My Path To Fitness Is Littered With Failures
I got married a month and a half after graduating from high school and I became a father four months after that. I went from being a very active teenager to suddenly needing to find a job to provide for my new family. Given my background in computers, the job I landed was a full-time technical support job at a local internet provider. And so began my not-so-slow transition from being very active to a very sedentary lifestyle.
Over the years, I moved from one job to the next but one thing persisted: I spent a vast majority of my life sitting in front of a computer, in my car, or at home in front of the TV. The pounds piled on and I grew more and more unhappy with myself. Like most people, I started several times to take charge of my health and “Damnit, THIS TIME I’ll accomplish something!”
You guessed it; it never lasted. I tried gimmicky exercise equipment, expensive magazine subscriptions, and did a lot of research. The only thing that helped me finally start making progress was changing my mindset and becoming determined to work toward a better me.
It wasn’t until 2013 – after ending two long, ego-stomping years of unemployment – that I landed a job and was determined to use that new start to reboot my life! As soon as I could, I restarted my old gym membership and try to go as often as possible. I kept telling myself that anything I did to exercise would be better than what I’ve been doing all these years. Part of this process was spending the time to really understand my body and how it responds to different foods and activities.
Genetics and Body Type
What I had to accept was that I was never going to be super skinny and lean because that simply is not the type of body my genetics gave me. This isn’t one of those “My genetics are making me fat” rants, but there is definitely something to be said about understanding that my genetics determined that I was not going to be tall and that I would have broad shoulders, be “barrel chested,” and have muscular legs, which would all be problematic when shopping for clothes. Especially in the skinny jeans and small-is-the-new-large fashion craze.
I experimented with my diet and found that my body does not process some types of foods as efficiently as it does others. What this means is that if I drink two cans of soda, I wake up the next morning being visibly bigger around my gut and just feeling sluggish. On the flip side, I found that eating a cheeseburger for dinner leaves me waking up the next morning feeling pretty well and not noticeably chunkier. That’s not to say that a greasy cheeseburger is actually healthy or that the grease isn’t bad for other parts of my body (arteries and so forth), but what it means is that my body processes certain foods better than it does sugar.
Using this information and applying it to regular exercise has helped me start to drop some bad pounds. My weight is still consistently 200-210 pounds, even though I’ve slimmed down and lost fat, I’ve gained muscle, so I’ve given up chasing the magic number on the scale. Instead, I go for how I feel and the results I can quantify. I’m stronger than I was and I have more energy than I can recall having in the past several years. All because I decided one day that enough was enough and I needed to own my own health. I definitely eat more bad food than I should but I make sure that I punish myself for those transgressions by pushing it during my next visit to the gym.
What’s my point? Just this: It’s never too late to start making changes to your lifestyle to transform yourself into a better, happier, healthier you.
But you have to want it bad enough to go out there and earn it!