Fear is the little Death

So, the other day I was thinking about my previous blog posts and decided that I haven’t really dedicated a lot of time or words to my personal journey. I also realized that even though I have goals (written out, natch), I don’t really know how I want my body to look or what specifically I’d like to accomplish. I also think about all the times I’ve tried to lose weight in the past and failed, why I seem to have this mental roadblock keeping me from success.

I used to think I wanted to get down to 130-140, because that’s what I weighed in high school, and I thought I was pretty hot shit then. But recently, I realized I’ve never been thin or particularly fit, even then. I looked okay, but I had no muscle. I never played sports as a kid, except in gym class. I had the requisite ballet and gymnastics when I was really little. But looking back, I came upon a stunning revelation: I never practiced outside of class. I suspect this has a lot to do with having a overly critical mother. I learned early on that I didn’t like having an audience when I was doing stuff, and I certainly didn’t like doing things that drew attention to me.

Later on, this translated as enjoying running at night-so no one could see me, and avoiding the gym because I felt like a poseur. Seeing this and understanding it has made me wonder if this fear of criticsm has led me in some way to avoid situations where I felt like I might be on display in some sense. But hey, I’m not a psychologist, so I can’t say how accurate my little self-diagnoses is.

So yeah, maybe this fear has led to other more intangible fears-like a fear of being successful or good at something that requires action outside my own head. It’s possible. The other day when I was at the gym slogging through a workout, I realized that I was scared. Not just of failing (again), but not reaching my fitness goals, making my business successful, and a whole slew of other things. I like to think we are all scared about something at some time, but I wonder how much this fear keeps us from achieving what we want in life.

I don’t really know what I want to look like or how much I want to weigh, despite knowing my healthy weight. When I was in my 20s, I gained 10 lbs one summer, but my body fat percentage didn’t change. I was in better shape than when I started, but I was also 10 lbs heavier. The same thing when I gained the next year, too. But I was in better shape when all was said and done. Once upon a time, I had a trainer who asked what my goal weight was. When I told him somewhere between 120-130, he actually looked horrified, telling me that weight was way too low for my frame. He told me I should shoot about 20 lbs higher, in the 140-150 range. According to my ideal body fat percentage of 20%, that actually is the correct weight.

It’s not enough to just say, “I don’t want to be fat anymore,” but I’m scared because I don’t know how I’m going to look at the end of this journey. I don’t want to become obsessed with my body, but I’d like to look in the mirror and not just see a bunch of stuff I want to change. I may not know how I’m going to look, but I know what I want to see: long lean muscles, strength. I want to be fit and strong.

“Fear is the mind killer. It is the little death that brings total obliteration.”* What do you fear? What’s keeping you from accomplishing your goals?

Until next time, then.


*that’s from “Dune” by Frank Herbert.


All Problems Solved — NOT!

I’m a fan of the “Hellraiser” film franchise. Yeah, yeah, they’re not Oscar material, but you know what, I don’t care. I like the shows and the stories they tell, and yes, for the pure gore.

For those not familiar with the Hellraiser movies, there exists a puzzle box that’s essentially a gateway to hell. Solving the puzzle opens the gateway for the Cenobites (the denizens of this hell plane) to come for you. Once they have you, you will be subjected to endless suffering and terror and blah blah blah.

One of the more recent movies had this line that kept sticking with me, and it was about that puzzle box, the Lament Configuration (or the LaMarchand Configuration). It’s from “Hellraiser: Hellseeker” and it’s the 6th movie in the franchise and brings back the lovely Kirsty Cotton, the protagonist of the first 2 movies.

Anyway, in the 6th movie, “Hellraiser: Hellseeker”, the box is introduced in a fashion by a simple business card stating “All Problems Solved”. Of course, this being a horror movie and all, you can just extrapolate what that might entail. The parallel that I’m drawing here is we are part of a culture that values quick results-we’re the microwave generation. We’re always looking for shortcuts, easier ways to get things done; anything we think might help us live our lives easier.

Every day we are bombarded with images of perfect Hollywood celebrities, some of them touting the latest magic cream that removes cellulite and stretch marks, the latest diet fad, the latest fitness craze, or shilling for some weight loss pills. I admit I am tempted when I see ads for weight loss, or some miracle product that promises super weight loss. Before I decided to finally commit to doing it the “hard way”, I browsed the diet aid aisle at Wal-Mart a couple times, trying to decide which product might be best for me. In the end, I left empty-handed each time.

Remember, I’ve been there. I AM there, right now, starting out-again. I’ve tried pills-Dexatrim, Slimquick, Ripped Fuel, and Hydroxycut. I’ve tried diets: South Beach, Atkins, Glycemic index, low fat, high fat, no sugar, low calorie and countless others. With the pills, I would lose a few pounds, stop taking the pills, and gain the shit right back. With the diets, I admit, I’m a total foodie. It’s taken me many years to figure out how I should fuel my body. I did the worst with diets that restricted food groups, like carbs. The most successful campaigns where I lost the most weight, I was pretty much starving myself (more on that later) because I was skipping meals. Of course, as soon as things returned to “normal”, I gained the weight right back.

The truth is, there is NO magic bullet. There isn’t a mystical, magical, rainforest fruit (or puzzle box!) that’s going to solve all your problems. You can’t take pills and expect to lose weight and keep it off for the long term. It takes dedication, commitment, and SWEAT! LOTS of it. When I say I’m doing it the “hard way”, what I’m really saying is I’m doing it the “right way”. One day at a time. No shortcuts. Just lots of hard work and eating right.

Oh, and apropos nothing, you can actually buy those puzzle boxes on eBay. I linked the pic to the page. Cheers.