(excerpt from my next book)
It took me two years to change my childhood obesity. It’s taken another 40 years to keep it off.
I lift or run or both almost every day of my life. On a typical day, I run 45-60 after my lifting workout. On average, I work out at least 26 out of 28 days. Usually more. I rarely take a full day off from any kind of exercise for two reasons: habit and need. This is the only way for me to control fat.
I realized as a child that fat loss doesn’t just happen. It doesn’t happen overnight. And it doesn’t happen with minimum investment. There’s a steep price that has to be paid to get in top shape and an even bigger price to keep it. Fat grows faster than muscle. In my case, my fat cells grow faster than gas prices. My genetics are horrible. There are no athletes in my ancestry. But I refuse to use that as an excuse to give up. I have never given up working out and never will.
My training program is as hardcore as it gets. It’s not easy. There’s nothing comfortable about it. In fact, 98.6% of people who have tried to workout with me have never come back. I never have an never will get “buried” in a workout. Not pound-for-pound and not by pace. Why? Fear. Fear of getting obese again and fear of wasting the only life I will have on this planet. I have all the evidence I need that nothing just happens. It doesn’t happen automatically. And I doesn’t happen overnight. Making it happens takes time.
The unrealistic desire for instant gratification is the top reason for frustration about fat loss. The human body works at a high-investment, low-return yield rate. Without accepting that fact, you will suffer frustration and quit working out. Here’s the secret to fat loss: learn to enjoy the struggle more than the outcome. If you don’t, you will be stuck to the scale and tape measure and the mirror and your measurements will give you a false reading. If you try to quantify progress with numbers, you’re suffering from broken focus. The true measure of progress is the thrill of spilling your guts.
I the two years it took to transform my childhood obesity, I didn’t cheat. I developed a preternatural work ethic in the weight room and on the pavement because my childhood obesity made an enormous negative impact on my life to the point I needed to escape it. That made up my mind. No choice. But I didn’t lose fat overnight. Technically, I didn’t lose fat. My fat cells shrunk. That’s how it works. That the reality of having to fight fat. Fat cells don’t disappear. They shrink. That has made me into a expert fat-fighter. I have fought fat my entire life – fighting the comeback of fat cells.
I became fat by the combined effect of several months of inactivity caused by a severely broken leg that immobilized me on my ass with a cast that weighed more than my body weight. After months of sedentary life and eating carb-rich food, my pudginess turned into full-fledged obesity. My social dysfunctionalism worsened. After the cast came off, my leg had atrophied to the size of a stick. I had to learn to walk again. That took months. I got fatter and fatter. It didn’t stop until I got a message – a little league football coach at halftime singled me out as being responsible for losing. Said I was “too fat and chickenshit” to block for the star running back.
Word-of-mouth spreads at the speed of sound. When someone in a position of perceived authority says something and instant childlike credibility is given to what is said and if it’s dramatic enough, word spreads. Suddenly, I was not just the joke of the team but of the neighbourhood, and then the entire school.
Here’s what I believe. Society has a bias against obese people. I’m not just basing this anecdotally on my own personal experience. I’m basing it on mounds of evidence. When I was a cop, the public made fun of overweight cops (“Have another donut, you fat pig!”). Overweight cops made fun of obese cops (“That fat pig can’t even make it up the stairs.”) Coaching football taught me that adolescence is merciless. Fat rookies and fit rookies are treated differently by their peers. Then, college teaching and coordinating college law enforcement program brought fat to the forefront – employment of the fittest. (“What are these fat people doing in your program?”) I could write a book stating all the evidence I’ve gathered. Fat causes bias. Fat is painful.
I found my cure. – to be continued