Fitness Friday: Thoughts on motivation.

Today I weigh 177.8 lbs. The day I began the diet I weighed 207.9, which means I have lost 30 lbs in 19 weeks. I am also 2 lbs away from my current goal of 175, which I will likely attain in ten days or so. After I reach 175 I will just take it 5 lbs at a time until I can call myself lean, which will hopefully be between 170 and 165. Getting there will take about 7 more weeks.

The way I’m setting my goals is to use the Navy Body Fat Calculator which estimates one’s body fat percentage based on some simple measurements (waist, neck, height, weight, etc). It is not precise but it gives a general idea. According to it I am “fit” at 17% body fat (about 30 lbs worth). Subtracting 10 lbs I would weigh 167 with 20 lbs of fat (12%), which the U.S. Navy considers “athletic”.

In March before starting the diet I would have qualified as “acceptable”, but an inch difference in any of the measurements and the Navy would have branded me “obese”. Honestly, I had no idea I was so fat. I looked OK. I felt chunky, knew I had to lose a few pounds, but not 35+. That might be for the best though; maybe had I known I would have just bought some stretchy pants and settled for being a lard-ass. After all, getting fat is just a normal part of aging; health, insulin sensitivity, being able to see your own dick… these things just pass away like autumn leaves.

That is a humbling thought: if I were smarter then, I’d be fatter now. My illusions have enabled me to do more than would otherwise have been possible… like Donald Trump.

Anyhow, I am motivated to continue because of:

  • Ease: this diet has been quite easy, just avoid carbs and watch portions. Giving up sugar and starch is not hard for me; I was never a big beer drinker and don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I did miss beans a little – they were a staple – and I used to make a good risotto but I am over it now. The hardest thing has been giving up cocktails that include simple syrup, especially Old Fashioneds, but it was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be.
  • Fun: I enjoy planning meals, documenting calories, and seeing results. It is like a science project, and that appeals to my inner geek.
  • Fear: I am afraid of type 2 diabetes which runs in the family. (Most of my family is not obese, just carb junkies).

Mental images are very helpful. I have two mental images that motivate me

  • Mental image one: some time this fall I will be going through my wardrobe to try on old clothes, making a pile of pants that don’t fit and shirts that I never wear, and taking them to goodwill. Then I will go out and buy new ones that do fit. I will have an organized closet.

This first image works for me because it appeals to my sense of order, and represents a sort of clean break with bad habits of the past.

  • Mental image two: I go to the beach and take off my shirt. There are some young ladies there who are very impressed, among them a woman who once shot me down. She’s like “Oh shit, I made a huge mistake” and I’m like “Whatever, I’m so out of your league.”

This second mental image appeals to my lust, pride and vanity, which are great motivators.

Obviously I won’t be hitting the beach after September so satisfying the second scenario may have to wait for next year.

Or maybe I need to plan a trip to Florida.


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