I’ll Do It . . . Someday.

Justin in Oregon 2003

Boy, have I been lazy this winter.

Really, I’ve been lazy for way longer than that, but at least I kept going to yoga and running off and on for about the last year, which managed to keep off some of my excess fat. But this winter, I stopped working out at all, stopped running, and “took some time off” from yoga.

I don’t like being fat. Nobody does. But I sure do love indulging myself–I’m a glutton.

My Dad and I in Oregon 2004
Here I am with my dad in my fat days. Compare that to the pictures of me in Hawaii. I was fat.

I’ve been drinking pots of coffee with half and half instead of skim milk lattes, which has helped me binge on the stuff, swilling down WAY too much of it. I’ve also been eating far too much unhealthy food (and even when I eat healthy stuff, I’ve been a glutton). I’ve had to switch from wearing medium shirts to large ones, and my 34 inch waist pants don’t really fit very well. I know to many people, probably most, this won’t sound like much. I’m not 250 or 300 pounds and I’m not in serious danger of dropping dead from a heart attack.

But you know what?

In America, we have a seriously skewed idea of what “fat” is. We call it being “big,” or pretend that as we age, it’s normal to get fat and out of shape. I think this is more of a facet of modern American society–we eat high calorie food, drive everywhere, watch tv all the time, etc. I don’t need to go into detail, do I? We all know what’s wrong with the picture of American Health these days.

And sugarcoating it with soft, non-offensive language doesn’t help anything. It only serves to massage weak egos and fool us into pretending that we’re fine. Everything will be fine. Please pass me another cheeseburger or another bowl of ice cream. I’ll walk a little more tomorrow. We wait for “someday.” That mythical “someday.” Someday I’ll start eating right. I’ll exercise. And I’ll like it. Someday. Maybe. meanwhile, we’re getting older, our bodies are breaking down, and we tend to get fatter.

Justin in Oregon 2003
Here I am in Oregon 2003. I was pretty fat then.

I say “we” since it applies to me like crazy. I spent my 20s weighing about 220 pounds. I ate fast food multiple times/day. We used to leave the paint store in the mornings then stop in at Burger King for a Double Whopper with cheese, King-sized fries, and a huge Coke. I used to drink at least a 6 pack of Coke every day (and usually way more than that due to free refills at every damn restaurant). We’d have lunch about 3 hours later at some other awful fast food place (or sit downs. If we could swing the time, we’d drop into a sit down and eat, eat, eat). We ate like kings, so it’s now surprise that I looked like Robert Baratheon.

Then on Easter 2005, after gorging myself on tasty food, I was lying on the couch at my grandma’s house watching Foodtv. I felt

terrible (of course I had eaten WAY too much). We were watching a marathon of this show where they gave these fat people a trainer, a dietitian, and a plan for a few months (they followed them from beginning to end). They whipped these people into shape, even this extremely obnoxious guy who lost 40 pounds in 3 months. Seeing this idiot do it spurred me to decide to get in shape.

At the same time, my wife was training for her first marathon, so she was running all the time, which helped motivate me too (she is very fit). So. I ended up eating right and exercising, and I lost 2 pounds/week. I went from 225 to 172. I wasn’t ripped, but I had

September 2005 at a 5k in Maui
Here I am weighing 172 in Maui 2005 just before running my first 5K race.

abs with no fat on them for pretty much the first time in my life. In fact, I was on the skinny side–I was running too much and not eating enough protein.

Then I started lifting weights and doing yoga and got up to about 190, which I stayed at until about 2 years ago, when I started

going to a trainer with my brother. With him, we managed to condense a week’s

worth of weight lifting into 2 hours/week, but once we got too busy with work and had to stop, I rested on my laurels. I gradually lost my strength and my aerobic conditioning. I still went to yoga until last autumn, which helped keep me up somewhat, even though I had crept up above 200 pounds again. Then, like I already said, my winter of hedonism shoved me up to 221. After one week of eating well and exercising, I’m down to 216 right now (I think I tend to hold on to a few pounds of excess water when I’m being unhealthy).

So what’s my point?

Justin in Portugal
Here I am in Portugal. I was fit then (I knew how to maintain it).

Well, I have a few today, I guess. Get off your ass and do something. Move around. Don’t delude yourself into thinking you’ll always have time to get healthy later on. You certainly might, but hey, get to it. Don’t do like I have been. Don’t ignore yourself. Look for balance in what

you do, and try to make a positive change. I don’t want to see you drop dead from being unhealthy.

In my case, I think I may have flipped the switch back to “go.” I think. It’s hard to say, but I feel motivated about it right now. I DO NOT want to look and feel like I have been. I don’t want to be an unhealthy example for Gianna. I want to be there for her when I’m old. I want to look good. I want to feel good. I want to be able to run half-marathons again.

I’ve also noticed recently that my once excellent memory is really fading. I have been having a really hard time remembering if I’ve done things I meant to do or not. I think it’s related to my bad diet and lack of exercise (I sure as hell hope it is, anyway). I’m 36-years-old, so I think it’s a bit early to start shutting down.

Coloring Easter Eggs
You can see that I've gotten fat (if you don't see me in real life, that is. If you do, you know I've gotten fat again).

So. make that “someday” today. Get off your ass and go for a walk. Eat less. Eat better. Just do it for yourself. You owe your future self some health.

FAT, the Bench Press, and getting in better shape.

So last Monday we finished our bench press program. I ended up barely (and I mean barely) managing to do 260 pounds, which is my all time maximum. My brother did 240, which is his all time max. It sounds like a lot of weight, and it definitely was for both of us, but it really didn’t take that long to get there. In about another 12 weeks, we will begin our second heavy bench program and see where we can get to. My goal is to hit 300 pounds, which I now see is completely doable.

Tomorrow morning, both Melissa and I are starting a fat loss regimen. She is doing so because she is going to compete in her second figure competition here in Missoula this March. I am doing so because I have allowed my body fat to creep back up there higher than I want it to be. I weigh 195-196 right now, and while I have definitely put on quite a bit of muscle, I have also eaten badly enough that I have more body fat than I want. It’s funny that now that I have actually started building some solid muscle, I am more motivated to expose it. This is not to say that I am "fat," just that I am fatter than I want to be. I think one advantage to hanging around with world class bodybuilders, you see how much excess fat "normal" people actually have, and how skewed America’s perception of fat is. I’m not saying that bodybuilders are the norm, by any means, just that they represent another extreme in this country, and make me really think about how fat we Americans are all getting. Now my fat friends who read this will probably not understand that I am not knocking them for being fat. On the contrary, I am thinking about how fat we are all getting, and am worried about their health.

Note that I don’t bother with politically correct terms like "heavy" or "big" or whatever. It’s called fat. Anything else is just a way to accept the fat and allow ourselves to be unhealthy, as if it’s okay and normal. It’s not. It’s a by-product of our fucked up food supply system, mass laziness, mechanization in every element of our lives, and a million other things.

My buddy Joe Taylor has recently taken charge of his life/health, and has lost about 70 pounds. I am extremely proud of him, people, and am excited to see how tiny he will get. I think he will end up being a pretty damn small guy.

So now that I have called everybody fat, I am waiting for the emails.