Saturday, July 9, 2011

Wherein I Say the F-Word Repeatedly

Today’s 14 miles is being done inside on the treadmill. It wasn’t too hot to head outside this morning, but I felt like reading while I stomped through the miles, and I figured it would be better for my overall health to have lunch at home, something not in the vein of Eat The Burger.

This also means being able to sit in air conditioned comfort on breaks. And while I enjoy the air conditioning, without having strangers staring at me like they’re wondering if I’m homeless and all greasy and sweaty or just insane and all greasy and sweaty, I can plop the computer on my lap and surf online for a bit. Poke around Facebook. Read things at FARK. Check email.

Most of my email is spam, and today’s delightful efforts come from someone trying to get people who use Twitter to click on a video link. No idea where it leads to, but I’m not foolish enough to click on it. But one email caught my attention, as the subject header was “3 Day, How?”*

I found your blog last year through someone else and have been following along ever since. I really want to do this, but how? I am so fat and out of shape and overweight that I don’t even know where to start. I can’t walk down to the mailbox without getting out of breath. I know I’m too fat to even think about walking a 3 Day, but now it’s all I can think about.

Well…guess what. I’m fat. We might vary in our degrees of fatness, but fat is fat. It is what it is. It’s not an insult or anything to be embarrassed about; it’s just a description.

I am over a weight that is ideal for my height; I am fat.

Let’s just get the sting of that out of the way. Too many people mumble “fat” like it’s a social disease. No one ever mumbles “I’m tall,” or “I’m blonde,” but nearly everyone chokes on the description of “fat.” If we’re not choking on it or whispering it, we employ euphemisms for it. Heavy. Voluptuous. Undertall. Zaftig.

Fat. Fat fat fat fat fat fat.

Say it; let it roll off your tongue. Repeat. Fat fat fat fat fat fat fat fat fat fat fat fat fat.


Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…take it out of the equation. It doesn’t matter if you’re fat. What matters is that you want to be able to tackle a SGK 3 Day, and you feel like there’s something in your way.

There are some legitimate reasons for not being able to give a 3 Day a try.
  1. No real time for training. (These people can crew. Just sayin’)
  2. No way to raise the minimum funds required and no way to cover them. (These people can crew, too…)
  3. You’re in a diabetic coma.
  4. You hate the idea and would rather do something else. (These people can donate to me. Please.)
  5. You have no soul. (I accept donations from the damned, no questions asked.)
Nowhere in that list is “because you’re fat.” So it’s off the table. I’m fat and did it. There were lots of people out there last year who were fat, and they did it. There were even a few fat people hobbling around with canes, and they did it.

And ya know what? There were also a lot of skinny people walking. A lot of skinny people who walked 5 or 10 miles and then had to hail a sweep van because they weren’t really prepared, either physically or mentally, for the reality of walking in San Francisco. Those hills, they are a bitch.

Focus instead of the real reason: fear.

Why would anyone eat these on purpose?
I understand fear. I’m afraid of some really stupid things, like Brussels Sprouts and going places alone for the first time. I’m terrified of social situations and God help me if the phone rings and caller ID coughs up a name I don’t know (though to be fair, my phone fear stems more from the fact that I can’t hear well on the phone.) Some of those fears I’ll tackle, some I won’t.

It’s not that I’m averse to tackling some of them; it’s that I don’t care enough about them to face them. Like Brussels sprouts. I’m not making the effort there because, really, who would?

If participating in a 3 Day matters to you, you’ll face the things that are in your way. And it’s not that you’re fat, it’s that you can’t walk to the mailbox without gasping for air, and that is some scary shit.

You’re out of shape and you know it. And to me, that’s far worse than being fat. Worse than either is being too afraid to do something about it. I think it’s worse to me because I’ve been too afraid to do something about it. Don’t ask me what changed; I don’t know. One day I was this fat person sitting at my desk talking to the Spouse Thingy, and out of my mouth came something like, “Hey, wanna give Jenny Craig a try?”

It was the first step.

For me, getting some of the extra weight off was key in feeling like I could do anything else. Losing weight feels great, and somewhere in that endorphin high I felt like moving around more. But I certainly could have done it the other way around—if I’d started moving more, I’d have lost weight, too. I would have felt better and reaped the benefit of a few rushes of endorphins.

So I'm still fat, just a little less fat. I lost 50 pounds, but have gained back somewhere between 15-18. Does it matter?

Not really. I hate the flab around my middle, but only because I have a date to wear spandex. You people viewing the photos of that event will just have to deal.

But for getting to where you can walk in a 3 Day, it’s not the losing of weight; it’s the getting into walking shape.

Here’s the truth: no matter how badly you want it and are how much you’re willing to do something to achieve it, you might not walk one this year. You probably won’t. And that’s fine. Make it the goal. Make it your reward.

Start with the obvious…movement. So you get out of breath walking to the mailbox. Do it anyway. Walk there and come home. The next day, walk a few steps further. Don’t think you have to step out your front door and walk 3 miles before it counts. It ALL counts. If you feel you are so out of shape that you’re risking a cardiac event by getting the mail, see your doctor first and find out where you really are, but do something that gets you moving.

Like…swimming. Find a gym with a pool and walk in water. Granted, from an emotional standpoint that can be one of the most painful ideas to even contemplate because there are PEOPLE there and those are people who work out, and THEY WILL SEE HOW FAT I AM!

I get it, I really do. But those people who are in the gym with their sweating and grunting and looking so fit that you just want to knock them down and sit on them until they squeal? They’re not really noticing you. They’re too busy worrying about their carb and protein intake for the day and whether or not they can afford to have a slice of white bread. They’re counting reps. They’re fixated on the underwear wedgy that is driving them apeshit crazy, but they can’t dig it out and can’t go into the locker room to take care of it because if they do, they’re going to lose their machine.

There are also fat people at the gym, even in the pool. Hell, that’s where you’ll typically find me.

Move. Just move. Find something you like, and move.

And I won’t kid you, Marge. You’ll feel a whole lot better if, while you begin to move, you address the things you eat. Food is fuel; the better the fuel, the better the machine will run. You don’t pour diesel into a car designed to run on midgrade gasoline and expect great results; if you pour sugar and saturated fats into your stomach, your overall performance is going to be less than ideal.

Don’t even worry about the calories; just consider the source of fuel you’re putting into your tank. If you want to be able to walk past the mailbox, you might find it easier if you’re running on lean protein and vegetables instead of fast food and Twinkies. And when you feel better, you start performing better.

It’s this whole circle of being thing. Eat right, exercise more, feel better. Feel better, and you want to eat right and exercise more.

Pretty soon, you’ll find that the trip to the mailbox is no big deal. You’ll make it to the corner and back, and it’ll be no big deal. You’ll do a half mile, then a mile, and it’ll be no big deal.

Well, other than it WILL be a big deal because you’re taking literal steps towards something you really want.

If you start now, if you just make small changes now that you build on, by next year you’ll be walking in your first 3 Day. You’ll feel awesome. You’ll BE awesome.

Screw it, you ARE awesome. You want this; that takes something special deep down. So go for it. And if you’re participating in the same city I am, or even close, I will be there to cheer you on. I would be proud to walk with you.

*(I should state upfront that I did try to answer this is email, but it bounced back at me.)


Anonymous said...

I'm a hell-of-a-lot fatter than you and I did it!

las794 said...

Awesome post, Thumper.

Just Ducky said...

Yep, just get out and start moving. A little bit each day, then a little more each day.

We didn't think you would make it last year with all of your 'tender foot' issues. But you worked through them and did it.

Journey to DALLAS! said...

Wow Thumper ....
What an awesome post.