You know what I’ve been thinking about? EVERYTHING. But I’ll pick one thing to write about.
Let’s talk about health and fitness. In keeping with the theme of the blog, I think this is a “Brawn” post.
(SN: I can’t remember where I picked this idea up, but read/heard that I’m not supposed to write posts that I think you will like. I guess that means that my goal is to write about my unique experiences with integrity and dignity and honesty. I write because I need to do regular brain dumps. I can’t remember where I picked this up either, but someone said your brain is like random-access memory (RAM). It’s only there for temporary storage and processing. You need to get your ideas out of RAM to make space for new things being processed.)
Back to health and fitness.
I am trying to lose weight so that I can look good in a Speedo, full stop. Not to be healthy or reduce inflammation or anything medical, just for the sake of vanity. Vanity is a powerful motivator but it’s probably not the best motivator.
I can’t remember all of the details of the past 16 years, but I remember being around 160 pounds for a while. And then I remember being 180. And then I remember – and currently experience – 200.
If I didn’t cave to peer pressure, I actually kind of like my body. I average about 12-14% body fat. I workout regularly. There have been periods that I exercised with a specific goal in mind (e.g. getting ready for Trinidad Carnival) and other times when my workouts were more sporadic. For the most part, I feel comfortable in the gym and I know what to eat – whole foods, fruits and vegetables, less sugar, more fiber, etc. But this is where it gets hard. I
like LOVE sugar. And I’m starting to think that I don’t have a “sweet tooth”, but rather a sugar addiction. And if I don’t want something sweet, I want something salty (e.g. salt & vinegar chips, flaming hot Cheetos).
My current pattern is that I’ll be healthy for a couple days – eating most of the right foods, drinking water, sleeping, working out, etc. Then I’ll stop to treat myself. Or, more likely, I’ll have a hard day and will have an emotional eating binge. That makes me feel sad the next day. I get disappointed that I probably ate away my “gains” (or more technically, my losses) and that I can’t seem to get out of this pattern.
In my mind, if I get back to 180, I’ll look better. It’s an arbitrary number. And maybe it’s unrealistic. I haven’t been 180 pounds in probably 10 years. I’m just NOW realizing this as I type. I used to look down on people who seemed to think that their best, sexiest, hottest years were just a few years (and pounds) behind them and that they could get back into that state whenever they wanted to, if they wanted to. I’d think to myself: “they’re a lot farther from that goal than they think, seems a little ridiculous; they should just accept where they are and work from there.” Eek. That was callous.
But now II’m doing the same thing. I keep thinking, I’ll just drop this weight and get back to my old self. I did get pretty lean, maybe single-digit body fat for a trip, but it was hard. And once I came back from the trip, I put the weight back on in less than 6 months. I can’t seem establish a healthy eating pattern and stick with it.
Maybe this has less to do with health and fitness and more about my crippling inability to stick with a goal (sometimes). And maybe that’s because I don’t have a system, like James Clear says in Atomic Habits. He says something like [obviously paraphrasing here], you don’t need to get motivated to clean your room, you should find a way to be less messy. So I guess I need to find a way to be more consistently nutritious. But I don’t want to. Sometimes I do. But other times I don’t. Like, right now, I want a pizza. I’m bummed because my boyfriend had a COVID exposure and I can’t hang out with him. Pizza does a great job of comforting me. But I made a deal of not having pizza again until I got down to 195 as a cheat meal. Probably not the best incentive, but I’m trying. And if it fits my macros I don’t feel as guilty.
I look healthy. I’m tall and can look pretty muscular depending on the angle. People don’t take me seriously when I say I have a problem with food. I think I maintain because I’m pretty active, but if my diet were better, I’d be more lean. I want my six-pack to show – but for who? I guess having a 6-pack will make more attractive, thereby giving me more social capital and validation. And if I have more social capital and validation, I’ll be more happy? Maybe I will. But it probably won’t last.
I go to this gym where it seems like everyone is a physique model – at least 60-70%. And the other 30-40% are 75% physique model. I feel so much pressure to constantly look beach ready. But even that desire for beach body readiness 24/365 isn’t enough to keep me from eating Taco Bell – and A LOT of Taco Bell – when I feel sad and lonely. I need to find a more consistent motivator, or like I just told someone else, more discipline. Motivation comes in waves and you can’t wholly rely on it.
Well this was good to get out. I’d like to thank myself for writing.
Bruce, thank you for writing. You feel better when you get your feelings out.
And I’d like to thank you for reading.