I have dreams about what I'd like my body to be. Never having been a tremendously coordinated or competitive, I've never been much of a jock. I also grew up with pigeon-toed feet, so some of the early years of my life were spent going in and out of doctors' offices, wearing a corrective shoe or two (no sneakers allowed), and even wearing a brace that splayed my feet in the proper direction at night. Given that simply walking sometimes caused me to trip over my own feet when I was very young, I grew up never seeing my body as being anything to write home about. Instead, I developed my mind and now find that I can put the title "Dr." before my name.
Now many years away from being that awkward kid, I feel like this lack of body confidence is something I need to correct. I don't think that I have unrealistic expectations -- I don't want to look like Fabio, Arnold, or Sylvester Stallone. In fact, I think that those bodies in may ways embody the wrong direction for me. No, I just want to get into the best shape of my life. I want to see a flat stomach when I look down. I want to be able to fit into that pair of jeans that haven't felt comfortable for 10 years but I keep in the back of closet anyway because I don't want to lose hope.
I'm willing to be patient. I want to do it right, by pursuing a healthy lifestyle where I eat right and exercise. I want to stay away from the Atkin's diet and all the other unhealthy fads (to Atkins fans: it's a great way to lose some pounds, but it doesn't seem to the way to live the rest of your life). I'd rather lose a couple pounds a month and keep it off than lose a lot right away and gain it back in six months.
So what am I doing to get there? I'm trying to exercise six days a week -- three devoted to cardio, three devoted to weight training. I'm also trying to follow Bill Phillip's Body For Life plan. I used it to lose about 15 lbs across about 4-6 months last year. I'm trying to be good about it, eating several small meals a day, and balancing my protein and carbohydrate intake.
It is working, but I'm not sure how well. I weighed myself a few weeks ago, and the result depressed me because it was higher than my most depressing guess. I know that weight can be a misleading indicator though; muscle weighs more than fat, and converting fat to muscle increases weight. That aside though, I look in the mirror and I like the changes I see. My body is so much more than it was, even in January.
Yet, I know that consistency is my weakness. Developing one's body is like anything else that requires persistence. That means making an effort to go to the gym and pushing myself a bit when I'm there. I made great gains last year, but then met a new girlfriend, got out of my routine, and lose much of what I gained. I also need to remember to be more moderate and look at things over the long haul. I've pushed myself too hard at times during the past, gotten sick, and then got out of my routine. The end of the routine is my enemy.
There is so much I'd eventually like to do. Swim more. Take up yoga once again, and develop more flexibility. Triathlons are out (because my feet don't take well to running), but there must be some way to compete... or at least just finish.
Mostly though, I would like, as the 24 Hour Fitness motto says, to "look better naked" and be in better shape by the time I reach 35 than I was when I was 20. Is that so wrong?
on 2003-03-27 at 3:17 p.m.
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