The Transition -or- Keeping It Is The Hard Part
In April 2016 I came to the conclusion that enough was enough. I was a 225 pound, chunkified, aching allover bag of fat and bone and I was fed up. I was tired of being tired all the time. I was tired of being grumpy. I didn’t like where I was going. I stumbled across an old photo of myself coming out of the ocean on a beach in Provincetown, Cape Cod some time in 2004. I looked like a beached whale. I decided to do something about it.
I’ve been in and out of the exercise circuit since I was 14 years old. My weight would go up then come down then go up again. Or I’d work out like a fiend while eating nothing but McDonald’s and ice cream. I’d run for a few weeks, shed some pounds then pack it back on, convincing myself that I was happier being the fat Doug. The fit Doug was a pipe dream. Then I remembered what Albert Einstein said. “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” Now, I know Al was talking more on a global scale but I thought why can’t I adapt his philosophy to my situation? I was caught in a loop of working out, eating crap, shedding a couple pounds then piling it back on. One step ahead and three steps back.
In April 2016, I put my new philosophy to work. I have Albert Einstein, and to a lesser extent Nike, to thank for it because now I just do it. I don’t think about it. I just do it. I’ve altered my thinking to stop fantasizing about having an athletic physique and treat exercise more like brushing my teeth. It’s something I just do everyday without thinking about it. It’s just a part of my day. As far as a healthy diet… that practice was a bit harder to adopt.
As a police officer, we’re on the road for a majority of our shifts. And at night when we’re hungry what other options do we have but fast food joints to satisfy our hunger? The grocery stores are closed and it’s a pain in the ass to make lunches everyday. I’m in a unit (as I write this) that is a little more family friendly when it comes to schedule (no nights or weekend shifts). So, last year I discovered Summerfresh. They’re the makers of those pasta, hummus and bean salads you see with the green Tupperware lids in the grocery stores. I found out they have a factory in the city I work. Even better, they give cops a discount which makes it cheaper to eat there a few times a week than making my own meals. Plus, it’s a much healthier alternative to the crap that available out there any other time. I eat there so often that I joke that I’m probably putting the owner’s kids through college. Anyhoo, point being, I’ve been able to stave off piling the pounds back on by eating a diet of mostly fish, lean beef, bean/pasta salads, etc. for the past year and a half. I found a balance. Exercise and a healthy diet is actually good for you. Who’d a thought it?!! (insert sarcasm here).
It’s been said that ANYTHING can become a habit in about three weeks. I can attest to this since after three weeks of proper diet and exercise I noticed not only some real improvements but I was finding it easier to stick with it. Fast forward to a year and a half later and here I am typing this (watching you two doing gymnastics) at 188 lbs and not recognizing my own body (in a good way). I’m lean, muscly and ache-free. I’m sleeping like a baby, not climbing out of bed like a 90 year-old man, and what it’s done for my brain I can’t even put into words. “Clutter-free” comes to mind. My goal of being in the best shape of my life by the time I’m fifty came two years early. Now the real trick. Staying this way.
My body was built to run. I don’t suffer from most of the common ailments of my fellow foot jockeys and unlike many of them… I’m not interested in competing. I’ve never done a marathon and I don’t see one in my future. As for my physique, I’m not interested in getting my IFBB card on the pro circuit. Actually, I’m not interest in EVER being a “bodybuilder”. My desire to alter my physique is two part. 1) I’m merely curious to see how far I can go with all this fitness stuff. 2) I want to set a good example for you two so you see that fitness transcends a person’s age. Your mom and I had you guys later in life and I want to be able to keep up with you as long as I can, even as an old man.
I’ve worked really REALLY hard over the past year and a half to get where I am. My fat guy clothes and I have parted ways and I’ve attached so much pain and fear in losing all that I’ve worked so hard to achieve that even on my cheat day I don’t go too “dirty”. I’ll have that burger and fries and maybe an occasional ice cream treat.
I don’t know how my life will end. No one does. If I lose my life on the job, well… that’s beyond my control. But I’ll be damned if I’m going buy the farm due to poor health. I love you guys too much to go out that way.
But… it’s cheat day! I gotta go pilfer a few handfuls of candy from your Halloween stash. Yes… I know where you hide it!