waiter, (I think his name was Harley?) telling me I had a good build, if I’d only start exercising more.
Like I said before, I hate exercise.
“Hate” isn’t really the right word. Better words might be detest… loathe… despise… abhor… find repugnant… have animus towards…
You get the idea. When I exercised then, I’d feel like someone had stolen all of my breath and I had no way to get it back. My sides would feel like someone had taken a hot poker and seared them.
Today, it’s all those things, plus now, you can add this strange pain on both sides where the thighs attach to the pelvis. Oh, and back aches.
So, anyway, at 27 years old, I join the Navy. Fair enough. For two months in December and January of 1987 and 1988, I marched around Recruit Training Command in San Diego, learning to fold clothes, do push-ups and sit-ups, and the occasional marching party. (Don’t ask.)
So, here’s the deal: I have never… nevar! been able to touch my toes. Even when I was skinny. And even though I was losing a lot of weight in boot camp (having maybe 2 minutes to eat each meal works wonders!), I still struggled with exercise. Only now, in addition to the pain, I had two Company Commanders screaming at me.
For our “Liberty Run”, or the run we had to do as a company to graduate, we had to run 1.5 miles in under 11 minutes. We were supposed to run it at a steady pace as a company (about 80 men, in formation), but halfway through, my sides began to burn and I dropped out of formation, caught my breath, then continued running. I finished the race with my Company Commander, then-ENC (SW) L.J. “Andy” Stahl, one of the gruffest, meanest, funniest old goat you’ll ever run across, chased me, waving his Commander’s sword, yelling, “Stricklin! You’d better run!”
While I served (I was discharged in 1993) I never got fat, but I was never fit or skinny ever again. In my “A” school at Combat Systems Technical School Command at Mare Island Naval Station in Vallejo, California, we were required to run from just outside our barracks to the Southern tip of “Nightmare Island” and back, I think it was once a week, I’m not certain. I don’t remember the time limit, but it was lenient enough for many of us to mostly walk the route, interrupted with the occasional jogging. There were even some a-holes who’d be among the first to finish, and they’d smoke a cigarette while they were running!
Then, once I got to the fleet, I just remember an annual physical, which because of my age was 1 mile in under 10 minutes, I think, enough for me to practically walk the entire distance, and I was in the same bracket as the Chiefs, I’d jog along with them.
But, when I got out in 1993, there were no annual PTs, no weigh-ins, no nothing. I was free to eat what I wanted, when I wanted, as much as I wanted, and exercise as little as I cared to.
Have I mentioned how much I hate to exercise?
Fast forward to today, when, depending on what day it is and what doctor you care to believe, I’m anywhere from 100 to 140 lbs overweight. In 2009, I had a minor heart attack (I didn’t even know I’d had one until months later), I have Type II Diabetes (not “officially”, but my primary doctor and I agree that I do), I take a handful of prescription meds for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. At night, I wear a CPAP mask for sleep apnea, no doubt caused by my being fat. In short, my body is a wreck!
I’ve taken some steps recently to lose weight and get in better shape. I wear a FitBit almost 24/7 and I’m trying to get more scheduled, better sleep. I’ve hired a personal trainer who is helping me find a diet and exercise routine that works for me and doesn’t cause me to bristle too much. (I’ve already fallen off the wagon several times. Have I mentioned how much I hate to exercise?)
I was listening to This is Your Life the other day, and one of the episodes (about 9:56 in) mentioned that for everything, but especially for projects and goals you set for yourself that you don’t necessarily enjoy, (have I mentioned that I hate to exercise?), one good way to keep yourself motivated is to write down and remind yourself of your Why… Why you need to do the things you don’t want to do, as a means of keeping your thoughts on the goal instead of allowing yourself to be discouraged on the journey it takes to get to your goal.
So, in that vein, here is my list of why I have to exercise and eat well and lose weight:
- Being fit will mean I’m more physically attractive to women and more successful in dating.
- Being fit will translate into better, more rejuvenative sleep.
- Being fit will translate into more alertness.
- Being fit will translate into more energy during the day.
- I will be happier if I’m fit.
- I will be able to reduce or eliminate several of the prescription medications I’m forced to take now.
- I will likely live longer and require less hospitalization as I grow older if I am fit.
- My clothes will fit better if I’m fit.
That’s about all I can think of off the top of my head. If you can think of any more, or just want to comment on what was discussed, please leave a comment in the area below.