When I got tired of being fat I joined a gym.
I had no idea that when I stepped into the weight room at my local Gold’s Gym that I was beginning a journey of personal re-discovery and challenge. Too much? I always did like a flair for the dramatic.
As I’m sure every person out there who’s older than I am can attest, at a certain point our young bodies start to turn on us. Our metabolism slows down, our skin loses it’s elasticity, joints creak and crack in new and exciting ways, and you suddenly start waking up in the middle of the night with back pain. What do we do about it?
Some take supplements. Some get surgery. Some take medications. Some join a gym. Some might even go for the gold and do all four plus a few that I haven’t even listed.
When I got tired of being fat I joined a gym.
Here’s the thing. I’ve never /been/ fat. I grew up a little gangly, then somehow puberty hit me like a ton of bricks and it was like BAM 5’10” woman’s body on a 5′ 3″ frame. I never topped out over 124LBS at any given point past age 14 and just assumed I was one of those genetically lucky few. Oh, how pride comes before the fall.
In 2006 I joined the military because I was bored and wanted a change of pace (seriously). In those ensuing 4 years I learned a lot. I learned that I have no problem killing, skinning and cooking a chicken, I’m a deadly accurate shot with a bazooka, and that I can be stubborn to the point of madness (and that’s a good thing). I also learned that human bodies are frail things, and nothing in the Army is scaled for anyone shorter than 5’6″. These last two points directly led to where I am now, which is a little broken and a lot pissed off. Due to a combination of horrid diet, stress, a 230LBS man and innate clumsiness I have a 60% disability rating and a lower GI system that hates me. I was medically discharged from the Army for a knee injury that crushed a nerve behind my knee joint, causing chronic pain, weakness, numbness and spasms (note to those who are curious: never try to fireman carry a 230LBS man by yourself. You’ll set off a trip wire that’s connected to a smoke bomb that was packed incorrectly so that when it explodes it actually EXPLODES into shrapnel, scaring the daylights out of you and causing you to fall over, all that weight landing on your right leg. And THEN that fat fucker will complain about a scraped chin). The situation surrounding my injury and impending discharge lead to a stress disorder that put the final nail in my lower GI’s coffin that was ravaged by MRE horribleness and steroids. Now I have fun digestive and absorption problems. There, in a paragraph I’ve laid out my whole sad story.
It’s been 5 years since I’ve been out of the military, and first I hobbled on a cane and wallowed in depression for a year. Then I decided to get out and meet people, and retired my cane. Then I decided that since I wasn’t /dead/ I was obviously just /fine/ and went on to do all the things I had been doing pre-army. This was a mistake, because the thing about chronic pain is that it doesn’t just GO AWAY. It hides in the night, like the worst of stalkers, and waits patiently, luring you into a false sense of security and normalcy. Then, just when you least expect it (halfway up a mountain, maybe?) it pounces on you, and now you are a quivering ball of pain and tears, and you’ve lost all your ‘hard’ cred and need to be half-carried off a frickin’ mountain. And stay in bed for four days not moving.
This would repeat itself, ad nausum, every few months. The cycle of “I feel fine—>I’m going to do whatever I want fuck you body—>oh that sort of feels like pain—>DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN WHAT DID I DO MAKE THE PAIN STOP—>I’ll just lay here for a month—>I feel fine…” would take about three months. I became less and less active, and with the whole time marching forward thing I got old. And fat. And really, really, complacent. Then I got depressed as hell. And depression (especially MY depression) really pisses me off.
So I joined a gym to “look better naked”. Then I argued with my trainer for half an hour about how I refuse to do cardio because it’s for suckers and besides, my knee won’t allow it. Then I said “make me stronger”. And I fell in love with lifting.
So here I am. Two months into a life change, signed up for a 12 week challenge, and with a personal goal of bench pressing 100LBS, squatting 250LBS and dead lifting 300LBS. I want a 26″ waist and about 20% body fat. I don’t care what my weight actually is, but I do know that I want to lose mass and get stronger.
I am transitioning into a 100% whole foods diet, with an emphasis on “paleo” eating habits (I’m trying to reduce/eliminate grains, legumes, dairy, sugars and alcohol) and rebuild my metabolism. Added benefits of an uptick in mood, sleeping easier/deeper, clearer skin and stronger hair and nails are welcome, too.
I think this is good enough for an initial post. This blog is most likely going to get real personal, real quick, but I guess that’s how these are supposed to work.