Just Do It
If any endeavor is passive or “reasonable”, you can “reason” your way into any rationalization that would make it more “comfortable”. If your resolution is extreme and irrational, it has the power of its own inevitability – this attitude has historic validation in kamikaze pilots, running with the bulls in Pamplona, and believing in Scientology. So I began to create a mental framework for a complete conceptual reorganization. After the DVD revelation, I could see the fat on my bones instead of the body of my youth hidden by the fat. I had to change or the revealed absurdity of my physical condition would poison all the good things I’d done and become.
If I was to succeed, there could be only one goal – intensity of focus. Goals of poundage, inches lost, and wearing clothes that had sequestered in my closet for a decade or two would all be meaningless without an overarching focus.
I knew I could not count calories – I was never wild about math, and ultimately I knew I could never live up to the unforgiving precision of this method and would always lie to myself about the calorie count. If I had to limit calories, I’d pretend that calories didn’t really exist in certain foods that contain tons of them and I’d conveniently “forget” that I’d actually eaten something that inevitably had calories. Historically, all the “good” foods I limited myself to were consumed in quantities that were decidedly “bad.”
I knew I couldn’t worry about pounds. When you’re truly fat, the first fifteen pounds comes off like a backpack – almost instantaneously and without notice. I knew I could not look in the mirror until I was more than halfway done. In the past flailing attempts, no matter how much weight I thought I’d lost, it would not have the visual impact that I’d hoped it would, so I resolved to rely on clothing (especially my belt) to tell me if any way I chose to lose mass was working.
I needed temporary overwhelming intensity, not the creation of some “new life.” This epiphany revealed a level of internal strength I’d always had that had been hidden under a few dozen pounds of lard. It dawned on me that half a loaf just means you’re not eating the other half. No loaf means you’ve rejected it – and the loaf has no power. There is enormous power in saying “no” – far more power than “some.”
I knew it could not be a regime for Klingons. Extreme passion and emotion lead to failure and depression via the inevitable disappointment of unmet expectations. I knew it had to be a regime for Vulcans, where extreme focus and undeniable logic create an iron will, and the only expectation is that the iron will will not fail, despite all the potential for compromise and, hence, disappointment.
I could not face another thing that was like my mortgage, marriage, or kids. It could not be open-ended. It had to be an extreme application of will for a defined period of time, with that full devotion over that finite time as an absolute goal.
My motivations were both obvious and simplistic. I knew I would never have a six-pack, but I could lose the keg that was around my waist. I wanted to disempower the fat freaked – those who weigh themselves every day and abstemiously reject dessert or a potato chip because gaining a pound is to them tantamount to moral depravity, their superiority so obnoxiously present as they cast a pitying eye that self-righteously murmurs, “We’re deeply concerned about your health. . .” De-bulking essentially tells them to shove it.
This new found narcissistic disgust simply energized the resolve to reclaim my body that had caused me to work out regularly for the first time in 20 years. The only reason I could dive into dietetic intensity was that I had established a daily pre-dawn conversation with my body years before the DVD light bulb went off. Initially just another rationalization of my body state, working out was, in fact, the foundation of my gut rehab.
I knew that when I was in full fat removal mode, extra time would be needed for sleeping a little bit more in response to continued working out and de-massing. This meant that I had less time for social or friendly things as I could not cut back on work or my participation in my kids’ lives. But in the end it was worth it. Not because of vanity, but simply because it was my body, a machine that I’d long ignored which had become both rusty and dangerous. The bizarre revelation is that once I got into working out I realized that not only was I a machine that had deferred maintenance for a generation, but I was also the mechanic of the machine – a conflict of interest that hurt me deeply as I dozed over donuts in the shop, but one that I ultimately turned to my advantage.