Mirror Mirror

Controlling impulses (or even delaying them) can be downright exhausting. If you’re already tired, upset, depressed, or otherwise nonplussed with your current situation it can be even harder. People talk to me all the time about how determined I must have been to lose weight. How dedicated. How inspirational. I’m just not feeling it, folks.

There is some serious ebb and flow to my weight loss efforts. I’ll go from tracking everything and eating evenly balanced meals to a full-blown destructive “oh, M&Ms would go well with this Monster energy drink—wait, peanut M&Ms, yes, more fiber is good…”

As I write this I’m coming off of the latter, big time. I got up this morning and weighed in up 6 lbs from a week ago. Before you start tapping out that comment about how it’s physically impossible to put on that much weight in a week, yes, I know. It’s more than likely the aftermath of overeating and under-hydrating. A couple days of eating normally and drinking water like a fish should put me back in the realm of you-screwed-up-but-not-terribly.

Still, why does it keep happening and why to such an extreme? I bought Hostess Cupcakes at the store last night. Who does that? And my reply to Kayla’s patented Have You Lost Your Mind, Klassen™ look was “what? dessert…”

A friend of mine, @billmdee, asked me what got me off the gaming and into fitness. Well what do 455 lb gaming addicts have in droves? Low self-esteem. Sure, I might have been the best tank (gaming parlance for the leader of the group) on my particular shard of my particular game of choice, but that was easy to do sitting a pair of sweats and an over-sized T-shirt. And it fed that slice on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—self-esteem, confidence, achievement (can you say quests?), and respect.

Why would I trade that for sweat, pain, embarrassment, and muscle soreness in a Zumba® class and a weight room?

The answers I give for “why Zumba?” and “why do you lift weights?” are valid, sure. They’re even seductive. But people like me with a serious self-esteem void to backfill don’t do things for the valid reasons. We do them to make the pain stop.

So why Zumba? Well it’s a fun workout that incorporates high intensity interval training (HIIT) which keeps the calorie burn high throughout the class. I burn anywhere between 700 and 1000 calories per hour. More when I’m teaching. The truth? Because men don’t typically take Zumba classes it makes me feel unique. I get a lot of attention. That, and the people in the classes look like the ones that wouldn’t give me the time of day when I was growing up and somehow it makes me feel like I’m not the loser I felt like I was then. For a while anyway.

And why lift weights? Lifting weights can be fun after a while, but more importantly it raises your lean mass which raises your basal metabolic rate (BMR) so you’re burning more calories doing all the other activity you do (even sleeping). I want to lose weight and having more muscle helps me do that. The truth? I hate what I see in the mirror. When I lift weights those muscles are sore for a couple of days and if I cycle through them I’m always sore somewhere so I can feel like I’m strong (at least underneath the fat). When I don’t lift weights and can’t feel the muscle soreness I feel especially fat.

I wish I could have offered some epiphany about getting fit. Some pithy quotable quote or other tidbit that you could apply to your own situations and produce the same results I’ve had. I can’t. Losing weight is incredibly hard. It’s like spinning plates on poles. Stop overeating. Move more. There’s no easy way to do it and that’s why these companies who claim to have that magic bullet weight loss solution are going to continue to rake in the profits. We want an easy solution. If it weren’t for vanity I don’t know how many folks would even bother. Is that the reason so many of us don’t eat right and work hard in the gym? I thought lack of vanity was a good thing. I’m sure I read that somewhere.

5 thoughts on “Mirror Mirror

  1. Fantastic and incredibly insightful post. I’ve reached my goal weight and have successfully maintained it for over 3 months now. I still dont recognize me in the mirror, and I don’t identify with what I see in the mirror. I still have serious self esteem issues, but have learned how to expertly fake it – to everyone. Now how sad is that?

  2. Weather you feel like it or not, you are an inspiration just by being who you are. Motivation and impulse control have always been me Achilles heel. I start and stop things like there is no tomorrow (or is it “I will do it tomorrow…” ??) Not being in a good place makes it so much harder to dig yourself out. I am trying to decide if I should keep trying to dig out, or just dig through to the other side 😉 Having people like you in my life helps keep hope alive (with apologies to Jessie Jackson.)

  3. We can get all the accolades in the world from others, but if we don’t believe in our hearts that we are wonderful, loveable, and happy, we just stay on the roller coaster. We need to look inside ourselves and address whatever it is that is hurting us, then when we do get accolades they are simply a nice edition to our already solid self esteem.

    Eating is a relatively cheap, easy, and encouraged way to ease inner turmoil and pain. It actually physically makes us feel better (momentarily), but unfortunately overdoing it really hurts us. Find other ways to address the stress, turmoil and pain in your heart and the overeating will be unnecessary. YOU ARE WORTH IT!

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