i thought long and hard about penning this post. y’see, it involves a lot of admissions i had to make peace with and analyze before i could begin to impart said realizations on y’all.
I sit here typing this hammering away on the bike in PlanetFitness after another lunch time swim and… by job, I think I finally get it.
It isn’t supposed to be easy. Getting in shape is a payment for services already rendered. It’s atonement for sins long since forgotten. Old accounts that should have been settled long ago coming due with crippling interest.
This isn’t just about me. It’s about you, too. It’s about getting sick and deciding to get better.
i wasn’t a fan of diets. i was a switch rn wnemy or the meathead breeding ground that was a gym. I was, y’see, better than that. i was naturally rail thin. As a sophmore in highschool, I weighed 73lbs. I was a wrestler, so there was a wirey strength that my brain thought could cash the checks my mouth wrote. I was in short, a complete asshole.
Not the charming sorta asshole you see before you today, but a fucking douchelord. Diet was for the heavyweights, i didnt need to work to make weight. i was fast, i didnt need to work on my speed.
Eventually, we all get caught. i was caught by comfort and complacency. in college, for the first time in my life from age 7!, i wasnt on a team. The competitive fire that was my drug of choice went out beneath years of neglect. my metabolism slowed and my appetite didn’t. Just a few months before my 30th birthday, i threw out my back as i shifted my weight in a seat. I suffered one of the most painful and humiliating injuries of my life sitting in a fucking chair.
Vinny version one was given by god / dog / Flying Spaghetti Monster/ parental dna contributions.
That 70 pound firecrackimg waif gave way to a 245lb sloth born of nothin ng bit neglect, and perhaps deep seeded physiological guilt over being a closeted gay teen in a catholic all boys high school and then coming home to a very conservative home.
Thats not to say that the deterioration and of my physique had anything to do with my upbrnging. Nope. I merely pointed that out to illustrate something: a myriad of my friends said fat vinny was more jolly than skinny vinny. That is called a front… facade… illusion. People that are hurting do that. Even friends or family who trust you with everything may be withholding that hurt from you for any number of reasons. Never judge a book by it’s cover.
Conversely, you can’t equate physical fitness with happiness. You need ot make peace with who you are before you can figure out who the optimized version of you is. It may have nothing to do with weight loss. That was my cross to bear.
And bear it I did with a fake smile until my back gave out and my soctor told me “you are 5’6. Your back gave out because you are too fat for your frame.”
Sometimes, you need to be told bluntly. Reality check, mic drop.
That was the moment of clarity. And from that moment on, i set about putting all the ducks in a row. my mental health needed to get fixed first. People that were always wondering why i never had a girl friend needed that get educated. Some left, most grew understanding. Either way i was in encumbered and better for it. i decided to go back to school and stimulate my brain and apply for a slew of promotions to challenge myself professionally. Now that my mind was engaged, i set about rebuilding my body.
I sit here typing this, working that bike. Every ounce of muscle I have, i have earned. i earned every ounce of fat too. There came a time to balance that ledger. It is still not balanced, and wont be for another roughly 20lbs. But changes were made that day since that fateful injury and subsequent doctoral advice. Changes that included becoming a gym goer, knowing and learning about everything i eat, and running. lots of freaking running.
It is cliché but that doesn’t mean it’s less true: every journey needs tow things: One is a map.
That other essential ingredient in any journey worth taking is a first step. Nobody can undertake that for you, folks. You need to stare down every demon in the darkest recesses of your mind that screams “You can’t” and sternly insist “I can.” And once you have a modicum of progress? That hesitant but hopeful “I can” begets a stern “I will” from the pit of your stomach. Eventually, doubt will reassert itself, with a mocking “Then, Why haven’t you yet?” and a now sage travaler can reply with those sweet words of one of my childhoods favorite bands, the immortal queefcore icons, MatchboxTwenty, “let’s see how far we’ve come.”
That is a backbreaker… for your doubt. run far, run fast, run free.
Now that I’ve told you about my journey, next time i’ll give you my roadmap.