On the internet, nobody knows you're fat

[image of a personal scale]I’m no fan of the term “fatblogging” but I do see some value in the idea of inviting accountability by applying the blog (in the sense of public log) format to a health and fitness plan, and reporting one’s weight to a globe full of strangers is surely one way to keep yourself honest.
Those who know me in the real world may know that I’ve been working out with a trainer since February, and those who’ve known me for a while are aware how unlike me this is. I’ve never been particularly athletic. I’ve avoided organized sports, especially since injuring my knee at age 15, and have never felt comfortable around gyms and locker rooms. But since reaching the magic age of 40 and seeing my weight riding an upward spiral, I finally realized that the years of benign (and less than benign) neglect had come to an end, bit the bullet, and started an exercise program.
Then a month ago, for complicated and yet uninteresting reasons, I was assigned a new trainer and this guy is really good. He and I have set some more aggressive goals and he has redesigned my workout program. I’ve been extremely diligent about it. I go to the gym five times a week, rain or shine. Most of the time I go to the fitness center on the “campus” at my job, but I also joined a local gym so I can get that fifth day in on Saturdays.
I feel stronger, healthier, more energetic, and also – quite frequently – sore. I’ve shed nearly 20 pounds while at the same time building muscle and discovering some muscles I never knew I had. I have more confidence in my physical self and I’ve even seen some improvements in my sadly degenerating knee joint.
This past week I was in New York for a conference and incidentally to visit family, and I had the best intentions in the world to keep up with my exercise program. The hotel we stayed at did not have a gym on the premises, but it did have a deal with a local gym. We arrived late Tuesday and I was too beat to go work out that day. Wednesday through Friday were packed solid with conference activities, particularly since I was volunteering and had to arrive early and stay late.
Saturday I totally could have gone to that gym, but chose instead to take it easy in the morning before checking out of the hotel. We spent the rest of the weekend at my parents’ apartment on the upper east side, where there are numerous gyms. I even researched a few within blocks of the apartment where for around $20 I could have purchased a one-month membership and worked out on Saturday and Sunday, maybe even on Monday morning before our return flight. But I did not.
I had my excuses. It was hot and muggy. We were busy. I was tired. And so on. It tells me that the routine I’ve established is a key part of my current program. Without it, I revert to old, bad habits. In the future, I’ll have to make a stronger commitment and find a way to hold myself to it. This morning I meet with my trainer again and I suspect it will be tough, both physically because I’ve been absent from the gym for a week, and psychologically, because I’ll have to tell him I’ve been off the wagon.
The good news is: I did a lot of walking, even in the strangely hot and muggy non-October weather we were getting, and I stuck pretty closely to my food targets. So at least there’s that.
I don’t plan to do a lot “health and fitness” blogging, but that’s what’s on my mind this morning and one thing I’ve learned about a daily writing practice (oh, yeah, I wasn’t able to do the daily blogging thing on my vacation either!) is to write about whatever comes up.

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One Response to “On the internet, nobody knows you're fat”

  1. Caleb Chang Says:

    Thanks for the post Christian. (I am one of those lurkers who has been following your twitter feed. Believe it or not, I do have a life). I can definitely identify as I have never been the athletic-type either and will be turning 40 next year. I lost about 50 pounds 4 years ago thru a low-carb diet. I had worked for a company that had a gym as one of the perks. I started going every lunch hour for about 3 years. I managed to keep the weight off, but with this new job, I’ve gained about 40 back. Metabolism doesn’t quite work like it used to. Conventional wisdom says that it takes about 60 consecutive days to form a habit, so keeping at it during that time is crucial. Keep up the routine, my friend. You have inspired me to change my routine and maybe I’ll report back to you on the results.

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